When a Simple Question Makes You Freeze

You know that thing where you’re in a group and someone asks you something that seems innocent like “where are you from” or invites you to “tell me about yourself” and you just freeze? Yeah, me too. My mind races. I’m trying to analyze my audience, gauge the situation, and figure out how much energy […]

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Personal Stories are Professional Stories

Everything is up for grabs this year, nothing is certain, and a lot of us are in transitions we never expected. People have lost jobs or realize they don’t want to keep working the way they used to.  That means there are a lot of people out there looking for a new direction that probably […]

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puzzle missing one piece

Why an Employment Gap isn’t a Gap at all

If you’re looking for a job, there’s nothing quite so frightening as having an employment gap on your CV or resume. We tend to see the gap as a failure, a failure to work, a failure to participate in what society expects from us. We know from experience that potential future employers will want an […]

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You Need a Story Library

None of us have just one story. We have a multitude of stories. We have a multitude of identities and selves that all need their own stories. I am a mother and a reader and a writer and an entrepreneur. I am also an immigrant, Chinese, American, Dutch, woman, and so much more. So are […]

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Why Personal Stories Help you Connect with your Audience

In the fall of 2014, I gave an orientation for new international staff at the Dutch university I worked at. In designing the program, I called on 5 years of experience teaching Intercultural Awareness and more than 15 years of experience living abroad. By then, I had lived in 6 countries on 3 continents. I […]

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How to craft a personal statement that’s actually about you

About three years ago, I was on vacation with my family staying on the German-Austrian border. We were visiting Neuschwanstein, the castle that inspired the Disney castle at the tail end of a family road trip from the Netherlands to Croatia and back home. My husband was working on a grant application at the time […]

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Use your story to stand out, not your CV

Every fall, I need a new babysitter. Since my babysitters tend to be busy and hard-working, I usually need a couple. I find them by posting a request on my expat Facebook group. My post gets anywhere from half a dozen to two dozen responses every time. After I’ve eliminated anyone who doesn’t meet my […]

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diagram showing a structure for personal-professional story

A Story Structure for Your Personal-Professional Story

Every workshop I give starts with a story. You’d expect as much. But every workshop I give starts with a personal story, one that often includes my family members and that tells people both who I am and what story can do. For me, there’s no other way to go. When I give a workshop […]

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