• Courtney Kirschaum

Be careful what you believe!

There’s a picture making the rounds on the Internet right now. You may have seen it.

It’s an old black and white photo of a soldier carrying a baby donkey on his back through a field. You can also see other soldiers in the picture, too.

The question is: why is the soldier carrying the donkey?

The caption tells the alleged story:

These are WWII soldiers walking through a minefield. 

One solider is carrying the baby donkey so it doesn’t step on a mine and blow them all to smithereens. The “moral” of the story is this: in dangerous times, you have to manage the jackasses so they don’t get you killed.

The “big timeless message” is some folks aren’t respecting the current situation and following wash your hands, stay home and flatten the curve rules.

Here’s the thing. It’s not true.

It’s not WWII. 

It’s not a minefield. 

They aren’t protecting themselves from a mis-stepping baby donkey.

Here’s the real story:

It’s 1958 during the Algerian war and French Foreign Legion soldiers are trying to take Algeria. These soldiers happen upon this baby donkey starving in the countryside. 

One of them picks up the little guy and takes him back to their camp.

They name the donkey “Bambi” and nurse him back to health. Bambi becomes their mascot. The photo and story are in a book “The French Foreign Legion: A Complete History of the Legendary Fighting Force.” (Nah, I didn’t read it, but someone did and tracked down the Baby Donkey Origin Story.)

The “real” story was a 30-second Internet search away and a thousand “lessons” could be spun from it.

It doesn’t matter what war or country. It doesn’t matter if the donkey was starving or about to step on a mine. The true story was as good or better than the spun tale.

Sometimes you have to carry a one jackass for the good of the many. 

Whether it’s about a mascot or a minefield, it’s worth getting good at telling your story.

Take your first job, because it's something we all have in common. 

Whether you clerked for a Supreme Court justice or worked the most popular ride at the local theme park, you have a story about your first job.

The justice scenario sets you up to tell one kind of story - a very particular kind that some people make thousands telling at speaking engagements. It goes hand in hand with certain types of jobs.

It plays on people's curiosity and fascination.

The theme park job is perfect for another kind of story that also shows you off, makes you memorable and lets you be seen - not your work history, not your title -  but YOU.

The smartest girl I knew in high school had a summer job at a theme park. No big deal, right?

Here's a funny angle: her job enabled her to make tens if not hundreds of "extra" dollars while literally doing her job.

How's that even possible?

The ride she worked had the weird side-effect of slinging change out of people's pockets, which she picked up (it was her job). Over the summers, it added up to nice chunk of change, so to speak. 

She went to college and was an art major, I'm pretty sure, and now she's a producer for well known national radio network. She’s published a book, too. #YourMajorDoesntMatter

A good narrative will take you a long way and your story is good enough to kick ass (pardon the pun) on your LinkedIn, website, resume, whatever you’re using to connect.

Deploy a few simple narrative tricks and your visibility skyrockets.

There are three types of stories you can tell (four if you count your origin story) that tee you up for easier connections with the people you want.

Anyone can use these and they get people interested in you. 

These days, the best (and darn near the only) place to tell your story is on professional and social media. It's one of the few places people can get together right now. 

If you want to polish up your skills at getting in front of people who’ll carry their ass across a minefield to hire you, buy from you, and work with you, stay tuned or get on the waitlist here for LinkedIn Boost which is coming faster than you can walk across a minefield (a lot faster.)

That's the story,


PS Here's that picture of the solider carrying a donkey.

PSS - Have a question you've been wanting to ask? Ask it here. If I can, I'll tackle it in a future email or post. Hit me up right here: https://www.courtneykirschbaum.com/pictureandquestions


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