Why You Can’t Lose With Storytelling


This Week’s Episode:

I’m at one of my favorite theaters at the end of a long day rehearsing speakers for the TEDx stage. I’m packing up my stuff when Asa, the artistic director of the theater, says to me, “You should try out for our upcoming play this season. We have auditions next week.”

Sure, I love the theater. But the last time I was in a play was back in elementary school. I am not an actor! I don’t have any acting experience or training or know the first thing about auditions!

I tell Asa that I’m planning on sticking to my speaking career. However, she insists that I’d be really good at it and to at least give it a try.

One of my favorite things to say - which longtime listeners have heard several times - is, “Things will either go well, or you’ll have a story to tell on the other side.” 

And that’s what I had to remind myself of at that moment. With my heart racing, I tell Asa I’ll give it a go... and {spoiler alert} I’ve been performing ever since.

My gentle (or not-so-gentle, depending on your perspective) encourager Asa is my special guest on today’s episode. We answer questions such as:

What aspects of bringing a character to life are important to storytelling? What small things incorporated into character portrayals can make them unique and identifiable? How can you ensure you always win at storytelling?

Along the way, she also shares a “when I got in trouble” story involving her childhood fictional hero Pippi Longstocking, the play she did that necessitated a psychiatrist and the incarcerated to pull it off successfully, and a motto about failure you might want to adopt yourself.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • Why it’s so important for a character to have an “alibi”
  • Why the way you portray a character can be such a powerful story element
  • What makes a character so much more visible in an audience’s mind

Who is Asa?

Swedish-born actress, writer, and director Asa Olsson has had a passion for the theater since she appeared in Sleeping Beauty as a kindergartener. In her homeland, her long stage and TV career focused on issues around equality and social and political issues. It wasn’t long before she realized that experience could serve to help girls and women get their voices heard.

Asa immigrated to the U.S. in 1980 where she, her husband Randy, and their five-year-old daughter made the city of Carpinteria, CA their home. She spent over 30 years promoting the performing arts as a board member and the Artistic Director of the Carpinteria Community Theater (now called The Alcazar Theatre), including promoting female voices by building a drama program for girls aged 5 through 18.

In addition to promoting the performing arts in her community, Asa has enjoyed working sporadically as an actress in Santa Barbara, College City, and even in her native Sweden. She’s also served her community on the socio-political level, spending 10 years as a member of the Santa Barbara Public Health Department which resulted in a public smoking ban in Carpinteria.

Ready to be unforgettable? Good.


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"Storytelling is an art form - and Kymberlee Weil is the master! I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some of the most talented creatives in the world, and Kymberlee is close to the top of that list. She has an uncanny ability to uncover nuance and layers in a story - details often overlooked by the author - and has a deep understanding and connection with the value of well-executed presentation. Working with Kymberlee is more than a journey, it’s a transformative experience."


"Kymberlee helped me tremendously in the weeks leading up to my TED talk and afterwards. I have given hundreds of talks to audiences big and small. But the TED stage is a different beast -- every word matters.Kymberlee kept me on point, focused, and she took the time to figure out what my objectives really were and how to get me there. She is a true master of her trade and I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to work with and learn from her."


"I thought I had public speaking down pat. I've addressed audiences all over the world ranging from 62 to 1000 people. But going into that red circle at TEDx, and connecting with a vastly diverse audience is like moving to another planet. Kymberlee made that move effortless and exciting. As a former Green Beret, I have followed a lot of quality leaders and coaches, and I would follow Kymberlee anywhere… Especially into the red circle."