You are a gem
On Thursday, February 1, Storytelling St. Louis had its first meeting at the Conscious Shala. We used a storytelling game developed by the Moth Radio Hour to facilitate an evening of intimate storytelling.
Amy Scharff, president of Leadership Council, was in attendance. She facilitates meetings with the executives of mid-cap companies where these wise leaders can learn from each other. As it turns out, many executives fidget as much as Amy does, and when setting up for the meetings, she scatters objects on the table for people to pick up when they’re feeling fidgety. She also scatters polished gemstones as a tribute to her father, who founded the business as Presidents Council 30 years ago. Not diamonds and pearls, but the smooth, shiny rocks that intrigue people, from children to geologists. It might have been any object he shared because those who received one frequently kept it and remembered the connection they developed from telling each other their stories. Whether marked with Pebbles or fidgets or just warm memories, what comes from sharing stories together is the human connection we all need.
Amy inherited the company and the gemstones from her father, Arthur Scharff. Arthur found everyone interesting. It didn’t matter who you were or what you did. If you were close enough for him to start a conversation, he would. The conversations always gave him ideas, and when he came home, his pockets would be filled with thoughts written on napkins, placemats, or the back of business cards.
He received these ideas with great generosity. They were his ideas, but he synthesized them from the synergy he found in talking with another person. He saw them as little gifts that people gave him. And he wanted the people who gave him ideas to understand the value of their words. So, he started carrying polished gemstones in his pocket, and whenever someone would inspire an idea worthy of a cocktail napkin note, he gave them one of the gemstones and told them, “That was a real gem.”
Stop and consider the trajectory of that idea. Arthur passed the practice down to his daughter Amy, who shared it with Storytelling St. Louis. Now, I’m sharing it with the 6,000 people who receive this newsletter. If he were alive today, I’d give Arthur one of my Blackwing pencils and tell him, “That’s a great point.” And I just might make a practice of it.