How to Become a Fascinating Storyteller with Jordan Harbinger

Jordan Harbinger is not only an incredibly good friend of mine that I’ve known for many years, but he’s the founder and creator of The Jordan Harbinger Show Podcast.

He’s a master storyteller and in our podcast together we discuss how to become a fascinating storyteller among many other topics. He founded a dating company back in the day, he’s an ex-lawyer and he has the most interesting stories of any man I have ever met!

Below is a brief excerpt from some of our conversation:

Adam: I’ve got crazy stories of things I’ve done like, getting in an African stick fight with an African stick-fighting champion. I fought a traditional Japanese warrior with katanas in an alley outside of a Japanese sushi restaurant. I mean, I’ve got some pretty crazy stories, but yours beat mine every time. Like, how many times have you been kidnapped?

Jordan: Twice, but to be fair, they were kind of dumb kidnappings. Well, one was dumb and the other one was legit. You know, one was like a fake taxi, you know, idiot, tourists kind of thing. What the other one was like state security officers in Serbia. And if you’re Serbian and you’re listening to this, don’t get mad at me. I like Serbia.

Experiences Lead to Storytelling

Adam: Most people I meet don’t have these kinds of stories. Whether you’re a business owner trying to relate to your customers or you’re doing a multimillion-dollar negotiation, you want to be able to hold attention for a while or tell an interesting story.

If you don’t have those experiences, people say to me, “I don’t know what to talk about. What should I talk about?” So I wanted to talk to you about it. How do you get those kinds of stories?

Jordan: I used to, I should say I have two kids now, so it’s less so, but I used to be like, I’ll do almost anything for the story. So if someone’s like, “Let’s go to North Korea!”, I’ll be like, “Yeah, let’s do that. That sounds fun and wild!” And we’ll go and do that now. Like I went to the Amazon jungle last year in, I think October, November…

And I thought, this is going to be good, personal growth, it’ll be fun. Then when I come back, I’ll have a bunch of stories, and a lot of times that’s how I’ve sort of lived my life. Really looking forward to experiences that are interesting and unique, then those unique and interesting experiences turn into stories that are useful later on.

When I was younger, I would do things to get a story because that was what would increase your status and make you more interesting, like to date or whatever. 

But I don’t think you have to go to North Korea or get kidnapped in order to have good stories. I think a lot of people have good stories and they just don’t think about them as such.

And it’s funny because people will live their whole life thinking they haven’t done that much. Just because it happened to them and it seemed normal, it doesn’t seem interesting or notable to them.

I think a lot of people fall into that. They don’t think what they do is that interesting because they’re the ones doing it. So they look at themselves not as fascinating, interesting people, but as normal folks, and so therefore everything they do falls into that category. 

Storytelling is about being intentional with your life

Adam: Everyone’s life is unique. Everyone’s life is different. I always tell people “What’s the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?”  Or “What’s the scariest thing that ever happened to you?” Or “What’s a time that you did something where you saved somebody?”

Those three things are always gonna be amazing stories. But I love something you said earlier, which is “I do things just for the story”

Reflection on an experience is what makes it meaningful.

– Jordan Harbinger

Jordan: Young people do that I think, but they don’t think about that. They just think it’ll be fun, but I’m like, it’s not really gonna be that fun. It’ll be fun-ish in the moment, but the experiences are often your reflection. What is it? What anticipation of an experience is better than the actual experience? And then reflection on an experience is what makes it meaningful.

Also, some people will look back on an experience that they didn’t particularly enjoy or that didn’t stick out at the time. And then like five years later, they’ll be like, yeah, that was so awesome. But it’s all just your memory, doing things to the experience. In the moment it might not even be fun at all. You might wish you were at home watching Netflix. 

I’m 42. I don’t usually think, let me test my business skills by jumping into something new. I like to do new things all the time, but usually for recreational purposes, like riding a camel, not learning a brand new skill for my business all the time.

I’m a “stick to what works” kind of guy. But when I get opportunities, I will learn new skills for business, like taking a public speaking course. Do a live show that I normally wouldn’t do. I like to take those opportunities because it forces growth.

Otherwise, you’ll think, “Okay, I’m going to maybe try this new thing… Eh, now’s not the right time. Eh, I’ve got this other thing, eh, I’m kind of lazy. I don’t wanna do it.”

So I do tend to say yes to not everything of course, but some experiences that I think are gonna be good. I usually have to talk myself into it. It’s usually, “This is gonna be a pain. I really don’t want to do it. Okay. What am I going to learn? What am I potentially gonna get out of this?”

And if it’s something worthwhile then I will go ahead and do it. You know, there are a lot of things I prefer to say no to now to maintain focus for sure, especially in this day and age. However, I try not to use that as an excuse to never do public speaking or never do live stuff, or never do X, Y, or Z.

Adam: “A diamond only has value after it’s put under insane amounts of pressure, cut multiple times and finally shaped by someone who knows what they’re doing….”

Adam: In your words, what do S.M.A.R.T Businesses do? 

Jordan: Smart businesses and smart business people always dig the well before they get thirsty. So they’re reaching out and building relationships, especially before they need them. I think a lot of folks say they leave networking and relationship development, but they never do it because they feel like it seems slimy or they leave it to the last priority, which means it never happens. 

But people who know what they’re doing and realize the value of relationships and what they can do for other people, not just what other people can do for them, realize this is a top priority.

Something that they should do 5-10 minutes a day at least because it always pays dividends. And once you need relationships, you’re too late to then start building them. So you really do have to dig the well before you get thirsty. 

To listen to the full episode of the most comprehensive podcast about strategically building and growing your business, the S.M.A.R.T way, click on any one of these platforms and subscribe!

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About Adam Lyons

Beyond his own portfolio of growing companies, Lyons is an advisor for over 500 brands across the US and Canada. Lyons has been featured on the Today Show, The Steve Harvey Show, Forbes, Bloomberg Business and the NY Post. He has been awarded 3 different ‘Wicked Smaht’ Awards due to his innovative business strategies and multiple 2 comma club awards. Companies he has worked with include PepsiCo, Nike, Nescafé, Discovery Digital Networks and many smaller brands.

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