Monday Morning Boost: Short Story Showdown!

Monday Morning Boost: Short Story Showdown!

❤️A handmade fleece jacket helped Sarah Edgar discover the things she couldn’t see. Dallin Cooper learned from a dead baby sheep that miracles start happening when we stop assuming the worst about others and start expecting to see the best. And Ashlee Stratton shared a powerful story her father told her as a young teen that continues to shape who she is today.❤️

Such is the power of stories to shape who we are, and how we can influence those we love, lead, and serve. The snippets I’m sharing are from the first stage of the Short Story Showdowna national competition of the National Speakers Association (NSA). The Showdown was created just last year by Mike Brian, current president of the NSA Mountain West Chapter. Mike was the featured presenter, opening the event by teaching his powerful Story Cadence, a rhythm-based tool that can empower leaders at all levels, presenters, teachers, and speakers, to craft stories in a structure that will create impact every time.

❤️Ernie Harker brought to life his experience of being bullied as a kid and how he has embraced the lifelong lesson that the sweetest cherries of experiences can come from the pits of life. Ann Brian found strength in sharing her authentic voice even when her “little miss peach dress” wasn’t as bedazzling as everyone else. And Lindy Kerqby stepped confidently out of her comfort zone as a singer and speaker even though she didn’t feel she was ready.❤️

The Short Story Showdown was hosted by Jodi Brown, winner of the debut competition held last year. As the winner, she and runner-up Ernie Harker, both spoke on the main stage at Influence, the national convention of the National Speakers Association (NSA) where the very best speakers in the world gather. The winner of each chapter competition around the county will go on to a regional competition, and the winners there will then compete on the main stage at Influence later this summer.

❤️ Michelle McCullough discovered when even bad news of your past is staring you in the face, you can choose to confidently embrace who you are today. Dan Taylor walked on stage outfitted in his typical hiking outfit, sharing the powerful message to keep climbing, one step, one peak, one mountain at a time. Lyndsey Van Sickle shared her experience walking through a very cold river to empower us to ask ourselves how cold are we willing to be to get what we really want. The greatest example of the night was the courage of Talia Riley who beautifully demonstrated the power of being vulnerable enough to keep going when a presentation falls apart, demonstrating the “confidence clicker” really is inside of us.❤️

“The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller,” said Steve Jobs. “The storyteller sets the vision, values, and agenda of an entire generation that is to come.” Jobs spoke this in 1994 when he was CEO of Pixar, the standard for animated storytelling. Pixar’s “22 Rules of Storytelling” is essential reading for anyone desiring to improve their storytelling skills. Ironically, Steve Jobs didn’t start out as a great storyteller, he made the choice to be one, just like each of the contestants is choosing.


At the end of the night, the top three storytellers were selected based on a set of determined criteria as judged by three national-level professional speakers: Ty Bennett, Shari Levitin, and Brad Barton.

Congratulations to the three winners! And break a storytelling leg to Michelle McCullough as she advances to the regional competition!

  • 1st Place – Michelle McCullough
  • 2nd Place – Ernie Hakrer
  • 3rd Place – Dallin Cooper

RULE #14

If you have a story burning within you, a desire to help the world be just a bit better, you will love Pixar’s Storytelling Rule #14 –Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.”

The heart of your story is the WHY that changes the world. If you want to change the world, come and be part of what we are creating at the National Speakers Association. An easy place to start is our Open Mastermind, a free monthly Mastermind group open to all speakers, trainers, coaches, mentors, and leaders at any level, who want to empower how they use their voice.

Our next Open Mastermind conversation will be held on Wednesday, February 28th, 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm, via zoom. Click this link right here to register.

I’ll be there. In fact, I’ll be leading the conversation. We’ll be talking about storytelling! See you soon!

Have a great Monday! Thanks for letting me share.

I Love You!

Les Patterson

p.s. Take 13 minutes today to ponder and share a story!



Click this link to schedule a complimentary Empowering Greatness Discovery Call



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