Eustress is positive stress while distress is negative.  In many of our organizations and in our general lives, people look at stress as an individual phenomenon.  The reality is that stress is more impacted by groups and social belonging.  If we start looking at stress as a capacity that we can manage we can begin to develop positive ways to handle stress.  For example, with group belonging, what may be considered distress to an individual may actually turn into eustress when dealt with by a group.  In addition, if we build a group's capacity to deal with stress through positive in-group belonging and esteem, we also increase social bonds between members of that group.  In other words, it becomes a positive cycle where stronger group bonds lead to better stress management and better stress management leads to stronger group bonds.  For more information, please visit and make contact with me.  Thank you for listening.

In this episode, I tell a story of going to buy my wife a Christmas present.  It started as a clear in-group/out-group matchup between the sales associate and me.  However, I pivoted.  I became present in the moment and began to think about the identities that the sales associate played in her life.  That allowed me to gain empathy.  Because of that empathy, I communicated in a way that brought us into the same group.  I also found a way to become an ally and not build trust.  I didn't expect a discount, I merely wanted to see if we could develop a short-term relationship based on a shared identity.  We did and I was able to transition from a "customer" to an ally.  This encounter lasted mere minutes, but shows the power of using identity and the roles we play to understand others and understand the world around us.

In Episode 10 of the Crucial Talks Podcast we talk about lightning striking twice.  This title came form the interesting story of James Otis, who felt he would be killed by lightning, which he ultimately was.  He was struck by lightning two times in his life. We use the story about James Otis, a man John Adams credits with planting the seed of revolution in the American Colonies.  We also listen to part of a TED Talk by Nancy Duarte where she talks about stories and her outstanding work to determine a pattern followed in many of the greatest presentations ( We see that James Otis did the same thing that Nancy talks about.  He talked about what is and gave people a vision of what could be. 

In our example, lightning strikes once with goalsetting and again through storytelling.  These two lightning strikes help us draw people together and overcome differences.  By setting superordinate goals, we can help groups set aside their difference and work together.  The more superordinate goals we develop, the more we build collaborative capacity. For more information or to contact Mike Sedam, please visit 

#metoo was started in 2006 by Tarana Burke.  In October 2017, Actress Alyssa Milano used it on twitter and the #metoo movement took off.  This episode looks at the #metoo movement as an example of a superordinate identity and superordinate goal that can bring diverse individuals and diverse groups closer together.  It is an example of how differences can be overcome when people can share an identity.  It also shows how a goal that cannot be rejected, cannot be ignored, and takes more than a single person or small group to reach is powerful.  If you would like more information, please visit

Storytelling has been around as long as people have banded together.  It's how we pass on information, create emotion, and change behavior.  People are social creatures and there are a lot of things that are similar between us and other social creatures.  We depend on each other for protection.  We live together to produce food and shelter.  We need validation from each other.  What differs people from all other social animals is the fact that we can fabricate reality.  We can share information in a way that allows us to make sense of the world around us.  This episode talks about the importance of storytelling to social construction and also discusses the characters we adopt for ourselves in the stories of our own lives.  Please visit for more information.  Thank you for listening!

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