Richie Norton

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Tell to Sell: Harnessing the Power of Storytelling to Build Your Brand

Cindy Stagg is a rockstar client of mine that you will LOVE! In only a few short months she’s taken a proven concept that she has used with her business and clients and turned it into a #1 bestselling book! I did an interview with Cindy that I know will help you tell better stories, sell more products/services and build your brand:

Richie: Tell us a little about yourself and the book.

Cindy: Thanks, Richie! I’m so honored to be here. I’m a writer, and I know this sounds cliche, but I’ve been a writer my whole life. I grew up in Arizona, where I loved listening to Native American Legends in school. I was the kid who stayed in from recess just so I could write stories.

Richie: That doesn’t sound nerdy at all…

Cindy: Right! Well, I wasn’t into kickball, so writing it was! Anyway, I’ve been writing professionally for about fifteen years and started my own copywriting business, The Bright Words, about three years ago. I learned that the best articles were the ones that utilized some sort of story.

My book is called Tell to Sell: Harness the Power of Storytelling to Build Your Brand. As the title states, it’s all about storytelling and how businesses can use it to create brand alignment.

Richie: What inspired you to write it?

Cindy: I actually came up with the idea after attending a business conference in Salt Lake City last February. The theme of the conference was storytelling, and speaker after speaker stood up and told their personal stories. As I sat there listening, I realized that I was a storyteller myself, and that I could use that skill to help other entrepreneurs and businesses create alignment through stories.

Richie: Sounds like a pivotal moment.

Cindy: It was! You were one of those speakers, and your story inspired me to take my stupid idea and turn it into my smart reality. Nine months later, I have a book climbing the charts on Amazon, I’ve spoken to various groups about storytelling, my business is growing, and I’ve developed the Kitchen Table Phenomenon.

Richie: The Kitchen Table Phenomenon?

Cindy: Yes. The KTP is the process I developed for creating powerful stories. One of the things I discuss in the book is going back to your roots to start your story. My story begins when I was a kid. We had relatives from Holland who came to visit us here in the states. We didn’t have the internet back then, so except for birthday cards sent through the mail, we really didn’t have regular communication. When they arrived here, we were practically strangers! We had to get to know each other – and the way that happened was around the kitchen table. We shared meals and got to know each other through stories about each other. The kitchen table was where we forged bonds as a family.

The kitchen table is a nearly universal experience. Feelings of safety, belonging, and gathering are all part of it. When people feel safe, they’re willing to open up and start talking. And that’s when the magic happens. This is alignment.

So that is what I do. I’m an outsourced CMO of sorts. Perhaps I’m an outsourced CSO – Chief Storytelling Officer! I gather everyone within an organization around a table, and we flesh out powerful brand stories.

Richie: Besides the KTP, what else can people get by reading Tell to Sell?

Cindy: In the book, I discuss how stories engage more areas of the brain than say, a list of product features. Did you know our brains are literally designed to hear a story? I give several examples of large companies that have successfully used storytelling to sell everything from coffee to cars.

Readers will also learn about the elements and subtle nuances that make up the formula to telling good stories. Finally, they’ll learn about the three crucial keys that make up the Kitchen Table Phenomenon.

Richie: Three Keys?

Cindy: Stories, connections, and people. But they’ll have to read the book to find out why!


Why Storytelling?

Are you part of the new revolution of creative entrepreneurs, trying to get yourself and your brand recognized? Do you have a great product or service but just don’t know how to get it noticed? You know storytelling is important to your brand, but maybe you’re just not sure what your story is or how to tell it.

Whether you’re a “one man show” or an established business with employees, it can be difficult in the sea of online marketing, viral videos, mommy bloggers, adventure photographers, and even foodies to get yourself noticed, let alone make your brand stand out. The old way of advertising was to offer a list of features, maybe sing a catchy jingle, and tell someone that they needed your product. That was a great formula before social media.

But things have changed.

The new way has actually been around longer than the written word: it’s called STORYTELLING.
Human Beings are naturally wired to be drawn to stories – our brains actually crave them!
In this easy-to-digest, actionable book, Cindy Stagg show you the steps you can take right now to tell a powerful brand story that will resonate with customers and align them to your brand.

By drawing on her own personal experiences, Cindy walks you through what she calls The Kitchen Table Phenomenon and gives you the three keys essential to powerful storytelling.

Tell to Sell gives you actionable steps you can take right now:
– You will learn WHY your brand needs a story and how to benefit from it
– Learn the three crucial keys necessary for powerful storytelling and brand alignment
– How to develop and tell a great story
– How to use your story to align both employees and customers alike to your brand

Tell to Sell is a quick read that will give you lasting benefits. It provides you with the tools you need to start developing your story. Whether you’re just starting out or looking for a fresh way to sell your existing product or services, you’ll find plenty of useful information to get you on your way to brand alignment.

 Click on the book cover (below) to get your copy now!

Written by on November 18, 2015 | Permalink | Trackbacks (0) Topics:

Book Review

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Is it Time to Disrupt Yourself?

Richie Norton with the book Disrupt Yourself by Whitney Johnson
Get the book Disrupt Yourself by Whitney Johnson by clicking right here.


Choose for yourself…

Here’s what the heavy-hitters are saying about Disrupt Yourself:

Disrupt Yourself reads like a handbook for innovation: it shows the incredible value of recognizing what you are good at and finding unexpected ways to apply those strengths to the marketplace. The dramatic ‘jumps’ that Johnson encourages us to take truly form the basis of creativity and success.” – Steve Wozniak, co-founder, Apple, Inc. and Chief Scientist, Primary Data

“I have used the word ‘disruption’ to understand how some companies blossom while other wither. Whitney has applied the word in a different context – to understand why some individuals succeed in remarkable ways. Enjoyed this book!” – Clayton M. Christensen, Harvard Business School, NYT best-selling author of The Innovator’s Dilemma

“Playing it safe is not safe in today’s fast-paced marketplace. Disrupt Yourself is a must-read for anyone looking to stand out from the crowd and pursue innovation in our highly uncertain business climate.” –Eric Ries, bestselling author of The Lean Startup

“Wow! Disrupt Yourself wins the “plain English” award–which is to say I’ve seldom if ever read a better written business/career development book. The advice is compelling, clear-as-bell, research-based, and actionable. And it’ll work as well for a forty-something as a twenty-something.” –Tom Peters, bestselling author, In Search of Excellence


Disrupt Yourself is packed with powerful information that will revolutionize the way you live and work. I love it! Here’s a quick excerpt from this incredible book:

“As you embark on a journey of personal disruption, you are in search of a yet-to-be-defined market. But like an explorer, you have a plan: to discover and conquer new territory. It will sometimes feel scary and lonely, and you will undoubtedly end up in places you hadn’t anticipated. But your willingness to do things different than they’ve always been done will help you successfully discover your way up the S-curve of personal disruption.”

Richie: Why did you decide to write Disrupt Yourself?

Whitney: My “a-ha” moment around disruption came when I was reading The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen in 2005. As an equity analyst, I was already persuaded that the frameworks of disruption explained why mobile penetration in Mexico was quickly outpacing fixed-line penetration. But as I read the book closely, I wondered, do these frameworks also apply to individuals? And, if innovation is an inside game, can an organization truly drive corporate innovation without personal disruption? In 2006, I had the privilege of co-founding a boutique investment firm with Clayton Christensen, the father of disruptive innovation. As I immersed myself in applying these frameworks to investing, my ideas around personal disruption began to coalesce, beginning with one-off articles in the Harvard Business Review. In truth, though, this book would not be in your hands, if my publisher, Erika Heilman, and agent, Amy Gray, hadn’t said enough already: “Stop talking. Start writing.” Or in the words of my editor friend, Melissa Stanton, “Don’t just think it, ink it.”

Richie: How do you hope people apply the principles of the book?

Whitney: My hope that people will see this as a framework for managing change, whether at the organizational or individual level. But even more simply, my hope is that these ideas will help people to move from stuck to unstuck, or to move forward even faster.

Richie: What was your greatest take-away, personally, after researching and writing the book?

Whitney: There is a widely-held, albeit unconscious, belief in investing that if a stock is up one day, the next day, it will be down. Similarly, most of us believe that things can go our way only so long before the tide turns. What I learned in my research is that this is a fallacy. The better a stock does, the better it is likely to do. The more things go our way, the more likely they are to go our way. The more we disrupt, the better we get at riding the S-curve waves of disruption. This was a powerful learning for me.

Personally, this book for me is a game-changer and I know it will be for you too.

Get your copy!

Written by on October 23, 2015 | Permalink | Trackbacks (0) Topics:

Book Review


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Richie and Natalie Norton_Nusa Lembongan - Indonesia


(Location: Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia (an island off Bali), after Nat and I spoke at the What If Conference. Photo Credit: Random Bystander.)

How could we already be into this marriage of ours THIRTEEN years?! Craziness. Time flies.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that every year, on our anniversary, I like to share some things my wife and I have learned about cultivating a happy marriage.  That said, if there’s anything we’ve learned, it’s that we’re certainly not perfect and we’ve got to be patient with our imperfections.

New here? Get caught up:




Note: This is more of a post for me and Nat. I’m not being “preachy.” I’m not a marriage counselor. I don’t have a degree in family therapy. I’m just a happily married dude, and this post is a reflection of my experience, well. . . as a happily married dude. Of course, we have our own set of problems. EVERY couple does, and I would certainly never try to hide that fact. But this isn’t a post about what hasn’t worked for Nat and I, it’s a post about what has. And I sincerely hope that what I share here can help you reflect on your own life and work toward creating a strong, happy marriage as well!



#13. Hold on tight!

Marriage is a freakin’ roller coaster. My grandma and grandpa just celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. When asked what their “secret” was, my grandpa immediately said, “Hold on!” That’s what it’s all about. Marriage, life in general, really, is a wild ride. Hang on tight!


#12. Loosen up (every day).

Yeah, yeah, yeah…I just told you to hold on tight and now I’m telling you to loosen up. Hold on tight to your spouse, but loosen your grip around his/her neck! Give em’ a break. You’re in this TOGETHER. Don’t suffocate the relationship with relentless nagging, unrealistic expectations or constantly playing the blame game. Shake it off. As necessary (daily!), go for a walk, get outside, clear your mind. You’re both better when you’re fresh and loose.


#11. Honor your spouse (always).

Honor is the “respect that is given to someone who is admired” the “good quality or character as judged by other people” and “high moral standards of behavior.” What would it mean to you to be honored? What if you communicated that to your spouse? What if your spouse did that for you regularly? What if  your spouse told you what if felt like and meant to them to be honored? What if you honored that? What if you had this conversation and renewed this commitment with your spouse? What if you did this today? Things would change for the better, people. Honor and be honored in return.


#10. Simplify.

Simplicity is beautifully complex. It’s never simple to keep things simple. Simple solutions require the most advanced thinking. Simplicity requires tremendous brainpower, will and foresight. If you want an incredibly passionate, happy, alive marriage…don’t overcomplicate things. Once all is said and done, the foundational elements of a happy marriage are very simple: respect, forgiveness, service, love. Comparatively, everything else is froth. If you can focus on those simply complex elements of your relationship, everything else will fall into greater order and ease.


#9. Bow low.

You make mistakes. I make mistakes. We all make mistakes. But the biggest mistake we can make is failing to acknowledge and repair what we’ve done wrong. You’ll gain respect—both self-respect and the respect of your spouse—when you take ownership or and do everything in your power to make right what you have wronged. “When you bow, bow low” (Chinese Proverb).


#8. Be tomorrow’s version today.

How would your life change if you made decisions today as if you were already the person you want to become tomorrow? We tend to live up to our own feelings of ourselves (for better or for worse). If we plan to become something else, what better way to do so than to step into that skin now?


#7. Get a daily equation.

There are certain things that you have to do each day in order to keep your “life current” moving in an intentional and positive direction. I’m not talking big picture goals (though those are important as well). Your daily equation isn’t meant to be anything fancy. It’s simply a handful of things that you know you have to do each day in order to keep your head above the water and a sense of purpose and momentum in your heart. Everyone’s equation will be different. Yours may include exercise, or having a healthy breakfast every morning. It may include reading inspiring works each day, or it may be ensuring that you drink enough water to stay well hydrated. Maybe enjoying 8 hours of sleep per night is non-negotiable for you. Your equation will be a combination of things you value and know bless your daily life. Whatever your equation includes, having these daily essentials in place in your life is one of the most important things you can do for a successful life (and as a wonderful bonus, a happy marriage).

This practice ensures that even when you go through your inevitable dips and woes, you’re not losing ground. You’re ensuring that you don’t fall into that dangerous place of inactivity (which leads quicker than we realize to regression). Your daily equation is the way that you make sure things stay steady. Like rails on a railroad track. Sticking to your daily equation keeps you from getting derailed. These essentials need to become habitual. So habitual that they are akin to breathing in and out. The train may slow down from time to time, it may even stop, but with your daily equation in place, you will never leave the track.


#6. Forget “work-life balance.”

Work-life balance is flawed thinking. Your calendar is filled with empty meetings, hopes and dreams. Why? Because when you’re at work, you’re thinking about home. When you’re home, you’re thinking about work. When you’re at play, you punish yourself for not being at work or home. And when you’re at work or home, you’re wishing for a break to go play.  Am I right?

Changing your schedule in a million different ways, over and over again, won’t necessarily change your life. Is scheduling important? Sure. But it’s NOT a magic bullet.  No matter how you’ve divided your time in an effort to strike healthy balance, if your mind isn’t in sync with your body, you’ll never achieve the level of success you’re capable of. Stop hyper-calendaring stuff in an effort to achieve work-life balance. It’s not really work-life balance you’re after anyway. You want what you think balance can give you: freedom and happiness. If you want freedom and happiness, simply start paying attention to what you’re doing while you’re doing it. If you can pay attention to the things you’re doing while you’re doing them, you’ll reduce the amount of time it takes you to do the stuff you don’t want to do and give you more time to do the things you do. All the relationships in your business and personal life will be blessed, your marriage most of all.


#5. Be humble and proud of it!

In a search for humility (a good thing), don’t lose touch of your self-worth and unique ability—humility and confidence are not mutually exclusive—they can coexist. “Poor is the man who does not know his own intrinsic worth and tends to measure everything by relative value. A man of financial wealth who values himself by his financial net worth is poorer than a poor man who values himself by his intrinsic self worth” (Sydney Madwed).


4. Put “party” on the schedule.

The Beastie Boys had it right: you gotta fight for your right to party. Marriage brings along responsibility: jobs, kids, bills (bills, bills, bills). You know. Grown up stuff. If you don’t have “party” on your list of things to do (weekly), your life is gonna start to suck. Sorry. It’s true. I’m not talking about going out and acting like an idiot to impress people you don’t care about. I’m talking about going out and acting awesome to impress the person you do care about…your spouse. Have fun. Kick back. Relax. It’s not going to happen  unless you fight for it. Put “party” on the schedule.


3. Don’t be a roommate.

There’s a real thing called “roommate syndrome.” Basically, from what I gather, roommate syndrome is when a a married couple is living together, but living separate lives. That’s a slippery slope. Instead, have a shared vision for what you’d like your marriage to look like. What you like to achieve and how you can help each other get there. Natalie and I have different roles and responsibilities. We do different things. We have very different days. However, we’re working towards the same big picture goals. Don’t grow apart. Grow together.


2. Mix it up!

Go away for the weekend (or the month, or more!). See a weird movie. Eat a different kind of pizza. Do a dance. Learn a new skill. Travel somewhere random on one of those spontaneous cheap-flight deals. Sometimes is not the marriage that is boring, it’s your life. Don’t blame the marriage for your stagnation. Go do something different. Take initiative.


1. Forgive.

Forgiveness is hard. The hardest. Do it anyway. The greatest rewards come from doing the hardest of things.



– I’ve created a 37-page action guide to help you get a personal project going. Consider applying the steps I outline to a “marriage project.” You can work on something fun that brings you and your spouse closer together!

– Get your free action guide here.


Written by on August 20, 2015 | Permalink | Trackbacks (0)
3 Comments post a comment
  1. Vincent Taylor Aug 26th 12:48 pm My link for my book Life With a Demented Mind 1 copy $8.95 1000 copies for a wholesale dealer or someone interested in selling my book for $4.06 wholesale price book. Do you want to be one of my book sellers?

  2. Joseph Cowlishaw Oct 07th 12:19 pm

    I appreciate you taking the time to think about what makes your marriage a success and to share your thoughts. I have been happily married for over eight years. We do a lot of the things in your list and I think it’s a great compilation.

    I would add that optimism is key. Being optimistic about any situation can help one to be happy no matter the outcome. Life is busy with our five kiddos 6 and under, but by choosing to be happy and optimistic – things just run that much smoother.

  3. Laurie Perry Oct 22nd 9:04 am

    Hi Richie,

    My son Joseph Cowlishaw introduced me to your website. I teach international students at the university. My Boss wants us to do experiential project learning (a new approach) so we have organized a team and taken your book as our text. Students will be going out into the community in Cedar city, Utah to work and help in an organization. So far we have an artist studio, a hospital, possibly a care and share and fundraising for a festival. We want to accomplish our dreams to learn English as a step to higher dreams. Many students here are from Congo, China and other countries.


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