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Show Notes

Have you ever considered the power of storytelling as a gateway to self-awareness and empowerment?

Join us on The Quiet And Strong Podcast, where host David Hall discusses with guest Olena Mytruk how personal storytelling can be a profound tool for self-discovery and growing confidence. In this episode, “Storytelling for Self-Discovery and Self-Empowerment,” you’ll learn the significance of aligning your narrative with your inner values, the art of setting priorities, and reflection to discover your “why.”

As Olena shares her journey from being shy and reserved to a passionate life-design educator, you’ll discover that speaking your truth is a very powerful tool to discover who you are, what you’re capable of, and what your life can look like. Storytelling can help you discover your strengths and live authentically. Tune in if you’re ready to harness your strengths to unlock the stories within you and be strong.

Storytelling for Self-Discovery and Empowerment: A Conversation with Olena Mytruk

In the latest episode of The Quiet And Strong Podcast, I had the pleasure of speaking with Olena Mytruk, a visionary dedicated to helping women embrace their authentic selves. One of the most inspiring takeaways from our conversation was Olena’s emphasis on the importance of solitude. For introverts like us, finding time to be alone is not just a luxury—it’s a necessity. As a runner, Olena finds her solitude on the trails, a place where her mind is free to wander, recharge, and find the kind of clarity that a bustling social environment rarely offers.

An Understanding Partnership

Olena’s relationship with her husband serves as a stellar example of how understanding and communication are key in any partnership, especially when explaining the introvert’s need for downtime. It was enlightening to hear how Olena manages to advocate for her own space, without feeling guilty or seeking permission. It’s a delicate balance that many of us struggle to maintain, but her example shows that it’s certainly achievable.

The Myth of the Inarticulate Introvert

One myth Olena and I tackled head-on was the false notion that introverts are not adept communicators. On the contrary, we elaborated on how introverts can excel in communication, especially public speaking, through meticulous preparation and allowing for restorative breaks afterward. Our strategies may differ from our extroverted counterparts, but the end result often shines because of the thought and reflection we put into our words.

The Strength in Staying True to Oneself

During our discussion, Olena also addressed the pressure to conform to prevalent ideals of perfection. This pressure can be particularly intense for introverts, who might feel they have to match extroverted norms. But as we both agreed, the key is to lean into one’s individual strengths and spend most of our time operating within those areas. Olena’s work, particularly through her website “thebravery.com” and her podcast, “Bravery Handbook,” embodies this principle, and I invite listeners to explore these resources for further inspiration.

Preparing for Success in Public Speaking

Olena shared her approach towards preparing for public engagements, including podcast episodes. Unlike the assumption that all communication should be impromptu, she places value on the rehearsal and scripting of content. This method ensures a delivery that feels fresh yet grounded, allowing introverts to play to their strengths. I wholly understand and support this approach, as it mirrors my own process of finding the most comfortable speaking style for my introverted nature.


“Telling your own stories is a very powerful tool to discover who you are, what you’re capable of, what your life looks like, and, so it’s like a handbook.”— Olena Mytruk

Quiet and Strong Podcast, Ep 166

Work-Life Harmony

Olena’s insights on achieving work-life harmony were particularly striking. She advocates for a conscious life design and setting priorities based on our core value systems. By doing so, not only can introverts manage their energy effectively, but they can also ensure their actions resonate with their intrinsic beliefs. This framework for setting priorities can guide individuals in making decisions that align with their values, leading to a more satisfying personal and professional life.

The Art of Storytelling

Our conversation took a profound turn when we explored the role of storytelling in one’s journey to self-awareness. Olena shared how personal stories have the power to drown out external noise and help us connect deeply with ourselves. As introverts, the act of storytelling can be initially daunting, but it’s a crucial vehicle for self-expression and empowerment. Recounting one’s personal journey, whether through blogging, podcasting, or casual conversations, allows individuals to gain confidence and a stronger sense of self.

Episode Wrap Up

My dialogue with Olena Mytruk on Episode 166 of The Quiet And Strong Podcast was an enriching experience that highlighted the nuances of the introverted experience. From the need for solitude to the power of storytelling, Olena’s insights are a treasure trove for introverts seeking to live authentically and fully embrace their strengths. As the host of this podcast, I am consistently inspired by guests like Olena and am constantly reminded that our quiet and strong nature is indeed something to be celebrated and leveraged for greater personal growth and happiness.


Key Takeaways

Taking time alone is crucial for introverts to clear their mind and recharge, especially through activities like running, as emphasized by Olena Mytruk.

– Introverts have unique strengths such as deep self-connection and impactful decision-making but often face external pressure to act quickly.

Preparation and allowing time to recharge are key for introverts, especially before and after public speaking or communication-heavy events.

– It’s important to lean into and maximize your strengths, with David Hall suggesting that the majority of time should be spent using these strengths.

– Olena’s approach to life design revolves around identifying core values, aligning priorities with those values, and optimizing life for meaningful results and self-enjoyment.

Storytelling is a powerful tool for self-awareness, helping individuals understand their own values and strengths, and overcome the fear of judgment.

Sharing stories, whether through writing or speaking, can be transformative and is a stepping stone to embracing one’s true self.


Make Changes Now

After listening to The Quiet And Strong Podcast Episode 166, here are three to five actions you can take immediately:

1. Self-Assessment:

– Take the free type finder personality assessment mentioned by David Hall on quietandstrong.com to better understand your personality traits and how they might influence your introversion and communication styles.

2. Personal Introspection:

– Set aside time to reflect on your core values and life priorities as Olena Mytruk suggests. Use this insight to align your daily activities and long-term goals with what is most important to you.

3. Embrace Alone Time:

– Just like Olena, identify and schedule regular periods where you can have alone time to recharge. This could involve physical activities or simply a quiet space for meditation and reflection.

4. Storytelling and Self-Expression:

– Start documenting and sharing your personal stories, either through writing, podcasting, or engaging in facilitated sessions. This can help you understand your values and strengths while also facilitating deeper connections with others.

5. Practice Communication:

– Apply Olena Mytruk’s advice on preparing for public speaking or communication tasks if you’re an introvert. Develop a process that works for you, including rehearsing and allowing recharge time afterward.

Remember, the essence of Olena’s message on this episode is about understanding and harnessing your introverted strengths, aligning your life with your values, and the power of storytelling for personal growth. Each action step you take should bring you closer to living authentically and utilizing your unique strengths.


Contacts and Links

Olena Mytruk works with high-achieving, deeply responsible working women—women who wear many different hats, who strive for more, and who struggle with shame and guilt because they feel that by dedicating their time to careers or spending time on themselves, they sacrifice their most important mission in life: being a mother.

Originally from Ukraine and now a technology executive in the US, Olena understands the struggle of balancing work and personal life. After going through a divorce and years of personal growth, she realized that prioritizing her needs isn’t selfish—it sets a positive example for her daughter. Olena is passionate about empowering women to design their lives authentically, setting a strong example for others to follow.

Website: TheBreverie.com
Socials: 
Instagram | LinkedIn
Podcast: Breverie Handbook

– – –

Contact the Host of the Quiet and Strong Podcast:

David Hall

Author, Speaker, Educator, Podcaster

quietandstrong.com
Gobio.link/quietandstrong
david [at] quietandstrong.com

Take the FREE Personality Assessment:

Typefinder Personality Assessment

Follow David on your favorite social platform:

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn | Youtube

Get David’s book:
Minding Your Time: Time Management, Productivity, and Success, Especially for Introverts

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Timestamped Overview

00:00 Olena Mytruk, a technology executive, helps women balance career and motherhood.

06:26 For years, the speaker didn’t understand introversion’s impact on her behavior and struggled to reconcile being a shy, reserved person with her confident professional role.

10:01 Finding alone time is valuable, and it’s okay to ask for it.

11:35 Discovering the natural ability to listen to oneself, and the advantages for introverted people in decision-making.

16:59 Preparation is important for natural speech delivery, including scripting for podcasts, for both introverts and extroverts.

20:41 Embrace family, work, and self-care for a balanced life. Aim for work-life harmony and prioritize tasks that matter most.

24:02 Motivation from values leads to meaningful action.

27:36 Balancing work and family during vacation, prioritizing communication and work commitment.

29:12 Podcast Breviary Handbook encourages storytelling for self-discovery and empowerment.

34:46 Fear of judgment and self-doubt hinder sharing. Accept potential criticism.

35:39 Sometimes others may judge, but it’s important to focus on personal growth and learning from experiences. Writing and reflecting can uncover valuable lessons.

40:15 Facilitated sessions include storytelling and advice-sharing in breakout rooms. Participants share specific situations and feelings, ask clarifying questions, and offer advice based on their experiences.

42:27 Sharing stories and being vulnerable helps others open up and provides value.

47:37 Thanks for joining. Connect on the website for blog, social links, and personality assessment. Share show topic suggestions.


Podcast Transcript

Olena Mytruk [00:00:00]:
Once you start talking about something that is important to you you are automatically putting yourself in that state of mind that alignment with your inner, soul self. It helps you hear yourself better because your stories are yours. They are not coming from the outside. So by default, it’s not about outside noise anymore. And I think it’s really important to bring up create self awareness is to be connected to yourself and to not listen to everything else. And by telling your stories, by thinking about your stories, by bringing up your memories and your feelings, you’re automatically doing that.

David Hall [00:00:50]:
Hello, and welcome to episode 166 of the Quiet and Strong podcast, especially for introverts. I’m your host, David Hall, and the creator of quietandstrong.com. This is a weekly podcast dedicated to understanding the strengths and needs of introverts. Introversion is not something to fix but to be embraced. Normally, we’ll air each episode on a Monday. Be sure to subscribe on your favorite platform. Leave me a review or rating. That would mean a lot to me.

David Hall [00:01:16]:
Tell a friend about the podcast. Help get the word out there that introversion is a beautiful thing. Alanna Mytruck works with high achieving, deeply responsible working women, women who may wear many different hats, who strive for more, and who struggle with shame and guilt because they feel by dedicating their time to careers or spending time on themselves, they sacrifice their most important mission in life, being a mother. Born and raised in Ukraine but currently living in the US and working as a technology executive at a Forbes Global 2000 and S and P 500 company. Olena knows firsthand what it feels like to tell yourself, I work too much. I put my job first. I’m a bad mother. With the tough decision to divorce and over a decade of personal development practices, she learned an important lesson that shifted her mindset forever.

David Hall [00:02:14]:
Prioritizing her needs and her dreams isn’t selfish. It sets a standard for her own daughter by showing her that she can listen to her desires and find fulfillment in both personal and work life. Polena has dedicated herself to equipping women to design their lives in a way that feels good to them and sets the best example for those looking up to them by embracing who they are and taking charge of their lives. Alright. Well, welcome to the Quiet and Strong podcast, Olena. It’s so nice to have you on today.

Olena Mytruk [00:02:48]:
Thank you for having me, David. It’s a pleasure to be here.

David Hall [00:02:50]:
Alright. I’m looking forward to getting into your story and about storytelling. Right? So first off, tell us about yourself and your journey to becoming a life design educator and a founder and a chief education officer.

Olena Mytruk [00:03:05]:
That’s a lot of words. Right?

David Hall [00:03:06]:
Yes. It is.

Olena Mytruk [00:03:08]:
And it it has been a long journey and, very unplanned journey. I never planned to be anything like that. I never planned to be a business owner or or not entrepreneur. I had my corporate career. I studied math in school. I got a job, and, I thought everything was planned out in my life until it wasn’t. A sequence of events happened in my life that completely shifted its direction. 1st, I got divorced after being married for 9 years.

Olena Mytruk [00:03:41]:
Then I’m I moved to the US from Ukraine with my daughter as a single mom. She was 4 years old back then. I got remarried in the midst of pandemic in 2020. That was that is a separate story on its own.

David Hall [00:03:53]:
Yeah.

Olena Mytruk [00:03:53]:
And with all that journey, life journey, I was discovering more about myself. I was learning what I what I can do, what I’m capable of. And at some point, on the end of 2020, I decided to start my own business and to help other women also come back to who they are, embrace who they are, take charge of their lives. Because once you do that, like, I know now everything changes. But even back then it wasn’t about educating anybody. Back then I didn’t even think I had anything to teach or share. The only thing the main thing I need I knew how to do was technology. My background is in technology.

Olena Mytruk [00:04:37]:
I work I have a full time job in a co in a technology company. And so I decided to create a mobile app. So it was gonna be a goal setting mobile app for women. I spent a year, the whole year of 2021, developing it, designing it, bringing it to life. And then it went live at the end of 2021. And once it was live, once it got in the hands of actual women, I discovered that it’s not really about the tool because people were texting me, messaging me how to use the tool. And as I was helping them actually navigate that whole goal setting and life journey process, I was also gaining, I guess, more more and more confidence about the fact that I actually have something to share, that I do have knowledge that can be valuable for some people, that I got something to say, that people listen, that it helps them, they benefit from it. And eventually this is what brought me to where I am today, teaching women how to navigate life.

Olena Mytruk [00:05:41]:
And what is really interesting and I didn’t even think about it until recently, when I was in school professors would always tell me that I’m very good at I would be very good at teaching. They wanted me to come back to school as a professor, and I would always be like, no. No. No. I don’t wanna be a math professor. That’s not how I see my life. But I guess in a way, I got back to that prophecy, not as a math teacher, but as a teacher. So they were right.

David Hall [00:06:09]:
Yeah. They were right. Awesome. We’re gonna get a lot more into the work that you do, but first, you’re a fellow introvert. We chatted earlier about that. Just tell us about how you figured out that you were an introvert, and did you need to do anything to embrace that?

Olena Mytruk [00:06:26]:
Yeah. So for many years, I actually didn’t even know what that truly meant because I have always been a reserved person, very shy person. As a kid I would never share even with my parents or especially with my parents when I when I was having some troubles at school I would always keep things to myself. And, I never wanted to talk about what I was going through, what I was navigating. And I guess I had this label, you know, that we all have this probably, we took these personality tests when we were teenagers, and those tests would tell me that I’m an introvert. And I was like, okay. And I always thought that that was about me being shy and reserved, and this is what introversion is and nothing more. And what was interesting and what I was always having trouble understanding is how can I be confidently talking as a manager in my corporate job if I’m a shy and reserved person? And how at the same time, I have such a hard time coming to somebody to say hi, somebody who I have who I don’t know, in a meeting or in a in a at at the event.

Olena Mytruk [00:07:36]:
And, it wasn’t until couple years ago, I think, when I really discovered what it is to be introvert and it was an accident really. We were talking to somebody from our daughter’s school and we were saying that she is shy. And he said, no. She’s more reserved. And I was like, oh, I thought these are the same things. And I got back home and I started googling it. And I discovered that first of all, these are different things but also that introversion is not equal to be reserved or shy. And that you can be reserved and not be an introvert.

Olena Mytruk [00:08:14]:
And you can be an introvert and not be reserved. And I was like, oh, that’s that makes sense. I discovered that being an introvert is really a quality that is about being inner focused and about requiring time alone to recharge more than anything else. It’s not about not being able to talk to people. It’s just about having this extra need to recharge alone, to spend time alone. And that made total sense because I know that I need that time alone After a long day at work, after talking to people, I need that. And and now I know why, because I am an introvert.

David Hall [00:08:53]:
Yeah. That’s what I always say. You’re inner focused, and we do need time to recharge. And Yeah. We actually need a lot of time alone. We still like to hang out with people, our family and friends and others, but we need some time for some other things too. So what have you found that you need alone time to do in your work or or in your life besides recharging?

Olena Mytruk [00:09:19]:
It’s just I I need this to function sometimes, honestly. Sometimes when I feel like I rush through the day, when I feel overwhelmed with information, I need to get away. Get away on from get out of the house. Sometimes I will go for a run. This is something that I discovered to be very much helping me to really clear up my mind. And it’s interesting because it’s a physical activity, so it’s not rest in normal terms, but it is my alone time. It is the time when I don’t have to think. Sometimes I feel like I get too overwhelmed with thinking because of that ability to be inner focused.

Olena Mytruk [00:10:01]:
It is a blessing and a curse and finding those moments when you are busy doing something else but not thinking really helps. And it’s hard to do that when you are around people. So sometimes I don’t even feel guilty anymore asking my family, my husband to just give me some time alone. At the end of the day, after dinner, I can tell him, I just need 20 minutes. Just please let me go to the bedroom sit in the bedroom. I’m okay. I just need the time after talking to people all day. And now that I know that I need that, I have no problems asking for that and expressing that need.

David Hall [00:10:40]:
Okay. And so, did you have to work that out where he understood that? Did did that take any time?

Olena Mytruk [00:10:47]:
He’s a very understanding man. Okay.

David Hall [00:10:49]:
Awesome. That’s that’s great.

Olena Mytruk [00:10:51]:
It’s it’s it’s more me allowing myself myself to ask than him giving me permission.

David Hall [00:10:58]:
Yeah. But sometimes, you know, we feel bad, you know, with our our our especially our families. It’s like, you know what? I do need it just like you just said, but we feel bad. But it’s like, you know what? This is something I need. I love you, but I just need a little time. And, you know, once they can understand that, that’s great, and they might need it too from time to time. So

Olena Mytruk [00:11:18]:
Yes. Absolutely. Yeah.

David Hall [00:11:21]:
Definitely, this inner focus brings strengths. You know? Sometimes that’s not understood. What’s the strength that you have because you’re an introvert?

Olena Mytruk [00:11:31]:
I can just repeat what what you just said, David. Really

David Hall [00:11:35]:
Okay.

Olena Mytruk [00:11:35]:
Having that natural ability to connect with yourself once you discover that you have that ability. And this is, I think, what’s so important and so understated because with all the amount of information that gets thrown at us every single day, sometimes we don’t have time or capacity to listen to ourselves. But once we do, I think us introverted people have this advantage because I think we have we are wired in a specific way to hear what our gut or intuition or inner self is telling us. And looking back on my life, the most life changing impactful decisions that I have made, I’ve always made them after letting myself sit still and just wait for them to come. And I always like to say they felt right. I could be very logical, very analytical. I could come up with endless lists of pros and cons, but it wasn’t until it felt right then I was like, okay. I’m gonna do it.

Olena Mytruk [00:12:42]:
And I think this is really the advantage and the strengths that we as introverted people have. Once we know how to use it, once we learn to give ourselves that permission to sit still, step back. Just relax. Let it go. Don’t stress about finding that decision and just trust in the universe that at some point, it will come to you. It will.

David Hall [00:13:05]:
Yeah. I relate to that very much. And, you know, sometimes we make quick decisions. But myself, just like you what you just said, when I think back on the big decisions that I’ve made, the good ones have come with time. You know? And I think, okay. If I had rushed that and maybe someone was pressuring me to rush something. If I had rushed that, it wouldn’t have gone so well. So, normally, we think about something.

David Hall [00:13:30]:
The idea rolls around in our head for however long that you know, if it’s a hour or days or whatever it is, but we give ourselves time to think, and we can come up with some really great stuff.

Olena Mytruk [00:13:41]:
Yeah. And for me, sometimes it took months, and that was the problem because people around me, they weren’t willing to give me those months. There is always this pressure. Oh, you gotta you gotta decide what you gotta do. And then we put our this pressure on ourselves. We tell ourselves, I gotta decide what I need to do. And that pushes us back. That creates the opposite effect.

Olena Mytruk [00:14:04]:
We can’t find that right decision Yeah. Anymore.

David Hall [00:14:09]:
Yeah. Sometimes there’s there’s a balance in there, maybe a deadline, you know, after x amount of time. It just depends on what what it is.

Olena Mytruk [00:14:17]:
Yeah.

David Hall [00:14:18]:
So on the show, we talk about strengths and needs of introverts, and we bust some myths. I think you busted a couple already that introversion doesn’t necessarily mean shyness or being reserved. Is there any other myths you wanna bust today on introversion?

Olena Mytruk [00:14:35]:
I think the big one that I had to break for myself is that introverts cannot be good speakers, communicators, or even that introverts all have low energy. I have a very high level of energy. Yeah. Sometimes, it even comes as a surprise to me. And, even when I was start was thinking of starting my own podcast, I was considering whether I would be even able to do it because I’m an introvert. So how can I talk to not even a person but a monitor or a microphone? And I think it is really a myth. So, again, you can be very good communicator. You can become an amazing speaker.

Olena Mytruk [00:15:18]:
It’s just about giving yourself more time to prepare, to put yourself in the right state of mind, but also knowing that after that podcast recording or being on a stage, you might need time to hide. Take some time alone to recharge because you will need that. But it doesn’t mean you cannot influence others by saying things that will really create a good impact.

David Hall [00:15:47]:
Yeah. And, you know, I’ve had a lot of people on the show that either are public speakers themselves and or work with a lot of other public speakers, and majority are introverts.

Olena Mytruk [00:16:00]:
Which is sort of like a paradox, honestly. But but as you think about it, it makes sense because, again, we are inner focused. We because we think, because we are deep thinkers, we come up with deeper ideas and I and ideas that are worth sharing. It’s just a matter of giving yourself permission to share those ideas.

David Hall [00:16:20]:
Yeah. Well said. I gave a 2 hour speech this week. Loved it. My energy was great. I’m like, oh, when can I do this again? You know? And so but we have to prepare differently than our extroverted friends. You know? I had to prepare well ahead of time and then let the presentation kinda roll around in my head to see if I wanted to make any tweaks and be ready to capture those things as the ideas came. I made sure to not have anything to do that morning or afterwards.

David Hall [00:16:47]:
Just like the podcast, it’s like an hour before I have blocked off and an hour after I have blocked off, so I’m ready. And, also, so if I need to recharge, I can. You know?

Olena Mytruk [00:16:59]:
Yeah. Absolutely. I 100% agree with that. And I also try to rehearse and, when I record podcast episodes, I script them. And I even, like, say them in my head trying to see if it’s gonna sound naturally because I don’t wanna be sounding artificially. I otherwise, I’ll just get lost in the process. So I really need to make sure that the words will flow and these are the words that I would use in the verbal speech because sometimes in the written speech, we might say something that we wouldn’t say out loud in the same way. So, yeah, we do need time to prepare, but I feel like our extroverted friends probably need that time too or anything good.

David Hall [00:17:44]:
Yeah. Yeah. Everybody needs to prepare. It’s just a little different, and they do have a skill that we don’t necessarily have. They’re better at winging it. You know? And sometimes they really enjoy that. And not that we can’t wing it too, but it’s just we need to prepare a little more, a little differently. And they need to prepare, but they’re also just good at thinking on their feet a little bit more.

David Hall [00:18:08]:
And, again, not that we can’t do that, but our skill is preparation ahead of time. And you do have to figure out what your process is. You know, we’re probably all gonna differ a little bit, but we can be amazing speakers. That’s so that’s a great myth to bust.

Olena Mytruk [00:18:22]:
Yes.

David Hall [00:18:24]:
Alright. So tell us about the work that you’re doing now.

Olena Mytruk [00:18:28]:
So today, besides my corporate job, which I still do have, I work with, women. I call them multifaceted women. It’s women who wear a lot of hats, juggle a lot of duties, responsibilities every day, and I am myself a very multifaceted women woman. So I’m a mother. I have 2 jobs. I try to also take care of myself, my physical health, find time for my hobbies and it is a lot. It is a lot to navigate, a lot a lot to balance. And what I also discovered is what usually stands in the way of us achieving what we want in life.

Olena Mytruk [00:19:04]:
It’s usually all these emergencies, things that happen out of the blue, things go sideways, some something goes wrong. And in order to deal successfully with those emergencies we need time, capacity, energy, confidence. And usually we don’t have enough of those things. Because in order to feel more energy we need to make the time to recharge. But how do we make the time to recharge if we don’t have the energy or confidence to push back on something that gets thrown at us. It’s like a paradox. We need these things, but we don’t have them. And what I have learned from my own life and using my analytical mind, I guess, my study in math probably helped is that life is not linear.

Olena Mytruk [00:19:51]:
Life is not just a set of causes and effects. It’s a complicated system and you need to treat it as a system. So you need to look at some underlying structures, behaviors, circles. So you can’t just fix one thing and hope that everything will will be fixed in the other place. And so all all of these realizations, they helped me come up with the approach that I now call life design is how to intentionally approach your life in a way that you can optimize it for maximum time, maximum capacity, maximum energy. So that eventually you can actually achieve more in life, more meaningful tangible results and feel better in the process. Love yourself in the process. Love your family.

Olena Mytruk [00:20:41]:
Enjoy time with your family. Enjoy the work that you do. Enjoy going for a run instead of constantly feeling overwhelmed, stressed, tired, guilty, and all these other things. So instead of striving for work life balance, which is such a cliche, I like to say, I want to aim for work work life harmony. It’s it’s it’s about being in alignment with yourself, doing things today, this minute that matter most, knowing that you have so many things to do but you have to pick 1 at any point in time. And so I help women find those things, Find that compass. How they can understand what is really more more important today. Where do I want to dedicate my time and energy today that will help me refuel my life? So that tomorrow I have more time and more energy to do something else.

David Hall [00:21:35]:
Yeah. So it’s not work life balance, and I’ve definitely talked about this before. It’s it’s really, you know, your priorities and how you’re gonna, you know, some days you might spend more time working. Some days you might spend more time with your family. Likely not gonna be in perfect balance at any given time.

Olena Mytruk [00:21:53]:
Yes. Like I like to say, whenever you focus on one thing, you automatically do not focus on anything else. So there is no balance. There is always no balance. Life life is constantly out of balance in this way. So to your point, I think you’re absolutely right. Like, I I give myself permission to work late one day if I know that something requires my attention because I know that the next day I will give myself permission to go attend my daughter’s dance performance in the morning. So I will skip work because at that time her performance is more important.

Olena Mytruk [00:22:27]:
And having that flexibility in life, having that set of inner, like, value system and strengths and using strengths to push back on things, Say no to things that you have to say no to. Sometimes yourself, sometimes others. This is what I really stand for so strongly and this is why, this is one of the things why, you know, the idea of your pa podcast resonated with me so much because you’re talking about strengths. It’s so much aligned with what I believe in, leading with your strengths, using your strengths. There’s so much potential untapped potential in doing that.

David Hall [00:23:02]:
Yeah. Absolutely. And, you know, your daughter’s performance isn’t gonna come around again. So but your work is off your work is very important too. You know? You need both, and you just gotta figure it out. How do you help other women set priorities?

Olena Mytruk [00:23:18]:
So, again, it’s a it’s a framework. It’s I teach all of that. It’s not a one time thing. But, honestly, in a very simple terms, you ask yourself what really matters most at this point? What is the impact of things that I can do? Like, you can list everything that’s on your plate and sometimes it might be 5 things or 50 things. And you know that you have to pick 1. Because I think the first step I like to think of it I want to take it in my own hands. I want to choose. And then you ask yourself, okay.

Olena Mytruk [00:24:02]:
Why do I want to do this specific thing? And it’s about connection to your values in my opinion. It’s about understanding what is important and sometimes we get forced by others or by some fear, some judgment to do something. And this is not the way the good no it’s not the good reason to do something. It’s not the good motivation to do something even though it might be very strong. So what I’m helping women uncover is their true core values. Something that creates meaning in life. Something that when you do it you are so deeply connected to that ‘why’ that you are willing to fight for it. And because once you have that it gives you that energy to fight.

Olena Mytruk [00:24:47]:
You know that why. You can feel it. You can sense it. And then you can defend that priority. You can you because you know why it is so important to you because of that value that’s that is connected to it. And tapping into your values, understanding your values is a completely different story. But the way to like, one of the things you can do to get to even get started is to ask yourself in what situations in the past you have felt happy, fulfilled, accomplished. Like something that you did really warmed your heart because usually it’s in those activities that we know that we engage our values.

Olena Mytruk [00:25:27]:
We are aligned with our values. And the more we do that, the more aligned we will be with the priorities that we set.

David Hall [00:25:34]:
Yeah. And, I’ve tried to do everything before too, and it doesn’t work. Nope. I’m I’m curious. So just personally, how often do you take some deep time to think about your values and priorities? How often do you revisit that, or or is there a process like that for you?

Olena Mytruk [00:25:57]:
I think for me, it has become, thankfully I don’t wanna brag, but I think it has become a bit of a habit. And I know that there are things that I need and value in life. I have them actually written down, and I do have a framework which, like, online mapping systems. So sometimes I will take a look at it, and, I will remind my myself of those. But I know the core ones. I usually have not a big struggle understanding my whys, but it’s not always easy. Sometimes I really have to make prior change priorities, like, minutes by minutes, honestly. There was a time there was a vacation that we took about a year ago that was supposed to be a vacation.

Olena Mytruk [00:26:42]:
But then I had to work. My husband had to work. Our daughter, she was staying with my mother-in-law and she was texting me. And my husband was at the same time texting me about something happening at his work. And I was dealing with some insane issue at work. And I was just like, oh my gosh. I just can’t handle with everything at once. It was so so so overwhelming so I had to literally, like, sit back, close my eyes, take a few deep breaths to calm down physically, and then I wrote down things.

Olena Mytruk [00:27:17]:
Okay. So what do I need to do? I have this work issue. That’s 1. I need to touch base with my husband to find out what’s going on with him. That’s 2. I need to explain to my daughter why we are not having vacation when we are supposed to. That’s 3. And I literally had to prioritize these three things within a matter of hours.

Olena Mytruk [00:27:36]:
And the way I did that was by asking myself, okay, what is really most important right now? The first one was connect with my husband, text him, make sure he’s okay. The second one was to explain to my daughter, and find the right words for her while explaining, why her and me and dad, we have to work. And then the third one was come back to that issue and actually that ended up we I ended up working the whole vacation. I ended up working that whole week. And that was tough decision but I knew why. I knew that that was a very important project. And, I take pride in in delivering high quality service for my clients in general in the corporate job as well, and I just couldn’t let it slip. So even though it was hard, I was in alignment with why I’m doing this and and it it helped me find strengths to explain even to my daughter that our one week vacation actually got ruined.

David Hall [00:28:39]:
Yeah. Yeah. So it can be minute by minute for sure. Alright.

Olena Mytruk [00:28:46]:
Yeah.

David Hall [00:28:46]:
So I think a lot of this work that you’re doing, it’s really heavily based in storytelling and people telling their stories. Right?

Olena Mytruk [00:28:58]:
And people actually uncovering their own stories.

David Hall [00:29:01]:
Okay.

Olena Mytruk [00:29:01]:
And sometimes you don’t even have to tell them out loud. You have to tell these stories to yourself to begin with.

David Hall [00:29:08]:
Yeah. So tell us about your podcast.

Olena Mytruk [00:29:12]:
My podcast is called Breviary Handbook. And, the reason it’s called Handbook is because what I discovered not so long ago, about a year ago really, is that telling stories, telling your own stories is a very powerful tool to discover who you are, what you’re capable of, what your life looks like, and, so it’s like a handbook. So I like to joke that every episode of my podcast is a page, is in in my handbook. It’s like a life manual. So I flip pages of my life manual, of my handbook because it helps me learn more about myself. In the process of uncovering, remembering my stories, I learn more about myself. And, also, I hope that while doing that and by doing that, I empower and encourage my listeners to start telling their stories. I hope that it’s giving them permission to be vulnerable, be themselves because coming back to introverts and us being inner focused, we have to know who we are.

Olena Mytruk [00:30:18]:
We have to give ourselves permission to be who we are. And I find that telling your stories is the first and very important step in giving yourself that permission.

David Hall [00:30:29]:
Yeah. So how did you figure that out for yourself that storytelling was important for you to be able to get to know yourself and share that story?

Olena Mytruk [00:30:42]:
It wasn’t an easy journey. Like I said, when I was a kid, I would never tell anybody anything about myself really and, I even with my friends I would be very reserved and when I met my husband, my second husband, my now husband, he got very genuinely interested about my life story because I had moved countries, and he likes to say that I went to the best school in Soviet Union, which I did. But to me it was always like, come on that doesn’t matter, that’s not important. And he would always be like oh no, you have a very fascinating story. And even when we would meet some friends, some people, he would always be like, oh, here is my girlfriend or my wife and she is from Ukraine and she went to the best school in Soviet Union. And I I’d be like, stop embarrassing me. Like, that doesn’t matter. Nobody cares.

Olena Mytruk [00:31:36]:
And so I didn’t really believe him. But I guess, his words, kinda was settling in my mind because I was starting slowly to be more open about my stories. And then about a year and a half ago, I went to a retreat with, other 10, 12 women. I had not met them before. I only had met a couple of them, but I wanted to get out of my shell and it it was COVID and I was I just wanted to go to travel somewhere, get out of my house. So I went to this retreat. It was this beautiful farm and it was the 1st day of the retreat. We gathered in the living room of that farm for the evening and there was this ritual which I didn’t know was gonna happen.

Olena Mytruk [00:32:21]:
It was called circle. So we all sat on the floor in the circle and we were all given a card with some word. And we were asked to think about something that that word means to us, some personal story. So I started thinking about my word. It was the word hope and it had something very very deeply personal at that time related to that word. Very vulnerable. And so I was thinking about this. I was getting very emotional.

Olena Mytruk [00:32:48]:
And then the host of the retreat, she said, okay. Now let’s share each other’s stories with the group. And I was like, oh my gosh. I cannot do that. No way I can share my story with everybody. I don’t know these women. Like, I can’t. And so one woman started sharing her story.

Olena Mytruk [00:33:06]:
Another one shared her story. And almost everybody shared their stories, and I was second to last. And my thoughts were spinning. If I if I do it, I gotta do it now because I can’t be last so I have to do it. And I almost forced myself to do it. I told myself this is why you got here. You wanted to get out of your shell so go ahead and do it. And so I started talking and my heart was racing.

Olena Mytruk [00:33:31]:
It’s even racing now as I’m remembering that. And I guess I thought that the world would collapse on me, but it didn’t. Like and as I was sharing that very personal story, there was this silence in the room and everybody was listening. And I realized that it’s not scary. And it also felt very light. It felt like I had this tension inside me related to that story and it was suddenly out. And I felt lighter. I felt free.

Olena Mytruk [00:34:04]:
I felt so awesome and proud and just amazing. And after that, that was the moment when I really realized that it is so so powerful overcoming that barrier, but then seeing what’s on the other side. It gives you just impossible feeling, amazing feeling. And I wanted to continue experiencing that, and I wanted to help others experience that as well.

David Hall [00:34:35]:
Yeah. Absolutely. So why do you think you were or other women or other men, and it could be introverts or not introverts, are reluctant to share their stories?

Olena Mytruk [00:34:46]:
For me, I think the main reason has was always I didn’t think that I had anything interesting to share. That, something worth sharing, was in my life or in my expertise or in my experience. And I think another reason is that we are afraid of being judged. We are afraid of being claimed stupid for sharing anything, so we decide to keep it to ourselves. And this is all fair, and I wouldn’t recommend to anybody to go beyond your limitations and do that anyway even if you don’t feel comfortable. But what I would say is that people will or might consider you stupid no matter what. Not not everybody will like us. Not everybody will believe that we are smart.

Olena Mytruk [00:35:39]:
Regardless of what we say or do not say. Some people might say that we are stupid because we didn’t say something. So it’s really about separating yourself from what others might think of you and doing what’s best for you. And what I have learned is even if you don’t think that there is anything in particular in the story, just writing it down sometimes brings additional memories, helps you process it for yourself and uncover real lessons. What I even learned even since I started my podcast, Sometimes what I thought was was gonna be my story as I was scripting it, I would change the lesson in the story. Even though the events happened several years ago, as I was remembering them, I was learning something. You and this is I think the beauty of it, really. And it doesn’t have anything to do with what others might think about you.

David Hall [00:36:37]:
Yeah. Again, I’m relating so much to what you’re saying. I started blogging about 10 years ago when I finally embraced my introversion. Just having to put it down and gather your thoughts really helped me even become more self aware. And then I’ve been doing the podcast for the last 3 years. Like, same thing. You know, putting together your thoughts just really helped me understand who I am, but it also just gave me an incredible amount of confidence. Like I said, I spoke for 2 hours.

David Hall [00:37:08]:
I shared a lot of my stories, you know, and it was a great time. And I definitely was was one like, oh, people aren’t interested in my story, but they are.

Olena Mytruk [00:37:19]:
And you will never find out until you try. So this is another interesting thing. Sometimes we sit and we wait for the perfect moment or for the perfect situation, but what it’s really all about is about taking that first step. The journey will not unfold in front of you until you take that step, until you start. And then you will you will see where to go, next. It I think it’s true for telling stories or doing really anything. Taking that first step.

David Hall [00:37:50]:
As human beings, we’re built on stories. Stories have been told since the beginning of time, so we need to understand that. Right?

Olena Mytruk [00:37:58]:
Yeah. Yeah. And I think this is why it’s so natural. Really, it is natural for us. I think we as we grow up, we create those limitations around ourselves. I don’t think as little kids we care really about what somebody might think about us. But then as we grow up, we start seeing what is appropriate, what is not appropriate, what others are saying. And if they are not saying what we believe, then we will not say what we what we think because we will feel like we are wrong.

Olena Mytruk [00:38:28]:
Sometimes it might be, oh, they’re so smart but they’re not saying what I’m thinking so I might be thinking something stupid. And because of that, sometimes the great ideas never get shared.

David Hall [00:38:38]:
That’s right. That’s right. They need to be shared. I’m really interested in the self-awareness piece. So how does that help your clients bring self-awareness by really sharing their stories?

Olena Mytruk [00:38:51]:
So it comes back to that connection with yourself. Because once you start talking about something that is important to you, you are automatically putting yourself in that state of mind, that alignment with your inner, soul self. It helps you hear yourself better because your stories are yours. They are not coming from the outside. So by default it’s not about outside noise anymore. And I think it’s really important to bring up create self self awareness is to be connected to yourself and to not listen to everything else. And by telling your stories, by thinking about your stories, by bringing up your memories and your feelings, you’re automatically doing that without taking any specific effort or trying any specific techniques like meditation, for example. You could just tell a story about something that happened and how you felt and why you felt that and what you you were seeing, what you were feeling, what you were sensing, what you were smelling.

Olena Mytruk [00:39:57]:
And as you’re creating that picture in your own mind, you are bringing yourself to that situation, you will learn more about yourself just because of how storytelling works.

David Hall [00:40:11]:
So how do you have your clients share their stories?

Olena Mytruk [00:40:15]:
It’s usually it’s part of their sessions. So we I have, facilitated sessions within the program, and it’s usually in the breakout rooms when we do this sort of brainstorming. It’s not necessarily storytelling per se, but we all often play we try to spot our our strengths or we try to help each other understand our values and this is usually when I ask each person in a breakout room to bring a specific situation, tell a specific story, what happened to them and how they were feeling. And then the other people in the group, they start first, they start asking questions because I think it’s very important for us in a discussion to get curious before we start jumping to some conclusions. I think it’s very natural for us to come with our advice, our best ideas, and then the person is again disconnected from from themselves. So once the somebody tells their story others first ask some clarifying questions. They try to get to the bottom of what is really going on there? Why is it it is important? Why it is resonating? Why it is difficult? And then they share advice in a way of their experience and their stories. So they don’t say oh you should do this.

Olena Mytruk [00:41:34]:
They say, when something similar happened to me, I felt this. I did this. And so basically it helps both ways. The person whose situation they’re discussing is getting a different perspective, is getting a different chance to uncover some new depths of their experience. And also other people they bring the their own memories to the surface which helps them. And then they will tell their own stories because it goes in in circles. So let’s say there are 3 people in a in a breakout room. So everybody will have a chance to bring out their situation and every other person will have a chance to ask clarifying questions and, share their advice.

David Hall [00:42:18]:
So those that are reluctant to share their stories, can you help them improve on their storytelling ability?

Olena Mytruk [00:42:27]:
This call comes with practice. I had to say this, but I think what helps and the and this is why I do what I do with the podcast and with my group program. I think seeing other people do that, be honest, be vulnerable, helps you also open up. Because you see, they do that, and it’s safe, and you know that you are not judging them. So hopefully, over time, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but over time it will help you start sharing your stories. And again, you can start by offering some advice, by telling something from your experience. Which is not necessarily a story, it can be as simple as one sentence. But you’re contributing to somebody so you know that you’re providing value and that can also be another advantage and another reason to do it, to say something.

Olena Mytruk [00:43:23]:
But then as you do more and more and more of it, like, with your speaking engagements or with our podcasting journey, I’m sure both of us have the same experience, the more you do it the more confident you become. It’s it just comes back to starting and finding that safe space. And I don’t even like the word safe that much. I would say free space. Space where you can be yourself, where you can say whatever you want to say without worrying that you will be judged. And that might be with your partner, that might be with your children, that might be with yourself in the bathroom. Find that space and start. And then the snowball will start rolling from there.

David Hall [00:44:12]:
Yeah. Absolutely. It’s funny. Like, when I think about podcasting, I’ve heard some pretty famous podcasters talk about how they don’t even wanna listen to their early episodes just because they just keep getting better. And, you know, as human beings, we just want to be perfect and episode 1. But I know the same is true for me. I definitely have gotten better with time and experience.

Olena Mytruk [00:44:36]:
Absolutely. Yeah. We want to be perfect from day 1. My 11 year old daughter, she hates so much when she’s not perfect with something from 1st second, not even day 1.

David Hall [00:44:47]:
Yeah. I’ve experienced that with my kids too. Olena, this has been such a great conversation, such great stories. Is there anything else you wanna add that we didn’t talk about yet?

Olena Mytruk [00:44:58]:
I just want to say that whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, it’s so important to lean into our strengths. Because I think way too often we focus on fixing our weaknesses instead of really maximizing our strengths. And sometimes I like to give my students this, very quick exercise. Think about something that that you’re not good at. Something that you don’t like doing and you want to improve it. And come up in your mind with the plan on how to do it and and see how you feel while you’re coming up with that plan. And then think about something that you love doing, that you are good at, and come up with a plan of taking it to the next level, improving it even further. And again, notice how you’re feeling.

Olena Mytruk [00:45:46]:
And I’m pretty confident that those feelings will be completely different. The first one will be maybe exhaustion, maybe boredom, maybe fear, but it’s gonna be hesitation. You don’t want to do it. And the second one will be I can’t wait to do it. I really wanna do it. So, why do we have to fight ourselves instead of really understanding what is great about us and capitalizing on that? If we all do that, I believe the world will be a much better place for everybody.

David Hall [00:46:19]:
Yeah. I love that. We’re on the same page there. If we can work in our strengths the majority of the time, that’s where it should be. And, you know, there’s always things that we have to do. You know, there’s always things that in our lives and our jobs that are weaknesses, and we can deal with those in a lot of different ways. But if we can spend the majority of the time in our strengths, that’s that’s the goal.

Olena Mytruk [00:46:41]:
And the weaknesses will be elevated automatically. They will have no choice but to be improved.

David Hall [00:46:49]:
Right. Right. Okay, Olena. If if anybody wants to find out more about the great work you’re doing, where can they find that?

Olena Mytruk [00:46:57]:
I have a website. It’s called thebravery.com, and I have a podcast that is available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. That’s called Bravery Handbook. And I’m also on Instagram as either ollinamytrack, that’s my personal account, or the Brevery where you can learn more about the work I do. So, yeah, I would love to connect with you all. And if you have any questions, please feel free to message me, DM me. I always love to connect with like minded people.

David Hall [00:47:27]:
Thanks again, and I’ll put that in the show notes. And thanks for sharing your story today. It’s it’s been an amazing conversation.

Olena Mytruk [00:47:34]:
Thank you for having me, David. It was a pleasure.

David Hall [00:47:37]:
Thank you so much for joining me. I look forward to further connecting with you. Reach out at david@quietandstrong.com or check out the quiet and strong.com website, which includes blog posts, links to social media, and other items. Send me topics or guests you would like to see on the show. If you’re interested in getting to know yourself better, there’s now a free type finder personality assessment on the Quiet and Strong website. This free assessment will give you a brief report, including the 4 letter Myers Briggs code. I’ll add a link to the show notes. There’s so many great things about being an introvert, so we need those to be understood.

David Hall [00:48:15]:
Get to know your introverted strengths and needs, and be strong.

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