Remember to Tell Your Founder Story

Katie Corbett holds the book "The Hobbit"

By Katie Corbett

 

Founder stories are almost always inspiring. This month, I’m going to blog about the lessons I’ve learned through fiction. Here’s a founder story of sorts that inspires me.

 

I first read “The Hobbit,” by J. R. R. Tolkien when I was in elementary school. My mom loved the book and talked it up, and even read me the first chapter.

 

I eventually checked it out from the library and finished it myself. I enjoyed it so much, I read it to my younger brother.

 

In later years, I ended up stumbling across the story of how Tolkien came up with the concept. He was grading certificates, as professors do, when he came across a blank page in the stack. Suddenly inspired, he wrote, “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” To this day, that is the first line of the book. From that serendipitous story, I learned:

 

  • It’s OK to start without knowing where you’re going. Tolkien didn’t have a clue what a hobbit was when he wrote those lines.
  • Take opportunities that come your way. He could have thrown the paper aside and kept working, but he seized the moment and wrote the first line of a book that would become more popular than ever.
  • Write things down. If the idea had been ruminating in his head, the book might not have gotten written.
  • Share your story. I bet that was a fun story to tell.
  • Let your projects carry themselves. Tolkien built a beautiful world and inspired so many by letting things be what they would be and following his creativity.

 

If you have a favorite book, movie, song, or product, I encourage you to learn about how it all started. You never know what lessons you can take away from the story or how it will impact your future.

 

Which founder story inspires you? What can you do to learn more about the people who inspire you? What is your founder story? How could you share it with the world? Leave me a comment; I’d love to know.

 

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How Reading Stories can Change Your Outlook

Katie Corbett holds the book, "One Minute Millionaire"

By Katie Corbett

It’s important to vary the kinds of books you read. Reading different types of material will help you stay engaged, keep learning and retain new ideas. I discovered this at one of the lowest points of my life.

When I picked up, “The One-Minute Millionaire,” by Mark Victor Hansen and Robert G. Allen, I was broke. None of my job interviews were panning out and I didn’t know what to do next. The book was interesting to me for two reasons: (1) who doesn’t want to be a millionaire, and (2) it was laid out in a unique way. The right-side pages are written telling a fictional story of a person who becomes a millionaire. The left-hand pages are organized into standalone lessons for implementing the system and becoming a millionaire yourself. Words, phrases and page numbers from the left side of the book are referenced throughout the story on the right. Since I was in such a dark place in my life, I read the story first.

I was relieved when the fictional story held my attention for an extended period of time. I was so stressed by my current circumstances that it felt good to escape into someone else’s life for a while. While reading the book didn’t immediately improve my finances, it fought off the fear and anxiety I felt so I could tackle the problem more creatively and positively.

At a time when it would have been easy to get analysis paralysis, reading a story helped me keep learning. I learned that my mindset and staying positive were very important, and that I could change my mindset no matter how much—or how little–money I had in the bank. Reading about a fictional character struggling through her own negative self-talk made me feel less alone and I learned, through her relatable, albeit fictional example, how to change thought patterns in the midst of everyday life and personal struggles.

Reading in story form allowed me to retain new ideas better than if I were simply reading a step-by-step guide. It has been three years since I first picked up “The One-Minute Millionaire.” I have not read it every day or even referred back to it many times at all. Yet I am constantly putting its ideas and principles into practice each day in my life, career and business. I know I would not have retained the information nearly as well if it hadn’t been delivered in such an entertaining and engaging fashion.

I’m not a millionaire yet. I’m on my way to getting there. I know I wouldn’t be on this journey without having first read “The One-Minute Millionaire.” I encourage you to pick up a copy, suspend any doubt, fear or skepticism as you read, and prepare to be amazed at your own ingenuity and resourcefulness.

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