The Power of Telling Stories

“He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning.” Did you recognize the last line of Harper Lee’s classic story, “To Kill a Mockingbird?” To speak about story telling, what better way to lead than with the number one choice in the Great American Read, and the book found at the top of Novels Everyone Should Read from Information is Beautiful? This one sentence summary from the Famous Film Plots Generator, describes the story well: Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his children against prejudice. Told from the point-of-view of young Scout, the story begins like this: “When he was nearly thirteen my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.”

Stories Are Powerful

Stories provide meaning. Stories entertain, engage, teach, and connect us with others. Good stories capture and hold our attention, and make us care.

The Elements of Powerful Story Telling

All stories need the following parts.

PURPOSE – why the story matters. What is the message? A story has a meaningful theme or main idea.

PEOPLE – who the main characters are. What makes you care about them? Characters seem real when they make mistakes, struggle, and overcome adversity.

PLOT – what happens on the journey. What events take place? Create scenes that grab attention, explore themes, and advance movement.

PERIL – what could be lost or gained. What struggles are faced? Without conflict, there is no story. Action and adventure add tension.

Also important to include in a story are:

PLACE – where the story takes place. What is the setting of the story? The time period and setting can convey tone.

PASSION – the emotion that fuels purpose. What do the main characters want? Characters are motivated by a desire.

PERSONAL – what it means for the reader. How does the story help them? CARE – use a conversational tone, add value for them, make it relatable by connecting with emotions.

PICTURES – what it looks like. How do descriptions bring the story to life? Touch on the senses to paint a vivid picture with words.

Download the Storytelling Venn Diagram pdf

In Ten Ways to Use Storytelling to Improve Your Ability To Connect and Communicate, Sarah Peck says, “A story is what you take with you.” Think of a story that you have loved, and what you took away from it. She also says that we tell stories (and I would also add read, listen, and watch stories) to connect, dream, and imagine. Sometimes we want to go on a journey to a place we have never been, or to see how others experience the world. We may want to learn about something we never thought about before, or maybe just escape for a little while. Whatever the reason, when a story captures our attention, it is a powerful way to communicate.

More Information

Learn more about storytelling at Emotional Brand Storytelling and the Seven Beats of Brand Storytelling. See also the Brand and Purpose ToolkitReading Comprehension Cubes at Phonics Pow, and the Storytelling Pinterest Board.


Posted in Ideas That Work, information management

Design and Deliver a Delightful User Journey


It is a journey that we have all been on as we attempt to solve a problem. We seek answers, consider options, and make decisions about the best solution. When we succeed and discover a product or service that meets or exceeds our needs, we are delighted and eager to repeat the experience.

The first step in the journey is AWARENESS. The user becomes aware of pain, and needs to resolve a problem. This need can be met with IKEA: Intigue them, Know user needs, Educate and entertain, and Attract with advertising.

The next step of the journey is INTEREST. As the user becomes interested and needs to learn more, they often explore the website. The “I” in interest, is all about them – the user. To meet this need, your website should:
  • Inform – clearly convey what you do and how it will help them.
  • Invite – welcome them with easy navigation.
  • Include why you do what you do, and answers to FAQs.
  • Inspire trust and belief in the value you provide.
Next the user CONSIDERS and evaluates options. They need to choose the best solution to their problem. Use POV to meet this need.
Provide testimonials,
Offer free trials or samples and
Visual demonstrations to present a convincing point of view.
The user may have a question that needs to be answered before they make a final decision. At this point, they may reach out and CONTACT you. To meet this need use EQ – be:
Easy to contact, and
Quick and accurate with a response.
The next step in the user journey is when they COMMIT to action and choose to purchase a product or service. They need to receive it and use it quickly. To meet this need, ensure EASE:
Easy shopping and check-out
Accurate and fast delivery
Special packaging that may include tips and recommendations for additional purchases.
Extras like a discount for a referral, and remember to THANK them.

For a COMPLETE user journey, the user should be delighted with what they receive. They need to change the pain into a gain that provides a solution. To meet this need, ASK:
  • Ask for feedback and reviews.
  • Satisfaction and Support – follow-up to be sure they are happy and able to use the product or service.
  • Know what they think – survey users to find out.
The final step in the user journey is CONTINUE. If you have succeeded, the user becomes a loyal advocate. They want to share their experience with others and repeat it. They need to continue with the solution. To create EAGER users:
  • Exceed expectations. Provide:
  • Amazing product or service,
  • Great customer service.
  • Engage with them- invite them to join you on social media and to return.
  • Remind them to repeat the process!


CORRECT complaints to keep your reputation (and customers). If a mistake happens, the proper response to a customer complaint can create an even more loyal customer. Use REP and you will likely keep your reputation and your customer. Keep your REP: 1. Respond quickly 2. Express apologies 3. Problem solved – Right the wrong.

Meet user needs every step of the way to design and deliver a delightful user experience! For an example of a delightful user journey, read 10 ways to be like Dollar Shave Club

Learn more at Pinterest boards for User Experience and Key Performance Indicators

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Posted in Ideas That Work, information management

Don’t Wait – Relate

Relationships are an important part of our happiness. To cultivate relationships, combine sharing with emotional intelligence, and add excellent communication skills, especially listening. Understand the importance of love languages, loving actions, and being authentic. For close relationships, know what you want, identify needs and meet needs with love, and learn effective conflict resolution skills. Learn more with love books, including “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman.

To stay connected with friends, family, or a partner, be prepared with ideas for activities to spend time together.

Game Ideas

Fun games are a great way to connect: Board games like Scrabble or Wahoo, Card games like Golf, Hearts, or Uno, Dice Games like Skunk, Farkle (scoresheets), or Qwixx (scoresheets), Apps like Heads Up or Things. Crossyroad, with multi-player over local wi-fi for Android. Learn how to play some of these games with videos at this Youtube playlist.

Socially Distanced Options: Schedule a time that works for everyone with Set up a game room to play Uno and Farkle (plus more) at with no registration required, or multi-player Uno at At trickster cards, you can practice against the computer, join a game, or create or join a game with friends. Roll Qwixx dice online at or play online here, with instructions here. Read books with grandkids with the Caribu app.

Date Night Ideas

A date night could include: dancing, dinner out, game night, a movie, or pizza night. Other options are seasonal bucket lists, and other activities to share. A Penny Date can add some randomness: your partner chooses a number between 10-20 (that’s the # of times you’ll flip the penny) Heads is right, and Tails left. Flip the penny at every junction until the number is reached. Look around for something to do! Here are some date night ideas for each month of the year:

1. Video game arcade
2. Fancy Restaurant
3. Board or card game
4. Brunch
5. Miniature golf
6. Restaurant with music
7. Swimming pool
8. Outdoor concert
9. Lakeside picnic
10. Bingo
11. Coffee House music
12. Christmas lights and hot chocolate

The Relate File includes 3 x 5 cards for:

  • The Five Love Languages
  • Conversation Starters
  • Date Night Ideas
  • Seasonal Bucket Lists
  • A- Z activities
  • Game Ideas

Download a free printable Relate File pdf

See also: Stay Connected at Develop a Support System | Seasonal Bucket Lists at Choose the Best Recreational Activities | Recreational activities at Quality Leisure

Sharing is Caring includes a Share File with recipes, menus for easy entertaining, ideas for seasonal treats and other treats to share.

Posted in positive shift

The Four Ps of Positive Psychology Practices

Positive shift happens when we practice the building blocks of positive psychology. The first letters of the practices that have been shown by research to increase happiness and well-being, happen to spell BE MEASURING. (although it is not usually important to measure them.)

The building blocks divide into four Ps: Power Up, Pause, People, and Purpose.

  1. Power Up with Gratitude, Uplift, and Exercise.
  • Gratitude – we are happier when we are grateful and express our appreciation. We can keep a gratitude journal, and express gratitude with thank you notes or small Appreciation Gifts that combine a treat with a punny tag.
  • Uplift – yourself with positive thoughts, music, books, and videos. Uplift others with kind words and Random Acts of Kindness. A favorite RAK is to leave a bookmark, quote, or poem in a library book when I return it. I often practice uplift by watching a short video at
  • Exercise – has many proven benefits, including increasing happiness! When the weather is nice, I walk around the lake at Bass Pro and enjoy the beauty of nature at the same time. I often include a short yoga routine in my day as well.

     2. Pause to Breathe, Notice, and Meditate.

  • Breathe – deep breathing can lower blood pressure, and improve heart rate and sleep. It lowers stress so we feel calmer, and our ability to handle emotions is improved. It is a tool that can be practiced anytime, anywhere.
  • Notice – happiness is increased when we are mindful of the present moment, using all the senses. Slow down to savor the taste of food, observe a beautiful sunset, listen to the sound of a song you love, inhale the scent of a flower, and feel a cool breeze on your skin.
  • Meditate – I often use Tara Brach’s 10 minute guided meditation during a mid-day break, or the One Moment Meditation app if I’m pressed for time.

3. Connect with People: Relate, develop Emotional Intelligence, and Share.

 4. Connect with Purpose: Aspire to goals, Inspire Flow, and nourish the Spirit.

  • Aspire – reaching for goals increases meaning in life. Check out the How to Set Goals free tutorial and the Goal Toolkit to learn more about setting goals. Use time well – learn how at Time Management 101, and more at the Productivity Toolkit. A regular review of my progress and value statement helps to maintain focus on tasks, goals and projects. The Brand and Purpose Toolkit has resources for discovering purpose.
  • Inspire Flow – seek activities that balance challenge with skills. Use strengths for an experience that is so engaging that we lose all track of time.
  • Spirituality – Studies show that those with a spiritual practice or religious beliefs tend to be happier than those who don’t. There are many paths, but you can examine your beliefs, practice your values, and pursue spiritual growth.

Use the power of the pause to make positive shift happen.

Posted in Ideas That Work, personal development, positive shift

Keep a Candle Burning

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Dedicated to the positive people in my life, and to those who have touched my life and departed from this earth.

Keep a Candle Burning

Keep a candle burning to guide us through the night.
Keep a candle burning to show us there is light.
For sometimes there is darkness and sometimes skies are grey.
And sometimes we need brightness til sunshine fills the day.

If the flame begins to flicker let hope become a ray,
that makes the flame grow stronger to always light the way.
When flames are joined together, a larger fire ignites,
warming hearts to always soar to ever greater heights.

Keep a candle burning, with a flame that glows so bright,
that it lights the path before us, and hope dawns in our sight.
And should the flame diminish, transform it to a spark,
that twinkles in the heavens and guides us in the dark.

-Rosemary Rice

Posted in personal development

Uplift with Kindness and Compassion

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

Uplift is one of the Building Blocks of Positive Shift. We can uplift ourselves with positive music, videos, quotes and thoughts. And we can uplift others with positive words, genuine compliments, acts of kindness, and simple gifts of appreciation. We achieve uplift with compassion and kindness for both ourselves and other people.

Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind. -Henry James

Uplift Yourself

Use Positive Self-talk and Positive Affirmations. Affirmations are phrases that describe the results of adopting a positive belief. They can help change negative self-talk to positive when repeated frequently. They often begin with “I am…, I can…, I wil…” Examples: I am loved. I can breathe deeply and fully. I will practice compassion. They are: simple, clear, specific, positive, first person, and present tense.

Watch an inspiring video at Goalcast or Simple Truths. Or a TED talk. Or a dance mashup.

Listen to uplifting music or a highly unscientific happiness playlist. Add music to your daily routine with a soundtrack to manage the day. Access emotions with music, and create a playlist of upbeat music.

Join the Daily PlanIt Facebook page at for daily seeds of thought that inspire positive shift. Read inspiring quotes and more at my quotes Pinterest Board.

download the Positive Thoughts Flyer (pdf)

Uplift Others

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou

I will never forget a day when I was feeling pretty low…or the person who gave me a compliment that lifted me up.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle – Ian Maclaren

Give a sincere compliment

Perform acts of kindness

Show gratitude with a simple gift of appreciation or send a thank-you note or email from

Learn more about how to stay connected and make positive shift happen!

Posted in Ideas That Work, positive shift

Show Your Promise

A promise is a pledge; a vow that you will do something. That’s what personal branding is all about. Promise is also potential. You must know what your potential is before you can make a promise that you will realize it. That is why the tools for personal branding are also helpful for identifying purpose. Make a resolution today to identify your promise and show it with actions every day. I promise to create and inspire positive shift. How will you show your promise?

Posted in goals, personal development

The ABCs of Impact

Impact means making a difference, and we want to have an impact in the world through our work and lives. Purpose is one of the four Ps of positive shift, and an important part of our happiness. To have an impact, we must focus our soul attention.

The ABCs of Impact

Always Be Clear about how you will focus your soul attention. Know your purpose, and create a value statement or personal mission statement for a tool to stay on course and make an impact.

Always Be Connecting your actions with your value statement. Follow through with a daily commitment, choosing to act on top priorities that fall in the sweet spot.

Always Be Communicating. Communicate your purpose: advocate for the causes you believe in and convince others to join you. Concentrate on the value that you provide. Communicating is a two-way process: listen and learn from others.

Learn more about the building blocks of positive shift.

Posted in goals, Ideas That Work, personal development

Daily Inspiration

Sometimes mistakes can provide inspiration. Recently I made a typo and inadvertantly omitted the i in daily planit, resulting in The Daily Plant. An idea was born. Why not post a quote every day that plants a seed of thought that will inspire positive shift?

One of my favorite quotes is from Brian Tracy: “The only true measure of what you believe is what you do, not what you say.”

The Daily Plant is a good idea, but it has become a project that I hope to finish someday.

Tagged with:
Posted in quotes

Paused or On Hold?

As I take time to review the past year, and set goals for the coming year, I am struck by the thought:

have I paused, or am I just on hold?

The symbol for both looks the same, but they are very different things.

To pause and notice is a key part of making positive shift happen. But being on hold just means being stuck nowhere for awhile, unable to move forward with potential projects. To be on hold is not a good feeling.

The pandemic has been a big part of putting things on hold this year. With so many facing loss, unemployment, and stress like has never been experienced before, it didn’t seem to be the right time for talking about happiness. For that reason (and for one other to be discussed below) I have not been present here at the daily planit. But as I review the building blocks of positive shift, I’ve come to realize something. When we are going through hard times, these practices of positive psychology are coping strategies that help. We need more than ever to exercise, meditate, relate (although it may look a little different), and have a purpose. So in 2021, I intend to spend more time here.

What will you give your soul attention to in 2021?

The second reason I have been absent during 2020 is that I turned my sole attention to my passion of literacy. When I recently saw the phrase “soul attention,” it struck me: Flow often requires your sole attention; Focus requires your soul attention on what you value. This has been so for me in 2020 as I built the Phonics Pow website and populated it with fun tools to unlock the power of reading. It has completely consumed my thoughts and my time. I will continue my work there in 2021, but hope now to also attend to things here at the daily planit.

The Keep It Super Simple Annual Review

For my weekly review, I’ve been using my monthly calendar printed from Google, and simply make notes about progress on projects, trips taken, books I’ve read, and movies I’ve watched. These I save for the year. At the end of the year, I review the calendars and select top favorites to enter in the KISS Annual Review form, adding goals accomplished and choosing a few goals for the upcoming year. I also use a simple Net Worth Worksheet to review finances.

The steps to perform an Annual Review are still good to follow, and more detailed forms are available there too. I’m hopeful that the year ahead may be a better one for everyone.

Posted in goals

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