How To Use Storytelling To Build Your Brand

Storytelling in Business

I had this insight to bring, storytelling, that I did in the entertainment business, to champion people and make them better at building their brand and own their voice.

Today I interview Audrey Cavenecia, the Co-producer and co-host for the Amplify Voices podcast, alongside NFL coach Pete Carroll and host of the “Unlikely podcast” on leadership. A talented, storyteller, and visionary Audrey has decades of experience in, leadership development, entertainment production, and content marketing with a focus on championing humanity in all people.

Download the podcast here

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Bio

Audrey Cavenecia is the Co-producer and co-host for the Amplify Voices podcast, alongside NFL coach Pete Carroll and host of the “Unlikely podcast” on leadership. A talented storyteller and visionary Audrey has decades of experience in leadership development, entertainment production, and content marketing with a focus on championing humanity in all people.

She has worked alongside some of the most influential leaders in the world—including speaker and author Tony Robbins and Oracle founder Larry Ellison—to develop and empower new visionaries through stories and insights around authentic human connection. No matter the sector, she continues to build bridges between what is and what can be, with, storytelling, as the scaffolding.

Audrey’s back story

Myrna: I know you are an expert, storyteller, what’s your story?

Audrey: Well, you know, it’s interesting because I grew up, I was born in Oakland, California and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. My parents were pretty much the extreme polar opposites in every sense of the word, my mother is white. And when I say white, I mean white, like blond hair, blue eyes, can’t even tan, white from Germany.

She came here to the US when she was about 12. My father is African Latin from South America. He had dark skin, kinky hair, all the features as a black man. So, think of this mixture of German culture and African Latin culture and your get total polar opposites in so many ways.  They meet in church and five children later; we each have a roll of the dice of that race of that mixture of all of that.

So, I think we started out, especially for myself, started out very early, being forced almost to be an observer of society. Because I didn’t have my, my tribe. I couldn’t point at somebody and be like, oh, you’re exactly like me. I couldn’t find the Mexican culture and fit in with them. Every single person was like, No, you’re a little bit different. You’re a little bit on the outside, and maybe it wasn’t even them maybe it was just me.

And my own perception of where do I fit when I come from these two narratives that are so different. And then I live inside of my own Americanization while still being pulled into both of their cultures, different languages in the household and all that.

Most of those movies we watched were white people. My dad comes to the United States and marries a white woman.  So, it’s another layer for me to look at and be like, Oh, what am I not beautiful? Because my father didn’t even marry somebody who looked like me. What does that say about me? My parents owned their own business, like a lot of people that come from other countries. And so my first foray into just self-expression was, storytelling, and finding myself in the theater, because I thought, in that place, I can pretend with, storytelling, because I have no home, I have no tribe, and I can be anything.

Transform Your Mind iHeart Radio
iHeart Radio
Introduction to leadership development

Myrna: I am sure you had problems there as well, not being black enough for certain roles, and not white enough for others.

Audrey: That’s right. And but I did have some extraordinary experiences. I toured with the work inside of the African Repertory Theater, and Berkeley toured with plays with individuals was on the Wayans brothers show. So, I had a great time being inside of, storytelling, and that was my lead into, leadership.

So, I went to the, leadership development, in my 20s, I went to the, leadership development, course and there was something about it, it had the beauty of theatrics of being onstage.  It had that spiritual kind of nature of going to church and that physiological kind of feeling that you have in your chest and in your heart when everything opens up that is where, storytelling, is born. I fell in love with, storytelling, as a, leadership development, tool.

I threw myself into it. I dedicated all my time to, leadership. I was single mom at that time as well. And so, I rose through the ranks, I became a really successful leader in that regard and then one woman said something to me.  She said, Okay, great, so what?  You can be a superstar, but can you create other superstars?

I thought to myself, why isn’t the whole point of competition to be the best, why would I want to develop people to be better than me?  But it really stirred something in my heart and in my soul. It spoke to something that was way down deep there which was being a champion for humanity.

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Transform Your Mind Luminary podcast
Transform Your Mind Luminary podcast
Storytelling in leadership

Audrey: And now I threw myself into understanding the art of, storytelling, in, training and development. I wanted to do everything possible to help people that have failed.  The people that no one can turn around, the people that have given everything and couldn’t find themselves. I trained the shy people introverts the art of, storytelling.

I want to pull all of them up and make them the best, storytellers, in front of crowds. I want to make them the best public speakers. I did just that and that’s when people like Tony Robbins and all those others in the, leadership development, space started searching me out and having me work with their, intellectual property.

And then I had this insight and I listened to my heart and my mind, and it said, now bring those two things together, bring, storytelling, that you did in the entertainment business, and bring this, storytelling techniques, to champion people and make them better at their own purpose and voice. Bring them together. Storytelling, and leadership development, is something unique. I opened my own agency, and it took off from there.

I’ve worked with some of the biggest names out there, I not only champion them and rise them up and help curate and formulate their voice and their audience, all of that, but I combine, storytelling, with their actual content. So now I’m in publishing. I have this media company with Pete Carroll, and we’re pulling in people right and left.  Our company it’s called “Amplify Voices” for a reason. We’re going into the margins of, leadership, with, storytelling. We need to expand what, leadership, is.

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What does leadership look like
  • what does it looks like,
  • what size it is,
  • what color it is,
  • what its hair looks like,
  • what his nose looks like,
  • what his what his voice sounds like,
  • where it lives,
  • what it does,
  • its temperament,
  • its emotions, all of that.

We need this more expansive view of, leadership, because there’s so much to accomplish in this world.

Myrna: Beautiful, wow. So beautiful. I love how you found your voice through, storytelling,  and entertaining in theater and, and now you’re helping people to tell their story through, storytelling.  I love what your definition of what a leader looks like, smells like, tastes like etc.

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Podfriend Transform Your Mind Podcast
Podfriend Transform Your Mind Podcast
Amplifying voices of the Black community

Audrey: For Amplify Voices, the voices we’re focusing now are on podcasts, podcasting. So, I’m on finding particular people out there that have a voice.  We’re looking for voices that are timely, that are important. Like for instance, Reza Metacam, is a writer of grandmother’s hands African American male, who specializes in, body trauma.

We’re asking people to be together;

  • Leaders are asking people to work on their divisiveness,
  • Some are asking people to work in their business environment,
  • Everyone is asking them to be great parents, but we have not confronted the trauma that lives in their bodies, especially black bodies. Black bodies are not the only ones who’ve experienced trauma, white bodies have trauma as well.  Before black people were enslaved, they were enslaving white people, it’s in our history.

And so, our bodies have this pain, this fear of one another.  You look in the world right now we feel resonance, such an important voice. So, what we do is we find people that that are out there speaking when they have a book or they’re a public speaker, or they’re doing workshops with businesses, or a community leader or something.  I approached them, I have dialogue with them and if I feel there’s a real sense of synergy, there is collaboration.

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Transform Your Mind Podcast Player FM
Transform Your Mind Podcast Player FM

At Amplified Voices, we take them over and start developing their content.  We become a support for them, not only in the production process and the postproduction process, but also helping them in shaping their brand through, storytelling, and marketing. We take them through those ranks and then when they get to a certain point, get them right in front of the right people for their book deal, or television show or whatever else becomes the natural progression. There’ll also be projects that they’ll do independently on their own by nature of this collaboration and some things we’ll do together.

Developing authentic human connections

Myrna: Awesome, this is how can we empower, leaders, basic, human connections. We talked a little bit about, storytelling, and what, leadership, looks like.  What is an, authentic human connection? I know that, human connection, is connecting with someone, But I think you probably have a broader definition of it.

Audrey: Actually, I’ve got a simpler definition for, authentic human connection. It’s not actually quite broad. It has depth, but it’s quite simple. The very myopic interpretation and narrative we’ve had around, leadership, and, authentic human connections, is this “sharing yourself.” If you share yourself that is where the magic happens.  Just think of the last three days of your work lives, maybe even your relationships, maybe even with your children. Are there moments where you wanted to say something, and you didn’t?  Where you felt like you wanted to reveal something, and you didn’t?

Did you want to ask for help or support and you didn’t?  You didn’t because of your pride, or shame, or because of the way you were raised.  We do not have the freedom to express ourselves.  As, leaders, we can’t tell people “I don’t know how to meet payroll at the end of the week”  Leaders, can’t tell people “I have an eating disorder, I may be drinking too much because of the stress and the pressure” But it truly is accurate statement to say “bitch this will set you free” Getting rid of the, imposter syndrome, and establishing, authentic human connections,  won’t just set you free, It will actually allow people to grow inside your, leadership.  It is the greatest possible thing that you can do.

Myrna: One of the things that people love about Gary Vaynerchuck is that he’s very transparent. He made, Storytelling, and, transparency, necessary for all leaders. Transparency is one of the ways to develop, authentic human connections, because you are sharing yourself and letting others see your pain.

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Transform your Mind Podcast Index
Transform your Mind Podcast Index
How does Diversity and Inclusion affect Leadership

Audrey: Harvard has done studies behind, diversity and inclusion, this is not a moral compass conversation. This is an economic conversation because we are talking about business.  I know everybody gets like, yeah, we know we need, more Black people.  I’m not talking about a moral compass. What I’m saying is, look, in the world, there are 6.5 billion people, do you think all those people only like white things? They think all those people only want to hear from aggressive, outspoken, black people. Diversity, makes economic sense.

Well, here’s the thing. It’s the pretend part. That’s so damaging. Because you can’t pretend, unless I’m hiring you to be an actor and film. There’s really nothing beneficial about pretending. Pretending doesn’t get you to the other side. Pretending doesn’t get you help from the team, pretending doesn’t give you an opportunity to experience failure and learn from it.

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Transform Your Mind PTWWN TV
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Conclusion

Myrna: How can people connect with you on social media and listen to your podcasts?

Audrey:  Okay, well it’s very easy to find us at www.amplifyvoices.io. You’ll find everything there. Find me all our podcasts on our website and our social media handles. We just won a prestigious award so we’re very happy that people have received it so well.

Additional Resources

How to Develop Emotional Resilience At Work

 

 

 

How to Release Childhood Trauma of Guilt Shame

Healing ourselves from Childhood Trauma

Trauma, is a shock to the, nervous system. And when, childhood trauma, is stored instead of released, it can cause physical and, mental health, issues down the road. When, trauma, occurs,  in an effort of protection, your brain temporarily pauses your memory processing system, and the experience is not stored as traditional memories.

Today I am talking with Emily Francis. Emily  is the best selling author of “Healing Ourselves Whole”

Listen to the full interview here:

 

Healing Ourselves Whole will give you the tools you need to clean your emotional house from top to bottom, complete with journal prompts and access to audio meditations for you to listen along to as you read.

As a trained, body worker, Emily Francis offers a refreshing perspective into healing, trauma. She reveals unique knowledge of the body as a holder for memory. Emily will lead you on a path deep within yourself to rearrange the ways that, pain, and, trauma, have been holding you back from whole body, mind, spirit, and, energy healing. You will rearrange the dialogue within your body memory systems as well as learn a practice to re-birth by healing your, inner child, and adolescent selves, coming into the present to create the best adult self possible.

This groundbreaking interactive book contains a journal and access to audio meditations for you to listen to as you read. The meditations will help you dig deep into past, trauma, and discover when and how, trauma, took root. Learn to get in touch with various parts of the physical and, energy body, and how to use them to let go of stored, traumas, and rediscover the deeply held joys that have also been stored within the body. From this, you will learn to live from a new mindful and powerful space.

book: Healing Ourselves Whole from trauma
book: Healing Ourselves Whole

How to release trauma from the body

My Psychotherapist told me to do something called catch and release. Which means whenever you catch yourself being triggered by past, trauma. This happens whenever you begin to feel bad, and you are not sure why. Whenever you feel your body going into reaction mode,  breathe in and then release it.  This allows the feelings you have stuffed down to come out.

Myrna – Emily can you share with our readers how they can  to us start to release, traumatic experiences, from their body?

Emily – In my book, Healing Ourselves Whole, I help my readers put their own hands on their body. When I am helping my clients in person, I help them, release trauma,  in their body by putting my hands on their body to help them locate where the, trauma, had gone in, or the shame, or the guilt.

Why our bodies hold Trauma

Our muscles and tissues store the memory of, trauma.  They also store memories of Joy.  That’s my work; but I couldn’t write a book and teach you how to do Hands On Healing, so I wrote a book teaching you how to dialogue inside your body.  This book “Healing Ourselves Whole” has a chapter for every emotion we hold in our body. We go through a 15 to 20-minute meditation on releasing, body trauma.

The workbook included with the book allows you to journal and go through all the senses to find the, trauma, carrot or the shame carrot or the guilt or grief. I teach you through this book how to do the body work by yourself. I’m not a therapist, so some behaviors and thoughts still need to be treated by, hypnosis therapy, like EMDR.

I work on the part of the body that is holding the, pain, and blocking the healing, so you still need your, cognitive therapist.

Childhood trauma and body trauma are connected

I have some, childhood trauma, and I know that until I became conscious that I was stuffing things down instead of understanding my emotions, I never understood that my, childhood trauma, was influencing my present. My, childhood trauma, also affected my relationships earlier in life before I was able to start to release them.

This is a great topic on releasing, chronic pain, because some people go to their graves not understanding that their quality of life was hampered by, what happened to them. Sometimes the, wounds, were only from, childhood, but relationships earlier in their lives eg.  lovers, friends, teachers etc.

Emily, what made you become a wellness expert?

I graduated undergraduate with a science and, wellness, degree then I went on to become an aerobic yoga instructor. Then I started suffering from extreme panic attacks and agoraphobia, so I went from loving to be on the stage, to not wanting to leave my house.  I was a college cheerleader, I worked out every day, I was at the gym three to five hours a day teaching different classes and I was like rocking.

The more crowded the better.  I fed off the energy and then I turned twenty-five!  I stopped drinking and the mask dropped and the crazy came up. All the, pain, that I had stuff down came to a flying head and I had to stop myself from extreme anxiety and panic attacks.

It took seven years for me to understand that the reason for my anxiety and panic attacks were because of, childhood trauma, that I had stuffed down. I missed a lot of my hot years as a young adult because I couldn’t hang out with friends or go to bars without feeling like I was crazy.  I really stepped away from life and just sat out and watched life pass me by. My, mental health, was of grave concern to me.  I prayed a lot.  I did a lot of intensive work, meditative work.  I went to a million different, healers.  if I heard of something for, body trauma, I was there.  I went through 7 years of, holistic therapy, and nothing worked until I finally broke down and tried a child’s dose of an antidepressant.

When I was able to heal myself, I want to share and that is why I wrote the book Healing Ourselves Whole

Google Podcast Transform Your Mind
Google Podcast Transform Your Mind

Can medications help with Childhood Trauma?

After 7 years of looking for a treatment, I came across a book by a psychotherapist named Tom Rutledge.  He suggested medications. I tried it and it worked for me. The antidepressant worked because it regulated my brain and here is the thing that I learnt from Tom.  I was reading his book and embracing fear and I decided to write this letter to him. I wrote that I was a big phony and a liar, and I’ve been writing all these years and it was  just crap.  I am crap and I wrote this long letter.  It was like reading my autobiography. I just wrote out all the things I had been telling myself all these years.

Tom Rutledge replied that I should consider medication. He said that we must first regulate the brain before we can start the healing process and suggested that we should try medication. I rejected medication, because it goes against everything, I believe in.  It goes against my holistic principal, it was a Band-Aid. I said no I’m not interested, and he wrote back. He said there’s a part that I think you’ve missed, the brain and the mind are not the same thing.  The mind is where your thoughts and behaviors are, the brain is an organ in your body. It’s like your heart or your liver or kidneys.  You would not hesitate to take medication if your heart or liver or kidneys were malfunctioning.

But, mental illness, comes with a stigma. People hesitate to take medication because they feel it makes them crazy. Antidepressants are just something to regulate your brain. The brain is an organ and you’re missing some chemicals in your brain and that is the reason for the anxiety and panic attacks.  Once you get that regulated all the work that you’ve done because you’ve done significant with healers will be able to come through.

Book: Hollywood endings How to get one
Book: Hollywood endings How to get one

Hollywood Endings and How to Get One

 Yes, you can create what you want with imagination an intention. The movie themes the world loves are few and simple; they are the themes that have been portrayed over and over since Hollywood began to make movies. These classics have the most wonderful endings: love overcomes all; good defeats evil; the wayward child comes home. Anyone can be a hero, and everyone has a Guardian Angel.

Hollywood Endings – Using Imagination and Intention is about self-awareness, recovery and enlightenment. It’s for anyone who has ever wanted or dreamed of having a “Hollywood ending.” It is for those of us who never had a role model to show us how it’s done. It celebrates the wonder of the movies and urges us to see movies once to be entertained, and then return to see them again to learn from them. We all deserve a Hollywood ending. This book can show you how with life lessons from Dances With Wolves, National Velvet, Die Hard, and The Color Purple, to name a few.

Rewrite your own story and give it a Hollywood ending.

Soundcloud Transform your mind podcast
Transform your Mind Soundcloud podcast

Trauma gets stuck in the body

Trauma, gets attached to your tissues, because the experience of stress, particularly, childhood trauma, causes stress and can trigger active survival responses of fight, flight, or freeze. When your, body trauma, can’t activate or complete these responses, those sensations become trapped in your nervous system.

Trauma, is a shock to the, nervous system. And when that, trauma, is stored instead of released, it can cause physical and, mental health, issues down the road. When, trauma, occurs,  in an effort of protection, your brain temporarily pauses your memory processing system, and the experience is not stored as traditional memories.

Instead of being stored as a complete memory, traumatic experiences are thought to be stored as fragments of pictures of, body sensations or, body trauma.  These fragments are unprocessed and thus don’t fit in the system as they should. Because they don’t fit, these fragments can surface unexpectedly as nightmares, flashbacks, or general angst and unease. Most of the time you don’t know why you are feeling uneasy.

Transform Your Mind iHeart Radio
iHeart Radio

How to Release Trauma Trapped in the Body

International Trauma-Healing Institute founder Gina Ross has developed a simple process called Emotion Aid. Here is a summary of those steps you can use to begin to,  release trauma, trapped in your body.

  1. First, assess where you are: rate your stress or upset from a low of 1 to a high of 7. If it is high, first practice the following Grounding Steps.
    1. Begin by Butterfly Hugging and Tapping– hug yourself and then alternately tap on your arms, from side to side, 25 times. Then take a deep breath. Repeat this until your stress level begins to drop noticeably.
    2. Next, Send Roots into the Ground. Notice your feet or, if your seated, your back, buttocks, and back of your legs in the chair.  Now notice your feet or lower body being firmly connected to the floor, then to the ground, like roots going deep into the earth. Take a deep breath. Then gaze about the room and notice objects or textures about the room, remaining connected to your “roots.”
    3. Finally, Notice Breathing: Put one hand on your chest and one hand your belly. Now just be with your breath, not trying to change it, but just noticing the rhythm of it. Then make a heart shape with your fingertips and bring awareness to your beating heart.

How to discharge body trauma

  1. Now begin to Discharge Sensations and Release Stress.
    1. First, notice your breath and Breathe Notice any sensations that come up naturally. As you release, trauma, and  stress hormones, they will present through sensations like shaking, heat, sweating, yawning, goosebumps, changed breath, and gurgling in the stomach. Be curious about the feelings and be with them, and they will naturally discharge. Do not judge or critique what you are feeling or sensing.
    2. Next, briefly review the, childhood trauma, or troubling thoughts that lead to the sensations. As you review, notice the Feelings that come up as you consider what happened. It’s important to go slow so that you’re only allowing the activation of one feeling at a time. Just be with it and give it plenty of time. Then notice the discharge that emerges as you follow the sensations. (Know that you can temporarily set aside sensations and emotions that you are not focusing on at the moment. For example, imagine putting them on a shelf for the moment.)
    3. Then work with the Thoughts. Again, as you notice one thought at a time, observe the sensations that show up with these thoughts. Let go of the judgment or criticism. Just be present and continue to observe what happens next and experience the sensations discharging and releasing from the body.
    4. Now notice and bring to awareness Resources. A resource is anything that feels strong and calm to you. These can be external (for example, the kind eyes of a good friend) or internal (perhaps the memory of a personal achievement). As you recall or hold these resources notice the sensations that show up in your body. Take a few minutes to feel the sense of calm and strength in your body.

Conclusion

Listen to Emily radio show All About Healing 

Subscribe to the Transform your Mind Radio Podcast and TV show on iTunes, Spotify, or any of the podcast players

If you would like daily inspiration on how to transform your life, I invite you to join my Facebook group Lifecoach

Additional Resources

Drug and Alcohol Treatment for Women with Trauma