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  • Writer's pictureFrancisco Mahfuz

E26. The Storyteller Behind the Curtain with Amy Blaschka

Below is an AI-generated transcript and therefore it may contain errors.

Francisco Mahfuz 0:00

Hi everyone, Francisco here. Just before we get started, I wanted to share something I'm really excited about. I recently launched the story powers bootcamp, a course that teaches you everything you need to know about how to find craft and tell stories that work. But it's not just an online course, because you get personalised feedback from me for all the practical activities in three hours of life coaching to work through any challenges, or focus on specific projects. So it's like if you bought a cookbook, but the chef came along with it. So go to story and click on Course, all the information you need will be there. So please check it out. And if you love the show, and would like to support us, you can go to buy me a forward slash story powers. I drink about five coffees a day, so any support would be much appreciated. All right on with the show.

Welcome to the story powers podcast, the show about the power of stories, the people who tell them and why you should be doing it too. I'm your host, keynote speaker and storytelling coach Francisco mahfuz. My guest today is Amy Blaschke. Amy is a social media ghostwriter who helps leaders craft their stories to communicate and connect better. She has made a career offering stories as a service and has spent three decades branding products, places and people. As a longtime leadership contributor for Forbes. She also covers personal transformation, and its impact on career growth. On top of all that, Amy has the rare distinction of having a coffee drink named after her. Ladies and gentlemen, here's my conversation with the amazing Avi Blasket. Amy, welcome to the show.

Amy Blaschka 1:47

Thank you, Francisco. Yes, I have that that is I don't think I've ever had an introduction mentioned that little bit which is so much a part of me. And it's funny because even though this is all audio, you can see I'm holding that said coffee drink.

Francisco Mahfuz 2:03

You are ending with you and explain to me what standards a lot too, right? But was it the Amy alotted the blush Culatta.

Amy Blaschka 2:12

So it's, it's in almond milk latte. But it has cinnamon powder steamed into the almond milk. Rather than just sprinkle cinnamon on top of one of the barista is I the coffee shop that I frequent. It's a chain, but it's called Pete PE, T apostrophe S. It's based here in California. And every day, every morning, it's sort of my ritual, I get up and I put my dog in my car and rugby, he comes with me. And because it's a face, and I had been ordering his drink, I think I'd started with regular milk. And then I switched over to almond milk, I was trying to be different. And the brief at the time a manager he said, You know, I noticed that you sprinkle cinnamon on top of your blockchain and we can steam it in. And it's kind of nice, because it just infuses it throw it Oh, great. And I loved it. And it's really good that way for anyone listening, you should show that. But because I'm there literally every day. And you know, when you order a drink, you have to say, oh, I want this I want you know, this way. And this when it can you seen the cinnamon in for me? And it? Was there enough that everybody working there either need to tell us like, oh, you should just have an Amy button on your register? That's yeah, you know, we just refer to it right now with the aiming. So you know, even when we're telling each other, we just say oh, just you know, instead of typing in, please, you know, Siemens cinnamon and make it on? The Amy? So they said we call it that? And you know somebody overheard you ordering another customer? And they said well, what is that drink? They said well, that's that's the aiming? Well, I want the me to it's not on their board, I guess that you would call it, you know, a secret menu. But if somebody asked for that, Amy, that everybody there knows exactly what the drink as. So

Francisco Mahfuz 3:57

you could consider that the next step would be getting on the board. But perhaps there's a secret charm to it. The real test, if you ever went to another piece and said, I would like the a knee? And they said oh yes, of course the AV.

Amy Blaschka 4:14

That's right. I should try that. I should try. Yeah, well, unfortunately. Now of course, all the ordering is done via mobile app. So there's no way for me to tag it in there. But when we are past this period of isolation and you know, I can actually maybe frequent in other teams, I will certainly try that. That would that would be a fun fact. And what they did was they're like oh, with you, Amy, the good code word. Yeah, it's great. It's delicious.

Francisco Mahfuz 4:43

I live in I live in Spain, and they I don't know if you've ever tried having coffee in Spain. I mean, they have the normal the regular types of coffee. But I when I moved here from England, I was baffled about the variety of all there is because it finished people are very peculiar about many things. But so you're going to have coffee from the machine is just how most people have it in a coffee shop. But you can have filter coffee, you can have instant coffee, people who are the instant cut so so there's three variables there for you, then you have all the variations you can have with milk, like normal milk, steamed milk, or whatever. Now you have all the different types of milk. And then you have the ratios. So you know, you have a latte, you have a white coffee. And then they have what is the one that I love the name, there is only called The Man shadow, which is the stained, so we just milk with a little bit of coffee. Yeah, so so they'll say, a black coffee. No, I stained coffee, but a little stained, or very stained degree. If you just put all the variables in, I mean, the barista is really big, because it's pretty straightforward process, but you're talking about maybe hundreds of variations of the stuff is just crazy.

Amy Blaschka 6:03

It's so customizable, and people are very serious. I mean, about their coffees here. It's so funny. My husband is like, black coffee. Simple, although he's very finicky to because he'll, he'll say, Well, I can taste the difference between just that plain, but I like the dark roast. I prefer an African pea Berry, versus, you know, a blend of other stuff. Costa Rica, you know, so I think people don't know, it's one of those. I think it was something that was very much a commodity and sort of whatever before, and now it has become this sort of extension of yourself of your personality of your brand of your, you know, sort of like, well, what for me, I mean, yeah, the Amy, but you know, it gets the thing. And I guess for me, the coffee now getting that drink, it is part of my daily ritual. So it is more than just, I'm going to have a cup of coffee, for me that even the first sip signals, Okay, it's time to sit down and get to work because that for me, that's when I do my creative work best is in the mornings. And when I have that latte in my hand or sit next to me next to my laptop like that. It's something that that cue of taking that step and sort of okay, now is the time in that having that taste in my mouth linger tells me tells my brain okay, it's kind of like it's working. So, you know, it's funny how we attribute so much to coffee and how it becomes part of our lives and how be so, so customizable and personable. Right. So it's, you know, how do you tweak your coffees? I didn't even know

Francisco Mahfuz 7:40

I'm a fan of here is called in America? No. No, no, the American or the American or is the super watered down. It's a filter coffee. Right? It was like a watered down filter coffee. So if they ever decide to water that even further, so that you can drink about five mugs a day and call that different Cisco.

Amy Blaschka 8:09

That's so funny. Okay, well, I think you should start something there. Why not?

Francisco Mahfuz 8:18

Let's, let's bring me back from this massive digression. Oh, one thing I think on the same interview that I heard you talk about the lotta had your name on it. You also talked about one of your previous jobs that you said, in theory has nothing to do storytelling, but actually had quite a lot to do, which is that as a travel agency,

Amy Blaschka 8:43

he wasn't a travel agency. So it's working travelling towards and I was the CEO of what's called a destination marketing organisation. So it is you were tasked with marketing a destination and bringing people visitors in right, and ensuring they have a great experience. And so you work with hospitality partners like hotels and restaurants and attractions, that sort of thing. Yeah. So it is a funny like, what why did you I mean, I came from sort of agency land and branding and everything, and kind of just fell into tourism. But the thing there a couple common threads that I think now it makes sense at the time, it was like what, what do you do awake? And practically at that time in my life, when my husband and I had just had our first two daughters, and prior, I had been commuting and I live outside of San Francisco by about 30 miles and commuting into San Francisco and travelling all over the country for my branding clients. And it was I loved it. But it wasn't very practical once we had a child, the commute or even just the travel schedule that involves with seeing clients all over the place. So

Francisco Mahfuz 9:52

is anything very practical when you have children?

Amy Blaschka 9:55

Well, I mean versus having a job that was closer and didn't have we're not having To travel schedule, I had to be on a plane and do all

Francisco Mahfuz 10:06

that if I'm recording this from inside what I call the fortress of pillows, which is my, which is my daughter's room, surrounded by pillows, and I always have to remember before I stopped recording to take her, you know her her pyjamas hanging just behind me. And the first recording was like, what is the thinking behind your underwear? It was like child's pyjamas would be of course. Mighty Yeah. Yeah. So you did you go then when you went to the destination marketing company?

Amy Blaschka 10:43

Yes. So I've been home with our oldest daughter, like being a stay at home mom, which nobody thought I could do for a little over a year. And it was I was like, Okay, it's time for both of us to talk to people. And I started looking at noon, I didn't want to have to commute again, I didn't want to travel schedule. And a friend of mine had said, Hey, you, you know you should interview for this thing. They call their CVB Convention and Visitor's Bureau. They're looking for a new CEO. And I'm like, I'm never working towards somebody. But I thought, You know what, it's been forever. Since I've interviewed or anything, it's probably good practice to come. So I kind of threw my name in the hat not expecting much. Well, I got called for an interview. And I ended up in the final two and I was presenting to their board of directors because it's a nonprofit entity that they typically are. And it just worked and they offered me the position. And I took a leap of faith, which is kind of been a theme for me too. It's sort of following kind of a curiosity, and what can I do it, but the idea there and the reason that it makes sense is because I had come from a branding background where it was all about kind of shining a light on the best attributes of you know, prior to that it was you know, Coca Cola, or Sauza, tequila, so it was product based. But now instead of, you know, a can of soda, what I was trying to promote in a way to tell the story about and invite people in was a destination. And I want that. So there was that common thread. And I love people I love working collaboratively. And the people that work in hospitality and tourism are people, people, most people they should be because they're interfacing with other folks, and they want to provide a service, they want to have an exceptional experience. And so people have that mindset, they're very much about serving others, and making ensuring that great experience. That's what made up the bulk of the people I was interfacing with, or visitors and community members, that sort of thing. And I stayed there for just under like 10 years in that role, which I'd never thought. And, and it was great because I had a chance to build and tell the story of that destination and meet others in sort of similar things. And I love travelling and sort of my husband, so it gets an opportunity to kind of do more of that with friends in the industry and to kind of have other greater experiences. So yeah, it seems like a detour. But you know, that was just another stepping stone in sort of that storytelling sort of thread that runs through my entire career experience.

Francisco Mahfuz 13:26

When you were telling stories for this nation, what shaped those stories usually take because because I think we exposed a lot to the sort of one liners. Nice picture one line, though. And that's that, what are you able to do a lot more than that?

Amy Blaschka 13:41

I mean, yes or no. So you I mean, you have sort of vehicles, like your website, you have, you know, ads that you're doing, you know, whether they are print ad or their radio ad or all these different mix of communications, and then and then if you are running that company, and you are you become that spokesperson, locally, whenever you're travelling through an industry, so you become that brand, too much like CEO of any other company and speaks and it's sort of a figurehead for that, too. So, when I had a chance to speak about my destination, I was able to tell the story there and kind of you know, its roots and, and, and so, yes, it's not as you know, it's not exactly the same as something like Coca Cola, or even a person, but the fundamentals of trying to attract others through the vehicle of storytelling, less about a hard sell, and, you know, trying to push push something down somebody's throat and rather that kind of pull strategy, right of making it very enticing and intriguing and wanting somebody to come and visit because it's like, oh, that sounds wonderful or, or that that resonates with me. Wow, that sounds like me or I really liked that but you know, she said After what they said about this area so yeah, you know, it's kind of a little both there's only so much you can do it wasn't just like we came up with a tagline and we did this and it's like most things it's not just a one and done it's kind of a teeny and it kind of evolves over time and it's through multiple mediums and methods.

Francisco Mahfuz 15:19

So I think that the destination marketing industry is going to go through a very simple period once it once you're able to travel again because I assume most most advertising for this nation is going to be visit Venezuela because you can

Amy Blaschka 15:36

that now I mean, what's happening here is that nobody's really flying or anything but you know, what's popular now is RV you know, recreational vehicles that people are just like our neighbour is just doing this now with a family like five RVs and they're just travelling down the California coast because they can afford that's all they can do. Or you know, if they had anybody has like a second home like on the lake or even if it's meagre cabin something at least it feels like you're getting away.

Francisco Mahfuz 16:06

So you are and I think this is the most attractive destination of all anywhere that's not your house because it's the house is the other because you can because it's not your house that's the that's gonna be gold for the six months and the people okay fine, we get it COVID Is is gone are mostly gone. We can go back to communication, you you say yourself that you offer stories as a service. So and and a lot of that is to do with with ghostwriting. So the question I have for you is why is ghostwriting not cheating?

Amy Blaschka 16:44

Well, at least the way I do it, it is not cheating. So when I work with leaders, and I go straight for them, my goal is to make sure that whatever we write together, it sounds like them because it is 95% of it is it's their words, it's their phrasing, it's their cadence. So when we talk a huge part of what I do, probably my best skill in terms of ghostwriting, and writing in general is listening. Because I can write anything, I could write something for you. And you could put your name on it, but it's not going to it wouldn't sound like you unless we had had a conversation and I'm taking copious notes on Okay, Francisco says this is how he likes to say, the order and how he strings together sentences. If he's someone that is very staccato and use a short little things I have some clients like that are very direct and like boom, boom, boom, or is it a little bit more flowy? Is it this is it that so needs to be about that client, it needs to be in their voice, it needs to be you know, in their tone, it needs to be reflective of who they are as a leader, what matters most to them, their perspective, their unique point of view. I think, you know, anyone that is successful, doesn't get there alone, they have a team of people that they work with, and experts in what they do, and helping them get along. So it's not, it's not that they paid me to write something that they had nothing to do with. It's all of their ideas. It's all of their insights. It's just me helping them draw it out, rearrange it and put it together in a way and deliver it back to them. And you know, if there's any reason that they read something I write in there, like, I would never say that or I would change this where there was an opportunity to edit before it's not just a blind thing that they've really suddenly posted. But um, it's a partnership. It really is. And it's based on true conversation. And the longer that we work together, the easier it gets for both of us. So not cheating.

Francisco Mahfuz 18:36

I was obviously just trying to mess with you. But I do like that you could actually have a tagline somebody says with me it's not cheating.

Amy Blaschka 18:46

I understand where that comes from that sentiment. Because most people when you say ghostwriting, they they go to a book, right they that the ghostwritten books, that's their experience. Most people are like, there's what's a social media ghostwriter? What is that? So they assume it's the same process, but it's a little different. And I don't blame them that I've been asked this before. So it's fine. I have no problem kind of lifting the curtain, sort of bond the process and experience, but it's okay. You're not messing with me. That's that's a legitimate question to ask. And, you know, people ask it all the time, you know, so no problem.

Francisco Mahfuz 19:22

Well, something else I wanted to know. And I think I've heard you say this, but I wanted to double check it. So do you the examples you use there were very specific post or an article, but it's something you do as well helping them figure out or write their story.

Amy Blaschka 19:39

Yeah, so I'm a social media ghostwriter. But the other side of my business that is picked up tremendously, but actually evolved from the ghost writing is that I call it a career story package. So my social media ghost writing is a monthly retainer. So this is a long term we programme that we work on together over time, but what happens in the bed of all possible worlds is a working, you know, social media. ghostwriting is the client is posting consistently. They have consistency and discipline and posting about those 123 topics where they are experts. So this is all about their thought leadership. And they're doing it in a consistent basis, and their audience comes to expect that and they like that, and they engage with it. And naturally, when you read something from someone that you like, Oh, that's really interesting, you pique their interest, they click over because most of my clients are seven or eight platform and social media is LinkedIn, they will click over to their profile and want to know more, right. And a lot of my clients had incomplete or old profiles, or just the problem was it didn't align what they were putting out content wise, did not learn align with sort of the way they were presenting a position themselves through their story through LinkedIn and their profiles. So I came up with a programme or a project where I have four parts and call it your career story, where I will work with them and do a deep dive like an hour call with them. And we uncover sort of where they are now versus where they want to be. Because ideally, you want everything to connect and align and support each other, somebody read something about you, they shouldn't scratch their heads, if they've just read a piece of content you put out, and then they go to your profile. And it's completely like that's, that's incongruent. What's happening with this person, really, you want to make it easy for somebody to quickly understand who you are, what you're about who you serve, why you what differentiates you. So the first piece I do, I called the backstory, and this can apply to your LinkedIn about or summary or a lot of my clients are founders. And they are they have their own companies. And it also be part of their about section about them. It's really, that is sort of the bulk of telling a narrative about who they are in that about section, a lot of folks on LinkedIn neglect that prime real estate, it's there for a reason. I mean, we all have the experience section on LinkedIn, which is functions like a resume, right? It's a chronological listing of your current and past experience, which is terrific. But you have an opportunity in the about section to weave that into a narrative. And I like to write that in first person, because I feel like that is much more compelling. And it does not put a barrier between you and the reader.

Francisco Mahfuz 22:25

Because because you're not a nutter, who talks about themselves in the third person. sounds so weird. They have studied the art of storytelling. So Amy, I know you're writing this stuff.

Amy Blaschka 22:47

People just default they think, Well, this is where I put my bio. Right. And that's always traditionally in a third person. So I tell them like, Look, if this is up to make it first person, even if I'm not writing for you, please change it. So it's first person, so you are speaking to the reader. Right? This is your opportunity, this is a chance to tell that and and I like writing it as an as a story. That's really that career story. Because for a lot of folks they have they feel like they can't string together their if they especially if it's nonlinear path in their careers, how what is the common thread, and I help them get to that and write in such a way. And they're like, Yeah, that's cool. And they can kind of stand behind that. And then the other pieces in support that so I have that backstory, which is the bulk of it, write a headline that also aligns with kind of who they are, it's not generic, it's not just defaulting to whatever their current role is, it also speaks speaks about them, it also speaks about who they serve, and how they do this. So people can quickly read that and go, Oh, this woman or this man, this is who I need to talk to you. And then I have what I do, which is really more the descriptive copy into your experience of your current role. And again, that's going to align with all the other pieces. And then I also write them a traditional bio, because especially now, people are invited on the podcast, and people are doing other things. And if you don't already have a bio that aligned to those other pieces, you'll be scrambling. And it's nice to have this toolkit in place, that you feel comfortable you feel like it represents who you are, who you are trying to be for many people that come to me, not just because they've been ghost writing clients, or they'll come to me to talk about ghost writing, and we start with the career story. Or separately, they just come to me because they've made a huge pivot, especially this is what my business on that part of my business has picked up. I think in COVID related stuff. People are like, Well, now's the time, I'm going to start a podcast or I'm going to do this. I'm going to shift industries. I'm going to go out on my own. I've always wanted to do this and I want to do this any but I need you to help me help position me and help tell my story in a way that that makes sense. Because forever. I've been in the corporate world, or I'm suddenly going to nonprofit or I've only done startups or now I am doing startups so it's A lot of different reasons. But it comes down to the basics of personal branding. But it's branding, right? It's about positioning, it's about clarity. It's about putting yourself out there in such a way that makes it easy for others to understand quickly who you are what you're about. And again, it draws others to you, and aligned with the social media ghost writing that content that somebody is putting out. If that is exciting, someone doesn't have to have them click back to your profile. When they get there, there'll be no surprises, they'll be like, it'll just reinforce Yes, this is somebody that you know, I need to work with. And that's the other part of when I when I help them with their backstories. And with their career stories, it's well, what do you want? That's always my first question. What do you want? And you need clarity around that? And that answer is different for everyone. But some people, they have a job, they're gainfully employed, but maybe they're trying to attract new talent to their company, maybe they're the CEO, maybe they need investor, maybe they want partners, maybe they just want to broaden their network, maybe they want to shift careers, that sort of thing. So when you have that, what do you want is sort of that overarching sort of, this is what I want. And this is what I'm about, it's a lot easier to create those pieces that help support that goal. Otherwise, you're just spinning your wheels, and you're, you know, missing an opportunity, you're making it harder on yourself.

Francisco Mahfuz 26:18

And when you tell that that career story, do you find that you tend to focus more on specific moments, or the journey,

Amy Blaschka 26:28

it's all about honestly, if if my client has had enabled realise this, but we'll be having a conversation, they may have a trigger event that happened when they were child, something that had great impact on them that really set them on a path and a certain thing, or help them realise something about themselves or later in life, it could be a personal thing, it could be professional thing. But if that is sort of that hook, is that it becomes that theme, then we will leave that throughout the journey, though, you know, it's if it's a natural progression of things that make sense, you know, in terms of where they are and where they want to go, then we will talk about all of those things. So it's a little of both. But in that journey, there's got to be some compelling something. There's something that you know, if they're still on that path, what is it exactly? And oftentimes, they won't be able to articulate it until we're talking through that. And I'll say, so is it this? And they'll be like, oh, yeah, I guess that is or I didn't realise that about myself. So this process becomes, I've had, I've had clients, I'm not a therapist, I'm not a coach, but I've had clients say, this is like therapy, because they are talking about things that are really deeply moving to them personally, maybe they've never talked to another human being about their sort of career journey and, and what they want, and, you know, there's no judgement with me, I'm just trying to get at their truth, you know, what, what is it that they want, so they're able to kind of open up and, you know, talk to me about things, and they may not even realise it, because they've been sort of, on this hamster wheel and just, I have to go, go, go, go, go go ask to achieve achieve. And when they sort of take that moment to pause, and step back, and, you know, figure that out, what do you want? I know you've done this in the sense, but what do you want? You know, I'll keep at it, I won't work with them until they can answer this question. And they might go, I don't know. So, but if he didn't know, what would it be, you know, and they're afraid to kind of acknowledge that. And sometimes it's so far removed from where they've been, even if they're super professional, super accomplished, they'll say, but you know, I've always wanted to do this, I'll say, okay, and do that. And if you want to do that, then let's help us this, everything else to help you kind of this is what guides you there. So it's kind of it's really cool. It's very fulfilling for me, I get to be their biggest cheerleaders. Because I can see the brilliance of these people. There's so like, they don't so many people, I think undervalue their gifts. Because if something is comes easy to us, we tend to discount it. Right? We think that everybody can do this, because Oh, no big deal. I've always done this, it comes very naturally and easily. And you think, no biggie. That's not what makes me different, because everybody does that. But they realise that, you know, they need something that no, this is kind of a big deal. This is this is a gift. So it's fun to go through that process and for them to see it too finely. You know, when they have something a narrative that is written they go oh, okay, and they feel good, you know, cuz they should feel good, but it's nice to have that piece done.

Francisco Mahfuz 29:29

I don't know if this is a an incredibly encouraging thing, or, or, or depressing in some ways. Is that in and I think I've heard you say something along those lines. Is that how most people can see their own story? I think you might have said they can see their own brilliance, I think is the term you use. Yeah, yeah. And it's shocking this because and this is everyone and people will say oh, because yeah, this will this job would suit you fine, because it isn't like what? And then you speak to a few people Like, Oh, yeah, definitely. It's this inability to as much as we might be self aware people, but there's inability to connect the dots in our own personal or professional story is, it's still baffles me about how much that is the case. And I've seen people use you mentioned, you're not a therapist or a coach, but I have actually seen a coach that uses this as one of his exercises. And he calls it branded, I think, so he does a sort of therapeutic deep dive into the person's history about their parents and all of those things, to then try and find out, you know, one connecting thread in the story and say, okay, so you were a rebel. In all the jobs you've gone through the you rebelling against certain things was, was the main thread there. So now, because the coaches, coaches, so it says, now you're a coach, the people you should be trying to help our rebels? And we were like, that never occurred to me like,

Amy Blaschka 30:59

yeah, yeah. Yeah. So that's, that's so true. People don't they don't see that. Well, it is hardest to be most objective about yourself, right? And as much as like you said, if you can be self aware, and we can think, Oh, yes, I have completely tuned into, like everybody tells everybody needs a little help. And it's a great exercise to go through with, you know, people who know you who you trust, you know, that that you can just say, Well, what about this, because if you are willing to ask and to listen, and people know that they're able to like you really want to hear because so often we say want to know something, you say you want the truth, but people don't know if you're willing to be receptive to learning about yourself. And maybe, even if you don't think that's the way you are coming across and who you really are, it's very valuable to hear from others. It's like, well, this is what I'm getting from you. And this is what I think, and this is what I hear, particularly if, like you said, like someone is making those connections, and then observations like, well, you've done this and this and this, and it seemed like, and that's exactly what I do with my clients is finding that common thread, even if there is nothing to do with job title, nothing to do with industry, but there'll be something like that, that they're a rebel, or they love building things, or they're all about transformation, or pick something that they're like, and once you can find that little bit, go go, oh, it's like a huge aha, for them. It's, it's, it's great for them. But I'm telling you, for me, I get like, Oh, good, I found that that that sort of the hidden thing that was always right there hidden in plain sight for them, you know, that they just never were able to kind of articulate or put their finger on. But when somebody else outside of them is able to kind of point like, could it be this? Like, oh, yeah, well, I guess so. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And when you can have that clarity, and you can do that it's so much easier, because then like like this guy like, yeah, that's what you should be coaching or other rebels, right? If you're able to do that. And you can focus rather than just ruminator. Or be, you know, the worst thing we can try to do is be everything to everyone, right? In business that doesn't serve anyone, it's a watered down version of you. And it doesn't help anyone. It's more you can niche down and be very specific about who you are, and who's held, the better. And I think people shy away from that. Because they feel like, well, if I get too narrow in my focus, I'm going to, you know, miss out on business opportunities. But the inverse is true, it's very counterintuitive. But if you're like No, these are who work with, you'll be able to those people that will find you because they know that's what you're specialising in, and the people that don't align and aren't really wanting that they can fall away, and you can refer them to somebody else if it doesn't work. So it's, it's really an interesting exercise. But I do think having someone other than you help you with that, like, you know, it's good to do the self work. But there's certainly something to be said for an outside third party objective person who's like, this is what I'm seeing, you know, and it's that observation and sort of, like you said, connecting the dots for them that maybe people meet.

Francisco Mahfuz 34:12

I'm mindful of our time. So I just have one last question to you, which is, you know, having having knowing that your background is you know, storytelling through and through, even though there is that slight digression that now makes sense in the story, because, you know, make sense of the bits that don't make Well, of course, that was your storytelling in a different way. So I read a lot of your Forbes articles, right. And when you write those, you don't use what I would consider a storytelling approach them so you're not coming at them from Michael Lewis side. I mean, is anyone coming out of anything from my side, but you're not telling the story and then getting the message out of it? You sort of capturing attention very well with the headlines. And then going to straight into the message. Is there a particular reason why you use that approach and performs?

Amy Blaschka 35:06

Well, because for that, I feel like that is what works best before. You know, it's not set up for a narrative format, it is a business focused audience that is in and out. And I try, you know, every once in a while I have more of a feature article that has a little bit more of that in there. But the way that for that medium for that outlet is there, it's a little bit a little different. So it's less about a traditional narrative in storytelling, and more about being an exercise in being concise, brevity and getting that point across in such a way for business audience. That is, when we say, you know, a short attention span. Right now, there are very few people that actually take the time to read a longer form article. So it needs to be constructed in such a way that will lend itself to people actually taking the time, which is I mean, like three minutes, maybe, depending on the length of three to five minutes. But it's amazing, you know, so that's a very deliberate choice on my part, because that that aligns with that medium. I feel like I could try to write something that's more storytelling, but because the business focused audience, and I'm writing about leadership, and career, that's the section I write for, unless I'm writing a feature and include somebody's history in that I probably wouldn't do it in a more traditional storytelling.

Francisco Mahfuz 36:35

Yeah, I think the question I have with with the dilemma that you are that you're mentioning, there is the whole the business focus audience, not that much attention span, because that's a problem that, that I come up all the time, and I'm trying to explain to people that they should use more storytelling. You know, are people not going to sit down and listen, or why? And the argument is always that, well, no, if you do it properly, they will sit down and listen. So I think what I would be perhaps interested in find out is how I know how easy it is to compare these things. But if there was ever a way to compare the more tactical articles from, you know, if there was so I think one recent one was, I think how Tim Ferriss that the skill he values more is time management, right? I think there was one that was not that long ago. So my quote, my query would be if you if you got a whole bunch of of those, when it's very direct, and very much to the point in you compare those to the same article, the same takeaway, but with an actual story, how much would would there be any difference in how they remembered in our adult lives, people that have no heritage? You know, would they absorb it more if it was an actual story? Or they just would not even bother to listen after the first two lines? Because they go, Oh, no, no, I don't have time for this. So

Amy Blaschka 37:51

yeah, yeah, well, I mean, I will tell you this, I track all of my content, in terms of its performance and engagement. So and at least for the Forbes things, they will, if you go every contributor has a page that has all of their articles will have like 116, something like that, and they will have at the bottom of the top, your top 10. And if you look at those, it will tell you very clearly like the Tim Ferriss one, that's like not over three or four, whatever. You know, the top one is going to include it has other leaders that are highlighted it, you know, but it is more of more in that style that we were talking about. do best. And there are clear takeaways, also in almost like it doesn't have to be a how to necessarily but certainly, this is why this is you know, this is why this leader is great at this or Tim Ferriss like Tim Ferriss, even in that Tim Ferriss article, I think there were seven different things that in a long time management that you know, people have those clear takeaways so it may just be on Forbes itself, I bring articles on LinkedIn and on medium and on Thrive global. Again, it's very like what works on Thrive global is a little different, right? So the audience is expecting a different sort of experience and medium is it think it can be kind of across the board, it can be very much more that that formulaic kind of business thing, or it can be an essay and narrative, different things. So you know, I'm a fan of storytelling, I think I would like to see more of in in business and life when we are when I'm working with leaders. I say it's important because as you know, remember stories more they remember that this is something that kind of resonates with them. And it's not stories are very they aren't the hard sell stories are much more. There's a moral, there's something you learned, it ends with some value and some sort of it's like a serve not sell message. And that's very much like the pull strategy versus the push, push, push, push, push. People don't really want that. But I think it's I have to walk a fine line with the Forbes article just because I've seen Do you like some of the things that have been a little more narrative and telling a story you want me to read? It's like, Well, okay, it doesn't mean overdo it. But once you know it kind of peppered in there, maybe one, every five articles will be written in that way in a different format than the, you know, various articles or, you know, the seventh thing.

Francisco Mahfuz 40:21

Fair enough. I'm gonna link on the show notes, all the places that people can find you. So let me just ask that the typical question as light a different way, where do you want people to find you of all the places they can find you? Where what's the place, they should really go? If they want to either speak to you or just get the the most interesting or most novel stuff you're doing now?

Amy Blaschka 40:43

I mean, they can go to my website, certainly, I'm all over social media, right? LinkedIn is my primary platform. I'm also on Instagram and Twitter. But my website has a sampling of my you know, Forbes articles there, you'll be able to get that it has more about me and my story in my file it has about my services, it kind of talks more about, you know what I do. And if they want to get in touch with me, there's an easy way to do that as well to contact me. So that's just any And you will link to this, because no one can spell my last name will be able to get through it easily that way. That's probably the best way.

Francisco Mahfuz 41:20

I mean, thank you very much for your time today. And this is something I've seen in one of your updates. I understand you're working on a novel. I can only wish you luck because it does Writing a book is not for the faint of heart.

Amy Blaschka 41:34

Yes, yes. Well, I mean, this is my promise to you. Is that a very much a narrative? Psychological thriller, so it's it's way different from my Forbes articles, but I'm excited about that. And yeah, so just yeah, thanks for the thanks for the well wishes. Some more work.

Francisco Mahfuz 41:53

Alright, everyone. Thanks for tuning in. Take care of yourselves. And until next time.

I hope you enjoyed the show. And if you did, I'd love for you to subscribe and leave us a review or a rating on the Apple podcasts app. It's very easy. You open the app and find the show and scroll down a little and when you see the stars tab. I'd really appreciate it and it does help other people find us. And if you'd like to get in touch or find out more about what I do, reach out to me on LinkedIn or visit my website story

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