The need to tell stories gripped me young and tightened its grasp as I grew. The drive propelled me to hole up a year at a narrative writing program in England, to quest for novel experience alone in countries where I could not speak the language and, among other things, to take a year break from school, during which I worked backstage at a playhouse in Los Angeles.

I ultimately fell into journalism. Reporting interested me only after studying literary journalism with former Washington Post Magazine editor Walt Harrington. I’m still not sure whether this did me any favors. I chose a graduate school based on one factor: the opportunity to study with two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Jon Franklin, the author of the best writing book I ever read.

I’ve invested more than 10,000 hours in writing, written (and shredded) more than 1 million words.

I have stories lined up in my mind like so many jets waiting to land at a busy airport but haven’t gotten any down to my satisfaction.

Of the more than 1,000 articles I have published as a journalist, my favorites tell the stories of people whose struggle to overcome complications to face life’s challenges with some degree of their perseverance, fortitude and courage.

The same storytelling and rhetorical principles that underpinned these tales are applicable in sales messaging and presentations.