My First Date With the Power of Storytelling, and Where The Podcast Is Heading

Episode 58

I never liked talking about myself.

I am an introvert and a very reserved person, so I am not a big talker. And when it comes to talking about myself, I never thought there was much to talk about anyway.

Don’t get me wrong, I can be very passionate and persuasive when I need to explain to my team why this is so important for us to finish this project on time and therefore we need to all come to work this weekend.

Or I can easily spend hours comforting a friend of mine who is navigating a challenge in life. I will be full of creative thoughts and ideas, as well as words of encouragement and support.

But the moment you ask me something about myself, I will give you a one-sentence answer and then immediately steer the conversation in literally any other direction.

When I met my husband, on our very first date, he got genuinely curious about my life story, and I was not prepared for that! And what is worse, he found my story so fascinating that since then he has often been telling it to other people. Whenever we meet someone, he is quick to say, “Here is my wife, she grew up in the Soviet Union and she went to the best school in the Soviet Union, and she moved countries and continents.”

I tell him, “You are embarrassing me!”, and his response would be, “You have a very interesting story, people need to hear it!”

At first, I didn’t believe him, but he kept telling me that, and it started to settle in my head.

I began to tell my stories more often. I would still feel very uncomfortable and shy.

Did you ever collect those miniature glass figurines? You store them on your shelves, and every time someone visits your house they want to take a closer look at them, but those little pieces of glass feel so fragile, you feel like if you hold it wrong they will immediately break into a million pieces, and so you are very protective of them and very hesitant to let anyone hold them in their hands.

This is how I felt telling my stories. I felt like they were too fragile to be shared out loud, like telling them out loud would harm them. Or harm me.

And then I went on this retreat.

How a business retreat changed my relationship with storytelling

Now I have to give you a bit of a back story. Several months prior, I had joined a virtual mastermind group founded by a wonderful woman, her name is Joanna.

And she was organizing this in-person retreat for members of her masterminds. It was going to be on a secluded farm in Northern California, and I thought it would be a nice getaway. I also wanted to challenge myself a bit and get out of my shell (remember – reserved introvert, so I am not the most social person)

And so it is the beginning of October in 2022, and I arrive on the farm for this retreat. It’s very nice to meet Joanna in person, and other women are also arriving (it was about 10 of us), and I say hi to them and they all seem very nice.

We have some time to relax before dinner, and for this evening the first ritual is planned – it’s called the circle. I have some rest, then change clothes and head to the main building of the farm for that ritual.

The room looks amazing – Joanna did such a wonderful job decorating it! It’s dark outside, but the room is lit up by a million little candles, and there is this sweet calming aroma, and there are pillows on the floor arranged in a circle, and we all pick a pillow and take a seat. We are all offered a cup of cocoa, and then each of us is given a card with a word on it. We are asked to reflect on what this word means to us.

After a few minutes of silence, Joanna says, “And now let’s share our thoughts and stories with the group. Who would like to go first?”

And in this horrifying moment, I realized what I got myself into.


You can listen to the rest of this story on the Breverie Handbook podcast – Episode 58: My First Date With the Power of Storytelling, and Where The Podcast Is Heading

Until next time,

Olena xx

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My First Date With the Power of Storytelling, and Where The Podcast Is Heading
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