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Steve Donofrio is a former Non Commissioned officer (NCO) in the US Army with deployments to Iraq and Kuwait for the first Gulf war as well as other real-world missions. As an international motivational speaker and leadership trainer, Steve utilizes his 20 years of speaking and training to help leaders move things to done through and with others. Steve is passionate about helping leaders unite people in harmony and move them to action. He believes, the true measure of a leader is defined within the actions and accomplishments of those they inspire.
He is the lead author of the book Mama Manual and former contributing writer for Japan’s leading professional security journal, Security Research Magazine.
Steve has appeared and spoken live and virtual as a subject matter expert on local, regional, and national media platforms on 3 different Continents.
From trainer to speaker
Steve’s journey started after he returned to America in 2015, after many years living in Japan being a trainer. He was figuring out what to do and someone recommended him to be a speaker. So even without knowing that there was an industry and without knowing what it was to be a professional speaker. His background of speaking and training for so many years helped him to start a career that lasts until now.
Storytelling and its importance today
According to Steve, storytelling is just as important as it has always been. Humans used storytelling to pass information long before writing and technology. Even today we educate children with stories. Sometimes we forget the importance of these stories and how even today our societies are built upon stories that were told from one generation to the next no matter the format we use. The most powerful words ever still are: “Once upon a time …”
Top Mistakes in Telling Stories
#1 Trying too hard. Sometimes we try to force and fill up stories where they don’t fit.
#2 Always making the story personal. This means the story is always about the speaker.
#3 The stories about you have to be always amazing. Most of the time, simple stories and even our own mistakes are the best stories of all.
#4 Not understanding the narrative arcs. This is not knowing the protagonists, when the story starts, where it goes and when it does end.
Best Practices for Storytelling
Steve’s main approach to storytelling is what we can learn from life around us and what we can learn from old stories, fables and parables. He tries not to tell stories about himself except if it is about a specific point in his experience. He uses pieces of children stories or parables because are easy to remember and people is going to look at it with new lens as an adult, and that is maybe a whole new way to look at the story. You can search for stories in religious books, in ancient children’s stories and fables. When you read this stories you’re able to learn about narrative arcs that can be applied to your own personal stories.
Where to Find an Extraordinary Story
Many people say “I don’t have an extraordinary story” but if it is your story it is extraordinary because is yours. We can tell stories about us and how it relates and interconnect with other people. We make the story extraordinary. It’s not the story that’s extraordinary, it is what we do with it that makes it extraordinary.
Ask yourself what’s so special about me? The fact that you’re making a day-to-day is what’s special about you. The fact that you know how to do that and now you have something of value to share with others who are going through life the same way you are. You might have an ordinary story in your mind, but the results you create are the extraordinary and there’s an extraordinary story in the ordinary life that you live.
All of us have something extraordinary because all of us are human beings.
Related: Speak like Music
“Men are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of things. Thus death is nothing terrible, else it would have appeared to Socrates. But the terror consists in our notion of death, that it is terrible.” — Epictetus (The Enchiridion)
Atomic Habits by James Clear
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
Routine to Shine
Keep a story file. Look at life and ask yourself what is the story behind it? What do you see? What can you learn from that moment? and keep a daily story Journal.
Just things that happen along the way. It’s a good exercise because it will force you to really pay attention, and think about what you’re doing. And so you will remember those things that maybe today didn’t mean too much but might become a great story with a great lesson in the future for you and for others.
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