Dr. Dennis Rebelo is the author of a book called “Story Like You Mean It: How to Build and Use Your Personal Narrative to Illustrate Who You Really Are”. Dr. D is a professor, speaker, a career coach. He’s the creator of the peak storytelling model, a research-based method for crafting the narrative of who you are, what drives you, and why. His method has been used by not only former professional athletes, guidance professionals, and advisors, but also nonprofit leaders, as well as entrepreneurs and CEOs around the world. This book and this approach provide structure to really identifying what are those key moments of your life that you can share when you meet others, whether it’s for an interview, making a first impression, or simply running into somebody you haven’t seen in a long time.
We often have the chance to answer the question, “Tell me about yourself”, which can be one of the simplest yet most difficult questions to answer. In this interview, Dennis joins Brilliant to discuss why that’s so hard, how to do it well, and why it really matters. Dennis has made the connection between understanding our personal identity with our ability to tell our own story accurately and mindfully. Through this interview, we learn not only how to tell our own stories but also how it is essential to good living.
“Put the work in and your story works out.”
This week on the School for Good Living Podcast:
- How understanding your story is an essential Key to Good Living
- Answering the age-old question “Tell me about yourself”
- Why is it so hard to tell our own life stories
- Our hero side, our collaborating side, and our virtuous side
- Identity and telling your story
- How to make sure your writing is conveying your story
- Deciding what message to give to the world
Brilliant Miller [00:00:02] Hi, I’m Brilliant, your host for this show, I know that I’m incredibly blessed. As the son of self-made billionaires, I’ve seen the high price some people pay for success. And I’ve learned that money really can’t buy happiness. But I’ve also had the good fortune to learn directly from many of the world’s leading teachers. If you are ready to be, do, have, and give more, this podcast is for you.
Brilliant Miller [00:00:25] George Bernard Shaw said life isn’t about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself. Perhaps there might be no one who understands that better than my guest today, Dr. Dennis Rebelo. He’s the author of a book called “Story Like You Mean It: How to Build and Use Your Personal Narrative to Illustrate Who You Really Are”. Dr. D is a professor, speaker, a career coach. He’s the creator of the peak storytelling model, a research-based method for crafting the narrative of who you are, what drives you, and why. Which has been utilized by former professional athletes, nonprofit leaders, as well as entrepreneurs, CEOs, guidance professionals, and advisors around the world. One of the things that I love about this book and about this approach is that it provides structure to really identifying what are those key moments of your life that you can share when you meet others, whether it’s for an interview, whether it’s upon initial meeting, whether you’re running into somebody you haven’t seen in a long time. And it’s time you have the chance to answer the question. Tell me about yourself, which can be one of the most simple and most difficult questions to answer. So in this interview, we cover why that’s so hard, how to do it well, why it matters, really. Taking ownership of claiming your identity, crafting and living an empowering message, as Dr. D says, bringing the future into the present. So with that, I hope you enjoy this conversation with my new friend, Dr. D. By the way, you can learn more about him and his work at his website. drdennisrebelo.com. Enjoy.
Brilliant Miller [00:01:59] Dr. D, welcome to the School for Good Living.
Dennis Rebelo [00:02:02] Well, thank you for the invitation. It’s wonderful to be here, Brilliant.
Brilliant Miller [00:02:06] I’m so glad you are. Will you tell me, please, what is life about?
Dennis Rebelo [00:02:12] Well, I think underneath it all, it’s a story formation process. Now, that’s the short answer. Oh, yeah, yeah, and some of it is done onto you or apparently feels that way and some of it is initiated by you.
Brilliant Miller [00:02:31] Absolutely. Tell me about yourself.
Dennis Rebelo [00:02:34] Yeah, so great question, right, spinning it onto me. So, of course, the book “Story Like You Mean It” is really answering the question at any age and stage. How do you answer this question? Whether it’s voiced to you, “tell me about yourself”, as you just did to me, Brilliant. Or whether or not you maybe you rolled into an opportunity to say hello to someone and there is an implied “tell me about yourself”. Right. So I’ll tell you about me. So my father, José is my grandfather. He gave me that lovely watch by way through my father, who is Portuguese. So my grandfather is Portuguese. My mother’s side of the family is mostly Irish with some Polish. They influenced me a lot. So my tell me about yourself is really that I was a little bit of an explorer of a kid and my first dive into understanding other people were through my grandparents because I could ride my bike to their homes. I had both grandparents and great grandparents within biking distance, it was probably my first phenomenological interview, right. Understanding people’s lived experiences. Right. And as they I wanted to understand their stories. And so I was a little explorer, but I didn’t just interview my grandparents. I loved my bike and I loved jumping it off of jumps and then using my mathematical brain to determine the angle of incident, the tire hitting the jump. Now, this is all pre X games. So this is pretty innovative stuff, Brilliant, you know. And so then what I realized is I actually love teaching other kids in the neighborhood how to jump their BMX bikes. Now, this might be far fetched. You think? I have a professor here in an interview about a book, about story. But lo and behold, the teacher within me, the fuse was lit when I was back 11, 12, 13 years old. And so what was I doing? I was teaching. I was codifying. I was observing. I was receptive. I was analytical and I was synthesizing. And I was doing it for me. But then I wanted to do it for others so that they could be more engaged in something that was new, that was novel and that was a bit more complex. And then as a human being, of course, you have to kind of go on from bike riding and do things like science fair projects. And I had to do a mandatory one at a time where I was in a private school and I was a little intimidated because I had all these judges that were older than me and obviously teachers. And of course they had authority. But I really dove into physics and I learned how to build holograms in my basement. I built a little lab there. So you might be thinking to yourself, wait a minute, this is a BMX guy who loves physics and now he’s doing story pathing. He’s teaching people public speaking around their own story. Well, lo and behold, I was actually a bit of a teacher then, too. Really what I learned to do was teach people older than me about this science fair project that had lasers and optics and holography. How it was or could be a useful to the FBI, to a perfect or evolved fingerprint identification system, which led me to the Department of Energy and lo and behold, again, the teacher theme emerged. So when I started my first business after working in a military academy, I realized that the answer to being a really effective entrepreneur is teaching. And to be a good leader, you must be a good teacher. And then I would look for the most difficult things for people to do. And lo and behold, it wasn’t physics. And it wasn’t explaining your science fair project, and it wasn’t in any engineering, although I guess you could say it was engineering a better way to organize one’s story at work. So Human Beings at Work became my new science fair project, and I wanted to crack the code as to how people felt more engaged at work, whether they were a leader, mid manager or someone in transition. That is to say, somebody who is moving along and trying to transfer their skills out of the military, for instance, or into a family business after leaving a family business. So how do you transfer that provisional identity claim? How do you do narrative accounting? So really what I am is I’m a pioneer, quester, teacher on the fringe of university life because I am a full time professor. Who has dedicated his life to cracking the code to some humanistic, complex stuff, namely storytelling about one’s self, the hardest thing to do is to answer the question, “tell me about yourself”. So BMX rider turned science fair project turned organizational person who specializes in helping people tell their stories. And I do that in zoom rooms, through Navy ships, or on Navy ships by way of my learning programs that are remote, and in boardrooms. And I have to say, I think that’s my story path.
Brilliant Miller [00:07:37] Now, thank you for sharing that and. You mentioned about how difficult it can be to answer that question, “tell me about yourself” or to tell our own story and I’m reminded, too, by the way, and part of what you said about teaching, right, about being an effective entrepreneur or being an effective leader is about teaching. And that totally resonates with me because my dad, he passed 12 years ago before he died, he would say that the second responsibility, second, the first, incidentally, was to protect the legal and financial well-being of the company and that was every employee, regardless of position or tenure, had that responsibility. But number two is to be a teacher. That was what he established as our culture. So that totally resonates with me. But then back to this thing that you’re saying about, you know, answering this question, who are you? Tell me about yourself. You know, that kind of thing that is so hard. Why is that so hard for us to do?
Dennis Rebelo [00:08:31] So, look, one of the reasons why is – and by the way, that’s what really sparked this whole not obsession, but near obsession with trying to create an apparatus and then ultimately creating an apparatus or a system for organizing through a model how people can, because the book is really a manual that presents a model for individuals who are reading it at any age or stage, who could be a 16 year old Cambodian English second language learner person. You could be the head of a family enterprise. You could be just deciding that you want to be a teacher for real and leave financial tech and you should be able to go through this method to craft your narrative. But the reason why it’s so difficult is because we are we collect a lot of lived experiences. And when we meet someone, we do no preparation. This is not like getting into the batter’s box for real or shooting a three pointer where you’ve done so much work as a player to step into that box or to to release that ball.
Brilliant Miller [00:09:35] And one of the big differences, too, is that the game has its time bound. There’s a beginning. There’s four quarters, or inning’s, there’s some end. So you can you perform, you leave. Whereas with life and relationships, you’re always on,
Dennis Rebelo [00:09:48] you’re always on. But we never acknowledge mostly that we have to get better at this. We never use our phones to record the answer. Like, I would challenge people in a very positive, loving way right now with lots of appreciation for wherever you are, listeners. Answer the question. Tell me about yourself right now and answer it. Record it in your phone. Then then take a moment. Don’t beat yourself up, don’t overly defend yourself, don’t worry about any emotions. Just set it aside. Listen to the rest of the podcast, hit pause now listen to the rest of it and then come back to it later. And maybe, just maybe you can evolve that. So why it’s difficult is because we don’t acknowledge that we’re conscious of a storytelling moment, but we really are and we don’t prep for that that moment. So this is the research that I presented at Oxford University in England a few years back. And this is what really was a blast to share. So here it is. If you’re thinking about it and you’re listening, think about you show up it and you’re about to roll into an interview, maybe a conference, maybe a meeting. And, you know, people are going to go around the room. That’s a tell me about yourself. You’re going into an interview and you really want the job. Tell me about yourself. You’re starting to assume a new position in your job. Tell me about yourself. People want to know who are you anyway, that you deserve this particular position, have authority or expertize. So when we do that, we have an unclear start. This is the research. Unclear start, because we have so many thoughts in our head. We start to break through all of them. Which one should I say to Brilliant right now, to the audience. It’s about me. And so I have the unclear start. I paused then I have a rough unfolding.
Brilliant Miller [00:11:28] And on that start, by the way, to jump in for a minute, like a story vault, what do you call that when you’re mentally searching for, which ones do I tell?
Dennis Rebelo [00:11:35] Yeah. You’re right. You go into the vault, that’s exactly what I call it is the story vault and you start to rotate through the lived experiences and you don’t really know that you’re doing this until I tell you this like it’s like if you’re listening you’re like, oh yeah, I do that too. Right. It’s because we don’t even reflect that much upon it. But once you do that, you start to realize maybe I’ll say this to Brilliant. Maybe I’ll say that to Brilliant. And then I look at your non-verbal, your verbal and then I hurry up and I rush some more. And then I realize what I wanted to say was really not captured. The temporal nature of a dialog or an introduction becomes more aware, the person who is to all people, but especially to the storyteller. And then you close it up. So it’s an ironic and unfortunate habit that as human beings we tend to speed up as we lose our way. There we go. We lost our way then we said, well, I’ll get it next time. Well, the reality is you do not have sixteen or seventeen more times to say, hey, oh, by the way, I kind of goofed up my introduction now that I know you more, Brilliant. I’ll tell you about me.
Brilliant Miller [00:12:41] It is true that you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Dennis Rebelo [00:12:45] Yeah. I mean, it’s a long lasting sort of truth that we all know to be actually verified by our lived experiences. We’ll see someone years later and they’ll say, I didn’t know that about you because as storytellers, as interviewers, as leaders, as human beings, we didn’t do the reflection in a structured way. And this doesn’t mean rigid, by the way. It means guided so that you can identify the lived experiences that define you. Brilliant. This is an inside, outside job. This is about me search. I have to understand what I should be reverent to as a human being. I love my bike. Now, maybe it would be weird for me to say that about my bike. No, because my past story was about really overcoming my fear of teaching people something new, which is really the essence of what I did when I was a BMX rider. And then when I released it, I felt liberated. I felt like I had every kid in the neighborhood helicoptering around me in dirt with metal and blocks and bricks to see how could you jump 10 feet high when you were only five foot two? How could you then race and beat somebody thirty pounds heavier than you? Because you were better understanding how the the clay and the dirt mixed after a rainstorm. All of these things. Analytical competency. Right. Receptivity and then eventually communication. But I knew that about myself. Why am I mentioning it to you here? Because if I didn’t think there was value to that moment in my life teaching others how to ride a bike in a very good way, then I would say, oh, I’m not sure if he wants to hear that. And I would sequester that dot, that blue dot or that moment in my life, you see, because we’re just connecting dots, we’re connecting a hero moment to a collaborative, to a virtuous. And it sounds fancy, but it really just means the hero here is overcoming an obstacle, right? Learning a new language, maybe not second guessing your ability to teach or to speak. Collaborative is doing something with others. Right. Which I did with my science fair work and my research and then getting to virtuous, which is back to self again. So it goes self, others, self. Where I say I absolutely love this thing that I’m doing, it would be immoral for me not to do it. And for me, that’s teaching people how to tell their story. It would be immoral for me to stop, as much as it would be immoral for you to stop convening people who could contribute to everyone’s existential intelligence, their well-being, and how to have good living be embodied daily, right. And so that’s something that you figured out how to crack the code, to convene people. And you do that in so many different ways. So it would be immoral if you stopped to say, hey, I just want to go do this now. It would feel probably – you’d have a sematic bodily reaction. You would feel like you were liberated. You would feel like a caged man in the metaphor. And The Cage Metaphor, A Caged man metaphor, is that a man was caged and put into a village square and people would look at him and it was a man. So I’m not, you know, misusing the he, she, they, it was a man in the story. So it’s accurate. And what we saw over in the book, he talks about how that person lost their expression of aliveness and people would look at him less and he became more of a fixture as opposed to an animated being. So when we think about liberation, this is storytelling for personal liberation. And if I were to squelch who I was as a BMX rider, I wouldn’t show you the playfulness of me, the aliveness of me. If I didn’t tell you that I did a science fair project, you wouldn’t say, wow, he’s analytical. You would just say maybe he got his PhD, he wrote a book and that’s that. But there are a lot of wrinkles to people and those wrinkles come from the lived experiences. And it’s really like dimensionality and depth and aliveness. Right, that we see in those formative experiences, which is really to say energy.
Brilliant Miller [00:16:57] Yeah. Yeah. And it is those nuances in those contours and those idiosyncrasies that are not only so compelling, but they’re what can connect us to each other, I think.
Dennis Rebelo [00:17:08] Yeah. Yeah.
Brilliant Miller [00:17:09] So much so I, I feel like I interrupted you a little bit in your response to why is it so darn hard to answer this question of tell me about yourself. And you were talking about a rough start. Yeah. So what are the components of why it’s so hard?
Dennis Rebelo [00:17:24] So it’s so hard. And I gave you so what I just did for folks listening is I really provided you what’s called the Oxford Loop diagram, which is the Oxford Loop diagram is essentially here’s what happens when people try to successfully tell a story. It’s hard. So that’s why I started there now. Now why is it such a bad diagram?
Brilliant Miller [00:17:50] First of all, all models are wrong.
Dennis Rebelo [00:17:52] Yeah, all models are wrong. But this was extracted from interviews with people who said they were good storytellers. And they and they told me personally. Right. Because I was a lead researcher why it was so difficult. And so everything that I just shared with the listeners and you is about why it’s difficult, because we have too much in our head and we haven’t reflected on our own identity. So I think, Brilliant, to the short answer would be this. We don’t think of our our life as having narrative identity as human beings. By and large, Eastern or Western, a little bit more in different communities and cultures. If we think about why it’s so difficult to tell, our story, it’s because the pace, the cadence of our society is quick and self reflection, to land on those formative experiences isn’t really taught at all. It’s not taught in guidance counselor offices, college success offices. It’s not taught in HR offices. It’s not even taught in development work, really. A lot of the work that folks are doing now is really about meeting, making, and self-expression. So how do you do that? Those are the two most important bits for the modern worker. They want the modern worker, me and you included, are still modern. We’re still working. We want meaning making. Yes. And we also want self-expression, but we’re not taught how to do that. Right. We go to school and we have to raise our hands to speak. Unless you’re in kindergarten, then you get the circle, you can stay in circle and it’s a little bit more liberal. Then you go to work, you’re in a cube, you’re in a meeting. You you can speak only when spoken to. And so we really sort of take away the storytelling muscle from people.
Brilliant Miller [00:19:37] Right. Just as you’re saying, by the way, not only are we not taught to, we’re discouraged from in many cases unless we’re the leader and we get the spotlight. We get the opportunities.
Dennis Rebelo [00:19:48] That’s right. That’s right. And then you can do whatever you want. You can come in late to the meeting and you can pick on people and look at people. I think a humanistic, the impulsive of a humans is good, but we carry a lot of baggage. So coincidentally, a lot of leaders behaviors are informed by decades old or decades of reinforcement of behavior that isn’t necessarily holistic. Right. So it was like achievement only achieve, achieve, achieve utilitarianism. But now we’re placing more weight, as we should, on this sort of notion of extreme humanism. And that is not to say that you don’t do work, you’re not just soft. It just means that you’re aware of your own awareness and the awareness of others and their engagement in your life. So storytelling, to answer the question at last, is difficult because we don’t teach a model. We don’t have people go through and actually have an educational experience, a developmental experience, even onboarding people into an organization. That is the richest time where we give people storytelling latitude. But no, I have not yet heard of a of an organization that says, let me tell you how you can tell your story, do this, tell your story so that you’re validated as you enter our organization so that the ethos of the organization is made better and more purified. Now, I’ve seen evidence of it here and there. My work it Alex and Ani during the beginning days. Absolutely. My work helping out with Tony over in Zappos. Absolutely. But I was in these fringe areas of the learning village doing this work. So I think that we’re going to get to a point where our ability to tell our story with all these digital digressions is going to require discipline and a system. And that’s why I wrote the book.
Brilliant Miller [00:21:36] That’s awesome. I think you’re right about, you know, the reasons that it’s challenging and probably more right, because one of them we didn’t talk about I mean, you touched on it a little bit, but about the context is shifting too, who am I talking to? Where are we? What’s the purpose I’m trying to achieve? And then does all of that contribute to the psychological safety and so forth. So there’s context shifting so all of those things and I’m really amazed at this, because in the coaching I do, where coaching is always for me, the starting point is always, always, always. What do you want? Which it is hard to answer in many cases is tell me about yourself or who are you. Right. But then when we’re able to get some clarity on what would you want, how would you know, what would it look like, this kind of thing, invariably like people seem to jump to, OK, what’s my strategy? What do I have to do to get what I want? But what they neglect to see is who do you have to be? What is the identity that you have to have? Because what we do follows naturally, necessarily, inescapably from who we are, who we know ourselves to be. So what I’m really intrigued by your work, because it’s all around identity. The stories we tell are intertwined with our identity. And that is so amazing that we can actually shift our identity through a declaration. But we also want or often feel like we need evidence, oh I’m not an author, I haven’t written a book yet. But one of the things I’ll challenge people is I’ll say, look, was Michael Jordan a champion before he ever won in North Carolina or before he ever won an NBA championship like, you know, are champions champions before they have the hardware to prove it kind of thing. I know I’m kind of riffing a little bit on this thing of identity. But will you talk about the role or the relationship of identity to the stories we tell?
Dennis Rebelo [00:23:25] Yeah, so, riff away brother, riff away. Right. Because this is the essence of being we shape our identity based on us as learners and teachers. So as a human being, you’re a learner and you’re a teacher. So I did some work with Tony Dungy in helping him with his story, unpacking it for the Sports Mind Institute, which I founded with a couple of sports executives and a family business person. And I don’t have an interest in it now. But it was it was a wonderful journey. And he wrote a book called “The Leader Mentor”, like a great mentor, mentor, leader, pardon. And I want to introduce this concept here in our dialog that if you’re a learner. So we’ll get away from Tony for a minute. I love you, Tony, but not just your bridge to this. When you are living, you are learning. Right. And when you are learning, you are living right. So now that’s not just saying. You could say it in a very quick way at a speech, a speaking moment, and people think oh that leader’s clever, but how do you help people do that? And that’s the missing link. So how do you use self reflection to help people take inventory of moments in their life? And then grab one, two, three on the hero side, one, two, three in the middle, collaborating, creating something with others and one, two, three on the virtuous side, which is loving this thing, how do you get that to happen? Well, every human being, this is a presumption that I make, is capable of learning. They’re capable of also applying science in their own life because experience ss Edmund Husserl said, “experience itself is not science”. You have to have science, not evidence. You have to have science to really construct something. Science, the word science just means to cut something up. It means to cut up. So if you can cut up an experience and and be analytical, then you can understand the what’s called the essence of it in phenomenology. Now, phenomenology is the study of the mind through subjective lived experiences. And from a social science standpoint, that’s what I used to do, my formal research. But what I wanted to do with this book is to ensure that a 16 year old could find that they wanted to study African-American studies by thinking about a moment when she was watching her brothers argue about rap songs and the etymology of certain words in them. Now, that’s really cool, but it also helps somebody who might be good at math and accounting and finance, figure out a moment in their life where they help their parents balance their books as immigrant parents who owned a variety store in New York City. So everybody has lived experiences that if you go back to them, you can start to connect the dots in your life. But you have to be reverent to the fact that you are an interpreter of those moments. And it’s not a season of things. It’s a moment. It’s the time when you sat and looked at your father and said, dad is really sick and I know exactly what happened. That moment, Brilliant, that is a formative experience. That’s a blue dot, right. That’s like BOOM impressioned on your mind and your reverent to it when you convey your sense of identity as a coach, a convenient convener of others who care about humanity and are actionable in their orientation to helping others. So if you did not include that moment, I imagine, is your essence really conveyed? No, it’s just I really have resource to do good media about things that I know the world needs and I’m doing it now. Well, that’s a flat story, right?
Brilliant Miller [00:27:27] Yeah. Not a lot of concern that.
Dennis Rebelo [00:27:28] Yeah, not a lot of contour. And we we want people to be great at something because of something. And we want to know that something as human beings. And so what you do as a human being, when you have honored yourself by doing the real discovery work and not just discovery work, folks, you know, I’m not just saying you just search, you search by having a methodology, a guiding system, just to orient you, not to create rigidity. Then what you’ve done is you’ve given yourself a little bit of flex structure to the process. And that allows you to be able to accomplish the goal of finding those moments and you can create storytelling worksheets as the book goes on to help you connect the dots, find themes, so that over time when you look at yourself and it’s wonderful to see people do this, by the way, I mean, I love to watch people get to the point where they say, wow. I’m a tireless advocate for social justice and they can see the theme in their life, right. And so as a listener of that story or whatever the archetype that emerges is. As listeners, we want to do something for that individual. We want to endorse their next interview, introduce them to someone who can help them with a grant we want. Right. We want to do that.
Brilliant Miller [00:28:53] We will invest in their company, be a shareholder for them or with them.
Dennis Rebelo [00:28:58] Absolutely right. And so we have that natural tendency to do that. And we want to see good artists, great artists. We don’t want to see musical artists and performing artists that are mediocre. So we want to hear great storytellers, but without methodology for writing the lyrics of it, if you will, to stay within that metaphor, we end up not having engaged conversations, which means relationally, I can’t endorse you and help you. So we lack the capacity to be advocates for others as a society, community, organization, family, because we don’t honor the person’s ability to autonomously, right, To self drive that narrative that they’re capable of because we don’t give them the tool to help them do that. Right. And so that’s where to me that everything starts to light up. It’s like, whoa, this isn’t just about getting the job, it’s about forming the relationships. Right. Energizing the mission, OK, and shifting community where we can watch people thrive and not just in the sense of shake rattle at it, sort of like sort of, oh my God, I want you to thrive. And I’m not making fun of anybody who sounds like that. But this is using science to forward action. Right? That changes being. It changes the way relationships start to shift inside organizations. Again, family, friends in the middle, recreationally. And I feel like this life is a good life now. Right. I can have good living. Yeah, but I but I can’t have it without understanding my own narrative.
Brilliant Miller [00:30:33] Yeah, absolutely. And I’m reminded of something and I’ve looked for this just on a few Google searches, I’ve never found it. Maybe I’ll hire a researcher to track it down. But it was this idea I learned as an English major. As an english major, I studied a lot of Freud surprisingly. But it was this idea that Freud had advanced that if someone couldn’t tell his or her own story, that was part of being unwell. Mm. Right. That it was people who had fragmented or disjointed or absent stories were those who were ill. And I was like, that’s really an interesting thing. And in my own experience I came across something that the author, Barry Lopez said, I don’t know if you’ve read this quote about “sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive”. And even when I hear that now, like something in me moves, when I first read that, I literally I cried because it resonated so deeply that and I know there’s so many people on this planet that are living wondering if there’s meaning inherent in the universe or if it’s even possible for them to find. It is so amazing that despite all of the progress we’ve made, every one of us is faced with this identity of meaning. And what’s remarkable to me, as I’ve discovered, is that we can bring meaning to life through the stories we tell, the identities we create. But we often don’t do that. It’s like having a glass of water that’s on the table and we’re we’re dying of thirst. But we don’t reach out to
Dennis Rebelo [00:32:09] that’s a wonderful quote that you cited as well. Yeah, it’s very moving. And that’s because we yearn for a sense of of purpose and understanding of self. Why am I here anyway? So Howard Gardner talks about the types of intelligences and there nine or now eleven. And so existential intelligence. Right. Rhythmic intelligence, musical intelligence. We have deposits of all of them. But the existential is something that has been a bit neglected. Right? We don’t create organizations to have space for contemplation of it and then for making it practical. See, a part of the reason why I wrote the book is the phenomenologists and social scientists and psychologists that I see in the academic world who I love and spend time with because they are doing good research, whether it’s in Oxford or in Ottawa or wherever. I like to move to practice, I like to jump the bike. OK, you see, right. I like to race the car. Because that’s where you see whether the construct is convertible as researched and in fact is very informing of research and is called grounded research. So my practice has always informed me. So the book might have 12 pages of citations that nobody will even read. Well, that’s good. I don’t care about that. I want you to be able to tell your story. So, again, this conversation actually reminds me of why I wrote the book and why I have to continue to proclaim the need for institutions and organizations to implement ways to do this sort of work, whether the person’s a wealth manager or a salesperson. Why are you here? If I ask a person at an organization and they can’t answer it, it’s probably that their engagement is very low. Yeah, well, right. And it could be high if they just had opportunity to explore it. Right, and it doesn’t matter. I remember when I was working for this organization and they said and I mentioned it like very lightly in the book, a senior person in this organization said, hey, you Dennis, you’re spending far too much time trying to help these people. You have to understand they’re only ‘X’ kind of people. They don’t need any more education or help trying to figure out anything. Just leave them alone. They’re not learners. And that’s when I cried, wow, OK, because Brilliant, to me, like this person had written them off and this was a top person in the organization responsible for a lot of what we were doing. And I thought to myself, this is terrible. But then, of course, I look at it as a formative experience and I say, oh, this is teaching me something right. That I need to be more clever about how I get good content into people’s hands so they can build learning programs and experiences and have the latitude to do so. So I had to write the book to be very digestible, very much like something that people would read two or three pages and they would want to read more of it and they wouldn’t look at it as anything related to an academic, anything. Yeah, and that’s really important, right. To democratize good content or else we’re really sequestering it only for the the wealthy folks or well-to-do folks who are well earned folks who can pay for private executive coaching around storytelling.
Brilliant Miller [00:35:51] Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And, you know, part of what you said just a moment ago about, you know, telling our story and moving people to want to support us or engage with us in some way. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this until now. But we’re doing others a service when we communicate who we are or what our life is about or what we’re up to. Right. Not just helping ourselves, but we’re actually helping them to advance. And if we see our work is bigger than ourselves, if it’s about whatever climate change or about animal welfare or about alleviating poverty and increasing shared prosperity, like especially where you’re talking about that virtuous, you know, the collaborative and the virtuous. And we’re actually doing others a service in that way. But I’m reminded again of how confronting that can be, because one of my mentors is Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, formerly. He’s retired now, but is considered the world’s top CEO coach. And when he would mentor me and other coaches and he would say, “pick the thing that you’re going to be the world’s leading expert in and then just announce it over and over and over”, and that’s worked for him. And I remember when we were at a program where he encouraged us to do that, and I went back to my hotel room and I got my dry erase marker out and I wrote on the bathroom mirror, I am the world’s leading expert in blank. And I stared at it for like the three days that were left in the conference. And I never filled it in because it felt like it would have been a lie or maybe it was too much work. Or what if I find something later that I’m actually more passionate about. Right. So maybe I mean, what do you say to people about really making a declaration, like a bold declaration about who they are in the world?
Dennis Rebelo [00:37:42] Yeah, I say give me evidence of it. So if you don’t have evidence of it yourself, you proclaiming it is in fact just what you felt, empty. Yeah. So which is why when folks go through building what we call in the book a peak story, it has this aspiration. But you’re showing three dots baked into the the narrative. Right. And in other words, whatever they might be. Right. So in other words, each blue dot. So we hear the phrase, I connected the dots finally. I always say, well, I’ll be the judge of that. Right. Or maybe your listeners will, but. But that’s what we want people to do. But what thoughts? So for you, in that moment, you didn’t have any evidence, which is cognitive development, that you were going to be whoever you were going to be, the blank as you put it. Yeah, but if you had evidence through overcoming an obstacle yourself and it was formative, you would know what mental muscles you used, exploration, creativity, what motivations you had, what people were around the power of place, where was it? And then you would be able to say, oh, and here’s how I collaborate with people en route to, oh wait, this is what I want to do now. We can still get there to meaningful work, but I want to accelerate it and I want you to be better at it, whoever you are out there. Right. And so, again, that doesn’t work when you don’t have cognitive development as part of it, which is which I had to think about, because to get to self authorship, you have to have cognitive development, according to Baxter Megalo. And I agree with her and you have to have which informs you your interpersonal development, how to answer the question, who am I anyway? So if I don’t know, if I don’t have any evidence of who I am, I certainly can’t answer this question. So cognitive development leads to intrapersonal development that allows me to do a relationship choosing and sustain relationships. That’s interpersonal development. If you have high amounts of evidence and knowledge of self and then knowledge of the kind of relationships you want, then you’re there like three diagrams in the end diagram formation and in the middle self authorship appears. But you need the increasingly higher amounts of each one to feel that liberation that I can self author I can interpret. And you also need a bit of a structure which she didn’t do in her model because she was theoretical was ever put it into action. So I’m using her her stuff as a giving your applause. Duly so. But at the same time, what I want to address is your ability to tell your story.
Brilliant Miller [00:40:31] Yeah, absolutely, and that’s part of what I appreciate about your book, as you said, it’s structured, it’s not rigid, but it’s structured. So it gives us some very specific questions. It gives us a process to follow. So part of what I want to ask for the benefit of the listener now is about if someone buys the book right. As you talk about, people can hire you, they can work with you in some cases one on one, or they can bring you into an organization. But obviously the book will outlive all of us. And it can be scaled in a way that one on one engagement isn’t. So where I’m going with all that is if someone reads the book and they want to do everything you’re saying, what should they expect? What will it look like in terms of time, in terms of effort, in terms of difficulty, this kind of thing? What’s that like?
Dennis Rebelo [00:41:18] Yeah. So, you know, I would say that the quick answer is right. It varies. But let me tell you what I’ve learned from feedback. I had a psychologist from the Netherlands redo her website in four days and she changed all of her story. She said all of her stories were not signaling to her audience who she really was. And after reading the book, it felt that she was being disingenuous. So she did it in four days. Now she has more control over her schedule. She was super motivated. I’ve had some people take three or four months to do it. Others a couple of weeks. Most people fortunately have really been struck by how easy it is to use the system, but then they get where they slow down is where they have to think about what moment and they follow the exercises. So that varies for people. And it can be really fun, too, by the way. So I would say that it’s it varies. But I’ve seen anything from four days, three or four days, someone who has free time and is motivated to three or four months. Some people who have the pre release copies took a little longer. I think it depends on how much of a lived life you’ve had. Tthere are a lot of variables in people’s lives. I’m often so energized by the youth of the world and what they’re capable of seeing, and the book isn’t bias to one population, and that took a little arguing a bit with some publisher types because they typically ask “Like what would be your avatar?” Come on. Like am I supposed to say a private wealth manager who sells for a living. I don’t want to do that, because to me, the methodology in the language to teach through the book and help through the book and guide through the book had to be relatable across generationally and cross culturally. I think we’ve done that. So the answer is four days to four months, right?
Brilliant Miller [00:43:55] And you touched on this a little bit as well, but who is the book really best for? Is there a certain you know, is there a certain stage in life? Is there a certain, you know, is it an entrepreneur or is it a leader or is it somebody just starting out, you know, after college or something? Like who who stands to benefit the most from this, do you think?
Dennis Rebelo [00:44:19] So it’s always the motivated person. Yeah, right, so that’s it. And how do you get motivated to rethink your narrative?
Brilliant Miller [00:44:28] Pain.
Dennis Rebelo [00:44:30] Yeah, pain. So I might not have enough money for dot, dot, dot, dot, dot. I’d better dive in and fix the way I interview. This is the first time I’ve ever been promoted after trying for so long. This has to work or I’m moving across the country and I’m going to take public transportation and sell all my cars and, you know, and use it all to buy a house. When I meet my team, I need to stand out. I need to be who I am really meant to be and to become. Right. And Warren Bennis, I referenced this quote from Warren, who is no longer with us, but he once said,” becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself”. It’s precisely that simple, comma, yet also that difficult. Right. So if a person wants to become themselves to really answer your question. Right. And they appreciate that it might be a little bit of work if you put the work in, as my friend Chris Draft would say, who’s a lung cancer advocate, who is one of our coaches. It will work out. But he was a former NFL person, played in the NFL for 12 years and went to Stanford. So West Coast are for sure. And he always says for your story to work out, you have to put the work in, it’s no different than being in the NFL. If you want to be in it for two years, you want to be six or you want to be 10 or 12, you have to put the work in for it to work out. So there is effort, there is effort. Don’t tap out on yourself.
Brilliant Miller [00:46:07] Yeah, so I realize that you have you’ve conveyed the answer to this maybe at least in parts, in response to some of the other questions I’ve asked, but what are the benefits that someone could expect to to enjoy once they’ve put that effort in? How is life different?
Dennis Rebelo [00:46:27] Wow, it’s. You know. I mean, you’re at ease. You know, to witness whether it’s in a retreat format or somebody who is in a more corporate setting or even in my network of colleagues who do coaching, working collaboratively to witness people who are part of a convened, some gathering, and to witness people breathe differently, right? I mean, one of the the benefits that you can see immediately is not just the ease in their storytelling. There’s not that unclear start and rough unfolding. It’s also that their breath. Right. Everything is breath. Right. And there is no rushing in the cadence. Their aspiration is really quite lovely. And you can feel that resonance, a bit even on a zoom, when someone is in tune with their narrative. It’s not this schizophrenic thing where you don’t know who I am, but I’m projecting this thing. It almost seems like a marketing message. You fall into your breath in yoga. Right, and you do the same with your story.
Brilliant Miller [00:47:49] That that’s beautiful and it reminds me, I don’t even remember who told me this, but when they said it was like a light went on when they were talking about charisma and whether charisma is something that some people have and others don’t or whether we can cultivated and what it even is. And the suggestion was made that what charisma really is, is simply authenticity, simply being comfortable in our own skin. Maybe to say another way that we know our story, that we own our story, that we live our story, and that just like you’re saying, when people are drawn to us, people want to help us. Well, that’s charisma.
Dennis Rebelo [00:48:22] That’s the essence of charism. And it’s a wonderful word. But the essence is that you have me focused on you. Right. And charism, just that, right is it sounds like magic, right? Yeah. Because you put the work in and your story works out for you as an individual. And I witnessed that if you played the wrong instrument and you were supposed to be playing the clarinet, but you’re playing the sax or trombone, you know, it would seem like a little weird. You’d breathe funny or in a funny fashion and you probably wouldn’t sound so good. And so is the story that you may be telling, not actually be tuned to you. And so that’s what’s really important. And, you know, the other benefit is, is that you get the job that you want. You get the relationships that you want, and you live each moment during the day, each block of of minutes in a way that is guided quietly because you’re your you have this sort of etched narrative on on your mind and it changes the way your brain works. I mean, from a neuroscientific standpoint, you have added relevance to different key moments in your life. And now when someone calls you into story, you’re able to activate episodic tellings, variations of the telling, where if you and I are going back and forth, I’m not going to lose my place because I know where I’m at. I know my second dot to my third dot and so I can give space to honor you in the exchange. But we’ve all witnessed people step on people as they’re supposedly in dialog with dialog means dia to pass through logos with meaning in your lips. So how can I have true generative dialog with someone if I’m not aware of my own narrative? And then when I feel anxiety or concern that I’m going to lose my train of thought that I have to control the rhetoric, even saying it makes me not feel good, you know, for sure.
Brilliant Miller [00:50:31] Well, and you talk about I love the way you say this about put the work in your story works out. And obviously, you know, this is something you’ve been doing for more than a decade talking about story. And so you’ve put work into this. And one of the things I want to ask you about, you talk about in one of your TED talks about the manifesto and will you talk about the manifesto? And then there’s one part in particular I want to ask you about, but what is that and what function does it serve? Why did you create it like all that?
Dennis Rebelo [00:50:58] Well, it was a bit of a moment where this was probably eight years ago, almost, I guess. I was about to do this TED talk and I had finished the way I wanted to frame it up because I wanted to use my own life as a reference to this model, which I didn’t share at the time in book form, and I said, well, I have to just write down. That the all the layers of how positive a story can be for a person and for the world and for work and for peace, so I just wrote it and I wrote it in one iteration. And I didn’t edit it, I just wrote it, I wrote it like this line by line, word by word in order. And I change the size of the words as I was writing, and there’s very little change in the size of the words from how it was printed in the book. Wow. Just because I think I saw and felt it right that, you know, that this is a really powerful way to go about life is to think of yourself as being a person who is going to story like they mean it, which of course is a bit of like the opening of the manifesto itself. And then we put it, I put it in all kinds of places. And then I didn’t tear it down, but I didn’t overly use it. I didn’t want to say bastardized it, but I did over market it. And but I wanted people to be aware that, like, this is your story. So “Story Like You Mean It” like this is, you know, and if you’re not in character, you jump in now and the rest goes on, of course. But yeah,
Brilliant Miller [00:52:49] that’s that’s amazing. The one part of it in particular that I was curious to to ask more about, was this about inspire by doing. And it’s the end, it’s at the very end, right
Dennis Rebelo [00:53:03] at the end,
Brilliant Miller [00:53:04] when you talk about that one in particular, why is that in there? Why did you end with it? What does it mean to you?
Dennis Rebelo [00:53:11] Yeah, that’s a great question. Brilliant. So it’s the punctuation mark, so spirit inspire the word, right? Which is a little bit connected to charism is by doing. And when you see somebody doing what their rhetoric aligns with. Boom, walk, talk much, right and doing is behavioral, and we see behaviors as human beings and we start to observe behaviors whether we’re kids to parents or parents to grandparents, workers, leaders, middle managers, community members, advocates, teachers, nurses, health care professionals, delivery folks. We see behaviors. And when those behaviors are seen, they’re learned and there’s no formal schooling. This is like a bit like a unbound college experience. Right. You see it and then you start to because that’s the first form of learning is by observation, of course. Right. And we hear it, too, by the way. We hear the person doing it because we hear everything that comes from it. So we hear their voice in proclaiming that declaration, but with evidence and then they inspire others by doing. And that embodied performance is akin to that musical performance. Right. You’re doing that. I see that. I feel that, I’m contributing this behavior to the world, this play, this action, this moment of doing so everything aligns to it. So then there is not this there’s not this proliferation of my identity. I’m not bifurcated. I’m not this way here and this way there. But I have work life integration. And that’s a means of psychological wholeness. Right. And emotional subtleness, which by the way, was the subtitle of my dissertation. So like integrative storytelling is important, but it’s inspired by doing because storytelling alone is just a wonderful plan and it’s an important one. But the activation of the story is the difference maker.
Brilliant Miller [00:55:10] Yeah, absolutely. And what you’re talking about is being integrated, having integrity. Yeah. So, yeah, I’m reminded of something Warner Arehart says about without integrity, nothing works. So no surprise when our lives, you know, lack that narrative integrity that our lives don’t work.
Dennis Rebelo [00:55:28] Yeah. And it feels terrible. I mean, we’ve all been there, right. We’ve all had these moments where we’re telling a story and we’re like, boy, I’ve got to tell this story and be this person, but that’s not really who I am. But we don’t know how to tap into those moments that define who we are. And we don’t set aside those those tiny blocks to actually create that story part.
Brilliant Miller [00:55:53] And what you know, your metaphor you keep referring to about music, I think is very apt. And there’s so much in that right about performance and, you know, that we we can do it solo or we could do it collaboratively. And you reference a few times Joseph Campbell, the great mythologist and storyteller. But as you talk now, I’m reminded of this, I love that saying about life as “a guy trying to play a violin solo in public while learning the music and his instrument at the same time”. Right. I think I maybe would have been even more apt if he had said naked that a guy standing naked in public trying to learn. But that’s how this can feel, that first of all, when I say this, how this can feel like trying to get our hands around our narrative, identify those blue dots, you know, structure them not in a rigid way, share them with others. Right. That life is a dynamic process. And we do continue to have experiences and all of this. But so. Well, let me just shift and ask you this before we move on to another part of the interview here. What haven’t we talked about, is there anything that before we move to the Enlightening lightning round that you want to talk about that you think would be a benefit to the listener?
Dennis Rebelo [00:57:08] Well, I would just ask listeners to consider when do you have to tell your story? Like just think about it for a moment, take a moment and just think, you know, what Brilliant and I are discussing it is really grounded, you know. And I know that I want you to and I would imagine that Brilliant would love for you to identify moments in your life or areas of your life where you have to tell your story and think about it. Think about, not how you would not change it. Just think about where they are when they are, you know. Right. You know, make a little note of it. Make a little note of do you bring energy into the room or do you take it out? Right. And it’s something that I touch on in the book that we don’t live in a world where we meet other human beings. And it’s not like net zero energy situation, like we’re measuring carbon footprint or something like that. When I leave a person, they’ve either given me energy or they’ve taken away, there’s never any net, it’s netted out as zero. I’m never completely neutral. In other words, because I heard someone’s story, I’ve met someone. So does your story. If your story is in neutral or a little bit tiring for you to say, imagine what it is for others. Right. And why not do something about it? Because you’re worth it. I wrote this book not for me. I wrote it for other people. And I would love for folks to take inventory of where they have to introduce themselves, tell their story, or be aware of their story.
Brilliant Miller [00:58:42] I love that hearing, hearing you say that, I’m reminded of the you know, the activist and the author, Alice Walker, where she says the greatest, something very close to “the single biggest way that we give up our power is by believing we don’t have any”. And I think there’s the corollary to this here how we often diminish our own value by thinking we don’t have it, that our story is not worth telling. But when we think about the great men and women of history, if we didn’t know the story of Rosa Parks, right. If we didn’t know nonviolent resistance from Gandhi, it’s like these things, this the story in and of themselves. And yes, it was based on a fact or something that happened. But that story has power and we all have that.
Dennis Rebelo [00:59:28] And so what you just said, I just want to highlight what you just said, because it was wonderful. This story happened because of an event. Ha, there we go. So whether it could be Rosa Parks, it could be whomever, Susan B. Anthony, there are events and these events, a cell phone connection is important to us. We see something in it as a human being, as an observer in the world, as a learner, as a liver. And we say, OK, well, now, again, to be conscious of that, you have to go back and be prompted. That’s why we poke at you in the book. And we have you do these exercises at the end of the book, either chapters in the book, because we want you to be able to get to those moments so you can be your own psychologist or phenomenologists and build a story because there is some psychology there, to be sure. But the idea is to activate a narrative that informs you and informs others as to who you really are. So you can answer that question. Tell me about yourself, and you, every person. Right. We all have events and don’t think please, as a listener, as part of this community or a new member of this listenership, maybe even. Please don’t think that your story isn’t sensational enough, because when I am in workshops and I craft someone’s story live, they say, I can’t believe that’s my story. And I can assure you, if you put the time in, if you work it out and you will actually have people say that about you. You know, you’ll hear people say, well, that story’s amazing. And and the process is designed for you to activate this story at the end of the book for sure.
Brilliant Miller [01:01:03] I love that. I love that idea of activating a story is really cool. And it is these stories, these experiences. It’s like the water we swim in. They can seem invisible to us. But there is potentially so much power both to enhance our enjoyment of living, living the story. And I’m just reminded now, too, by the way, about Alan Watts, the spiritual teacher I read a few years ago. I read his autobiography and he talked about how when he was at prep school or whatever in England, that one of his hobbies with his friends, his group of friends, was to identify the elements of their persona and to, like, tear it down and construct a new one. And how he referred to himself as a spiritual entertainer. And I’m just so struck by his facial hair and his robe and all this, that he knew at some level it was just a story he was living. He’s made such an impact for so many people. And again, we can all do that. Doesn’t mean we have to follow that path, of course, but we can all be conscious and we can create and we can share and live into that.
Dennis Rebelo [01:02:04] Yeah, well, great teachers can be entertainers and you can entertain people with your story and you can entertain yourself with your story. And Alan, I love when Alan and one of his videos and one of his lectures was starts off with. So what do you desire, what kind of life? You know, he’s got a really unique voice. And that’s a great question. But I often say, well, how do you know that you desire? How do you know, what evidence do you have that you desire this? Because the ultimate processing unit is your brain. And so how you are able to tap into it and focus. And I think that’s the challenge. And this is to answer a question. One of the other reasons that you you ask this question, but one of the other reasons why it’s difficult to tell a story is because of focus. So no learning methodology, no apparatus, no tool, no reflection, little focus. So when it’s on you, and I think this is why people actually read through the whole book, is that is that when it’s on yourself, we can focus. Right, because we can focus. So I think that’s a little bit of the trick in here, too. So if you’re wondering about those moments that you tell your story and you’re wondering, can you get through the book, just let me remind you that this book is all about you. So it’s fascinating.
Brilliant Miller [01:03:29] Absolutely. OK, well, thank you for that. Well. If you’re up for it, let’s go ahead and transition to the Enlightening lightning round,
Dennis Rebelo [01:03:38] I’m in your hands. I trust you implicitly. So whatever you say, I do.
Brilliant Miller [01:03:42] Awesome. Thank you. And then following that, so again, this is a series of brief questions on a variety of topics. My aim for the most part is to ask the question and kind of stand aside. You’re welcome to answer as long as you want. And then after that, I have just a few questions about writing, your creative process, advice that you might give to others. That kind of thing. Sounds great. OK, so question number one, please complete the following sentence with something other than “a box of chocolates”. Life is like a:
Dennis Rebelo [01:04:18] Story waiting to be understood and lived.
Brilliant Miller [01:04:21] All right. Question number two, one important truth, do very few people agree with you on?
Dennis Rebelo [01:04:31] The. So is this just to clarify an important truth that I believe to be true? Yes. OK. Well, I wouldn’t say that people disagree with this, but I will say that sometimes people underestimate the value of their own capacity to create a meaningful story. But they still proceed, right? And so. This is. I would say I’d like to answer the question another way. This is a bit controversial, maybe, but I would say that… I’m going to flip this Brilliant. I would say most people are going to believe what I’m going to say, but many leaders don’t want to listen to this. That the development of human capital through self exploration within the workplace is a missing link to engagement and meaning making essential to evolve the vibe of companies. And that to skip that is to really ignore human potentiality, but also to disable merit based outcomes. Now, why do I say this? Because leaders tend to nod and say I honor the human side of the enterprise. But I don’t want to put the work in. And it’s a millennial issue, it’s a generational issue. And so I would say that most younger folks would agree with what I’m saying. Of course, Chip Conley would say who I know has been on the show would say, you know, this is wonderful. There’s wisdom at work now and people can be modern elders. I do think it’s shifting to that. But there’s still a bit of this old school, non Douglas MacGregor orientation, where folks still try to control. So I’m going to try to demystify it. There are five power bases. You can have position power, expert power, right. You can have refought power, which is likable, and you can have a course of power, and you can have reward power as a leader. And most leaders, when I ask them, what would you like to be known for? Let’s take position out of it. Let’s look at four, because you presumably have the position that you’re supposed to have and you have the authority. What are the two that you wish you were known for? Everyone always says every leader almost predominantly says, I want to be known for knowing something and I want to be known as likable and approachable, referent, power. And I’ll say, OK, when time is of the essence and you have to, which do you go to? They blow their heads almost shamefully. Right, Brilliant. And they say, well, sometimes coerce or reward. So what is the what the issue is, is typically a lack of programing on the educational side within H.R. HRD. And most people will say we do a good job, but their voice says, no, we don’t and we know it. So that’s my answer.
Brilliant Miller [01:07:52] OK, thank you for that. And what’s the basis of those five types of power?
Dennis Rebelo [01:07:57] So this is a great book is called It’s written by Daft. I think it’s Richard and it’s called “The Leadership Experience”. Great book. And the the the leadership power bases where a leader gets power is usually for position. Right. So if you actually have the title that is from the president that you should be the senior vice president of finance, then that’s power. It’s you can be expert or knowledgeable or even guru. But that’s all about knowledge. You can be also referenced. So likable, approachable, people just want to do things for you. You know, that’s a, yeah, right. I want to be that kind of leader. And then there’s coersive, getting punished, and reward, getting the goodies and the carrots. And so that’s a model that is what is pretty much universal that a way of thinking about it. Of course, it’s a little bit limited, but it’s how people can relate in a workshop very nicely or in an academic class or even a retreat that, hey, I can identify. I have this power base, but I want to develop this one. Now, the question is, how do you develop them? Through your story. Right. So often when I’m teaching a leadership through storytelling, it’s developing that narrative and then putting those dots in order so that you can create approachability and likability. So knowing your audience, understanding your intention and to your point earlier, knowing context and that contextual influence of the storytelling, because context is the environment or the arena for the storytelling
Brilliant Miller [01:09:33] that makes so much sense. And and as you talk too, I’m reminded now of the fact that when we tell a story, we can invite others into it. But if you never tell the story, there’s nothing to invite people into.
Dennis Rebelo [01:09:47] Bingo. And OK, so now you’re getting me lit up again, so this creates what’s called an LMX leader member exchange. Right, and so to go to and fro back and forth is wonderful, it’s it allows for positive quid pro quo. Sharing through what psychologists called the Johari window, where you open the blinds and you share parts of your life back and forth. Leader, follower, leader, member, leader, leader. But in the literature, it’s called leader – member exchanges. And if you want to enhance the to and fro of those and the mutuality of those, that can create wonderful resonance within an organization or in a team. So, yeah, well done. And also what happens is it becomes like a plasma that surrounds the experience. So now, like my story moments and your moments start to flow into this plasma. It’s almost like the goop, it’s like almost like think of jello with all the experiences that go back and forth. And now the plasma is developed by you and me. Yeah, right. And so we’ve generated this experience, which is really an encounter, because now you have done some revealing to me and me to you in a way that’s relevant, prevalent in sensemaking given your role. Wow. That is that’s the good stuff. Then we do things for each other. We work harder, more deeply. We approach with less fear and trepidation because I know Brilliant. Well he’ll answer my email or he’ll talk to me for five minutes on the fly because we had that that conversation that we co-generated. Yeah.
Brilliant Miller [01:11:25] That’s pretty cool. Awesome. Thank you for that. OK, question number three, if you were required every day for the rest of your life to wear a T-shirt with a slogan on it or a phrase or saying or quote or quip, what would the shirt say?
Dennis Rebelo [01:11:37] Everybody’s work matters.
Brilliant Miller [01:11:41] Awesome. Thank you. OK, question number four, what book, other than your own, have you gifted or recommended most often?
Dennis Rebelo [01:11:53] I’m really concerned about generations at work because this is the time where we have five generations at work and it’s the first time ever, I have to say I have gifted Chip Connollys book to quite a few people. I find it really important to elders that they realize that they don’t have to be quiet and not speak because other people aren’t speaking and that they can have that heart of an intern and feel self affirmed by sharing their story and being vulnerable, but likewise that young people can also, or younger people or even mid career people can become more sensitive to what can be gained across the generations as well. I think that’s a really rich area of of research and study.
Brilliant Miller [01:12:39] Yeah, absolutely.
Dennis Rebelo [01:12:41] I will say one other book, The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg. I think people don’t realize the social cues that trigger behaviors that need to be replaced by other routines than the ones that aren’t serving them. And so I do a little bit of a rip on that, but I like that book as well.
Brilliant Miller [01:12:57] Awesome. Me too. OK, question number five.
Brilliant Miller [01:13:02] So you’ve traveled a lot.
Brilliant Miller [01:13:03] You traveled a lot. What is one travel Hack, meaning something you do or something you take with you, when you travel to make that travel less painful or more enjoyable?
Dennis Rebelo [01:13:12] My daughter gave me a little sketchbook years ago. She’s 20. I think she was probably maybe 12 actually when she gave it to me and I love to sketch in it. So I would say I keep that with me all the time and some good, one other one, I have to answer it with two. Is that is that legal? Can I do that? OK, I would say some good jazz. I love some good jazz at the ready. Good jazz music man. It sets me straight.
Brilliant Miller [01:13:44] Awesome. What’s something that you’ve been enjoying recently or what are some of your your go to’s, your favorites?
Dennis Rebelo [01:13:49] You know, I really love Greg Porter. He’s a great lyricist. He’s more of a modern jazz guy. I think he’s he’s fantastic. At the Newport Jazz Festival, we were able to see him live. But I love some underground Coltrane, too, to take me away, you know, and to really practice contemplation and wandering, really letting go. And, you know, there’s a guy, Daniel Bennett, who is the associate director of the New York Jazz Academy. He’s fantastic. He’s a clarinet player, flute and sax, and he’s a wonderful teacher, too. And he’s really funny. So he does things that are a little unusual, I would say. I think that Chet Baker, all the time, like actually listen to Chet and probably do every morning almost, I bet 60 to 70 percent of my morning. Start off with some Chet Baker in the mix.
Brilliant Miller [01:14:43] Wow. Now, I’m going to have to check all that out. I took a music appreciation class that focused on jazz many, many years ago. But beyond that, I haven’t listened to much. But you’ve inspired me now to go back and explore a little more. So thank you. OK, what’s one thing –this is question number six — what’s one thing you’ve started or stopped doing in order to live or age well?
Dennis Rebelo [01:15:08] Well, I don’t really drink. I’m no good at it, as it turns out, the less I did it, I think that that’s really important for me. I didn’t ever declare it as the worst thing in the world, but I just I don’t know, I just started removing it a little bit and I’m a vegan, so I one hundred percent plant based, and I’m not one of those people who run around trying to convert people. So I want to just clarify that. But a person I met and friend Rich Role when I was in Vegas, he was telling a story and I was prepping some people for storytelling at the Learning Village. And I heard his story and I said, if Rich can be a vegan, I can do it for a couple of weeks. And that has really helped me tremendously.
Brilliant Miller [01:16:03] Well, how long has it been that you’ve practiced veganism?
Dennis Rebelo [01:16:08] I would say. Seven, eight years. Wow. Yeah, so it’s yeah, and the Portuguese people in my family thought I was a little wild because some of them had owned, one of my great aunts, my Tia, as it were. She owned a sausage company, very innovative entrepreneur in her fourty’s. I think she started that business. And so for me not to eat meat was considered a little odd in that part of our family tree.
Brilliant Miller [01:16:45] I mean, not eating meat. Many people think of it as un-American.
Dennis Rebelo [01:16:49] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And, you know, I’ve converted my father to some vegan dishes, which I thought is really good. So that’s helped me maintain my energy for sure. And I still bike, but I would say definitely the veganism. And, you know, I’m not a big drinker. I think that helps too.
Brilliant Miller [01:17:09] Right on. OK, question number seven, what is one thing you wish every American knew?
Dennis Rebelo [01:17:23] Philosophically, I think that we’re really absent philosophers. I mentioned this a little bit in the book that the method that I share was inspired to become a philosophy for living. So after you’re done with your story, it’s an apparatus or a way of organizing or thinking about your life because you’re a collector, you’re always going to do stuff right? Hopefully, right. And you’re going to be engaged in the world. So as you’re engaged in the world, it’s important to understand how these experiences are ordered and weighted and contribute to your sense of self-worth and sense making, and philosophy is, how you think. So whether it’s this method, another method, I think embracing a philosophy is key.
Brilliant Miller [01:18:12] Awesome. OK, question number eight, what’s the most important or useful thing you’ve ever learned about making relationships work?
Dennis Rebelo [01:18:24] Calling out mistakes quickly.
Brilliant Miller [01:18:27] Your phone or your partners?
Dennis Rebelo [01:18:30] Yeah, I would say so, all right, now, you’ve added you have added a little bit of a spin to that, which I would say it’s. For me, originally, I was answering the question that if I’m giving something up, I’ll catch it right away like that and not letting it go and not worrying about saving face, but saving face by being human. Like if I see like back in the day when I first started training adults who are a lot older than me, 20 and 30 years older, you know, I knew what they were doing was a goof up. Right. And so I might have a little – maybe I’d push them a little bit on it. Right. And I realized that, in other words, if somebody were misspeaking or not being very good at something, I would kind of be a little bit of a wise guy. I’m going back 15, 20 years. And I realized that with some people based on their baggage, that that humor, they didn’t really understand the intention of it. Right. So calling myself out quickly and saying, hey, my Portuguese family is big on humor. So if I’m being too goofy with you, let me know. And typically people would start to laugh and it would be fine. But it also was telling the truth, like that was the origin of some of my early techniques to engage people on topics such as public speaking and they’re being evaluated on their speaking. Now, I’m a little less humorous, although I think I still can be funny and I’m more around the fidelity of the model to help people just witness their own greatness as a public speaker, to answer that question, tell me about yourself. And so I would say if you make a mistake, call it out quickly. I mean, I know that. Or if you think somebody has mistaken your intention, call it out quickly.
Brilliant Miller [01:20:25] I love that. OK, question number nine, aside from compound interest, what’s the most important or useful thing you’ve ever learned about money?
Dennis Rebelo [01:20:36] As a creator, you are, so this is not to say Ayn Rand or Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged, but there are really a couple of camps when it comes to creating. Either. Now, if you’re an Ayn Rand fan and you’ve read Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged, you know, the Objectivist philosophy or the philosophy of Objectivism, which is that you’re either, essentially summarizing, you’re either a creator or you’re feeding off of a creator. Right now, I want to answer your question, so I think about that once in a while, because I think, is that really true? And I think what I think about that is that creativity deserves money, whether you’re a mural artist or whatever you do. So I would say that if you are creative, I bet that that’s tied to compensation because your time and talent that turns into a behavior in a relevant space and place deserves money. And accepting that is is sometimes a challenge for people. You know, the first time I’ve ever charged a handsome fee, so to speak, years ago, for a stipend to speak, it feels a little weird, but I don’t have a lot of money reluctance, so I have no problem now. But I think that for others and for myself sometimes and for others, probably more than me, because I had a great teacher and my grandmother who’s still alive and about to turn ninety six, she taught me about money and she would sit down and do the books for her business in front of me while I was eating some really amazing food that she also created, by the way. And she went to Rhode Island School of Design and took a couple of busses to get there as a Portuguese woman who had probably two or three kids at the time. And so creativity is powerful and creativity and money are interwoven. So if you’re an artist, it’s OK to get paid. And if you’re an entrepreneur, make sure you’re creating something because you’ll get paid. And if your story is told, well, you’ll be compensated somehow. Either you’ll have less frenetic time and more balance or more money. So I think that creativity and money are our cousins, but they’re causally connected and maybe not, like I said. Exactly. But there’s a deep connection there.
Brilliant Miller [01:23:04] Yeah, that that makes sense to me. And I’m reminded of something I learned when I went through Tony Robbins Business Mastery. And it’s so basic, but it’s about value creation. And just like you’re saying, if your creativity is adding value to people, that’s what you call this tautological. Like, that’s valuable.
Dennis Rebelo [01:23:23] Yeah, that’s valuable. And, you know, for your story. It should show value and worth. And if you have more money to do the things that you’re loving and good at, you’ll become better at it and then you’ll evolve them and you’ll you’ll be so expert at it, right, that you’ll never tap out or pull the pin or quit because you’ll be sought after. So you’ll have a reinforcing loop that’s called a virtual snowball effect, because the thing that you’re good at, you’re getting paid well enough to not worry about other things, which keeps you at the top of the pyramid, the virtuous work, the love work. Right. And then the money comes and it flows. Why does it come? Because you assign the ultimate meaning to it. So meaning money. So meaning first money follows.
Brilliant Miller [01:24:06] Yeah, I think so. That’s awesome. Well, speaking speaking of money, one of the things that I have done to express my gratitude to you for making time to share with me some of your experiences and your wisdom today as I have gone to Kiva.org The microlending site, and I have made one hundred dollar microloan to a woman entrepreneur named Pela in Samoa who will use this money to she will buy Taro and banana. She’s 52 years old. She’s a widow. She has two kids. But in this way, she’ll provide a living for herself, her family, and improve the quality of life in her community. So thank you for giving me a reason to to do that.
Dennis Rebelo [01:24:45] Absolutely, right on. Right on. Fantastic. Thank you for that bonus.
Brilliant Miller [01:24:52] OK, so although I do have just a few last questions for you. If people want to learn more from you or if they want to connect with you, what would you have them do?
Dennis Rebelo [01:25:03] So the website’s, I think, quite nice. DrDennisRebelo.com is the ecosystem for the book. You can learn a little bit about what folks are saying. You can buy the book there. You can also read up a little bit on me and jump from that to LinkedIn or Instagram or even Facebook.
Brilliant Miller [01:25:23] And there and we were talking about this before, we recording that people can also find a readers guide, something they could use as part of a book club or in a group that they would convene as well.
Dennis Rebelo [01:25:33] Yeah, Thanks for the reminder. There’s a free book club guide there, which is you just have to provide your email address. And we just want to know where are you using it within an organization and very, very easy gated entry. So a couple of fields you fill out, boom, it downloads right away. And what we’re seeing, and thanks for reminding me about this. This week we did this a bit just right before launch. And folks at the Cleveland Clinic are using it. Physicians, I think it’s their Physicians Leadership Council and they’re using it so that physicians orient themselves to telling their story to their other caregivers, their teams, their people that report up to them as well as patients. And also, we are seeing it in Germany, France. We’re seeing it in – there were quite a few in Texas. We have we probably have 60 to 70 very active book clubs right now that are using it. And it’s absolutely wonderful to see. Actually, I think the Cleveland Clinic started a second one.
Brilliant Miller [01:26:39] That is awesome. Well, good for you and good for them.
Dennis Rebelo [01:26:41] Yeah, good for them. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Brilliant Miller [01:26:44] Right on making medicine human again.
Dennis Rebelo [01:26:47] Yeah, that’s great. Can you imagine.
Brilliant Miller [01:26:50] OK, so the last part of the interview here, just a few questions about how you got this book done, what your habits, routines, mindsets are as it relates to writing in the creative process. I want to start with this. When did you first know you were a writer?
Dennis Rebelo [01:27:10] Well, the only way they give you a PhD is you have to develop a dissertation and it’s almost like forced writing, right, because you make this declaration and you say, I’m on a PhD, you take classes, but eventually you have to create something. So a PhD is a little different than an EDD, which early on in my life I knew nothing about the distinctions. But a doctorate that’s an educational doctorate usually is three years. It’s very prescribed, very important work. But a PhD could take you five years, eight years, 10 or 12 years because you’re generating new knowledge. So you’re building knowledge. So the first time I knew I could write, I had to really get out of speaking to write because I was used to speaking professionally and I did my doctorate work while I was working full time. So I would say then, the qualifying essays and then some. When I realized I was going to write this book, I had known that I had been able to tap into a voice that was acceptable to varied people from culturally and generationally, and that I found was sort of the fun lane to entertain, engage and get people to do things that would be good for them. And I did that first by building an online program class that was really the digital book, lots of like forty two videos, forums, et cetera, so people could build their story in my public speaking classes and my practice, the work I do supporting people in Enterprise. And then then the writing really became so much fun because I had forced myself through the PhD years and then I played in the speaking world and then I played in the video world. And then I saw sort of in that triangle what the book had to be like. And covid struck. And I started writing 30 days later. And I just come back from San Francisco, I was at Steinhauser, the audio company doing a private event. I was a little nervous because it was the word was out that covid was hitting California. And I started writing and I woke up every morning and I had a designated schedule every couple of days. I scheduled it for myself and I meditated. I listened to jazz. I sat in a very still way. And I zoned in on each chapter after figuring out the outline, and I just focused on that chapter and getting it all out. And I recorded my notes as I was writing as well, and the power was in the editing, but getting the first version done was done toward the beginning of fall and then the final manuscript was done December 18th.
Brilliant Miller [01:30:24] Wow, that’s pretty quick timeline to get a book written and published,
Dennis Rebelo [01:30:30] I think covid opened up a window a little bit, right? I saved on some travel time.
Brilliant Miller [01:30:36] Yeah, for sure. What did you what did you experience was the most challenging part of getting the book written and published? And how did you deal with it? How did you overcome it?
Dennis Rebelo [01:30:46] Well, you know, I wanted to make sure I was being inclusive in the book, so I think that was the challenge. But I also wanted people to realize this book is has the capacity to change the spoken word that you utter during the day. So getting the words right after the first rip through all 10 chapters and making sure they were exactly the way I wanted it wasn’t being a theorist, perfectionist, as much, Brilliant, as it was really just making sure that I would tickle people’s brains a little bit and that they would have some fun, like who wants to read a book and feel like it’s rigid and unworkable? And so I wanted to make sure that I was using the words in a particular way and also citing researchers in a way that wasn’t sounding like a normal citation, but nodding to people who had contributed to my evolving knowledge and the way I developed this model.
Brilliant Miller [01:31:40] Yeah, I know many people think of writing a book as a solitary endeavor, and in many ways it is, but it’s also a collaborative endeavor. In some ways it’s maybe closer to filmmaking than we would think. There is a production team and you know, other people that come into the process. What did it look like? What did what did other people’s participation in making this book, what did it look like?
Dennis Rebelo [01:32:06] So my wife knows my work really well. So, as you can imagine, you know, when you’re in a relationship such as that and she’s an instructional designer, so she was very good at picking up parts of the ordering, that would be a really good way to sequence how I was introducing language so that we would talk about blue dots, you and me, we talk about what blue dots are but really to the listener, that’s a formative experience. That’s a strong event in your life, a self event connection. Well, we load people up with some new language in this book and doing it in a particular order had to happen. So she was really helpful. Her name is Shannon. Shannon is just a great thinker, organizer, very amazing organizational competency. So she was very helpful. And I think reading it and with my editor and having the courage to say, no, this word, is this going to be this or we’re going to remove that? I don’t like the way that sounds. I don’t like the way that portrays me. This book isn’t about me. It’s about the reader. But I have to give them a little bit of me, but I don’t want to give them that vibe. So let’s change this sequence of words a little bit so that you know, I downplay myself, I just didn’t want to be the center of attention in this book. Yeah, that was really important to me. And then reading it to my mother in law, who just passed away almost a little over 30 days ago, she had ovarian cancer. Sandy, and Sandra would come down on Tuesdays to work on a quilt with my daughter, which was the final quilt that she made. And she was young. She would ride or bike 10, 12 miles a day. Seventy seven. Very much like your dad, didn’t make it to the 80s and 90s. Right. And I would read the book to her, because she was an educator. And I read the book to her. Very, very well read. I mean, would read five to ten hours a week. And I would sit with her and I would just read the book as if it were an audible, you know, tell me about yourself. Right. I’d start with a question and get right into it. I read the first three chapters before it became more difficult for her to be able to do it. And it was wonderful. And so she gave me a glow in her non-verbal response. And she asked good questions and helped me realize the older readers really need sensemaking, too. And so I had to honor her along the way. And then it’s being true to yourself and your intention as a writer and think about your own lived experiences. Are you really trying to reach her? You know, and when someone tells you, just reach this, you’ll sell more books. Is that really what you want to do? Or will the books sell more over time? So like balancing that. I’m aware of the business part of it, but I wanted to honor my own identity too. So that was really critical. So the power, as a lot of writers may tell you, would be in the editing.
Brilliant Miller [01:35:22] Yeah, for sure. Tell me about what was the editing process like for you?
Dennis Rebelo [01:35:29] Well, I probably went through the book seven or eight times, you know, after I read the transcript or the manuscript and I would wake up the next day and I would think about what I had doven into and I tried to do it in Chapter three chapters at a time, just like a good reading. And then I get to the end. I would say the sixth, seventh and eighth reads. I went right through the book from beginning to end without stopping. So I really wanted to make sure that there was this holism to it. So the whole process flowed like there was no there would be nobody calling and saying, I don’t get what you said on page one hundred and twelve. Doc, what’s going on? You know, I did want that. So I just made sure that I did a line by line edit.
Dennis Rebelo [01:36:27] what tools and technologies were useful to you? What did you find? Was there anything that was indispensable, anything you tried and you you abandoned? But what did that look like?
Dennis Rebelo [01:36:38] You know, writing is very different than speaking. OK, and it’s a different language altogether. Both are different. So if you’re a good writer, you might not be a good speaker. And they’re not mutually exclusive, but they’re very distinct, you know. So. I would say that reading aloud is probably the best thing you can do as a writer. You know, you really it takes a lot of time, might take you five, five hours, six hours to read your book out loud, but you understand whether or not you voted for those words that you just gave voice to, those words that you amplified. And so I use some tools collaboratively that were provided by the publisher so that they could see what I could see. And when I change something, I didn’t change it and miss it. And those are good tools. You and we could have notes on them and whatnot, like, hey, I just changed the section. Please make sure that it gets into the final the final baked copy of the signed off copy. But I think for the most part, the tools are really out there. You just have to you have to do the work. You have to do the work and hearing your word choices in the sequence of those words, because those words convey the essence of what you want to convey, whatever it is you’re writing about. So you have to add voice to it.
Brilliant Miller [01:38:07] Absolutely. And here you use the word essence, and I know it’s not necessarily interchangeable with what I might add, which is energy. But I’m curious what your experience has been like either writing this book or just writing in general about the fact that in any communication there’s the content, like the literal meaning, but then there is also an energy or perhaps an essence or an intention or something. What’s your experience like of this kind of parallel coding that’s present in our communication?
Dennis Rebelo [01:38:38] Such a great question. I mean, we see that in email all the time. What’s that person’s intention? They yelled at me. No, they didn’t. So as soon as we go to the written word in it, not just in an email, but also in a book, it can come across wrong. Right. Without that intentionality or that essence or that vibe. That sort of energy. Right. That you’re referring to, Brilliant. So I tend to lean on the this concept that I need to make sure they hear my energy, and if I’m writing an email, in other words, in regular life, I’ll say, hey, brilliant, you know, it was great meeting with you. I’ll be flying through Utah, blah, blah, blah, clackety clack, not to add any pressure to scheduling. And I mean this with positive intent. And in brackets – love to connect, thinking of this. That might work to share your thoughts, but if I wrote I’m flying through Utah, I might be available to share your thoughts. You’re going to be like, wow, like I might be available well I’m busy, too, right. But if I add the “sharing this with positive affected intent”. You want to continue our conversation and understanding how the work you’re doing is impacting organizations, then adding that, but sometimes you have to remove those brackets when you’re writing a book. Right. And I might be speaking about being a live wire to story, as I did when I was talking about Jimmy Allen’s story, the black country singer and you know, in that section, I added, you have you have a call to story too. And so I have to take it out of me telling you stuff and about someone else and then say, you know, hey, you. Hello. Right. And so how we do that in a book is to say it’s like being a good jazz musician. You let people come in and out, like I might give you music, but then I want your music. I want your saxophone to come in off of my bass or my bass provides a beat or you do the bass and I do the sax and then he does the clarinet and Dallen does piano. But we all have to kind of shift around a bit. And so knowing when to do that with the reader, I think helps preserve the energy you wish to convey through the writing.
Brilliant Miller [01:41:03] Yeah, awesome. So final question, it’s really two questions, because the first part is what else haven’t we talked about related to writing creativity that you think might be of service to the reader? And that might be the same answer to the second question, which is what advice or encouragement – or it might be different, but what advice or encouragement do you leave those listening with to help them get their own creative books, their own creative projects done, or their own books finished and published?
Dennis Rebelo [01:41:32] Yeah, well, you know, find a grain of sand, you know, even though we all want a unified theory of existence or we may want it. And this is presumptuous of me, but I think that people want to understand how all life fits into itself. Find a grain of sand that stands out to you, find your your blue dot related to it, and then think about bringing the future to the present and say, this book, this creative project, in action, will solve this problem, solve for this in this way, and it will look like this totally glorious because bom bom bom bom bom and just write off of it
Brilliant Miller [01:42:16] When you say a grain of sand, do you mean, for instance, like the oyster, Maktab Pearl or what. My grandson.
Dennis Rebelo [01:42:22] So find the one thing that you do that you tend to wander to when you’re so OK. That’s a great question. So there are two psychological competencies that will help. I think one is. So if you also there are eight total that I talk about in the book, too, which is leadership. The opposite of leadership is receptivity, creativity. The opposite of creativity is exploration. In other words, you need both. They’re related, but you can’t do them at the same time. Discrimination, which is analytical thinking power. The opposite is being flexible. Right. And then organization knowing how things work and then being able to speak, communication. So if you turn up your ability to be open, contextually aware, just open. Right. It’s like pushing myself off in a little dinghy boat or sailboat or raft off the in the pond across the street from my house or the lake. I roll out and I’m open to whatever, wherever I go. But I add exploration and then I and then I can go to unchartered territory is in that lake or that pond. And I say, OK, so openness. That’s called contemplative wanderer, psychological archetype. Roy Horen turned me into that, a friend of mine in Hong Kong. So when you do that, you can find limits to what you want to do because you’re open and you’re exploring. And you can also find, which is a boundary, you can also find opportunities. So it’s really important and sometimes you can do this through a quasi meditative practice, you can do this through Walking, Achee walk, you can do this for take a hike, a jog, get on a bike, Lyricless music and you contemplate and you wonder what is the one thing that should anchor my writing? What is the one project I should pour into? And pour into that.
Brilliant Miller [01:44:15] I love that, that reminds me of that Swami Vivekananda quote about take up one idea and make it your life,
Dennis Rebelo [01:44:23] something like that. Yes, that’s great. Oh, wow. Well, woven. Brilliant.
Brilliant Miller [01:44:42] Take up one idea, make that one idea your life, think, OK, it says, and so my editorial team has some work to do here, but take up one idea, make that one idea your life. Think of it, dream of it. Live on that idea. Let the brain, the body muscles, nerves, every part of your body be full of that idea and just leave every other idea alone.
Dennis Rebelo [01:45:06] Like and I’ll add this inspired by doing.
Brilliant Miller [01:45:10] Yes. So perfect. Well, Dr. D, this has been so awesome. I’m really grateful to you for making time. I know you’ll be through Utah because it’s the center of the universe and everyone comes through Utah for something, whether it’s Sundance Film Festival or Silicon Slopes or the Outdoor Retailers Expo or to go to southern Utah or whatever. But next time you’re here, I hope you’ll let me know and I’ll do what I can to make sure that we connect. If your schedule allows and I’m in town and whatever, when our paths cross again, I’m really looking forward to staying connected and developing our friendship.
Dennis Rebelo [01:45:47] I also am you know, I’m thrilled with the work you’re doing. You know, there are so many different on the fringe opportunities. When I say that, I mean, where education meets the real world, where humanistic, existential thinking. And that is evidence based or supported through really nice pedagogy, ways of teaching, ways of learning and, you know, a mind’s eye on the encounter of the learner. Right. So that’s a conjuror that’s neat, being able to be creative. And use your analytical power to be creative, and when I look at what you’re offering, I see your virtuous story in motion. You know that you are creating something and have created something and gathering and distilling human beings who know the power of this type of learning, teaching, coaching and how transformative it can be. And so I just want to thank you for the work you’re doing as an educator and teacher as well.
Dennis Rebelo [01:46:56] Well, thank you. OK, well, with that, we’ll wrap and thank you to everyone listening, too. Hey, thanks so much for listening to this episode of the School for Good Living podcast. Before you take off, just want to extend an invitation to you. Despite living in an age where we have more comforts and conveniences than ever before, life still isn’t working for many people, whether it’s here in the developed world where we deal with depression, anxiety, loneliness, addiction, divorce, unfulfilling jobs or relationships that don’t work, or in the developing world where so many people still don’t have access to basic things like clean water or sanitation or health care or education, or they live in conflict zones. There are a lot of people on this planet that life isn’t working very well for. If you’re one of those people or even if your life is working, but you have the sense that it could work better. Consider signing up for the School for Good Livings Transformational Coaching Program. It’s something I’ve designed to help you navigate the transitions that we all go through, whether you’ve just graduated or you’ve gone through a divorce or you’ve gotten married, headed into retirement, starting a business, been married for a long time, whatever. No matter where you are in life, this nine month program will give you the opportunity to go deep in every area of your life to explore life’s big questions, to create answers for yourself in a community of other growth minded individuals. And it can help you get clarity and be accountable. To realize more of your unrealized potential can also help you find and maintain motivation. In short, is designed to help you live with greater health, happiness and meaning so that you can be, do, have and give more visit good living dotcom to learn more or to sign up today.