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Telling Stories to Inspire and Encourage People with Edward Grinnan

Telling Stories to Inspire and Encourage People with Edward Grinnan

by | Mar 14, 2022 | Q&A

From your favorite stars to the everyday ordinary worker, everyone has a story to tell. Regardless of our differences as individuals, the stories we share connect us with each other. Other people’s narratives of struggles and triumphs can teach and inspire us as we face battles of our own. You’d be surprised at how much you can relate to their experiences of grief, joy, fears and bravery. There is much to learn from the stories of others and they can learn from ours as well.

In this episode, Edward Grinnan joins us to share his journey and the lessons he learned throughout. Edward enjoys telling stories and has written many inspirational stories through Guideposts Publications, which he also tells us about during the podcast. Ultimately, he motivates us to grow, improve, and overcome our challenges. 

If you want to find out how your story can impact others, this episode is for you!

About Edward

Edward Grinnan is the current Editor-in-Chief and Vice President of Guideposts Publications. He is a distinguished author, having written multiple books and articles including The Promise of Hope and Always By My Side. Edward has been with Guideposts since 1986 where he has written and edited multiple stories.

Edward has a bachelor’s degree in English and Journalism from the University of Michigan. There, he was also awarded the Hopwood Award in Playwriting. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Yale University before pursuing a career in New York theater.

You can learn more about Edward and his work on his Guideposts user biography. Connect with him and send an email to egrinnan@guideposts.org. 

Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:
  1. Discover the impact of storytelling and how you can help others with it.
  2. Find out why having the right mission is important in inspiring others.
  3. Learn why change is necessary and how you can encourage others to accept it.

Resources

Episode Highlights

[03:27] About Edward Grinnan and Guideposts

  • Edward helps people share their inspirational stories with the world. 
  • Guideposts was founded by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. It is a space for people to tell stories of faith in their daily lives.
  • Those in the media industry initially thought no one would want to hear stories from ordinary people. 
  • They continue to be America’s storytellers for their audience today — 76 years later.

[06:01] Guideposts Today

  • This summer, Guideposts relaunched with more pages and new features.
  • Though many say that print is dead, they continue to publish Guideposts as well as several other magazines.
  • From 10 times a year, they now only publish 6 times a year. This has enabled them to continue to create amazing content.

[09:43] The Impact of Storytelling

  • Their staff goes through thousands of stories yearly.
  • Some people prefer to work together with the editors to help them articulate their stories in the best way.
  • The people who share their stories through Guideposts want their experiences to help others.
  • The majority of their content is from ordinary people from all over the world.
  • As spiritual people, they want to spread hope and inspiration to guide them through their troubles.

[13:24] Edward’s Journey

  • He was introduced to the magazine when he was struggling with depression and other issues. 
  • He was called for an interview and ended up working with Guideposts. There, he found himself inspired and nurtured spiritually.
  • With the help of his work and the community, Edward felt like he found his place in the world. 
  • Compared to other publishing companies, Guideposts had a positive environment. Edward, along with others, did meaningful work.
  • Listen to the episode to hear more about how Edward rose from his lowest point with the help of Guideposts.

[20:46] Guideposts’ Mission

  • Guideposts is a non-profit, mission-based publication that connects deeply with its audience.
  • The company’s mission encourages its people to stay and love what they are doing.
  • Contributing to the mission gives a big impact on the audience. They want their actions to inspire spiritual growth through Guideposts.

[24:06] Edward’s Memorable Moments With Guideposts

  • Edward recalls a time when a reader sent him a letter about her father’s life. This was later on shared through Guideposts. 
  • This memory made Edward truly realize how his work can make an impact on the audience.
  • On the other hand, the transition from print to digital media became a challenge for their growth as a company. 
  • The team is now looking for ways to reach people digitally and still bring the same impact as their print publications.

[29:39] Changing For the Better

  • Continue to do what you’re good at, but always be ready to do it in different ways.
  • Short-term goals motivate people. Long-term goals motivate the changes that must be made.
  • Despite the success of printed products, the reality is that a transition is needed for the company’s survival and growth.
  • Decisions regarding changes must involve everyone in the company. Guideposts seniors include the other teams in decision-making and take into account employee feedback. 
  • A collaborative approach to company changes encourages its people to accept it.

[34:02] From Print to Digital

  • Guideposts’ print publication had a stable audience demographic. 
  • Digitalization allowed them to reach a wide variety of different audiences.
  • There were difficulties in finding and marketing to their audience for different content.
  • On the upside, going digital has its benefits.
  • Targeting specific demographics is an opportunity to create content for them specifically.

[40:18] Overcoming Tragedies

  • During the 9-11 attack, Edward’s editorial assistant was part of the emergency response team.
  • The tragic event had a significant impact on Guideposts. They have a collection of stories of that day.
  • These kinds of stories still inspire us to survive and push through.
  • Guideposts allow people to share stories that involve tragedies and overcoming them. 

[46:17] Alzheimer’s: A Hopeless Situation?

  • Edward is currently working on a book about Alzheimer’s and its impact on society.
  • The book focuses on his family’s journey through the challenges of the disease.
  • He is currently going through predicted testing for signs of Alzheimer’s in himself.
  • Spiritually, people worry about forgetting the presence of God in their lives. Edward believes that Alzheimer’s cannot erode your relationship with God.
  • He hopes to discover how faith can get them through hopeless situations.

[50:58] Guideposts For You

  • For many people, Guideposts has come into their lives exactly when they needed it.
  • People enjoy coming back to the magazine producing a high renewal rate of 75% on subscriptions. 
  • Edward welcomes people to connect with him with their own experiences with Alzheimer’s.

[53:31] Seeking in Creating

  • Edward resonates with creating.
  • You can seek through creating. Edward often finds discoveries as he writes.

5 Powerful Quotes from this Episode

[12:38] “I think we, as spiritual people, need to infuse the world with hope and inspiration to counteract the troubles that people have. Guideposts people have troubles and they use their faith to work themselves through their troubles.”

[18:27] “I thought God’s striking a bargain with me, which is, I will help you get sober, but you have to do this work in exchange. And I thought that’s a pretty good deal. Because it was enriching me and I was feeling optimistic and positive. I had a place in the world and there was a meaning to my life, which I had completely lost up until that point.”

[30:01] “I’ve always thought that the way we’ve always done things, versus, we have to do things differently as the two sides of the same coin. Because you know what you’re good at, and you cannot forget what you’re good at. But you have to figure out how to be good at it differently.”

[32:47] “When you can get people involved in the process of change, they’re much less likely to cling to the way that they used to do things. They’ll feel like they’re a part of what they’re being asked to do.”

[44:28] “Guideposts is a magazine of overcoming people. One of the things about Guideposts stories we always ask is, ‘how does the narrative change the person, how do they change? And how, in the course of that story, and the issues, the problems they face, how did overcoming those problems, change them for the better?’ And that’s really the kernel of a Guideposts story.”

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To growing and becoming all we are created to be,

Tim