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What Speaking and Cooking Have in Common

Finding the Right Recipe for Success

I learned how to cook. Small detail: when I turned 40 years old.

For most of my life, recipes were an open invitation for anxiety. My eyes would glaze over, I would check out, and the next thing I knew I was dialing for take out.

I was so embarrassed, and ashamed. I thought cooking was one of those things I was just supposed to be able to do. I mean, I’m a woman. A wife. A mom. And above all, a pleaser.

After too many years of unfinished dinners, wrinkled noses, and Pasta-Roni, I finally came to grips with the fact that I didn’t know what I was doing, and I needed someone to teach me. I found Sarah.

First, she taught me how to cut to an onion. Then how to sauté chicken. Then how to make soup. She taught me how to break a recipe down into simple steps. Who knew you needed to taste the dish along the way. What, so hoping for the best doesn’t add flavor?

In the process of learning a few techniques and practice, practice, practice, (and tasting, tasting, tasting!) I learned to trust myself. I learned to distill what was essential about a recipe and follow my gut. Now I read a recipe, and can even follow the directions!

Because I do story work, I’m often asked for tips and tricks (the ingredients) for a successful speech or presentation. Here’s what’s essential about that recipe:

What’s the gift of insight you want to give? 

What’s the story that needs to be told?

I help people get to the truth. Their truth.

And then there’s presentation work. How will what you say land with the audience? How can you appear to be totally confident and be your most authentic self?

Storytelling is about what’s in the inside and how it lands on the outside.

It’s discerning what we share with the world and what we hold close.

There are certain ingredients that make a memorable moment and inspiring speech. When Sarah taught me how to cook, she helped me learn how to cook the foods I like the way I like them. But first I had to accept that I was not born knowing how to cook. And that someone could help me learn, and get better at it.

We over-achievers tend to think we’re supposed to be able to do things well. All things well. Without lessons. Without practice. Without help.

So while I firmly believe everyone has a fascinating story – it’s hard for most people to find it, distill it, and tell it well. Find what is essential to share. What the audience needs to hear to get you. To come along with you. To be inspired by you.

You can have fun pulling your story ingredients together; planning a fantastic multi-course meal of anecdotes and insights; distilling the essential flavors of your truths; and plating it all up to serve to guests with confidence and joy.

Finding the right coach is a game changer.

Because peeling away the layers to find what is essential, then making it taste and feel good from the inside out… that’s the art of cooking and yes, the art of storytelling, too.

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