A vacation to his homeland of Bulgaria doesn’t mean a break for Shawn Walchef when it comes to learning. In fact, it symbolizes a return to the origin.
Returning to his roots and the country that birthed his biggest inspiration, Grandpa Luben Walchef, Bulgaria is where Shawn’s father-figure and most important mentor began his quest of curiosity.
Reading every book that he could access in his village, the elder Walchef would both gain and spread knowledge to his friends and family members as he became a success story as an immigrant in California.
While the lessons and learning from Shawn’s grandfather still inspire the Cali BBQ Media founder and Digital Hospitality Podcast host today, he has another successful man that he also calls a mentor: David Meltzer.
The sports agent, entrepreneur, public speaker and philanthropist has been a mentor for Shawn Walchef over the course of 2020 in regard to his growth as a businessman and human being.
Shawn Walchef and David Meltzer pulled back the curtain on one of their regular “Office Hours” coaching sessions, which was repurposed on the Digital Hospitality podcast feed to help others learn more.
Connecting virtually from California to Bulgaria, Meltzer and two of his business partners — David Moreno and Mike Mumola — shared with Shawn how storytelling is in fact the best way to teach lessons.
“The nice thing about lessons is they’re best taught by stories,” David Meltzer said in the live business coaching session online. The thing about stories is they use a different part of the mind. They make you feel a certain way and create memories.”
While storytelling is key to the Digital Hospitality thesis and the idea that all brands should cultivate their narrative, it’s also key in mentorship as David Meltzer explains through a story of his own.
As expected, Meltzer’s example is strong and personal.
“Growing up, I wanted to be a doctor because my mom always said, ‘Doctor, lawyer, failure.’ When I was in college, I went to go visit my oldest brother at the hospital and the first thing out of my mouth was, ‘I hate hospitals.’ He looked at me and he was almost in shock. He said, ‘You’re pre-med, you hate hospitals, but yet you want to be a doctor.’
“That’s when he told me to be more interested than interesting.”
Short and sweet, this story proves both powerful and memorable.
Essentially, the story is about when David Meltzer visited his brother in the hospital. The lesson is to be more interested than interesting. Because of the emotional weight of family, advice and a hospital visit associated with the story, you’re more likely to remember the lesson than David just rattling it off as a quote.
This idea of learning lessons through stories proved true to everyone on the Office Hours call. David Moreno, a successful attorney and recalled how music lyrics stuck with him at a young age and still do now.
“Growing up, my mom would say, ‘How can you remember all these rap songs yet you can’t remember your history book?’” David recalls. “Why? Because it’s a story.”
The same sentiment rang true for Mike Mumola. He recalled a lesson learned after a rough breakup in his young adulthood and how the depth of the story created learning that still serves him today.
“When I was younger, I had just broken up with this girl and I didn’t know if she was the right one or not,” recalled Mike Mumola in the coaching session. “I’m really torn and I don’t know if I made a mistake. I ran into a friend and he said, ‘Let me give you the best advice anybody’s ever going to give you: There are those in life who make your wagon heavy and there are those in life who help you pull your wagon when it’s heavy. Figure out who she was, and the rest is simple.’
“I took that simple but profound lesson and I have applied it to every single relationship I’ve been in since that night whether it be personal or professional.”
Due to depth and emotion, stories have the power to move us in a manner we remember.
From award winning movies to religious texts, storytelling has always served as the premier platform to teach lessons by tying learning into a feeling fueled narrative.
When working as a mentor or speaking to your audience online, ask yourself, how can stronger storytelling function as a tool to better educate those you serve?
Email the Digital Hospitality team at firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch or ask for help.
Listen to the full conversation about Curiosity and Storytelling on the Digital Hospitality podcast.
New episodes of the Cali BBQ Media podcast “Digital Hospitality” come out every week so don’t forget to subscribe on your phone’s podcast app or wherever you listen to audio shows online.
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