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Conquer the Chaos: Mastering Storytelling for Your Business

Park Howell, founder of Business of Story, has been in the storytelling business for over 40 years. He’s helped PepsiCo, the Air Force, Richard Branson and more craft impactful stories for their brands. In this episode, you’ll learn how to craft a story that will excite your audience and help grow your business.



Transcript

Clate (00:02.671)

Welcome everyone to the Conquer the Chaos podcast. I'm your host, Clate Mask, co-founder and CEO of Keap, and I am excited to welcome Park Howell to the podcast today. I asked Park here to share how he's been able to overcome the chaos in his business, and in his life, and to keep a positive mindset throughout his entrepreneurial journey. So, Park, welcome to the Conquer the Chaos podcast.

Park Howell (00:25.143)

Clate, thank you so much for having me here. I just love everything you've always done here in the Valley from Infusionsoft to now Keap, and how you've all helped small businesses really get their act together sales wise. So it's just an honor to be here with you.

Clate (00:38.191)

You bet. We go way back. I'm glad we get a chance to have you share some of your wisdom today. You know why don't you just start by giving the audience a little bit of an intro on who you are and what you do.

Park Howell (00:51.087)

Absolutely. Well, Clate, as you know, I've been in the branding, marketing, advertising world for, I hate to say it, but almost 40 years. And I ran my own ad agency in Phoenix for 20 of those years. But in the early 2000s, I found that advertising, as we knew it, had significantly changed because, of course, the interwebs, you know, e-commerce, social media, right? Our brands used to own the influence of mass media, but as we all know, the masses have become the media. So now I just consult, teach, coach, and speak on the power of story to help people, as I say, hack through the noise and hook into the hearts of their audiences because storytelling is the very first AI that we invent. We didn't even have to invent it. Our cavemen and cavewomen, ancestors did, because we use story to help us make meaning out of the madness of being Homo sapiens and it's still the same story algorithms, the story frameworks that we use today to really hack through the noise and hook into the hearts of our audiences. So that's what I do. I parked my advertising cap over here and now I consult, teach, coach, and speak on the power of story and business.

Clate (02:03.823)

Okay, so the power of story in business, as you've just framed it up, is how you cut through all the noise as a small business and you get your message out to your audience in the right way. And I love the point that you made about advertising has changed, the masses have become the media, as you said, and whether you're talking about tech advancements like AI or customers being online in different ways, none of that changes the fact that we've got to figure out how to get our message through to our audience in the right way. And you're telling me and our audience that story is the way to do it.

Park Howell (02:50.603)

Well, story is absolutely the way to do it. And the reason why is we are the only beings as Homo sapiens that we know of that plan, organize, and act in story, right? So think about any time you are ever trying to sell somebody on a product or service offering, or maybe you're trying to get them to buy into your vision, your mission and initiative or whatever. What are you doing? You are telling a fictional account of what tomorrow could look like, how much better it could be if they only did this. So you're asking that storytelling monkey sitting across from you to buy into an utter fiction until you make it a reality, until they buy into it and you deliver

Clate (03:20.221)

Right. Sounds like sales and marketing, what you've just described. Right?

Park Howell (03:21.003)

… on those promises. That's “story.” And they're not going to buy unless you're solving a problem for them, right? Every story is about someone overcoming a problem.

Clate (03:48.255)

Yeah, and over the years, you know, I've seen you teach this and just for everybody's understanding, Park has an amazing background. You know, Park, you've been able to teach everybody, you know, do your story method and teach people the power of story, you know, opportunities to be with Richard Branson, to teach the U.S. Air Force, to teach entrepreneurs of all types, of all kinds of businesses. And so you've had an amazing experience, also have done things with really big brands and also with small businesses. What's the common element of storytelling, you know, whether you're working with Branson, the Air Force, PepsiCo, small business entrepreneurs.

Park Howell (04:37.983)

Here's what I hear, Clate, over and over and over again. And it sort of surprised me when I got into the storytelling coaching business. I hear it doesn't matter the size of the organization, from that solo entrepreneur to Walmart Canada, to the U.S. Air Force. People say, I need to find a consistent story. I need to get my team to share a consistent story about who we are and what we do. And I need to get them to share it in the same way, but they don't know how to do it. And so that across the board is like, help me tell my story. How do I talk about my business and get those around me to share that same story? Jeff Bezos said something that I thought, his definition of a brand was beautiful. And then I had to tweak it a little bit, Clate, cause you know me, I can't live with the status quo. He said, and I thought it was...

Clate (05:29.74)

You can't leave all the fun to the billionaires. I mean, come on. Yes.

Park Howell (05:34.943)

Well, it's working for him. But he said a brand is what people say about you when you're not in the room. And I would tweak that and say a brand is the story people tell about you when you're not in the room. And you want to own that story so that they're sharing the story you want them to share in the world. They're not just making something up.

Clate (05:53.567)

Yeah. Okay. So we're going to come back to that. The, the, the brand is the story people tell about you when you're not in the room. And you know, sometimes I think small businesses don't think about brand because that feels like a big company, Madison Avenue marketer thing. But the reality is it is just the story people are telling about your business, whether you're a solopreneur, five-person, 10-person company, or 25 people in your business. You have a brand, individuals have a brand, solopreneurs have a brand, your business has a brand, and it's that story people are telling about you when they're not in the room. So just for listeners, lest you think that this discussion about brand is about big businesses, no, this is about your business, right? This is about every small business, the story that you tell, that it's being told about your business.

Park Howell (06:49.803)

Can I give you an example of that? I think it's the best way to spell it out. Talking about a small business. The ladies, her name is Leslie. She and her husband own this company out in Texas. And they raise and connect people with corgis, little dogs, right? These corgi animals. And people that want corgis are really all into corgis. And I asked her, I go, well, there are probably lots of people that do what you do out there. What makes you different, Leslie? And she said, well, here's where we fit. She goes, there are those breeders that are trying to breed Westminster-winning corgis. And they will have all these dogs, they'll cull through them, and they'll have one that they're gonna keep, and they just kind of discard the rest. So you may well get a corgi that's good, that's distempered, that you don't know what you're getting because they don't really care. On the flip side of that, there are these other folks out there that are raising corgis in their backyard and they're trying to supplement their income. And so they want to sell you a corgi too, and they don't really care how it fits with your family. What Leslie in her company does, she operates in the middle. She goes, I first interviewed those people that are looking, her customers, they're looking for corgis. And I want to really understand who they are, their personality, their family dynamics, where they live so that I can match the exact right corgi with that family. And oh, by the way, I give them a lifetime guarantee. If at any point ever in the owning of that corgi, they don't feel it's the right fit for them, I will take the dog back, find another proper home and give the money back altogether.

Well, she was having a really hard time telling that story. And again, this is really a one-person operation. And so as we dug down a little bit more, what I really learned and what I shared with her as I said, Leslie, what you're telling me is you find the ideal corgi companion for your audience. And she goes, yes, that's the number one thing they want is just this companion. I said, well then why can't you become their corgi companion, their companion to find the best corgi for themselves because she would do everything from not only the research, but then she has a whole community built out where you, if you buy a corgi from Leslie, you are a part of that Leslie corgi family. So she, in essence, is their companion to help them find their corgi companion. Long story short, she became the corgi companion. And a real simple way to tell that story.

Clate (09:31.951)

I love it. And yeah, you get it distilled down to a really simple way that people can understand. And I, you know, for our listeners, I know you have a framework of how you do this, how you actually help them tell their story effectively. And we're going to get to that. But kind of to recap what you've said so far, what you commonly hear among businesses large and small is that they have a hard time getting their message through to the audience. And I think we could all agree that it's never been more challenging than it is today to cut through all the noise, get our message through. Most of our business owners that are listening, they're like, I know I've got a good business. I know I've got a product or service. If I can just get my message through. So you're going to help us do that. Before we get to how we do that, I want to talk for just a second about who we're getting that message through to. Because the message is going to be, the right message is different depending on who the audience is and a lot of times if we're not careful we can spend a lot of time getting you know trying to get really clear on the message but we don't have the audience right and so you know in the in the Six Keys to Success to Conquer the Chaos I talk about this the customer strategy getting really clear on who the customer is. It's kind of right where company strategy meets customer strategy. You got to know who that ideal customer is. And then you go after that customer with the right message and you stay maniacally focused on serving that customer instead of doing what a lot of times we do as small business owners, as we, we take any business that we can get because it keeps the lights on instead of staying really focused on our core customer. So maybe before we go into getting the story right. What are your thoughts and what do you see about getting the customer right first so that we can then get the story right?

Park Howell (11:30.775)

Well, I have become a huge believer in the Pareto principle, which you I'm sure well know is that 80% of your revenue is coming from one customer persona. And if you think about it, you look back over your life, you can see this Pareto principle add up in all sorts of aspects of your life. Even at Keap, I would imagine you are focused on 80% or one customer. What is the customer from $125,000 to a million dollars in revenue something like that makes up 80 percent of your revenue. Why do they keep coming to you is because you are an expert at serving that audience's particular need. Now, that doesn't exclude those that are running five million, 10 million, 100 million dollar companies. They can still use the same system, but 80% of that revenue is focused there. So you're exactly right, and I'm there too. I'm a small business. Quite often when you come on hard times, recessions, things slow down, oh my God, my hair's on fire. I've gotta be all things to all people. That's that survival instinct. But you're right, you have to focus on who is that one customer persona that is going to make all the difference. And it's just a matter of going back and looking at your records and your revenue. Who is buying from you? And then what I love to do is reach out to them. And I found something really interesting. I was talking to a research company and I assumed after all these years, you'd think I'd know better, but I assumed that they interviewed 250, 1,000 people, whatever, to get the insights that they'd need for market and branding and whatever. What it ultimately comes down to, and I learned this from the Harris Poll people, is that if you interview just 15 customers, you will get a tremendous insight into what the rest of them think about. So here's what I'd ask you folks to do, is go and look at who your primary buyers are. Who's that one persona that is making up 80% of your business, and then go and talk to them. Pick out 15 of them. Ask them some questions about your business. What do they like, what don't they like, what do they think of it, what are the stories they're telling themselves about you? Take that intel and that's gonna help you not only focus your message to that one group you're looking for, but really dial in the stories you tell them, because remember they, your brand is the stories they're telling about you when you're not in the room. You're trying to ignite word of mouth marketing in them to help you build your business. So you want to make sure they're armed with a proper story about you and your business.

Clate (14:11.591)

Okay, so let's summarize that you're saying to get really clear on your customer. First, look at your data as to who your best customers are and then go out and talk to 15 of them so that you can, so you can get the clarity around what makes them tick, why they like your product, what they don't like about other things, what they wish you would do better. Just having a conversation. I love to ask the question, what's one thing we're doing well? What's one thing you'd like to see us improve? There's so much richness that comes from that simple question. And if the investment that small businesses make in getting to know their ideal customer, and by the way, this is nothing earth shattering, and yet it is so uncanny how often we overlook this of really knowing who our ideal customer is. But if you can get clear on that ideal customer profile where you know what they look like demographically, psychographically, geographically, from what type of business they are, just get clear on that and then go have 15 conversations. And by the way, if you can't have 15, have three, have five. The fact is, a handful of conversations around what you believe is your ideal customer will put some color to it, will help you understand it, and then with that clarity, you are prepared to create the message, the story that will resonate with that customer and then they will spread it for you to other similar customers. So thank you for helping to just kind of summarize that. I just find that, and you said it really well, a lot of times coming out of, you know, in tough economic times, people tend to open up the aperture and think, I need to go more broadly, when the reality is it's going more narrow, being more focused, that is the answer to not only better or more revenue but much better revenue, much more profitable revenue. And so where does that all start? It starts with an understanding of the ideal customer.

Park Howell (16:15.091)

Well, and think about Leslie and her corgis. She doesn't sell golden doodles. She doesn't sell beagles. She doesn't sell German Shepherds. She sells one breed. And by the way, it's not a, is there such a thing as a corgi doodle? I don't know, but she does, it's a purebred corgi and she's looking for that one audience.

Clate (16:37.127)

Yeah, that's a really good example. Great example because not only does she narrow down, she's not dog breeding, she's not even terrier breeding, she is corgi breeding, one type, and then she segments the market from the top high end, and any kind of corgi and is going after the middle of that market. That's a great example of narrowing the focus, getting really clear, and then going out and having the interviews to understand, well, who is, what psychographically what is that ideal customer look like? I know it's someone that wants a corgi companion, but what is that exactly? And that all distills down to the story that you're able to tell. So you're right, that's a fantastic example. Now let's, yeah, you bet.

Park Howell (17:19.839)

And then real quick on that, Clate, just one more addition to it. Here's the one major insight that she got. And this is the story that their customers are telling themselves that she's helping them overcome is either they have been burned by getting the wrong dog in the past or they have heard of someone who has been burned by getting the wrong dog in the past. So she's like, you won't get burned here. I get to know you. I'm going to get you the greatest dog that's going to work with your family. And hey, if it doesn't work out ever in the lifetime of your time with that dog, I will take it back and refund your money fully. So she, that one story she was helping them overcome.

Clate (17:58.969)

I love it. Well, and that's a perfect segue to go from target customer, ideal customer to now the storytelling, because what you drew out is the problem, the problems and the pains that exist for the target customer. And all good marketing starts with the right customer and the problems that customer has so that you can then begin to tell a story. So now let's start to move into the storytelling aspect. Once you've got the ideal customer in mind, you start to identify those problems, help us understand the framework that you've used so successfully over four decades to help companies large and small cut through the noise and get their message through to their target audience.

Park Howell (18:44.779)

Well, let me make one little point of clarification. I wished I had learned this framework four decades ago. You're right. I have been helping people with storytelling, but I learned this one framework just over a decade ago for my good friend, Dr. Randy Olson, and it is simply called the “And, But, Therefore” ABT is what the acronym we use it's a way of using it. And, but therefore let me, let's, let's just pull Leslie the corgi back in. Let me give you an example of it.

Clate (19:05.465)

“and, But, Therefore” framework. Okay.

Park Howell (19:13.819)

Name your number one audience. In her case, you and it's typically a family she's selling into. You have a lovely family and you want the companionship of a corgi pup to help round it out. That is our “and” statement of agreement. It's positive, it's aspirational, it identifies your number one audience right up top, what it is they want relative to your offering and why that is important to them. We call that a statement of agreement. It's a shared vision. You want to get your audience saying, yeah, you get me. That's exactly what I want. I want a lovely companion.

Clate (19:50.732)

So you're calling out your audience, you're saying what they want and why that's important. That's your “and” statement, statement of agreement. Okay, and by the way, you've just perfectly said, well, let's, we start the story with who, right? Who is this and why, yep, and why does it matter to them, right?

Park Howell (20:07.387)

It's about your customer. Yep. Exactly right. And that's a really good point, Clate. A lot of times we will start with us being the center of the story and our brand. And I'm telling you, that's a mistake. You do not want to do that. You always tell your brand story from your audience's point of view so that you can build this understanding with them. I'll get to that in just a second. So yes, this “and” statement of agreement. Your audience, what they want, and why is that important to them? You are demonstrating that you understand who they are and you appreciate what it is and why that's important to them. Now you are going to insert the problem, the conflict, the contradiction, act two, if you will, and you're going to use the word, “but” a lot of people cringe saying, Park, I've been told never to use the word, “but” in any sort of communication. That's true. If you're in leadership and you're like coaching someone up and you say how wonderful they are, but you know, we got to cover this then you just negated everything. But if you were trying to get someone out of status quo thinking to buy into your offering, you've got to insert this. But it could be a however it could be a yet, but is the strongest because it indicates a plot twist to the problem. But you don't currently have that ideal puppy of your choice because you have been burned in the past from other so-called corgi breeders. There's the problem right there. There now your audience is going, jeez, yeah, you not only understand and appreciate who I am and what I want, but you empathize with why I don't have it. Understanding appreciation, empathy to build trust. Therefore, act three, this is the third word of “And,” “But,” “Therefore” - here's your way forward. Therefore imagine your kids frolicking around with the ideal corgi puppy that you can only find through Leslie's corgi puppies. Leslie is your corgi companion to find your ideal companion for your family. Something like that. I kind of butchered that a little bit, but you can see where I'm going with it.

Clate (22:11.271)

No, it makes sense. So the “and” establishes who's your audience, what they want and why that matters. And the “but” statement introduces the conflict, the drama that all stories must have. There has to be conflict in drama.

Park Howell (22:26.074)

Your position in the market, what is the problem you are solving for?

Clate (22:28.915)

Yeah, yeah. And it shows the problem, right? It's introduced with the conflict. You don't have this thing you want and you're identifying the problem. And then the “therefore” is the benefit statement they can get to if only they had your solution.

Park Howell (22:45.455)

You are the way forward because you've identified up top, you have the shared vision of what you both want for each other, but your customer has this major problem. Therefore, let me show you the way forward by providing this service to you, in this case, the corgi companion.

Clate (23:01.619)

Yep. Love it. So, such a simple framework, ABT, and you're calling out your audience, what they want and why they want it, but they don't have it because of a major problem and therefore they need your solution in order to achieve the benefit that they're after. You call out that benefit.

Park Howell (23:22.739)

Exactly right. Yeah, and it's really fun to work because it works as we have found it uses these three forces of story Clate, of agreement, contradiction, consequence, which are limbic patterns seeking problem solving decision-making buying brain loves. We are spoon-feeding it a story problem that then we close that story loop by saying here's the way forward. So the three forces of the story of agreement, contradiction, and consequence. What I have found is when you use them properly, you build what I call the three forces of trust building. You understand your audience by naming them right up top. You demonstrate that you can appreciate what they want, why they want it, and then you empathize with them for why they don't have it. Understanding, appreciation, empathy to me are the three forces of trust building. Therefore, trust me, I'm gonna show you the way forward. And then of course, you got to deliver on your promises that you're making in those stories. You know, you set them up with this fiction and then they live into it. And then you're going to make it a fact. You're going to make it a reality and they're going to become a very vocal member of your corgi community in this case. And they're going to start sharing your story with their world.

Clate (24:40.495)

Love it. So you're building trust through that process of ABT. We know that people do business with those who they know, like and trust, you've set up a framework to build that trust and to the point that they will want to do business with you and then delivering that trust over time or delivering on that promise and building that trust over time converts them into an ambassador of your story where they're out doing what Jeff Bezos said they're telling the story. Well, with your little, with your little twist on it of course, the brand is the story that they're telling about you when you're not in the room. That's great stuff, a very practical framework, the “And, But, Therefore” framework. And for our listeners, the reason why I wanted Park to come on and share this framework is because, so why does this matter in the world of entrepreneurs who are trying to conquer the chaos? Well, obviously the customer strategy is critical and we touched on getting clear on that ideal customer, but then being able to communicate to your ideal customer effectively can make all the difference between a sales and marketing program working or not working, an advertising spend that you do on Google AdWords or Facebook working or not working. I mean, the conversion rate comes down to sometimes as simply as did you get your message through to the audience in an effective way or not? And so what I see over and over with customers who are doing their automating, their marketing, their sales, their business, it comes down to, are they getting their message through clearly? And you shared this framework with me and you shared it with me through Greg Head years ago. I don't know if you knew that. Greg shared it with me. And then a couple of years ago, you shared it with me directly and we had you share it with some of our customers at a conference a year ago. And I just found it to be so practical and so easy if people will just use this and they'll work on it. And sometimes I've heard customers say, yeah, but am I getting this just right? What would you say to people who are starting to practice this ABT theory in terms of getting it right, quote unquote? How can we put them at ease and just get them to practice it?

Park Howell (27:00.119)

Well, I'll use an ABT on you to answer that question. The ABT is short and sweet, but tricky. Therefore, practice, practice, practice. One of the best places to practice it is in your email writing, because you've got to write these darn emails anyways to folks out there. Take a breath, take a moment, sit down, write your email as an ABT. It's got a built-in call to action. Now, with Keap, you have a beautiful platform in which to A-B test this stuff. If you don't believe me, if you think, Parky, it's three words, it's too simple, it can't possibly work, then what I want you to do is go on your key platform and run two email campaigns. Run one, write it the way you would normally write it, or take a campaign that's already working for you out there, and then come in and do the exact same messaging, but use the ABT format, and watch what happens. Now, I can tell you about a LinkedIn campaign I did for a very large global SaaS company, and I'm talking about a gigantic company. They were in five different countries running this campaign, and they were actually getting about an average of 3.2% engagement rate, which is pretty good when LinkedIn says, if you're over 2%, you're doing great. So they weren't doing too bad. We took a campaign from March of 2020 and in April of 2020.

Clate (28:11.327)

Yeah.

Park Howell (28:22.099)

We took that same campaign and all we did was reformatted it as an ABT. Didn't do a lot of different copywriting. It wasn't like stellar award winning Academy Award winning copywriting. We just changed the form of set up, problem, resolution. They increased over five countries their engagement by over 400%. France actually went from like 2.8% to 17%.

Clate (28:49.047)

Wow.

Park Howell (28:49.339)

And the only thing they did differently, Clate, was they used the “And, But, Therefore” in that messaging. And so it's a great example of it.

Clate (28:55.721)

Yeah. Well, it's a, like you said, it's a proven method of communication that as human beings, we've gotten used to. You called it ABT “And, But, Therefore,” but you also just said a second ago, set up, problem, resolution. And what I would encourage every entrepreneur to do, everybody listening to this is, if you will put more of your words around the problem that your customers have, you're going to increase sales. We don't spend enough time setting up the problem, and therefore the customer misses the message. You know, when you think about it, the whole context of this discussion has been, how do we cut through the noise? Well, what our customers, our customers don't actually care about the solution because we have not yet turned on their brain to the solution because we didn't call out the problem. What they're thinking about is the problem, and yet we gloss over the problem because we want to get to our solution. What I've found is that the most successful people in sales and marketing spend a lot more time on the problem than they do on the solution, because it turns on the brain and the mind of the audience. It helps the audience understand that you get them as you called out, so it builds trust. And it puts the listener into a mode where they want to solve the problem. The pain becomes acute, the problem becomes real. They get into a place where they're tired of putting it into the back of their mind, they're tired of pushing it away, and they decide it's time to finally do something about this problem. So when you say set up, problem, resolution, ABT, the B is the problem. I couldn't agree more and I want to bold, underline, emphasize the problem aspect of it, because that's where the difference usually lies in the effectiveness of a campaign. And so if you take nothing else away as a listener from this, I will tell you that if you will just increase the proportion of your message that's around the problem, if you go look at your messaging, and if you're spending 20% talking about the problem, double it to 40%, and you're gonna dramatically increase your sales. It's as simple as that. Just put more time into the problem. Yes, you got to do some setup, but you got to put plenty of time on the problem, then come in and clean things up with the solution.

Park Howell (31:24.479)

You know, Clate, the famous, famous writer, Kurt Vonnegut, one of my all-time favorites, he once said, and there's a great little video on YouTube called The Shapes of Stories, and it's four minutes long, and it's Kurt Vonnegut discussing The Shape of Stories. At the beginning of that, he says, you know, the world's famous, the best story ever told is, man falls in a hole, man gets out of a hole. It doesn't have to be about a man. And it doesn't have to be about a hole. But what is he saying there? It's about conflict. Without you have no conflict. You have no story. By the way, if you have no conflict that you are solving for your customers, you have no business, because you are in the problem solving business. So that's just to underscore what you just said there. I once had a client tell me Park, you know, sales is nothing but find the hurt, amplify the pain, heal the wound. There's your three-act structure one more time.

Clate (32:22.047)

Yep. There you go. It's a great way of saying set up, problem, solution, find the hurt, amplify the pain and then heal it. Very good. Well, this has been great. We've gone deep into customer strategy and how to actually call out your customer effectively through storytelling. The ABT framework is a great way to do it. I encourage everybody to practice it. The customer strategy is the fourth key to success. The number one key to success is actually mindset. And I know you and I are, we are like-minded in this. We know how important it is that as entrepreneurs we have the right mindset for success. And so I always like to ask podcast guests what thoughts they have, you know, if you have any piece of advice about helping entrepreneurs, helping small businesses get the mindset right so that they can be successful. Any tips that you'd like to leave with our listeners about the mindset of success, Park?

Park Howell (33:24.467)

You know, it is, and sometimes I think my wife thinks I'm a little Pollyann-ish, but it's about being optimistic and looking at the possibilities out there. Now, I can be the first guy to get down on, oh my God, recession's here. My business is off. What do I do? I don't know what I'm doing. I'm going to go under. I mean, we all have that, right? You got to breathe that in, embrace it and say, all right, but I'm not going to let you stay in my house. I'm going to push you back out and flip that mindset over to optimism and possibilities. And you hear this word thrown around about abundance, that we live in this abundant universe. And so abundance can be a part of our life, which can be kind of woo woo. But I now have found a way to really appreciate abundance and start attracting it more in my life. And as you know, I moved from the Valley. We built a home up here in Northern Arizona, and I'm up at 6,600 feet up in the mountains. We are in the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in the world. That's called abundance. And then I go walking out and I see all the needles on the ground. And I go, there are abundant needles here. And I see the wildlife. There is abundant wildlife. My point I'm trying to make is we literally live in this abundant universe. I mean, it goes on. We don't know. We don't even know how far it goes on, or how long we've been around. But we have a limiting mindset quite often because it's a survival instinct. It's nothing more than hardwired into us. If we limit our thinking and we can get into our cocoon, then we believe we're gonna survive the day and the week and move on. It's old caveman, cavewoman thinking. And it's hard to overcome that, but if you just take a positive approach of optimism, thinking about abundance. Real quick, I've had this weird name, Park, right? And I asked my dad right before he passed away, he had lived a great life. I said, where did my name actually come from? And he said, well, my dad was a civil engineer, grew up in North Dakota during the depression, talking about the lack of abundance. His first job was working for the city manager in Fargo, North Dakota. His name was William Park Tarbell. He went by Park. He's a Norwegian city manager, city engineer. And he passed away about the time that I was born. And I said, what was about your first boss that wouldn't give me my namesake? And he said, because he got things done happily and easily.

Clate (35:57.015)

I love it.

Park Howell (36:09.543)

And that's the way my dad was throughout his entire life. He was a civil engineer, always a problem solver, and did big, huge projects. But he was a pretty happy, easy going, crazy Viking Norwegian. And I think I get a little bit of that out of him. So whenever I get down in my mindset, I think of my dad and I think about how I can get this done more happily and more easily and that all, you know, leads back up to abundance.

Clate (36:22.483)

Well, I appreciate you sharing both your namesake and your approach to life with optimism and abundance. And I will tell you that, you know, those, as I wrote the book and I shared the specifics around cultivating a mindset of optimism, a mindset of success, it is an intentional thing we do. And then it gets to a point where it just happens. You know, I think our audience can sense it from you, but every interaction I've ever had with you is a positive, uplifting, encouraging interaction. And that attracts. And so what I would say to our audience is, you have a choice to be optimistic or to be pessimistic. And some people, by the way, the pessimists always like to say, I'm realistic. Guess what? The people who say they're realistic are not optimistic. And what I will tell you is, it is not attractive. And in the game of entrepreneurship, it is a matter of attracting. We are attracting resources, we are attracting customers, we are attracting employees, we are attracting dollars, we are attracting partners, we are attracting prospects, we are attracting. And so you are a great example of the law of attraction in action and you do it, listen to that, how poetic, a law of attraction in action because you have a very optimistic approach to things and it's fun to talk to you as a result. People like talking to you. And so, I would say to our audience, the thing that you demonstrate is you choose optimism and as a result, things flow into your life. You didn't get to spend five days on Necker Island with Richard Branson because you're a pessimistic type. You have an approach of optimism, of finding value and ways to create. And entrepreneurs are some of the most pure creators out there. And we create best when we are in a place of optimism and positivity, not in a place of fear and contraction and worry. So, you know, my encouragement to our audience is to take the thing that you've just shared and put it into practice in their life, because it is very attractive and that causes your business to grow. So thank you for sharing your tips on mindset for success. I love it. I'm like-minded in that regard. And thanks so much for your ABT framework. It's such a practical framework that helps our listeners use the strategy of customer or use the fourth key to success of customer strategy in a way that will help them to grow their business and get out of the chaos. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with us, Park. As always, it's been so much fun to share the mic with you here, and we appreciate you being on the Conquer the Chaos podcast. Where can people learn more about you and about what you do with your business of story through the ABT framework?

Park Howell (39:24.775)

Yeah, well, thank you, Clate. This has been absolutely awesome. I enjoyed it. One last thing, if you want to read a great book about belief, read Phil Knight's memoir called Shoe Dog about how they built Nike. They were failing for 10 years in a row. Every day, he was having to bail himself out somehow some way. And he said, what got him through is belief. He believed in his product and people bought that belief.

Clate (39:49.928)

Love it.

Park Howell (39:53.299)

Believe it. It's a great book. People can learn more.

Clate (39:54.853)

And whether you believe you can or you believe you can't, you're right, so you just get to choose which one do you want to believe, right?

Park Howell (40:00.74)

That's right. Well, folks can find me. I've got my own podcast, BusinessofStory.com, and you are on it. And you're going to be coming on it again to talk about your new book. I can't wait for that. Check that out. BusinessofStory.com. And if they want to learn more about how to use the ABT, simply go to BusinessofStory.com/ABT. Just that easy. And then they can apply it immediately in their world as well.

Clate (40:25.471)

Thank you for the practical wisdom. It's been so much fun talking to you. Thank you all for tuning into this episode of Conquer the Chaos podcast. And until we talk again, keep growing.

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