Jewels: Welcome to the Telling of Story podcast. I’m your host Storyteller Jewels, and along with my guests, it’s my endeavor to explore the art and science of storytelling, to attract, engage, and retain a business audience and to unpack why it works for some and not for the many that try. In this episode, I have the pleasure of talking with Megan Davis.

[00:00:22] Jewels: Listen in as she describes digging deep enough to find your story and then amplifying it.

[00:00:33] Megan: We all have our super secret powers. So whatever it is that you do in your business that’s that you’re really good at doing, there is an audience for that. And you are interesting. Everyone’s interesting. I don’t think there’s a person on the planet who’s not interesting. The secret is, the bravery and the vulnerability it takes sometimes to dig deep enough to find that story that needs to be told and then amplifying it.

[00:00:58] Megan: And there can be some fear around [00:01:00] that. But uninteresting people don’t exist. They just don’t.

[00:01:10] Jewels: Meet. Megan Davis, a devotee of the magic of storytelling. She was first spelled bound by the power of storytelling when she was eight, performing in summer Stock theater. Since 2012, she’s been creating narrative strategies for businesses daring to create new futures and realities. She’s a globetrotting speaker and workshop conductor spreading the gospel of storytelling from Melbourne to Lisbon and everywhere in between.

[00:01:34] Jewels: Megan’s secret weapon is empathy in business and life. She puts people first for innovators, looking to change the world with an enchanting story. Prepare to conjure your strategic tales power. Megan, welcome to the show. Thanks for having me, Megan I detect a note of an American accent there. Can you tell me where you grew up and how did you end up in Melbourne, Australia?

[00:01:59] Megan: [00:02:00] Sure. So I grew up in Michigan in the middle of the state, so the, the middle of nowhere. Basically. I grew up on a farm. I lived in Michigan in various places until I was, yeah, kind of early twenties. And then I met an Australian who invited me to come visit him in Melbourne and then we were together for seven years.

[00:02:26] Megan: We’re not anymore, but yeah, that’s how I ended up here. So it was love that brought me to Melbourne. 

[00:02:33] Jewels: And clearly you’ve stayed. 

[00:02:35] Megan: Yes. Yes, I’ve been here a while. Yeah.

[00:02:40] Jewels: So something we share in common, Megan, is that you accidentally started your business. Tell me how does one accidentally start a business?

[00:02:48] Megan: Right. Yeah. It was a surprise for me, right? It took me a while to figure out that it happened. So I was really unhappy with where my life was going at one point. So I was thinking, [00:03:00] okay, what are the things that I love? And that I’m constantly coming back to, and that was art. And at the time that my, I guess my practice really focused around photography and it was, I.

[00:03:12] Megan: Imagined environments. So it wasn’t like go out and do a, a street scape or a portraiture. It was things that were constructed, constructed realities, and a lot of really studio-based work. And I, you know, was in love with it. And so I thought, okay, well how do I do more of this? So the first thought thing I thought was, I need to quit my job because that takes up a lot of my time and I’ll have so much more time for art.

[00:03:36] Megan: So that was step one. So I quit my job and then I started traveling around the world and I was meeting people and was couch surfing or living in people’s homes for, you know, as long as I could before I moved on. And I did this for about nine months. And while I was doing that, I had this. Side project, the side kind of art project that I was running in conjunction with my other art.

[00:03:59] Megan: So, you [00:04:00] know, I was at the time talking to galleries and getting my work put in galleries and things like that. So my side project was taking a, a photo of the bed I slept in every night that I was houseless. I wouldn’t say homeless because I, I was always sleeping in someone’s home. It just wasn’t mine.

[00:04:16] Megan: And putting on this. Blog called The Bed Blog. So the bed blog at that time. So this is, you know, the innocent days of social media where everything was open. So I published it on WordPress. It would go to Facebook and Twitter, and the people were just following along and they’re making comments and they’re like, oh, you know, if you want some work, I can give you this type of job.

[00:04:37] Megan: Or do you wanna come over for dinner? Or people would hear about what was I was doing and they’re like, oh, hey, I’m gonna be in Queensland. Do you wanna house sit for me for a few weeks? I didn’t have to ask for anything because everyone knew what I was doing because it was out there in the world. And so everything I needed kind of came to me as I needed it.

[00:04:56] Megan: It was this really incredible experience and [00:05:00] so I learned to tell a story over time on social media, and this was roughly 12 years ago. This is a very new thing. And so while doing that, I started talking to people who were starting to promote their. Business online. And they were saying stuff like, well, how do you get all this interaction and how, where are you finding people and how is all this happening for you?

[00:05:22] Megan: Because nothing is working for me. And so I’d look at what they’re doing and you know, they’d say they’d like, take a photo of like a pen and there’s, here’s a pen and it’s a, and it says the pen’s $5 or something like that. Right. Obviously that wasn’t really what it was, but, but you know, it was that kind of really basic, like a catalog.

[00:05:39] Megan: They’re using it like a catalog. And I’d say, well, there’s no story here. And social media is about being social and being social is telling stories and having conversations which you’re not doing. So then I started, the work just started coming to me as people were asking me, what do I do? So I started consulting and social media.

[00:05:57] Megan: That’s the original [00:06:00] incantation of my business. You know, that started about 11 years ago now. And so through that process, there was this moment where I’m sitting in an art gallery, I’ve got the workup on the walls behind me, there’s people walking around. I’m really excited. And then I get this call for a rather large contract, and I had to make a decision.

[00:06:20] Megan: What do I do? And so I thought, you know, I’m pretty good at this social media storytelling thing. I’m just gonna give it a shot. I’m gonna see what happens. So I chose that, and then that opened up this whole other avenue that I didn’t see coming. You know, I thought I was trying to become an artist, but in fact what I’d done is I’d started a business and then just kind of happened.

[00:06:43] Jewels: How has that business evolved over the last decade and what have you seen, or what have you noticed from the business world in that as part of that 

[00:06:51] Megan: journey? So I don’t do social media anymore in terms of producing content or consulting just on that, right? So [00:07:00] now it’s narrative strategy. So that’s like organizational comm structures, like the overarching stories we’re telling within our organization that are closely aligned to vision and culture and what you wanna achieve in the world.

[00:07:12] Megan: And I also do story training. I also teach a lot of really, I guess, niche skills for. The innovation community, so, and also designers, the human-centered design, innovation, ux, ui, product, all that kind of stuff. And primarily in the digital space, right? But, How do we tell stories so that we understand what we’re trying to do?

[00:07:37] Megan: What’s the vision with the product? How do we connect more deeply with our users? I hate the word user, but the humans that we’re, you know, we’re helping with our services and really start understanding how stories, our strategy and stories create impact. If you’re not monetizing your story, you’re just leaving money on the table, but it’s much more about the big picture now.[00:08:00]

[00:08:00] Megan: And then conversely, the small picture, like the human, like getting in touch deeply inside yourself to connect more with your own story or the stories of other people so that you can like make something wonderful together. So that’s kind of the journey that I’ve gone on with my business. But the other side of your question was what are the changes that you’ve seen?

[00:08:19] Megan: So the changes that I’ve seen is when I first started talking about narrative strategy, and this is about eight years ago when I first started launching this as a product. People would say, oh, so what is that? And I’d say, well, it’s finding the right stories to tell to take you to where you wanna be in life.

[00:08:36] Megan: And they would say, so do you work a lot with children? And I’d say, no. In fact, I’ve never worked with children. So there was just this complete misunderstanding about what it was. So it was like a lot of explaining, a lot of explaining, a lot of explaining. Now I’m finding that I don’t have to explain anymore if I say it’s strategic communications and narrative development.

[00:08:58] Megan: Organizations, people kind of say, [00:09:00] oh, okay, is it kind of like this? And they’ll either be kind of right or they’ve got it, they’ve nailed it. So the awareness, education, the sophistication of the conversations is completely shifted. I think there’s still a lot of room for improvement in terms of understanding and making sure that people are, I guess, you know, understanding the, the benefit.

[00:09:24] Megan: Of really having a well honed and strategic story or a series of stories to take you to where you wanna be. There’s an understanding of what it is, but the impact, the deep impact that’s possible, the life changing, the business, changing the world, changing events that can happen because of the right story.

[00:09:45] Megan: I think there’s still a gap and that’s fine. Like let’s just keep talking and closing it. 

[00:09:51] Jewels: And so in your experience, those businesses that you deal with on a daily basis, are they still at step one, I guess, [00:10:00] of 10 steps perhaps in creating those narratives for their audience? Or are they more, more progressed than that?

[00:10:06] Jewels: Where, where do you rate the Australian market or the market, or at least the, the businesses you 

[00:10:11] Megan: deal with? So it varies so much. There isn’t like, it’s hard to say. Overall all is a market. It’s like 7.5 or something. It just varies so much. There are people who are so deeply connected to their story and very aware of what it is.

[00:10:26] Megan: And who have leveraged it in amazing ways and really gotten to where they need to be because they understand how to strategically hone and utilize the stories that they have around them. And so when then I talk to those people, when they come to me, it’s usually a very niche ask. It’s, we’re here. And we wanna be here, or we wanna talk more with these people, and we’re just not quite getting it.

[00:10:51] Megan: So stories that we’re normally telling aren’t resonating, and what we wanna do is understand why that’s happening. So then it’s more about going in to fix a very niche [00:11:00]problem. Then there are others that come to me and say, oh, this is our problem, and they’ll explain that they’re just not, for example, maybe it’s a personal brand issue, like they’re not representing the world they want in the way they want to, or they’re not attracting the right types of conversations.

[00:11:16] Megan: I. And then when I look under the hood of the organization and see what’s going on within, you know, what they’re doing there, I can see that, that there’s a much bigger story at play. And so it’s not that they’re not telling their story, it’s that they’re not connecting their story strategically with the business that they’ve built, and they’re not leveraging all the power that they have.

[00:11:36] Megan: You know, they’re seeing themselves as this, this like individual. Kind of dragging maybe the rest of it behind them, but when in fact, you know, the real power is like this fulcrum lift of, you know, leveraging all this massive amount of story and finding the best ones and finding the best way to showcase it.

[00:11:56] Megan: That really just like pushes you forward, like moves you forward so much [00:12:00] further. So it’s so individualized. I’ve done work in Europe, and I can say that in that market there is a definitely more of a sensitivity to story. I think that in terms of business storytelling, because it’s so closely aligned with culture and because you have so many cultures bumping up against each other, there is a greater sensitivity awareness of how story, culture, and you know, achieving goals.

[00:12:27] Megan: A lot through alignment and singular vision is really important and the complexities of balancing that. So the way in which they use story is maybe a little bit more nuanced and sophisticated and probably have been doing it longer than the Australian market. That being said though, because so many Australian businesses, because it is a small marketplace, have to be talking to people internationally quite a bit.

[00:12:51] Megan: There is the awareness of understanding the nuances more here as well in this market, especially since Covid and people been [00:13:00] closed off, but yet still having lots of really amazing conversations because that was the avenue that they could have, you know, like speaking internationally with people. Is that, I feel like that was a long, long piece of No, that’s good monologue, but No, 

[00:13:16] Jewels: that’s okay.

[00:13:16] Jewels: In that, you mentioned that culture has helped define the use of storytelling, perhaps a little more in Europe than it has here. How do you think culture. Or the storytelling within culture has perhaps influenced the way stories are 

[00:13:32] Megan: told? Well, so it’s, you know, there it’s two sides of the same coin in that, you know, culture is created through the stories that you tell and.

[00:13:43] Megan: The stories that you tell create your culture and that, you know, it’s like, what is it? Like the infinity loop or the serpent eating its tail? You know, it, it is the two things that make the fabric of our lives. So the way that we, I. See ourselves the way they see other [00:14:00] people. The way we define ourselves is through our culture and our cultural attributes, and those are underpinned by the stories we tell.

[00:14:07] Megan: You know, and like if you think of your family, and let’s say people celebrate different holidays, but let’s say you have a New Year’s Eve, you have a tradition with your family, right? And every year you might tell different stories about, Hey, remember that one year that when we did this, Same thing. This happened or this person showed up, or do you remember when so-and-so fell asleep under the table and they missed New Year’s?

[00:14:32] Megan: And there’s these series of traditions that you have that is foundational to your family’s story. And it’s the stories that you tell consistently that gives you your identity. And it’s the same with your, let’s say, significant other. So people have their stories of like, how did you meet? Or do you have a song?

[00:14:51] Megan: Or if you’re married, it’s like, oh, where did you get married? Tell me about your wedding. And you know, there’s all these cultural moments that have significance [00:15:00] because of the stories that underpin them. So that’s not diff different in any other aspect of life, right? We have our foundational stories for our businesses.

[00:15:08] Megan: We have our. Rituals, you know, so maybe you have your nine 30 standup and it’s every morning and everybody’s all on hands on deck, whatever it might be. But understanding how your rituals and your culture, and then finding the right stories that amplify the way that you wanna be seen and the types of conversations you wanna be having, and rewarding that behavior by amplifying those stories or amplifying the stories of the vision that you have.

[00:15:34] Megan: So, you know, within a company, most people should have some idea of what the vision of that company is. What do we wanna achieve? Why are we here? And that should permeate through everything that you do. So stories are culture, and culture is. Stories. 

[00:15:53] Jewels: So for those in business that are perhaps thinking, you know, this is something I need to do a bit more often and are perhaps [00:16:00] struggling a little to get those stories out, what advice would you give to, you know, ’cause a lot of people I hear say things like, you know, our stories not that interesting.

[00:16:09] Jewels: You know, who wants to hear what we do? You know, that we do standups at 9:00 AM in the morning. Where do you start with the storytelling and, and what sort of journey would you advise people? Embark on. 

[00:16:21] Megan: Yeah, so story and strategy are the most important thing in terms of whatever your strategy is for your business.

[00:16:30] Megan: So your goals, your what you’re trying to achieve. And some businesses, you know, it is purely an impact business. Like if it’s a social enterprise, for example. So those types of visioning things need to be really clear to you so that you can start looking back and saying, what are the stories that best exemplify what we are achieving?

[00:16:53] Megan: What are our customer stories that exemplify it? What are the stories internally that exemplify it? If I have a new hire, [00:17:00] what are they asking? And then what am I, what stories am I sharing with them so that they understand the expectations that we have? It’s really, it’s listening, right? It’s story listening so that you’re listening to.

[00:17:13] Megan: What you’re already doing and what you’re doing well, and starting to amplify that. And I also hear why would anyone wanna hear about this, right? Everyone is interested in your story. You have friends, right? They call you up and they ask you, what did you do today? And they listening to the stories that you’re telling them because they care.

[00:17:32] Megan: And to you, you might be like, well, It’s not really particularly interesting, but you know, for example, I, I went to a stage combat training thing a couple days ago. To me, it’s like, that’s my life. I go to, this is a, a course that I’ve been involved in for a long time, but to someone who doesn’t know anything about that, they’re like, oh my gosh, what is that?

[00:17:52] Megan: Like, tell me all about it. Right? Or, I’ve worked with people who are chefs and they’re like, no one wants to watch me cut up. [00:18:00] Vegetables and I said, have you not ever seen the whole entire industry of cooking shows that have been going on for 50 years? Yes. Everyone wants to watch you cut up vegetables. It is interesting watching a person do something that they’re really good at doing.

[00:18:17] Megan: We all have our super secret powers, so whatever it is that you do. In your business, it’s that you’re really good at doing. There is an audience for that, and you are interesting. Everyone’s interesting. I don’t think there’s a person on the planet who’s not interesting. The secret is the bravery and the vulnerability it takes sometimes to dig deep enough to find that story that needs to be told and then amplifying it.

[00:18:42] Megan: And there can be some fear around that. But uninteresting people don’t exist. They just don’t. Talk to 

[00:18:49] Jewels: me a little bit about the fear aspect. ’cause that is the other side of that story. Like, you know, people want to be out there, people want to be telling their stories often. Mm. But they have this real fear [00:19:00] about putting themselves out there, putting themselves on the hook, being vulnerable, being open to criticism.

[00:19:07] Jewels: All of those things stop people from telling those stories. You know, social media, some people just avoid it because they don’t like being in the public eye. That obviously has a potential to have an impact on their business and their growth. So how do you help people through that, that juxtaposition of, I, I don’t wanna do it, but I know it’s important for my business.

[00:19:30] Megan: Yeah. You know, it’s such a personal question for that individual. So there’s not a panacea solution, but what usually where I’ll start is getting them outside of themselves. So who could potentially lose out if they don’t hear your story? Because we do downplay our own stories. We do downplay ourselves. I think it’s something that most people do, [00:20:00] and so we minimize.

[00:20:01] Megan: But the reality is, is that sometimes if you don’t share a story, then there’s another person out there who needed to hear that that day, and you’ve helped them. We tend to think about in western culture as a story being about a hero because of the hero’s journey, the pervasiveness of the hero’s journey.

[00:20:23] Megan: The hero’s journey has a lot of problematic thinking, underpinning it. And the concept of the hero is a very western construct and is I think, very recent in terms of storytelling. If we look at the tens of thousands of years that predate, you know, the hero, the concept of the hero. So if we get step outside of this hero complex and think about storytelling as we and not me, that’s what I always say.

[00:20:53] Megan: It’s we not me. Your story is one of a complex fabric [00:21:00] of humanity that has been going, you know, that’s been going on for millions of years. These stories that we’ve been telling and you don’t know. Who’s going to miss out on something that they need to hear because you didn’t share something and you’re not sharing it to say, look at me.

[00:21:18] Megan: I’m the best. I’m this, I’m that. Maybe there are some people doing that. Okay. I am not saying that doesn’t happen, but for the majority of people, that’s not a comfortable place. But what is comfortable for most people is helping someone else. So sharing your story can give somebody the insight, the prompt, the the courage.

[00:21:39] Megan: The words, the language, the inspiration to move forward with what they need to do. It’s why we call each other for advice. It’s why we listen to podcasts, why we read books. It’s why we sometimes eavesdrop on interesting conversations. ’cause we’re like, oh, that’s, hmm, I’d never thought of that. It’s people we don’t [00:22:00] know.

[00:22:00] Megan: We’re just plugged into everyone else all the time. We’re a very community oriented animal, and so removing yourself from this false dichotomy of like, there’s a hero and then there’s everybody else, it’s just not true. It’s just everybody else. We’re part of the ocean, but we need each other. We need each other’s stories, and especially marginalized voices.

[00:22:23] Megan: There’s so many stories of a person who didn’t think something was possible until they saw someone else do it, who was like them. It’s so critical to sometimes just speak up and say, Hey, I’m doing this. So someone else can say, oh great ’cause, okay, great. ’cause I wanna do that too. It’s really important.

[00:22:45] Jewels: I’m glad you brought up the hero’s journey there, because I think part of the issue with the hero’s journey is that. It has brought about this idea that, you know, everything has to be a blockbuster, right? Everything has to be produced to the nth degree, [00:23:00] and it’s exciting, you know, for an hour and a half you go to a movie and you wanna be on the edge of your seat for the entire time.

[00:23:07] Jewels: And people think that when they’re producing content that it has to be a blockbuster every time. So they get stuck on the quality of the video. They get stuck on the story being exciting enough, they get stuck on. Making sure it goes from one hit to the next and it’s really exciting. Whereas I think a lot of the power is often in.

[00:23:27] Jewels: The quieter moments, you know, the struggles, the bits that perhaps don’t work. Maybe it’s you’re following along, but you don’t feel like they’re necessarily winning, but you actually feel some empathy in what they’re doing and, and where they’re going. And you feel like you’ve, you’re part of that journey now, and you can sort of, you know, win and lose with them.

[00:23:47] Jewels: So it’s not. Necessarily, I don’t think it’s about creating the blockbuster piece of content and then doing that every single day and getting it out there. Right? It’s just too exhausting. There’s no way anybody can do that, uh, on a [00:24:00] regular basis. So I think it’s about, to me it’s about sharing. I.

[00:24:03] Jewels: Everything. Um, you know, there’s, there’s perhaps a line of everything, but it is sharing the good and the bad moments. It is sharing your learnings and maybe things that didn’t work and why they didn’t work, and what you’ve learned from that and what you’re going to do to, to improve that. Because I think people, people and customers will appreciate the fact that you’ve, you are developing, you are growing, you are learning from that.

[00:24:27] Jewels: And when you are part of that journey, the empathy side really brings you closer. Is that something you’d agree with there? 

[00:24:35] Megan: Yeah, definitely. Yeah. People think, like you’re saying, it has to be this really incredible thing and it’s like, well, No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t. Yeah. So you can be the chef just chopping up a vegetable, you know, you can be a person showing yourself, like with your notes, spread out on a desk, having a really busy day and just saying lp, [00:25:00] you know, like, because it’s the, these little moments of connection, like understanding what it feels like to feel overwhelmed.

[00:25:07] Megan: Stories are primarily emotional and. If you lead with the emotion first, then someone knows how to connect with you. So if you’re leading with excitement, they’re like, oh, cool, what happened? Or you’re leading with, uh, I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. They’re like, oh no. Again, what happened? It’s this, the emotion is the prompt to continue the conversation, and that was something that I learned early on with the storytelling with the bed blog.

[00:25:35] Megan: It was literally a photo of a bed. Not a nice photo, not like a highly curated, well-lit photo. It was just a bed and like usually the photo was pretty average and then two sentences about what I did that day or where I was. It was really nothing but the continued impact of those small daily details. And I posted every day.

[00:25:58] Megan: Without fail, I never, it [00:26:00] didn’t, you know, until I moved into my new place, like after nine months. And I was like, okay, well now I live somewhere. So the project’s concluded, but I did it every single day and it took me, you know, minute, two minutes. That’s it. 

[00:26:14] Jewels: In your bio, you talked about empathy. How does empathy relate, or is how would you use empathy in storytelling for business in particular, and what impact does empathy have on that relationship?

[00:26:27] Megan: So it’s, I mean, it’s everything. You tell stories so that someone. Can see into your life and you listen to stories so you can see into someone else’s life and connect with them emotionally. That’s the foundation of it, where we are an emotional, embodied animal that sees from our first person point of view.

[00:26:50] Megan: It’s maddening being locked inside your own head all the time. And in the less, you know, kind of interaction we have, the more difficult it is to be a human [00:27:00] being. We are built to look and and desire other people and their way of seeing and their thinking, we’re hardwired for it. And that is empathy is like that, that shared emotional context and understanding.

[00:27:15] Megan: And sometimes we go to places we don’t wanna go. Sometimes we’re in emotional states with people that we don’t wanna be in. Sometimes we disagree with their point of view. Sometimes we argue, but we’re still hardwired for it. We’ll still go back and have that experience over and over again of disagreeing or being in a hard emotional place.

[00:27:33] Megan: We just will. So it’s foundational to just to being human being. And. People are, especially in business storytelling, really afraid of emotion. We’re not here. We’re here to give information, and it’s like information with no context, with no story, with no cues as to how I’m supposed to feel about what I’m listening to is a very difficult thing to understand.

[00:27:57] Megan: So while you might understand the numbers on the [00:28:00] spreadsheet, if you don’t give me context as to these numbers are good because they’re better than last year, or these numbers look good, but the problem is here and we need to explore that, and then you would give a little story as to why that’s the case.

[00:28:15] Megan: They don’t mean anything. So the context comes through the stories, the emotion, that continual place of building that empathetic connection. So people are, are energized and go, oh, okay, well that’s a problem. We need to solve that. They need to feel the discomfort that you feel. So they’re like, Ooh, okay, actually that is bad.

[00:28:32] Megan: Or on the other side, feel the emotional excitement and go, wow. And a financial party is gonna be really good this year. You know? Because we understand the context of these numbers. It is everything. The human animal is a, yeah, we’re an emotional being. That’s how we operate most of the day. We’re just sitting there feeling things and processing that.

[00:28:53] Jewels: Certainly when I grew up in my early part of my career, and I think it still exists, particularly [00:29:00] perhaps for the slightly older generation like me, we sort of grew up with this idea that we have this. Personal life and personal persona. And then we have this business mask that we put on. So when we go to work, you know, we’re professional as ev as ever.

[00:29:18] Jewels: We show no emotion, you know, it’s all about being professional in that state. And then when we go home, perhaps we, you know, we let loose and cut loose, uh, you know, to the human that we really are. What’s your view on where that line perhaps is and, and the more, you know, where’s the power come from and which side of that equation makes more sense in today’s market?

[00:29:40] Megan: Yeah, so people’s bullshit meter are, is at all time high. And I think it happened, I think I really noticed it just, you know, in 2020. So the first, you know, before the pandemic happened, we were going through the bushfires here in Australia and there was a lot of [00:30:00] media coverage that angered people because it wasn’t telling the full story.

[00:30:04] Megan: And there was a lot of people hitting back on social media saying, I’m here and this is what’s happening. I can see it. I can show you. And some of those images that, the real story that people were telling through these images were going on around the world, like the little boy in the boat. I think it was like New South Wales coast taking his family out into the bay.

[00:30:23] Megan: So that was a social media image taken by the mother, a haunting image. And so when you see the beautifully curated and the careful storytelling, and then you see someone’s emotional gut reaction taking a photo. We can feel that so deeply. Now, this has been happening for a long time, but in these time, the times of turbulence and high stress that we’ve been living through in the last.

[00:30:51] Megan: Three years, your meter goes up and it’s at an all time high. And so more than ever, people are aware of authenticity and being real [00:31:00] as being really important, but it’s so uncomfortable, especially because for some people, this is something they’ve been told, don’t do it. Don’t do it your whole life.

[00:31:07] Megan: Business person and new person. You’re not the same person. Of course. We’re the same person. We’re the same person, but we play different roles and you know, this is something we just do anyways. You know, my parent mode and my work mode and my fun. Having a night out with, you know, the friends mode. We have all these different kind of.

[00:31:27] Megan: Personas that we’ll adopt that are appropriate for the moment we’re in, but we’re still a complete individual sitting underneath that. So how do we start rec re reconciling that? Well, first thing is, and this is true for any relationship, only do what you are comfortable with. If it feels really uncomfortable, don’t do it.

[00:31:45] Megan: So it doesn’t matter if it’s business or personal. If someone’s, if you’re in a position where you’re like, I just feel so uncomfortable, that’s fine, but you need to find your line of. Where did I share something and it felt really good, and how [00:32:00] can I keep doing that? Because you’ll find that all of your relationships will improve because all your whole life is built on the quality of your relationships.

[00:32:10] Megan: I don’t care if it’s business, personal or just being like a person in the street, having a chat with someone. If you are able to connect with people in a way that’s authentic and people trust you. You will go really far. You’ll get the things that you need to achieve what you wanna do, and you’ll help other people do that as well because you’re able to communicate effectively and authentically and you’re telling the truth to the degree that you’re comfortable.

[00:32:39] Megan: We can’t, what’s it, lie or lie? You know, the guy who can’t, can’t lie. And you know, and he gets into a lot of trouble. Obviously there’s times where we need to soften the truth, but there’s, yeah, you need to find your moments and find. For telling the truth as much as you can. Feels good for you. 

[00:32:58] Jewels: Switching mode just a little [00:33:00] bit.

[00:33:00] Jewels: You have a, I clearly have a artistic and design-based background, but you’re also an actor. How has that influenced your storytelling in business and what lessons have you learned crossing 

[00:33:14] Megan: those two? Yeah, that took me a long time to figure out, it wasn’t until a couple years ago, yeah, let’s say five years, years ago that I, I was having these moments where I was looking at personas.

[00:33:26] Megan: And I thought, geez, I don’t, I just, I don’t get this. Like, I’m just not good at this. Because people were looking at personas and they’re starting to write dialogue or they’re saying, well, this is what this person would say in the situation, and we’re like, trying to get inside these users’ minds. And I was like, oh my gosh, I can’t, I can’t even begin to understand what’s going on here.

[00:33:47] Megan: And it took me a while to figure out that what was missing was all the emotional cues that you would take as a, as an actor. To start crafting a character or a dialogue or an emotional state, because then you’d [00:34:00] understand why someone’s doing something or wants something or might make a choice. All that information, that emotional context, most of that is missing from the data.

[00:34:09] Megan: Even though we’re getting it in interviews, it’s missing. It’s not documented in a way that makes sense. To me anyways. And so then I started developing my own storytelling techniques and my own story capture methods and my own, you know, ways to look at research, like interviews to start distilling emotional motivation and context.

[00:34:29] Megan: So you can start really going, I’m getting deep into the mindset of this person beyond just the persona, but getting really deep, getting into nuanced emotional states where, and that’s where these eureka moments. Live. So considering, like I started acting when I was eight and then this happened about five or six years ago.

[00:34:49] Megan: That’s a pretty big gap. But then it, when that realization how, you know, hit and I started making all these different, I guess, learning tools for designers to use, or human [00:35:00]centered designers and innovation and specialists to use, I also started looking back and thinking I must have been subliminally, like just using this anyways.

[00:35:10] Megan: And then I realized that. When I look at at story, I am always looking at the emotional aspect because that’s the why. That’s why that thing is happening, because humans are emotional embodied beings, pretty much almost exclusively motivated by desire, which is underpinned by some emotions. And so when I’m looking at like an an organizational story, I’m asking questions that are pretty emotionally motivated, and so my workshops can get pretty deep and some really emotional, vulnerable storytelling happens, but I’m able to then distill that into something that I.

[00:35:46] Megan: Makes sense at a broader scale and that people can connect with and that there’s stories that they’re excited about telling or sharing. ’cause they are, they are emotional. But that came from me looking at scripts and trying to [00:36:00] understand what was going on and how to interpret a character and, and how to understand how that character fits into the bigger picture of the story that you’re telling.

[00:36:07] Megan: Because you are part of a cast and sometimes you’re a very small part. But you were written into that story for a reason by the, the person create who created, you know, the screenwriters or the people who wrote the script. So why are you there? And so it’s finding that truth that helps tell that bigger picture.

[00:36:28] Megan: ’cause if they remove that character, they, they would, because smaller cast, less people, it’s more, it’s economically more viable. You’re there for a reason. So, Understanding the complexity and the balance and bigger picture. That’s really what I do, is finding all those individuals, what are the story that we’re building together?

[00:36:51] Megan: What does that look like? And that’s like every play, that’s every TV show, it’s every movie, every, it’s every, all of ’em. [00:37:00]

[00:37:00] Jewels: And when it comes to the business, the workshop that you described, what kind of questions would you ask to get that emotional side to, to get to that why? ’cause clearly the why is, is one of the strongest starting points to understand truly who you are actually, you know, selling to and, and trying to assist.

[00:37:18] Jewels: What sort of questions could you ask yourself? So if somebody was just starting, what would they ask? 

[00:37:23] Megan: Yeah. So some of the, this is pretty context based. Let’s do it from like a, a founder. So like I was talking to a founder of a business, so it’s their business. They own it. They started it. So when I talked to them, I asked them, you know, what’s your first memory as a child about a time that you did something, and it doesn’t have to be for money, but it was.

[00:37:48] Megan: Something that you did that you felt provided value. So it didn’t have to be like you started a lemonade stand and someone paid you money for lemonade, but you did something and there was like a value exchange [00:38:00] and all of a sudden things, you shift something. There’s a shift because you learn something about value.

[00:38:05] Megan: And it’s interesting ’cause there’s kind of two moments that people pinpoint. One is when they’re around five or six. It’s like when you first start really having solid memories and the other is when you’re about 12. You know, like that moment before you enter puberty and your life changes, right? So it’s this, there’s these two moments that come up again and again and I get, and so I start looking into why did that feel really good?

[00:38:29] Megan: And what are you doing now that’s similar? Is it, again, there’s this, there’s these really interesting things that there’s the stuff that we did as kids that we’re, most of us are still doing now. If you understand what it is about that thing that’s driving you, that’s been driving you for how old you are, you know, like 30, 40, 50, 60 years that you, that first happened when you were five years old.

[00:38:54] Megan: That has to be really core and foundational to who you are as a human being. And that’s gonna [00:39:00] go to through a lot of aspects of who you are and why you do things. And it’s probably something that we need to really examine to understand the why, the core of what it is, how it feels, and then what’s that connecting to, like what are you driving towards so that you can convey that so that when you’re talking to investors, they’re like, Wow, that’s true vision.

[00:39:22] Megan: That’s passion. That’s clarity. They’ve been chasing this since they’re five years old. Or you know, you’re talking to potential hires and it’s like, and so you have that really firm vision of, well, this is what we do here. This is what we’re trying to achieve. This is what you would be working towards as well.

[00:39:39] Megan: Does that excite you? And if they really understand what they’re being asked, they can, you can have an authentic moment and understand whether this is a good hire or even just being in a social situation, you know, networking. So people don’t understand what you do, but you know, Simon Cynics, why you do it.

[00:39:59] Megan: That’s a more [00:40:00] interesting conversation for everyone to have, you know, to be the life of the party. But just having a, just gathering a group of people together and just having a really great chat. You know, that’s how you feel good at the end of the night. Like, wow, I had some really good conversation. 

[00:40:14] Jewels: Are you able to share any examples of the kinds of things people, people were divulge at those, you know, two critical points at five or six and, and at 12 without sharing, you know, necessarily who it’s come from.

[00:40:25] Jewels: But, 

[00:40:26] Megan: yeah, so there was one story that was really good where. Somebody was busking and they had a sibling who was a really good musician a couple years older than H them, and they played the guitar and they like toured around. Nationally playing the guitar and then they had a lesser instrument, so I won’t tell the instrument, but it was like a unusual instrument.

[00:40:53] Megan: And they were like little cute blonde kid at the other end of like, they went to bus the other end of [00:41:00] these, this big street. And the person who’s this really accomplished musician playing the guitar really well, ate about 20 bucks in an hour. Then this little cute blonde kid playing a weird instrument, like a very odd instrument.

[00:41:13] Megan: People. People were like, what is this little kid doing? Made like $200 in the hour because they were unusual because they were, they weren’t the best musician, but they were this little cute kid playing an unusual instrument. Okay. Like a, a kind of okay way. And so it was the just being a bit different and being, and you know, being a bit positioned in a way that it was more about being quirky and unusual, brought people to them, whereas the other person was more.

[00:41:47] Megan: I guess what they, someone would expect, like, oh, they’re a pretty good musician, they’re doing a great job, they’re playing guitar. You see people playing guitars all the time wasn’t much of a draw card because people expected to see that. [00:42:00] So it was for that person, there was this revelation in terms of being unique is quite powerful.

[00:42:07] Megan: And also, you don’t need to be the best, you just need to know how to position yourself so, Not to say that they’re not good at what they do, because they actually really are. They’re incredibly talented person. But I think when you’re, especially if you’re working in a fast moving in industry, if you’re trying to be perfect and being the best, the the market will have moved already.

[00:42:30] Megan: You need to understand how to position yourself, be unique, get the tension you need to move to the next space of. Being okay, we’re in the right place, we’re in the right time. We just keep moving ’cause perfection will never happen and we’re good and we’re on the right track. Like which is what you want.

[00:42:48] Jewels: I think there’s a beautiful correlation there to storytelling as well, where if you wait for the story to be perfect, the market has moved on, right? So it’s actually better to share your story as it’s [00:43:00] evolving. And so people will see the warts and all kind of conversation and they will appreciate it more and come on that journey with you and perhaps applaud you along the way as well.

[00:43:11] Jewels: And I think just the, the effort. That you’ve gone to, you know, you’re giving it a go, you’re trying to do something, you’re trying to share, you’re trying to progress not just yourself, but hopefully your customers as well. And I think people appreciate that. And again, it comes back to that authenticity.

[00:43:28] Jewels: It’s, it’s not necessarily perfect, but we’re, we’re on this journey together. Right? 

[00:43:32] Megan: Yeah. And we were talking about the bullshit meter super high, right? Yeah. And it’s just gonna get more cute. The more that you’re concerned with just telling something that you think is useful or interesting versus telling the most perfect, wonderful story ever, the more people are going to be aware that that’s true, and so they’ll.

[00:43:58] Megan: They see that you’ve posted something, they’ll [00:44:00] look, ’cause they’ll say, they’ll, they’ll be thinking, oh, they always have something interesting to share. Not, yeah. What’s happened next in the blockbuster film, which isn’t real anyways. Uh, yeah. It’s like the reality shows. We know they’re not real, but that’s why we watch them because we know they’re not real.

[00:44:18] Megan: If that makes sense. The fascination is, is that they’re so extremely fabricated and that there is no way any of this is real, is what makes it interesting. 

[00:44:31] Jewels: Megan, I could talk to you for hours about storytelling clearly, and I’ve had a lot of fun. Today. I do like to end our conversation or the podcast with a question of my guest, a hypothetical question, if a founder or a business person wanted to donate a million dollars to your favorite charity on your behalf.

[00:44:53] Jewels: But you are only able to impart a few minutes of your wisdom with them. Where would you, what would you [00:45:00] divulge, and this can be, doesn’t necessarily have to be around storytelling, but what sort of advice would you give somebody who’s perhaps just needing that kickstart for 

[00:45:07] Megan: their business? Sure. For 

[00:45:09] Jewels: business or life or wherever you want to take it.

[00:45:12] Megan: Yeah. So I think the answer to most of our problems are simple and it’s other people. Yeah. Just. Every problem can be solved by someone else, pretty much. I mean, there are exceptions, but most of the problems we have are solvable. And they’re solvable by the strength of the relationships that we have. And so telling your story is part of building those relationships and telling a story that’s authentic and telling, telling a story that really resonates with you will resonate with someone else.

[00:45:48] Megan: So when we think about when life is good and when life sometimes isn’t so good, it’s all made better either way, you know, like the celebrations are [00:46:00] better celebrations and, and your problems get solved by the relationships that you have. Everything is relationship. So get out there and, and just keep connecting and keep telling your story and find your line with what you’re comfortable sharing.

[00:46:15] Megan: And you know, play with it. Push it maybe a little bit every once in a while. Like sometimes we all get a little stung or hurt or we regret things, but that’s life as well. So yeah, don’t be afraid to be a little bit like, oh, maybe I shouldn’t have done that. That’s all right. No one will remember things.

[00:46:32] Megan: Move on. 

[00:46:33] Jewels: Great advice, Megan, thank you so much for joining me. Where can the audience find out a little bit more about you? 

[00:46:40] Megan: Yeah, so you can have a look at my website. That’s Spend Love and lamb.com. I’m on LinkedIn, so Megan Davis storyteller. I’m also on Instagram Spend, love and Lamb, and yeah, they can also get in touch by a.

[00:46:55] Megan: All the contact details are also on the website, so they can email me if they really want to as [00:47:00] well. That’s totally fine. 

[00:47:02] Jewels: I’ll add those links in the show notes, but I have to ask, spend, love and Lamb, where does that name come from?

[00:47:09] Megan: Does it make you think of anything? When you hear it, does anything come to mind?

[00:47:13] Jewels: I mean, I’m a big fan of lamb. Yes. So it, it immediately conjures up. Food for me, and I do love lamb, so I spend time and spend love on lamb, but that’s about as far as my imagination goes and my mouth is watering. Just thinking about it. But please share. 

[00:47:30] Megan: So I don’t share the story of the story of my name.

[00:47:34] Megan: So what I like is that people interpret it in lots of different ways, and those interpretations are stories, and they tell me a little bit about every person who interprets it. So, Australia saying I love lamb and I love eating. Lamb is not unusual, but there are different cultural contexts to a lot of these things, like around the world.

[00:47:53] Megan: So you typically don’t hear that one in America, for example. But yeah, so it’s, people have [00:48:00] said it’s a recipe book for spies. I. And I’m not even sure what that means. You know what is a recipe book for spies? But I love the interpretation and someone else said it’s a, in a Quentin Tarantino film, they were adamant, I know this is where you got it from.

[00:48:14] Megan: There’s a person in a character standing on a street corner and there’s a street sign above them and it’s one, it’s Spend Love Street and one’s Lamb Street and Yeah. Or another one was, it’s a small town lawyer and that’s their sign outside of their office. You know, like the swing board. That’s really interesting.

[00:48:34] Megan: So yeah, I love it. And again, 

[00:48:36] Jewels: it brings up stories and brings up interpretation. So well done. Congrats and thanks for being part of the 


[00:48:42] Megan: It was my pleasure. Anytime. Happy to chat anytime.

[00:48:49] Jewels: I thoroughly enjoyed that conversation with Megan. She shared a lot. I especially like how she spoke about how sharing freely without expectation can come back via human generosity. I. [00:49:00] Telling your story defines your culture. Culture defines the stories you tell, and don’t underestimate what you see as every day.

[00:49:08] Jewels: It might be more interesting than you think. Thank you so much for sharing Megan’s journey and mine along with this podcast. I’d really appreciate. If you get a moment and you’ve come this far, why not give us a little rating on your favorite podcast application? That way it helps us spread our story just that little bit further.

[00:49:30] Jewels: Much love chat soon.

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