006: The Power of Compelling Story Telling with Zara Love
November 29, 2022
006: The Power of Compelling Story Telling with Zara Love
Storytelling sparks action and offers a unique perspective. Zara Love discusses the power of compelling storytelling on the Raise 1000 Voices podcast.
Compelling Story telling
Telling a story sparks action both in the physical and mental sense. It drives others to become more motivated, believe in themselves, or try something new. In this episode of the Raise 1000 Voices podcast, we reveal the power of compelling story telling with Zara Love.
Zara is the Director of Great Talk, which helps people become more charismatic presenters, confident communicators, and captivating storytellers. Furthermore, she works with professional speakers, thought leaders, tech wizzes, and influencers by helping them shape, share, and deliver an engaging message in a more powerful way.
Storytelling is never about the person sharing the story, rather, it’s about having the opportunity to take others on a magnificent adventure. One that helps them develop a different perspective on their lives.
However, most people find it difficult to share their own stories, especially women. The inner critic can be so powerful that it drowns out every chance to rewire negative thoughts. And this greatly impacts the ability to trust ourselves and bring our voice to the world.
Learning how to dance with the inner critic assures that one understands how to take the audience on a remarkable story. Great stories share lots of values and insights and it generates life-changing experiences for both the storyteller and the listener. Learn more about how powerful storytelling can be and how it impacts your life and others when you listen to the episode.
WHAT YOU’LL DISCOVER IN THIS EPISODE:
The mission of the Raise 1000 Voices podcast (03:10)
The real intention of storytelling (06:55)
How to incorporate humour into high-impact stories (09:03)
The challenges in telling one’s own story (12:15)
What’s stopping women from speaking up and sharing their stories? (14:30)
Who is an amazing storyteller for Zara? (18:08)
The journey to becoming a great storyteller (20:20)
How was ‘The epidemic of over-seriousness’ formed? (28:00)
What’s heartbreaking about developing stories? (32:15)
What makes a story remarkable? (35:12)
How can we inspire and change the world by sharing our stories (37:45)
Why we need to identify our inner critic (46:40)
The best piece of advice Zara received (49:49)
“We’re not telling a story to hear our own voice, we’re telling a story to unlock something in the person opposite us.” -Zara Love
“All happiness and success comes down to two stories; the stories that you tell yourself and the stories you choose to share with others.” -Zara Love
Storytelling is about taking the other person on an adventure somewhere new so, they’re able to look back on their own lives with a fresh perspective.” -Zara Love
“Telling stories is actually not about you. It’s about creating trust and being in service to an audience.” -Jacqueline Nagle
“Not all stories are meant to be told. Some of the stories need to come out of your own mind and heart but not all stories need to make it to a stage or a platform.” -Jacqueline Nagle
“The only thing worth writing about is the human heart in conflict with itself.” -William Faulkner
Honing her craft as a stand-up comic, Zara spent years as an award-winning breakfast radio host and more recently, nearly two decades speaking at live and virtual events for major companies here and internationally. She’s worked as an actor, stand up, radio host, corporate speaker and entertainer, has a country music album, had two TED× talks, has sung for the Lyric Opera and even performed the national anthem for international sports to a live audience of millions. She also created a children’s animation series seen in more than 90 countries and 16-languages. With over 10,000 appearances on-stage, online, radio and screen to a collective audience of more than 10-million, Zara knows a thing or two about performance. As a coach, she works with professional speakers, thought leaders, tech wizzes and influencers to help them shape, share and deliver an engaging message in a more powerful way. Zara is a member of the International Positive Psychology Association, Institute for Learning and Performance, Screen Producers Australia and others. She specialises in creating bespoke communication programs and speaks on effective communication, positive psychology, storytelling and much more!
TRANSCRIPTION (Transcriptions are generated using AI)
Zara Love (00:00)
To me, that’s what a storyteller needs to be. It’s somebody that is, it’s not about like you say, it’s not about you ever, it’s about taking the other person on an adventure, somewhere new, so they’re able to look back on their own lives with a fresh perspective.
Jacqueline Nagle 00:21
Raise 1000 voices is the podcast on a mission to raise the voices of the clever, creative and courageous women across the world. I am your host, Jacqueline Nagle. And I invite you to join me in conversations with women who will inspire and empower you as we explore just how to lift our levels of self trust, to reclaim the narrative, and to use our voice to go after exactly what we want. Doing it with strength, power, and grace.
Jacqueline Nagle 00:55
Zara Love is the director of great talk and also one of my superhumans, which you are about to find out why the official bio supports her superhuman status. Growing up in comedy clubs holding number one position on breakfast radio, speaking around the world for more than two decades, delivering not one but two TEDx talks and singing on stages from Lyric Opera to an international sporting event beam to millions of viewers. Zara has created a children’s animation series as seen in more than 90 countries and translated into more than 60 languages. She has more than 10,000 appearances across stage, radio and screen to a collective audience of more than 10 million people.
So there’s the headlines. The Zara you’re about to meet. She is the magic behind those headlines. She is passionate about storytelling, about the overabundance of seriousness in our world. And just how humor creates safety for audiences in the midst of big and confronting stories. Even knowing Zara you will hear me spontaneously laughing at what she brings to the table. And then she underpins that humor with a love for moments and adventure, a recognition of our thirst for insights and truth, some quick bites and strategies that you can use immediately in your everyday speaking, and just how some of her greatest moments came from creating what she needed most in her own life.
We have a fascinating few minutes discussing and going backwards and forwards between us about just what we can learn by listening to the five year old child we all have within. I know the Zara love is about to become one of your favorite humans. And I am so grateful to bring her light into your world, though right now. I would love it to welcome Zara love to the next installment of raise 1000 voices which I am so excited that you are one of my favorite humans on the planet. Welcome to the show.
Zara Love 02:45
Oh, thank you, Jacqueline. Aren’t you gorgeous? Which voice? Am I? Am I 999?
Jacqueline Nagle 02:51
No, no. Yeah, you are you actually now launch series? You’re in the first seven, which is really exciting. Yeah.
Jacqueline Nagle 03:00
What did you create a strong foundation and a strong vibe for the 1000s? So yes, you’re in the launch series, darling.
Zara Love 03:06
Well, I do have a strong voice. My darling, I’m told that I do have a strong voice.
Jacqueline Nagle 03:11
You do you have an amazing voice
Zara Love 03:13
So tell me tell me more about this quest that you’re on. Before you ask me the questions. Tell me what you do.
Jacqueline Nagle 03:20
I love this, you’re flipping me already flipping the script already. So this is actually about we will record 1000 episodes over the next few years. And it is all about finding the stories of women around the world who are ordinary and extraordinary. And just unlocking those stories and giving voice to lived and worked experience. So you know, women, as you know, are usually the last to speak up and speak out. And I want to actually throw a spotlight onto the great women around the world and their stories.
Zara Love 03:54
Amazing. Amazing. I think for a lot of us. It’s really connecting again with our true essence our true self. Because I think that even when we do speak up, sometimes I question myself, you know, Whose voice is that?
Jacqueline Nagle 04:09
Yeah. Where’s that coming from?
Zara Love 04:11
Yeah. Have I learned that to protect myself? Are those wounds? still real? Do I need to speak in that way? In fact, we we’ve been watching the crown at the moment. Ah, yeah, we’re slow to it. I know everyone else has seen it. But we’re really enjoying the program. And the queen at one point comments on three questions that have really stayed with me and they are. Does this need to be said, yeah. Does this need to be said, now? Does this need to be said by me? Yeah. And it’s a really interesting little framework that allows you have to stop and say to yourself, Is this necessary that I speak up in this way now? Yeah. Or is there another way to do it? You know, so I think it’s kind of getting in touch with I I’ve got a voice and I’ve got a right to be heard. And I’ve got something to say yes. But then the other side for me, is, which version of me? Yeah, is that was connected to?
Jacqueline Nagle 05:11
Yeah. And is this the right time and place and space. And one of the one of the challenges that we have working with, as you know, work with women who are just trying to find their voice, right. And one of the challenges we have with unlocking that story is, is getting people to a place where they understand that all stories have to be told, there’s some of the stories need to come out of your own mind and out of your own heart. But not all stories need to make it to a stage or tour platform,
Zara Love 05:38
You’ve got to take control of what you want to share with the world. I mean, we’re living in a world now where you’re just expected to give it all show me your house, you tell me who you are, you know, I kind of want all of it. And there’s real value in that I love that, that we’re a bit rougher, we’re a bit raw, we’re a bit more real with each other. But we don’t have to give it all away. And at the same time, we need to be comfortable with the healing or with the aspect of that story before we share it with the world anyway, because if we’re not comfortable, and it goes out there tends to be a, you know, not not the impact that we were hoping for.
Jacqueline Nagle 06:17
Yeah, absolutely. And it’s one of the things I work walk the women through is in 20 can speak to this with strength, power and grace, it’s not your story to tell. Yeah, because we’ve got to bring that to the forefront. And, and you know, and kind of part of what I want to do with this mission to raise 1000 voices, is get people to understand that this is not storytelling is not supposed to be something where you inflict harm on others. Right? You know, and this whole, this whole rush to be real and raw, as digital as me mean that anybody can speak we know that like some people really shouldn’t. Anyone has the opportunity to speak, to speak every day. But storytelling and story shaping is where connection is made. And emotions are a vote and things like that. And the intention of storytelling and storytelling is not to inflict harm on others. It’s not to shock and all our tool plays, it creates damage. And we’ve got you know, I’ve been to a lot of we ran our own fundraising event yesterday and a lot of fundraising events recently. And one of the things I’m really passionate about is people with charities bring up these lived experience speakers, to tell their story to obviously to get us open our wallets and to understand that this is a really important problem. But they’re coming at it from a real raw place that is actually quite triggering to anyone who has a similar experience, because they’re just being raw and real. You know,
Zara Love 07:37
yeah, it’s uncomfortable to hear a story that the person telling it isn’t comfortable sharing the that the person telling it isn’t clear on their intention. Yeah, for telling that story also, and see when the person telling it is clearly milking the story to create a behavior. Yeah, in the audience. Now, all storytelling is to create a behavior it is to drive someone to become more motivated, or to think about themselves in a different way, or to believe in themselves or to try something new. It’s always to kind of spark action of sorts, even if that’s just mental action and thinking differently, that we’ve got to get really clear on what we’re saying and how we’re saying it. But also, we don’t have to tell a sad story in a sad way. No, that’s something that we teach a lot is that you can take people to something really quite tragic, difficult to articulate, you can nearly have them on the edge of their seat, crying, and then land something that’s hilarious. That just allows them to go, oh, it’s all gonna be okay. Yeah. And you can move through the trauma that hilarity quite comfortably if you have done the work on your story before you share it.
Jacqueline Nagle 08:58
I love that. And I know that this is something that you excel in, in your current work. So you can give us a little bit more insight around how to do that, like, you know, obviously, the women listening to this won’t be able to run off and do it themselves. But just some insight into how you get comfortable and how you can actually bring that light and shade into something that’s quite traumatic or quite high impact is what I like to call it these days, because high impact can also be a great story. So how do people actually start thinking about the fact that they can bring hilarity and humor into something that is actually quite dark and heavy?
Zara Love 09:29
Yeah, well, a story that you mentioned it actually when we were just jumping on this call in my first TEDx talk, which was the epidemic of over seriousness and I know you wanted to raise it so here I have done it for you.
Jacqueline Nagle 09:45
I loving it like let’s just rock.
Zara Love 09:49
In that particular speech, I tell a story about my grandmother. Now it’s not a terribly traumatic story, but for me, it has some sadness to it, but in it, you’ll notice Should I go from serious to light hearted to serious to light hearted, serious light hearted? So I start by saying, you know, my Nan, what an amazing woman. We lost her a couple of years back. She didn’t die. She just wandered off. Which the audience didn’t know you did. So they all kinds of luck. Yeah, they go, okay. This is going to be okay. Yeah, it’s a story, that where it’s okay to laugh. Yeah, yeah. And then I kind of come in and I say, actually, she did pass away a few years ago, she was 95. incredible integrity, great life, you know, and I went to visit her in hospital and I said, Nanny, are you scared of dying? And she said, No. And I said, not even a little bit. And she said, Zara, look, how many people have done it? How hard can it be?
Jacqueline Nagle 10:48
Yeah, see, there you go. And spontaneous love.
Zara Love 10:51
That’s right. And she showed me in that moment that a good sense of humor is the one thing that you can have until your dying breath. Because if you can joke, you can cope. Now I go on if I tell that story, and I tell a few more phonies about Nan through that, but you can see how you can go from palliative care. She’s passing away. And it’s that critical moment, I ask a question that you’re not supposed to ask anyone? Are you scared of dying at the critical moment in her life, and she handles it with great humor that reminds us the audience that a sense of humor is a superpower. It’s the one thing that you can hang on to until your dying breath. But if you don’t use it, you lose it. Yeah. And you do it in a story that’s heartbreaking and funny, and heartbreaking, and funny, and interesting, and heartbreaking and shocking and funny. And you want to move through the story with all of those nuances. Yeah, you know, great stories should be like a great adventure. You know, it has great bits, it has awful beds and had shocking bids. Then my favorite quote is William Faulkner’s which is the only thing worth writing about is the human heart in conflict with itself. And it’s just a beautiful quote, because it reminds people that when we’re telling stories, we’re looking for the emotion, but it’s not always just sadness. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, we need
Jacqueline Nagle 12:13
all of it. So when people because you do work with so many people to really bring their stories together, and thankfully, I get to still work with a little bit more to help my own storytelling. But when people come to you, what are the challenges? Or what are the I don’t want to say mistakes, but what are the things they’re not doing quite right, when it comes to pulling their story together before they get the Zara effect?
Zara Love 12:35
I think we all need a fresh perspective, I think it’s really difficult to see your own stuff. I think that everybody wants to include everything all the time. Yeah. Yep. So they want to include every piece of information or insight that they’ve ever learned or shared before. And they want it to go in there. Because, yes, they want to give value. But also, there’s a fear there that what if I’m not enough? What if this information is clear enough? Good enough, you know? Yeah, yeah. So a lot of the work that I do is really showing people that they’re skipping over these beautiful moments that could be impactful for an audience and they can’t see them. They’re racing to the finish. Yeah, to get through the details. And they’re not showing me any of the adventure on the way. And so for me, it’s like, what do we leave out first? So how do we strip it all back? So that you’ve just got your core message there that you want to share? And then how do you kind of dig around the person’s life, the stuff that they’ve put in the back room? And God knows irrelevant? I don’t want to talk about that, or it’s not interesting. And then how do I convince them? To pull those stories out? Look at them, share them for the
Jacqueline Nagle 13:46
greater good? Yeah, absolutely. And it says, what you have taught me so far, and the work that we’re doing, and what I landed with a keynote recently, is it actually utopian to one moment that I actually hadn’t even been thinking about, and now it’s the main story in the keynote. Beautiful. And so that, to me, is quite extraordinary. Yeah. Not from the point of view of Yes, I landed a keynote, but from the point of view of you do forget what actually matters, then you do forget those moments, because they’re just part of your history. That’s right. And so yeah, so I really, really love that perspective. So Zara, just storytelling and funnier voice and things like that, with particularly speaking to women here. What is it with women that you see trips them up from their ability to shape story, to share story to speak up and to speak out? I feel like
Zara Love 14:39
everyone’s so uniquely different. Every coaching session is so individual, and so different to the next one for me. And I think, again, it’s the trust that that women need to trust that they have the insights they need to trust that they can hold a stage and hold an audience in the palm of Hands, they have to trust that their stories are as valuable as anyone else’s stories, but then they need to kind of find who they really are. You know, I was working with a, I won’t name her because everyone doesn’t know who she is. But she was she had a been through a trauma. And I was talking about that trauma in this particular keynote. Now, it was really hard to listen to this story, it was hard to look at this person that the, at the time, and so we made sure that the very start that we made a funny yeah, we made it funny because this person was naturally funny.
Yeah, they were naturally funny person talking about a trauma that was truly awful and difficult to, to sit through. And so we made sure that we honored that human being. So we allow the audience to have a laugh at the start and go on, it’s gonna be okay, she can laugh at himself, and were okay. And then from that, she started to thrive as a speaker and audiences loved her as well. So I think it’s honoring who you really are. Some people are very serious thinkers. And that’s okay, bring that energy to the stage, but infuse it with a deeper level of curiosity, so that you’re able to guide an audience to think in new and powerful ways, but I think, honor who you are, there’s very little difference between who I am talking to you in this podcast, to who I am on stage, speaking to an audience of a couple of 1000 There’s not a big difference there. And I think that’s the essence of being a successful storyteller is integrate Be who you know yourself to be.
And don’t try to be anything else. You know, anytime I try and do something else, I fail at it. And anytime I go, You know what, I’ve got everything I need. I’m going to show up and give the love. You know, my name is Zahra love, I want to give the love was works. Yeah. So you don’t have anything that you’re not. You just need to enhance Yeah, what you are. And we often say that it’s on stage or telling a story. It’s you plus 25%. It’s you and a bit. Yeah, yeah. But you can feel that lift in the energy that says I’m not just telling the story to a mate at a pub. On a Friday. When we’re sharing it with an audience, there has to be a lift from within. It’s like a spark Yeah, goes off. It’s either us that reminds us that we’re not telling the story to hear our own voice. We’re telling this story to unlock something in the person that’s opposite us.
Jacqueline Nagle 17:38
I love that. Because one of the things that we we talk about quite a bit in in what we do is telling stories is actually not about you. Telling stories is about creating trust and being in service to an audience. That’s right. So I just had that reconfirmed by one of the best story coaches
in Australia. So I’m really quite delighted right now it’s all about me right now. Speaking about that, you know,
Jacqueline Nagle 18:01
and you do work with some formidable women, some phenomenal women, you have exposure to speakers around the world, from a women speaking perspective. Think is an amazing storyteller. Like who comes to mind when you think about women who are incredible storytellers.
Zara Love 18:16
Troy just pointed at me. So that was very nice of him. He’s sitting over there. That’s my husband, by the way. Two women came to mind then and I don’t know if they’re right in terms of answers. But often I said to my coaching clients trust the first thing that comes to your mind. That’s often right. Yeah. So the two that came to mind for me, were Marianne Williamson, who ran for Senate, I think in America. She’s an American. She’s a spiritual speaker. She created a program that was based on the course of in miracles It was created in Yeah, I think the 70s a really hefty, intense document all about creating miracles in your life. And she created a program to kind of work your way through that text. But she’s just a beautiful speaker. She’s incredibly spiritual. She’s very aligned. She’s very driven. She knows what she wants. She tells great stories, and she’s able to stand on stage and just riff. Yeah, yeah. So you can throw a question to her and 40 minutes later, she will have taken you on a journey through that. And the other one would be Esther Hicks. I don’t know if you know anything of Jerry and Esther Hicks.
Zara Love 19:25
Yeah, spiritual people, not keynoters necessarily, but they were a partnership, Esther started getting messages from beyond. And the same thing she stands on a stage and answers questions from an audience and can for three hours, answer questions like why do we have color? Or why am I scared every day and she has these answers that are always enlightening, inspiring, and life changing to me. That’s what a storyteller needs to be. It’s somebody that is it’s not about like you saying, it’s not about you ever. It’s about Taking the other person on an adventure, somewhere new, so they’re able to look back on their own lives with a fresh perspective.
Jacqueline Nagle 20:10
Yeah, that’s so powerful. That literally, is the purpose of storytelling. And that’s why we respond to the most amazing storytellers in the world. So to speak about stories, we kind of you know, you chose to make this your interview today. I’m going to flip it back to you just for a moment, like we’re talking about the fact that Zara, you together with your husband do this incredible story coaching and speaking coaching across Australia and internationally. That’s now how did Zara love get here? Like, what’s a five minute story? And Zara loves life to this point?
Zara Love 20:44
Yeah, well, I always wanted to be a singer, and an actor when I was younger, and that was certainly going to be my trajectory. And I need to pick up the singing again. I’ve been very slack with that. But I went to acting college and I acted my way into that acting college I was. I was too young to the extent that it was pre computers. So I lied and told them that I was two years older, I was only 15. When I auditioned, mum had put me through school early. So I was also in grade 12. But I was younger than everybody else. So I just lied, told them that I was older. I didn’t even take my paperwork to this audition. I was so slack. And so I acted that as well. And I said, I sent my paperwork and I can’t believe you’ve lost it. So we’re very sorry. I’m feel free to audition. So I auditioned I got in, I was the youngest person ever accepted. And I started working with theatre companies.
After college, my family opened a comedy club. And so I started performing in that comedy club to our show five nights a week. That’s where I met Troy, my husband, he also worked that show. From that we got offered a job in breakfast radio. We did that for four years and nearly five years and became number one in our market and really loved that work, loved that job but found it very toxic environment to work in at the time. Yeah, I try saying I forgot about stand up comedy on the way to radio as well as doing lots of stand up comedy. And then we quit radio because we were miserable. We were earning a fortune, doing a job that we will love that we loved a job where we were number one. And I was more miserable than I’d ever been in my entire life. It was just a very Wow, toxic environment. It’s so very critical, very toxic. We weren’t welcomed there at all.
And it was just I had no coping skills. So as a little people pleaser, you know, who wanted to make a difference in the world. Suddenly, there was harsh criticism, not just from within, but opposing radio stations ran ads on air against me personally, wow, that’s an attack. It was an attack. So they’re actually called attack sweepers. And every 15 minutes, they’d run an ad about me. So on our radio show, I used to read Zara’s diary. And they’re all true stories, actually, that I would write every day, but there were true stories. So from my birth, in fact, I think I took me six weeks to come out of my mother’s womb in our story, and people would tune in every morning at 7am for the stories, and there was a saxophone that kind of started off the segment. And I’d start with Dear Diary, and then tell the story. Always funny. Always a bit shocking. Yeah. And people got obsessed by the cereal of it. So the station that was opposite US started running the same saxophone with Dear Diary, are you sick of self righteous self help? crap in the mornings? Listen to us.
Jacqueline Nagle 23:36
Wow. Stuff like that. That’s direct.
Zara Love 23:39
But we had I had more skills, had I had more coping skills, I wouldn’t view that as Wow, are they scared? That’s incredible that they have gone to that level of effort to undermine me, and I don’t care. But at the time, I was just crushed by it. It was heartbreaking to know what to do or who to speak to, and it was no sport. So we gave them a year’s notice, quit, and then went, I wonder if other people have lost their sense of humor like us, like I grew up in a comedy club. And here I am working for a job earning a fortune and I’m miserable. And I thought other people must struggle too. So we started a company called humor, Australia. And we believe that good humor is the thing that is the saving grace in life and if you can master it, and if you can use it regularly. It gives you perspective. It builds your relationships and it makes life wonderful. In fact, we started that business as the humor police and we used to crash conferences or dress days when dipstick and constable chuckles and we were all dressed up in police gear, and we used to burst into conferences as the humor, police and investigate the lack of humor that was happening in the workplace or at the conference and people loved it because it was character based.
Yeah, but we also I got to talk about the importance of good humor for mental well being for resilience for, you know, anything you need to get done. And then it kind of naturally evolved into great talk because we started to coach and become performance coaches and help other people to craft their stories. In fact, we ran a program called Stand up for yourself, which was the hybrid between the humor world and the straight talking world that I guess we’re in now. And that program where it’s where we coach executives to overcome their fear of public speaking by learning the art of stand up comedy, oh, it’s amazing. Then they all perform in front of a live or a couple of 100 people, they deliver a stand up routine about their own lives. And it’s, to this day, the most transformative program we run. And it shows people that they can do anything, because they start the program going not in a million years, I couldn’t do this. And then they end by going, Oh, my goodness, what else have I been telling myself? That I can’t do? Yeah. And it’s interesting.
So we’ve just run a program with the Telstra team. And that culminated in a showcase with this one, we didn’t call it stand up comedy routine. We call them tea talks, which stands for let’s say, Telstra or timed talk, and at the end of it, 20 of their ambassadors got up at a beautiful theater in Sydney and performed a five minute thought leadership piece. And it was incredible. These are all people that stand in front of audiences comfortably talking about tech, but the one rule we gave them was you’re not allowed to talk about tech. Love that. It’s the people that we want to hear about. And I sat at the back of the room, the same way I do is stand up for yourself with, you know, goosebumps and tears in my eyes, because they were so insightful, so inspiring, so powerful standing on that stage. And I went, Well, you know, humans good, but it’s not everything. In fact, what we’re looking for more than anything is insights. And truth.
Jacqueline Nagle 26:56
Yeah, true. Standing in truth. Yeah. And the
Zara Love 26:59
story behind the story. You know, there’s one gentleman there that everyone knows, and no one would have known his backstory, and that was that he grew up in Sri Lanka, he grew up in a civil war, he went to school every day dodging bombs. He one day his house was blown up, they had to look after 25 people in the neighborhood all under another roof for many months. You know, these are stories that here I am just meeting a tech specialist. Yeah, who’s going to help me to do my digital transformation. But the story behind the story is this guy is fascinating, and has endured so much. And when I know more about that human, I’m more likely to listen to what he has to offer.
Jacqueline Nagle 27:39
Yeah, I think stories are the fastest way to see somebody else. Oh, totally. You know, there’s a colleague that you and I both have cam cocaine from New Zealand. And he talks about stories are how we bend reality and shift perception, right. And I really love that. And that’s what you’re talking about with with that particular story there. So it’s part of this evolution that you’ve done, you also made the choice, you mentioned it before to do a TEDx talk. Can you take me through the lead into that? What really matter? Because I know, we had a conversation quite some time ago about this, like, what led you to that moment of going actually, this is what my next move is? And why did it matter to you?
Zara Love 28:14
Well, I think it was based in that I was still in the trauma of leaving a job that I love that I thought I would be in forever, you know that I would be just going from strength to strength and doing forever. And so I was just so miserable. And I couldn’t work out how to make myself better happy, I had to see it differently. I knew that it was me that was dealing with it in a bad way. But I just could not lift my spirits, to be able to see it differently. And so the human element of the epidemic of over seriousness came from the fact that I started investigating that I wasn’t the only one that was suffering or that was struggling, you know, to keep their head above water or to see the lighter side of life. And people often see me and think positivity is an easy thing or your you know, your life is easier, or it’s you don’t understand pain and trauma, but I actually think positive people choose it.
Yeah, you know, I chose humor and levity and lightness because I needed it to be able to keep moving forward. And so that 10 toll came from the fact that I was miserable. And then I started investigating, and I found out that other people were I mean, the stats have gone up for depression and suicide and anxiety and all of those things in our society. And so I wanted to remind people, that we’re humans, yeah. And that if we can connect in a human way, we’re gonna get a whole bunch more done. You know, we were so lucky. We ended up in beautiful boardrooms all over Australia and the world and the amount of times that people will sit us down, you know, if we’re coaching their executive, their leader or whatever, or hosting their conference, they’ll sit us down and get straight into work. Okay, let’s look at the agenda. This is what we’re doing today.
And this is what Were trying to cover and we would always be Super Sun Versiv in those environments and try and throw them off track. What a gorgeous view this is. Do you ever stop and take a look over Sydney Harbour here ever thought of doing tours that are your boardroom? Do anything that would take them away from let’s get down to business? Yeah, so we can connect on a human level. In fact, a friend of mine used to call it the 123 thing. I mean, we used it at our comedy clubs, and it was anything that you’ve got to talk to somebody about throwing two unrelated stories or conversations first. So everyone knew we were doing it all the time. But it said the people are more important. So it might be Hey, that’s the new hairdo, right? I’m sure on Friday, you had red hair now. It’s blonde. It looks great. Love it. Where’d you get it done? Didn’t you say you’re going to the footy on Saturday? Who won? Was it a good game? Beautiful. Hey, by the way, the kitchens on fire? Can you do something about that? So the third thing is down to business. It’s what we are here to cover. The first two are really quick to move through.
But I’m reminding people that the people matter. It’s not just the work. It’s the people doing that work. So the TED talk was because I believed in humor whole heartedly. And I believe that we were in a world where we were just on the treadmill, and we were racing, and we were racing, I think pre COVID. We were all in that same boat where it felt like oh, my goodness, there’s so much going on. And it’s like we’ve hit the ground running in January. And here we go. And I remember feeling a little like, can we just slow the world down a little bit? Yeah. And be careful what you ask for. Right? Yeah, yeah.
Jacqueline Nagle 31:37
So this is actually you wished this intervene?
Zara Love 31:40
I did it all. I’d like to apologize. But I take full credit. But maybe we can find a sweet spot. Yeah, between the two. That’s is what we’re finding at the moment we’re going in? Yeah, my lifestyle matters. My family matters. my sanity matters. And so we’re starting to draw lines in the sand that say I won’t do that. Or I will do that we’re getting clear on who we are. What we want.
Jacqueline Nagle 32:04
Yeah, absolutely. When it comes to, you know, your big believer in humor and the motivations for doing a TED talk, what is it that actually when it comes to storytelling, speaking up speaking out? What is it that still breaks your heart? You’re listening to a story or developing somebody else’s story.
Jacqueline Nagle 32:22
up here and probably developing someone else’s story, because you’re actually guiding and coaching and mentoring people and actually trying to, you’re really trying to be the light that pulls them out of their darkness, right? Yeah, for the storytelling. So what is it that still breaks your heart when you are working with someone to develop their story?
Zara Love 32:38
Breaks my heart is really, if I was listening to a story, I think my answer would be anything that has a human being overcoming, you know, monumental challenges, anything where someone’s overcoming something, you know, drastic and epic, and does it and anyone that speaks with kindness is someone that breaks me up every time anytime I see kindness in a story or someone acting with kindness. It just gets to my heart every time. I think with clients, it’s them doubting their own ability. And I think the only thing that breaks my heart is them. Maybe not doing the work. Yeah. We get very clear on this is what you need to do. But it’s work. Storytelling is hard work. I, I think people think that it’s just natural. You know, you go and see comedian like Jerry Seinfeld. And you go, Oh, I could never do that. That’s easy. You go and see him a second night and you realize that he’s delivering a script. And every joke is exactly the same. And then you kind of go hang on a second I feel ripped off is doing all the same stuff. But that’s what storytelling is. Its artistry is mastery. Its work. Jerry Seinfeld is somebody that and a joke is really just a little story. Yeah, there’s somebody that works on taking a word out of a joke over a few weeks just to see if it lifts the laugh count ever so slightly. So it’s hard work to craft something up, that becomes remarkable. And then you’ve got to do runs on the board, you’ve got to deliver it multiple times before anchors in your body and gets really comfortable. But I think more than heartbroken, I’m always inspired by the people that we coach always because every single person has something that is remarkable and worthy of sharing with the world that I haven’t heard in that way before. So when I’m first working with someone, it’s a bit like the I don’t know what just popped in my brain, but you know, the crawl under the news and you see all the other news stories that are going on. So they’re talking and I’m listening and then all of a sudden they’ll share something like tell me more about that. That’s the sweet spot of view. And so my job is really to connect their hearts and their souls with their mouths and their brains and find this place of easiness where the stories just fall out of their mouths or they happen to just be in their bed. back pocket that they haven’t thought about for a little while. So as I would if you just pull that out, and let’s have a look at that for a second. Yeah.
Jacqueline Nagle 35:07
Yeah, absolutely. What makes a remarkable story.
Zara Love 35:11
I think it’s a story that has everything. You know, we often describe it like a great story should be the you’re grabbing me by the hand, and you’re taking me on a wild adventure. It’s an adventure into a place that I’ve never been before. But because you’re holding my hand, I feel like I’m standing there with you. In this moment of time, as you jump out of the plane as you climb to the top of the mountain as you’re being taken in to surgery. And vicariously, I get to experience that with you. And it makes me feel like I’m part of this story. And a great story, I believe, has lots of insights for the audience. You know, the old school way of delivering keynotes used to be I’m going to talk at you 35 minutes in the last five minutes, I’m going to tell you the takeouts you might write them down, I’ll say thanks, you’ll go away do nothing. That’s the way it is. The new way is if I’ve got 40 minutes in front of an audience, or 20, or 10, or five, or whatever, I’m going to stuff that to the brim with value, insights, things that people can think differently about, I’m going to grab them by the collar, and I’m not going to let them off the hook because there could be something here that is life changing if they want to hear it but again, needs to be equal parts entertainment, as much as it is insight.
Jacqueline Nagle 36:36
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And that’s the the entertainment muscle is the one that I’m constantly trying to build. So and I think a lot of people when they’re coming from a lived experience perspective, they actually forget to entertain unless they are naturally funny. Yeah, that’s actually funny. Brings it through. Yeah.
Zara Love 36:51
So true. And yet we all entertain with our friends. You know, people think when I say again, I’m not that person. I don’t wanna be on stage doing all of that. No. Be who you are with your best friend. Yeah. Because who you are the best friend is your true self. They see you in all your disgustingness they love you. Yeah, they kind of bring out the true you, you can be yourself around them. That’s the person that I encourage our speakers to take to the stage.
Jacqueline Nagle 37:17
Love that. Yeah, bring us wholesale.
Zara Love 37:20
Yeah. And be the person that your best friend sees. Yeah. Because Wow, with that person is who you really are. Yeah, yeah, really love that.
Jacqueline Nagle 37:33
actually see someone come onto the stages, you know, as they start with their best friend, you actually really resonate, you fall in love with them, it’s human, you connect with them. You know, Zara, you do so much work? Who is it that inspires you? From a storytelling perspective, from a voice perspective, she inspires you.
Zara Love 37:51
You know, I can’t limit it to one I just, I’m surrounded by books and wisdom. And you know, I’ve got two in front of me at the moment that I’m really loving, which is my abundant universe, and love from a beautiful orator and storyteller, and our bots. Now, I’ve never seen her live, but her writing and her storytelling is just magnificent. And I love it. And she brings it all together with her art. So she’s integrated, what she loves to do with spiritual insights and delivers it in kind of a workbook kind of way. So it’s tangible. And you can take in one idea at a time Yeah, begin. There’s no one human being I’m inspired. But I’ve just gotten off a call with, you know, somebody who helps turn brokers into millionaires. And I mean, that’s fairly dry concepts that you need to create. And yet his backstory is fascinating. Yeah, you know, so. So how do you draw more of that out? To make it a more human exchange?
Zara Love 39:01
book, ad Iboga. Book and audio and podcast, truly, and I absolutely love it. In fact, daily, we choose a podcast, we started together, we go for an hour walk and we listen to it, and then we can reflect on it and have a chat about it. And it’s just a great way to learn.
Jacqueline Nagle 39:17
Yeah, so we should go to book What if you had to talk about go to books? What are the ones that you would always want to get to put your hands on?
Zara Love 39:25
Troy just handed me my book? What is an app? What is enough our kids book for grownups? That’s definitely one that I would go to because it’s in the style of Dr. Zeus and it’s one of those ones that when you’re having a bad day, you just need to read it or have someone read it to you and the magic is released. So that would definitely be that let me look at what I’ve got everything storybooks over here at the moment. Yeah. So it’s either psychology, I go to psychology because storytelling is inherent in psychology. You know, we talk about the fact that all happiness and success It comes down to two stories, the stories that you tell yourself, and the stories that you choose to share with others. You master those two stories and you master humanity. Yeah. Yeah. So you that challenging the stories that you tell yourself about your own limiting beliefs, or even the other way, maybe you’re grandiose and think you’re awesome. And you need to challenge that.
Jacqueline Nagle 40:21
challenge is how good you are. It’s interesting you say that, because we now the first few months of working with people, we now actually go after the voice, their internal narrative, we actually identify, redefine and reclaim the internal narrative first. And that’s all story based.
Zara Love 40:36
Cause How do you narrow that down? There’s so much there. There is so many voices, so many voices. Yeah.
Jacqueline Nagle 40:48
own and the voices you’ve taken from other people as well. Like, that’s the really interesting part. Most of it’s not even your own voice.
Zara Love 40:55
Exactly. Well, I’ve got a mind I look fairly calm, but I’ve got a mind that I worry. So there’s a you know, I’m up at night and that kind of stuff. So I’m always finding ways to just relax my brain. And I’ve never know where it comes from mums know like that dads pass. So I don’t know that he was like that. And I didn’t know anyone else, my family other than my auntie. So the other day I said to her, I feel like I’ve got the same brain as yours. It goes around on loops, unless I find ways to become where does that come from? Who is that and she said, Ah, it might be pop. So her dad.
And she told me a story that when he was living here in Melbourne stuff from where we live, in fact, he ran a shoe factory, that he was uneducated. He was taken out of school when he was in grade eight, or nine because the house needed cleaning regularly. And he was put to work for the family. But he always felt like he wasn’t good enough that he didn’t have the education. So he didn’t deserve to be there. Somehow he got the job to head up this shoe factory and his colleagues apparently aren’t he tells me work very well to do quite wealthy dressed well, and you know, had education behind them. So every day, he would wear the same shirts for many days in a row because he didn’t have multiple shirts, Nan would iron collars, and he would have a new collar each day, they had about 14 Different collars, that they could put on these old stinky shirts to make them look like a fresh shirt. And she said that every now and then he panicked because the collar wasn’t perfect. And he walked out because he’d feel like he was being revealed that it would show him up as somebody that didn’t have any money, didn’t have any education. Now, I listened to that story. And I could relate to that level of panic of things not being good enough. But how interesting that that might just be in my DNA. Yeah. From his story. So how do you pick out those inner narratives? And know which one’s yours? Which one’s still relevant? What do you do?
Jacqueline Nagle 42:48
It’s interesting, because I really think there is a there is a connection. And having done a lot of the training that I’ve done, it’s such a connection between generational story and DNA. And now that we’re understanding how energy imprints ourselves and can actually change our DNA, even though previously that was thought to be robust. I really think like what you just said, like when you heard that story, you resonated you knew it to be real. It’s actually in your generational lineage. So it more than likely has been in your DNA. And I, I think we can actually change the world through changing stories. Right, you know, so we’ve always been aware of that. I think from an outside perspective, like all of us love music, which is story. We love poetry, which is story. We love jokes, which is story, we love stories, which are story. But I think actually understanding the power of this internal story. Now that loop that we’ve got is where the genesis of changing the world is sitting. Because we do have so many stories internally running that are not even ours, you know,
Zara Love 43:43
that’s right, and you don’t know what’s running, how long they’re running, they’re running out of control all the time. And they’re seeping into your body. Whether you know it or not, you’re thinking I’m at a very new part of my life, where I’m starting to identify where the thinking is actually affecting my body. But every thought is having an impact on how you’re feeling your body is then responding to that and pain can become very real in the physical sense from the thinking that created it. And I’m only just now noticing that I’ll be we thinking about a conference coming up or something I’m going to write or you know, something that’s yet to be done. And I’ll just notice my body’s contorted. Yeah, ever so slightly. So I’m just catching that now and going What was that connect are the thought about that conference coming up? Okay, how can I rethink what I’m doing with that? Okay, I want that to be easy and fun, relax your body. Come back to the work. But that’s a process that’s yeah. Oh, and clunky to go and go? What was the thought? How did it affect my body? How do I rewire the thought? How do I release it from my body? How do I create a new intention for this? Yeah, that’s all cognitive and conscious and it’s nice when you grab it and you miss it. More often than not
Jacqueline Nagle 44:59
you Yeah, absolutely no this complex we like I said, we spend 16 weeks now with women, when we’re offense working with them to actually unpack the stuff that’s happening with the inner narrative. And one of the things we do is we actually do three letters. So we’ve all heard about, you know, doing a letter to advise to your previous self. And some people do all about, you know, Dear future me, but we actually do three together. So create the timeline. So one is your past. One is to your present self, I want to see your future self, you know, when you do them as a complete timeline, the narratives actually very quickly show themselves, it’s incredible how powerful it is that the narratives vary, because we’re doing it as a continuum. It’s not as like, we can hide behind the narrative loops when we’re doing one like a past or our present, or future. But I’m finding when we run them together, these internal story loops are really showing up and I’d like to, is it okay for pressure tests and thinking with you? Would that be okay? Because one of the things I’m noticing is, and is that, you know, most women will tell you women, particularly I’m talking about, because that’s who I work with, most of them will tell you that they know that there’s something more they’re here to make a difference, they’re here to make an impact, and they will the women in my world.
And what I’ve noticed, because we’re going really deep on this internal story at the moment with women is, I actually have come to believe that our, the strength of our voice, our voice, will never outstrip our level of self trust. And our self trust is actually governed by the strength of our inner critic, right? So the inner critic takes hold of our level ability to trust ourselves. And you said before something about stories about trust, right. And so I’m really noticing like, you know, if we can actually work with the inner critic and get it to quieten down a little, then all of a sudden, these women start to self trust more, right? And then they can actually descend to bring their voice to the world. And so it’s just something I’m playing with at the moment. What comes up for you when I talk about that?
Zara Love 46:51
Well, you just you want to, you don’t want to struggle with a struggle. Yeah. So you want to kind of identify that inner critic, and we’ve all got them. And sometimes they’re a delight. And sometimes they’re complete, you know, tormentors, they’re just constant and relentless. And we start believing what that inner critic is saying, but at the same time, you don’t want to struggle with struggles a little bit, go, Oh, I’m thinking again, I’m such an idiot, you know. And so now we’ve got two layers of difficulty that we’re dealing with. And I think you said it in terms of quieten down that inner critic, I think, in many ways, it’s making friends
Jacqueline Nagle 47:31
with that and learning how to dance with them.
Zara Love 47:34
I think I said that to you in our first session learning to dance with your inner critic, so don’t fight them, dance with them. And that means, let them in, welcome them, have a dance with them, find out who they are, because that inner critic, I believe, is your best friend, trying to keep you safe.
Jacqueline Nagle 47:53
That’s exactly what it is. The inner critic is usually credited at a time when you had a response to something where you had to be kept safe. So their intention is love.
Zara Love 48:02
That’s right, or what you’re looking at, you’d want to punch it, you’d want to get shut up or leave it out the door. I’m sick of you or I’m so because they go I’m trying to help you. Yeah, trying to get safe. Yeah, and so and the more you go Shut up, the louder it gets. It’s like a five year old child being told to be quiet.
Well, I think that’s a great metaphor. And I think what does a five year old child need when they’re overtired? is probably a cuddle and lie down right? Yeah, absolutely. A time you know what, we’re gonna go play right now. We’re wasting his day. Let’s get out and play. So it’s making friends with that side of you listening a little bit going Well That was harsh, but I used to you know, feel that negative thought and go Shut up. Now I hear that negative thought in there. Thank you. Because now that that negative thought is a reminder that I’m looking for something better, I’m looking for something to make me feel better here now.
Jacqueline Nagle 48:53
I love that. I love that so you’ve completely changed the intention.
Zara Love 48:58
Yeah, well there’s no point being harsh on my inner critic that’s being harsh on me. Yeah, that’s fighting fire with fire right? So I just need to get remind myself that that inner critic and those that terror voice that constant it’s always in my brain. It can be is a reminder is a beautiful reminder that I want to feel better now. Yeah, love to notice it, and then shift it Yeah, notice it shift. Love that easy. Is famous last words. It’s so easy. It’s like you tell me I can be funny. It’s so easy. No, it’s not
Jacqueline Nagle 49:39
so easy. And I could talk to you for hours but we’re probably gonna have to wrap it up in just a moment. Every time I have a conversation with you there’s something really beautiful and wise it comes out of it. So if we actually go the other way, what’s the best piece of wisdom or advices Sarah love has ever been given.
Zara Love 49:55
There’s power in a pause nothing There’s although there isn’t. Enough, maybe that’s enough power to post it. I jumped to a friend of mine, and I don’t think it’s relatable, broadly. But it was just a beautiful piece of advice and a beautiful moment from a beautiful man. So I had borrowed a friend’s car. He’d said, Don’t park it in this part of the city. I parked it there. I came out, it had been stolen. I was beyond mortified, terrified, devastated. If that had happened in my family. It would have been world war three. Yeah. So just the end of my life, typical, you know, you’ve done it again, all that kind of stuff. So I come out, I’m just terrified. My shoes, were in the car shoes on barefoot. I come out, I have a phone, I ring him in tears. He has to say, what’s what’s wrong? Are you okay? And I said, I’m okay. I just need to tell you something. And I get it out. I’m so sorry. Oh, your car’s been stolen. And there’s a pause on the other end of the phone and he said Zara. I don’t worry about anything that can’t worry about me. It’s a hunk of metal. As long as you’re, I’m okay. Wow. And that if I want to cry again, I said to you, kindness. Yeah. makes me cry now. Because in that moment, he showed me it was okay to make a mistake. It was okay. I can be forgiven for doing something. And even. I’m more important than my mistake. Yeah. I love that. Right. Yeah.
Jacqueline Nagle 51:33
I don’t worry about anything that can’t worry about me. Yeah,
Zara Love 51:37
that’s right down the middle. So I only care about the people. Yeah, that’s all that matters and the people that are in front of you with storytelling. That’s what it is. It’s caring about the people that are in front of you, and giving them what they need in this moment, not necessarily what they want, what they need,
Jacqueline Nagle 51:54
or what they need. I love that so much, Sarah, as always, thank you so much. I love our conversations, and I can’t wait to hear what everybody takes away from this one.
Zara Love 52:04
Thank you. Thank you, Jack, an absolute pleasure.
Jacqueline Nagle 52:10
Thank you for joining me for this episode of raise 1000 voices I hope you’ve enjoyed the conversation as much as I have. And if you have then I would love you to subscribe to and rate the show on your favorite platform as shownotes resources and links to all our socials can be found at any given tuesday.com.au forward slash podcast. And if you’d like to join a growing community of clever, creative and courageous women who know that they want to be seen, heard and remembered. Then join us in our Facebook group, raise 1000 voices until we speak again. Take care and remember, you were born to raise your voice
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