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In this blog post, Paul Henczel shares his journey and tips for how he went from an injured millworker to an international speaker. Paul shares his 3-step storytelling framework for infusing compelling stories into podcast episodes and interviews. Create connection magic with the audience through memorable content. Get ready to learn the steps Paul took to go from invisible to impactful!
WATCH THE VIDEO VERSION OF THIS BLOG POST/PODCAST EPISODE:
Read the Blog Post: 3-Step Storytelling Framework for Podcast Guests
Let’s talk about the power of storytelling and how it can help you create engaging content on podcasts. By sharing your personal stories, you can connect with people on a deeper level and build a community around your message.
Sean Tyler Foley also talked about the power of storytelling in a previous episode. Check it out here.
My Life-Changing Story
So, I have a story that completely changed my life and I want to share it with you. At the time, I was working as a supervisor in a sawmill when I found myself in a life-threatening situation. I had to unjam a massive log that was stuck, and in order to do so, I crawled into a tight space. As soon as I freed the log, the machine started and I was immediately crushed under 12,000 pounds of wood.
I remember the immense pain, feeling like my body was breaking and my head was going to explode. I thought to myself, “This is it, I’m going to die.” For 12 minutes, I was without oxygen as my coworkers struggled to free me. When they pulled me loose, they thought I was dead. But miraculously, I started breathing again just as they were about to perform CPR.
The immense pain was overwhelming. I was rushed to the hospital, where doctors and paramedics discovered the extent of my injuries – an anoxic brain injury, a crushed Adam’s apple, a punctured and collapsed lung, multiple broken bones, and severe soft tissue damage.
My organs were failing, and I knew something had to change. But then something amazing happened—I was touched by an angel. It was my wife. She came to my side, and I felt hope again.
Surviving the accident was just the beginning of my story. In fact, it left me with a permanent brain injury and severe PTSD, making recovery a long and challenging process.
I survived, but the accident left me with numerous physical and mental injuries, including a permanent brain injury and severe PTSD.
The recovery has been long and challenging because I had to learn everything all over again. I’ve had to incorporate numerous physical modalities and mindset strategies to help me.
But as Vince Lombardi said,
The greatest accomplishment is not in never falling, but in rising again after you fall.
I was determined to get back up.
Getting Back Up
I’m here today because I got back up. And you know what life-changing strategy helped me the most?
Embracing and sharing my story was the game-changing strategy that helped me move forward. It was emotionally healing and opened up a world of possibilities I never thought possible. As Wayne Dyer said, “If you believe it’ll work out, you will see opportunities. If you believe it won’t, you will see obstacles.”
A few years ago, I attended a speaking event with Brendan Burchard in Vancouver, Canada. As I watched him on stage, I envisioned myself speaking in front of a large audience just like him.
I didn’t know how it was going to happen, but I believed it would. That belief led me to write my book, Crushed Alive.
Through my writing and speaking, I’ve been able to connect with others on a deep level and inspire them to keep going, even in the face of adversity. I’ve learned that by changing your story, you can change your life. And I’m living proof of that.
Telling My Story
I started telling my story to my family and friends. Then I started going to networking events and eventually ended up speaking on TV, the radio, and even at a TEDx event. It was crazy how my vision became a reality. From being a mill worker who got injured to becoming an international speaker, it was quite the journey.
Now, I bet you’re wondering why you should incorporate more stories into your life and podcast. Well, let me tell you. When I started sharing my story, people were inspired and wanted to share their own stories in response.
It was like storytelling had some kind of magical connection to people. So, I started researching it and found out that storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to communicate and motivate because we think and learn through stories.
But wait, there’s more. In 2006, a study was published in the journal, NeuroImage that showed how effective storytelling is in inspiring people to make changes in their lives.
It’s amazing how listening to stories can activate up to seven areas of our brain, including the language processing parts and any other area that we would use when experiencing the events of the story ourselves.
Not only is storytelling great for the listener, but it’s also great for the storyteller because it can decrease cortisol levels (that’s the hormone related to stress) and increase oxytocin levels (the hormone related to love, empathy, and human bonding).
Have you ever heard a great storyteller and thought, “I want to do that too”? Well, you can. All you have to do is practice.
And don’t worry if you don’t think you have a good story because what you don’t think is good could be exciting to someone else. We all have similarities in our stories that we can draw from.
I’ve come up with a framework for creating compelling stories, and you can use it too for your podcast, interviews, or talk.
It’s called Story-Teach-Tool, and it has three parts.
The first part is Story, where you share what makes you unique and show some vulnerability. We’ve even identified some story themes that can help, such as the hero’s journey and the adversity theme.
We need to tell these stories of struggles and challenges because they show hope and possibilities in a situation and remind us that we’re not alone. The second theme is Achievement, where you share a story of success.
At the core of every achievement is the awareness of the challenges and having the confidence, persistence, and patience to see things through. Even if you fail, you can learn from those experiences and find the right path. And let’s not forget about the adventure theme!
This is where you take on something bold and risky that could lead to a life-changing discovery or moment of inspiration.
Now, don’t feel like you have to stick to just one story theme. Most great stories have elements of a few. And remember, the key to a great story is the conflict-to-resolution plot arc. You want to show how you overcame struggles and transformed in the process.
Here’s a myth I want to dispel: You don’t have to be naturally outgoing or social to share your story. What matters most is your passion for what you do and who you are. And when it comes to telling your story, it’s important to keep it simple.
Shorter sentences (10-13 words) and shorter words are the way to go. No need to share every detail, just the most important ones.
Alright, let’s talk about the second part of our framework – Teach. This is where you get to share all the lessons you learned from your story and offer some tips and tricks. It’s a great way to establish yourself as an expert and leader in your field.
Now, there are two ways to share your knowledge – you can either push the information out there or draw people in with a good story.
So, my challenge for you is to get creative and mix it up a bit! Metaphors are a great way to add some variety to your teaching.
Finally, we have the third and last part of the framework – Tool. This is where you get to offer your resources, gifts, and soft offerings to your audience. Remember, the key here is to connect with your audience and build a community.
You want to leave them wanting more. If your stories and teaching points are really compelling, people will want to know more about you. So, make sure you have a clear and concrete way for them to connect with you further.
So here’s an idea: you could create a lead magnet that ties in with your story or teaching points and helps solve a problem for your audience. For example, I have two gifts for you today.
The first one is a free digital copy of my book Crushed Alive, and the second is a copy of our workbook, the Story Framework, Story Teach Tool, that I talked about earlier. You can get those at inspiring.show
All of these tools and resources are great ways to connect with your listeners and build a community around your podcast. It’s my passion to empower and inspire others to find their voice, and I want to encourage you to share your story too. Embrace your unique experiences and start telling yourself that you can do it.
I remember when I was crushed by those logs, they’re called cants. And it’s kind of funny, but thinking about all the things I couldn’t do was just as crushing as those logs.
I kept telling myself that I couldn’t recover, that I couldn’t have a fulfilling life, and that I couldn’t inspire others with my story. But now, I’m crushing those “cants” and so can you.
Thanks for reading, and always remember that you have a story that matters.
About Paul Henczel
Paul Henczel, BBA is an author, speaker, podcaster, and host of the Inspiring Influencers Show from Vancouver, BC Canada. He has told his stories on TV, Radio, Podcasts, International Conferences, and the TEDx stage. Paul uses his experiences from overcoming adversity to inspire and empower others to find their voice and elevate their message. He speaks about the benefits of storytelling in a way that your audience will feel inspired to tell their own story.