Uncorking a Story

I can’t think of a year wrought with more challenges than 2020. I certainly wouldn’t blame anyone for being resentful over the missed milestones including graduations, proms, or for having to delay major life events including weddings or even big trips that were planned. Here’s the thing, though, resentment is poisonous.

Listen in as I reflect on my own struggles with resentment and how I’ve addressed them. If you also struggle with that emotion, here are four tips for overcoming it:

  1. Challenge yourself to focus on the positive things in your life and not the negatives. Don’t go around looking for things to be upset by. Playing the victim is tiring not only for you but for others around you as well. Try to see the world for its beauty, not its scars.
  2. Focus on your own self-esteem. I believe there is an inverse relationship between resentment and self-esteem. When my own self-esteem was low, my resentment towards others was high. Some ways to address your own self esteem include finding things you are good at and doing them often,  exercising regularly, and spending time with people who make you happy.
  3. If you have had some experiences that you can point to that negatively impacted your life, particularly those in childhood, I urge you to seek a professional who can help you work through them. At the very least, open up to a trusted friend about them. There’s no shame in vulnerability and you will feel better after talking to someone about it.
  4. If you have an issue with resentment towards a person, try to see them through a different lens. If they are a family member, try to see them as a fellow human being. By doing so, you might be able to be a bit more understanding towards them and your relationship may improve.

As always, thank you for listening to Uncorking a Story. Happy new year and see you in 2020.

Direct download: Resentment_mixdown.mp3
Category:Inspiring Stories -- posted at: 12:33pm EST

Last night I got a text from my cousin Danny who told me that he was watching It’s a Wonderful Life and that sparked a memory of a piece that I had published in my local paper, The Stamford Advocate, eight years ago which was entitled The Gift of Encouragement. 

Listen in as I reflect on how important encouragement is and how we all can do a better job encouraging others. If you do listen in, you will take away the following three points:

  1. Look around and see who’s in your corner. If you surround yourself with people who encourage you, you will find the motivation to pursue your interests and, who knows, maybe do great things. Conversely, if you have people in your life who make everything about them, it’s time to make some decisions about the role they will continue to play in your life. 
  2. Providing encouragement is a gift that keeps on giving. It doesn’t cost you anything and it can make a tremendous impact on someone's life. I am sure that if you look around, there are people in your life who could use the gift of encouragement so please consider giving it!
  3. Actions speak louder than words. Remember, encouragement can come in the form of verbal support but it’s most meaningful when there is action behind it. Don’t just tell someone that you encourage them to do X/Y/Z but find a way to show your support. If a friend is a musician, go to their shows (ditto with comedians). If they want to be a writer, show your support by asking to read their work. The possibilities to show your support are endless.

As always, thanks for taking the time to listen to another episode of Uncorking a Story. I mentioned in the recording that I have a friend who could use a little encouragement—Chris Hart is one of my oldest friends and is on the transplant list for a new liver. My brother and I have started a Go Fund Me campaign for him as he and his fiancee Erin have exhausted all of their savings to cover the cost of his treatments. If you have any extra funds and looking to help keep a good person alive, I ask that you consider donating.

If you liked what you heard, please subscribe on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. Also, consider sharing Uncorking a Story with a friend. Lastly, I’ll remind you as I always do, that books make great gifts.

Direct download: Who_in_your_corner_mixdown.mp3
Category:Inspiring Stories -- posted at: 6:13pm EST

Last week I spoke with a Bostonian named Mary who took a trip to Jamaica during Covid where she was dubbed The White Oprah. Mary lives with Multiple Sclerosis and my conversation with her reminded me about a few things.

  1. Life is about weighing risk and reward. Mary has MS and is considered a higher risk for Covid, but she also decided that the benefits of taking this trip outweighed the risks in her mind. While I wouldn’t necessarily make that decision, it is important to live life on your own terms (and not judge others for doing so).
  2. It’s okay to rely on others for help. Due to issues with mobility, and the fact that she was traveling alone, Mary had to have assistance while making her way through the airport as well as navigating the resort at her destination. There’s no shame in being reliant on others.
  3. Find your cheerleaders. Whether a limitation is thrust up on you or created in your own mind, it is important to have cheerleaders who can help you overcome it. 

This last lesson about limitations reminded me that there was a time when I felt I wasn’t good at networking because I would often leave conferences without landing a new client. While remembering this, I was reminded of a conversation I had with networking expert Diane Darling who taught me that networking is about starting relationships and not signing contracts. I’ve got some great sound clips from that conversation in this episode and I know you are going to love them.

As always, thanks for taking the time to listen to uncorking a story. Please subscribe on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts so you can stay up to date with the latest episodes. As always, since the holidays are upon us, I have to remind you that books make great gifts!

Direct download: Overcoming_Limitations_mixdown.mp3
Category:Inspiring Stories -- posted at: 3:05pm EST

Recently, I caught up with my former boss and mentor Shelley Zalis who is probably the most positive person I’ve ever met in my life. In our conversation, she reminded me how important it is to go after what you want, to always get the deal (however the getting the deal is defined), and why complacency is kryptonite for success.

My conversation with her reminded me of some self-limiting beliefs I once held and that inspired me to revisit an interview I did with Dr. Colleen Georges, a positive psychology coach and author. Her book, RESCRIPT the Story You're Telling Yourself: The Eight Practices to Quiet Your Inner Antagonist, Amplify Your Inner Advocate, & Author a Limitless Life, was written to help people fight the most dangerous foe they will ever face in their lives—the organ between their ears.

You will come away from this episode with the following three takeaways:

  1. Even in the age of COVID-19 the deals and yeses are out there, though we may have to define what they are a little differently and work a lot harder to get them.  
  2. If your business is off this year, don't let that be the headline swimming around in your head. As Dr. Colleen would say, you have to rescript the story you are telling yourself.
  3. Take some time to thank the people who helped make you who you are and, while that includes bosses and mentors, don’t forget to thank your parents and teachers too. There’s no better time than right now to pick up the phone and thank someone for all they did for you.

Thank you for listening to another episode of Uncorking a Story and remember, books make great gifts!

Direct download: Always_a_Yes_mixdown.mp3
Category:Inspiring Stories -- posted at: 4:51pm EST

This week, while doing some interviews for a travel client, I met a young man named Matthew reminded me that there is joy in service. 

My conversation with him got me to thinking about how my mother, the church lady of Stamford, CT, would “volunteer” me and my brother Jimmy for various things and how rumors of our “willingness” reached the ears of a certain French teacher at Stamford/Trinity Catholic High School who capitalized on it for what can best be described as indentured servitude. Looking back, though, I realize that there’s great joy in service and that insight inspired today’s episode. 

Happy listening and remember, books make great gifts!

Direct download: The_Joy_of_Service_mixdown.mp3
Category:Inspiring Stories -- posted at: 1:28pm EST

Last week I reconnected with an old college friend, Kevin Savage, who recently wrote a post on his blog that got me to thinking about the things that are really important in life. It also reminded me of some conversations I had with three strangers who reminded me how important it is to see the silver linings in any challenging situation. Hitting curveballs was something I wasn’t very good at and the conversation I had with these guys was a reminder that life won’t always throw you perfect pitches, but with the right attitude you can swing away and hit the ball.

I appreciate your listening to another episode in the new format and challenge you to do the following three things this week:

  1. Reach out to an old friend and reconnect. It’s actually something I’ve been trying to do regularly since the pandemic began and it’s been great catching up with people. Don’t just rely on social media to keep your relationships alive—I know it’s tempting and it’s a great place to start a conversation, but nothing beats a live chat. Try and do this at least once per week.
  2. Ask for help. Kevin and I reconnected because he came to me for advice and help. I recognize how hard it is for me to ask anyone for help and it’s something I’ve been working on. I used to feel as if I had to have the answer for everything and take responsibility for every little thing that was asked of me. This led to me eventually feeling overwhelmed and burnt out. It takes some humility to ask others for help but, if you are like me, and feel as if you have to be superman, take off the cape and ask others for help when you need it.
  3. Make the right choice. Remember that every day we have a choice to make to decide what kind of day it is going to be. We can choose to focus on the challenges/negatives of a situation, or we can choose to focus on the opportunities/positives it presents. Focus on the silver linings and you will definitely have a better day (and so will the people around you).

Happy listening, and remember, books make great gifts!

Direct download: Making_a_Choice.mp3
Category:Inspiring Stories -- posted at: 12:37pm EST

When I was a kid, sometimes TV shows would have the very special episode, which would deal with a difficult or controversial subject. Do you remember these? Topics dealt with things such as AIDS, teen pregnancy, or drug use. Memorable ones include The Bicycle Man on Different Strokes (The Maytag man was a naughty boy) and A, My Name is Alex, on Family Ties when Alex has to confront his emotions after the death of a friend.

Well, today we have a very special episode of Uncorking a Story. Normally on this show I interview authors about their lives and give them an opportunity to discuss their latest book with you, but I'm changing course with this one. Last week, for my day job, I interviewed a woman whose story stayed with me as I found it both heartbreaking and inspiring.

I walked away from that conversation with a reminder that life can be what we make it. Even when the cards are seemingly stacked against us, we can choose how to frame our situations and what to focus on. Sometimes, it just takes a leap of faith.

I'd really appreciate letting me know what you think of this episode. If you like it, I will share more stories like this in the future. Please email me at michael.carlon@uncorkingastory.com to let me know what you think.

Direct download: The_Interview.mp3
Category:Inspiring Stories -- posted at: 4:52pm EST

Nick Braccia is a Cannes Lions- and Clio-winning writer, director, and producer. In 2018, he co-created and co-executive produced the horror podcast Video Palace for AMC Network's streaming service Shudder. While working at the marketing agency Campfire, he helped to develop immersive, narrative experiences for TV shows like Outcast, Sense8, Watchmen, The Man in the High Castle, Westworld, and The Purge. His new book, Off the Back of a Truck: Unofficial contraband for the Soprano’s Fan, is available for sale now wherever books are sold.

In this interview Nick talks about his background and some important people who have had key influences on his career including a third-grade teacher, an ex-uncle, and a professor at the college of the Holy Cross where he earned his undergraduate degree. We also discuss how important real support, encouragement, and acknowledgement are for writers. Additionally, Nick has an interesting take on how the interaction between putting in the work, being in the right place at the right time, and sheer luck plays in any successful creative endeavor.

Braccia is a member of the Producers Guild of America and lives in Manhattan with his partner, Amanda, and daughter, Evie Blue.

This episode of Uncorking a Story is brought to you by Mike Carlon's novel Uncorking a Murder. You can purchase Uncorking a Murder in paperback or e-book format wherever books are sold online. Enjoy the show.

Direct download: The_Nick_Braccia_Interview.m4a
Category:Authors -- posted at: 3:31pm EST