Geraldine Schmidt is the founder of The Story Weavers. An online service that connects children from around the world through monthly collaborative writing projects. It’s all about nurturing kids active communication skills. Geraldine says that…

“Everything previous to this was preparation for what I am doing now.”

In her youth Geraldine’s passion was being with horses and at 17 she began by working as a stable apprentice. Although it was long hours and hard work she loved it, and found ways to make even the most arduous tasks a pleasure. It was during this time that she also discovered her passion for communication through working directly with the horses using nothing but a lunge rope, her voice and body language.

Inner Conflict

Following her apprenticeship Geraldine wanted to develop her riding skills so moved to Vienna and began a full year training at a private Riding School. This was the start of a 10 year process building both her riding skills and her communications skills to a very high level. It culminated in running a successful business where she was often appreciated but she never felt that she was good enough. No matter what she did or however hard she worked, her self confidence got in the way. This fear of never being good enough eventually drove her to the point where she decided to give up and switch career.

As she was leaving the children that Geraldine had been working with created a picture book to show their appreciation and let her know that she was the reason they kept riding. She says that was the first time she felt that she really made a difference in anyone’s life.

Now in her 30’s, Geraldine moved into the Software Development Industry and again she was successful, growing teams and building the communication skills. But this switch in career did not alleviate the inner self doubt she always felt. It became so bad that she was literally loosing patches of hair.

The Turning Point

The problem was that she always handled challenges from a place of fear. She had to learn to turn that around. She says it was the roughest part of her life but in the end it was worth it. Geraldine found various things to support her but the one thing that made the biggest difference was the book The Untethered Soul that she had on audio. This was where she discovered it wasn’t what she was doing, but how she was doing it.

Listening to the audio book supported Geraldine in turning the baseline belief from fear to happiness. Now when she faced challenges she took the standpoint of “I will figure it out” and her self confidence grew. She also noticed that as she changed her own thinking, her daughter did too.

Building Inner Confidence

It was at this point that Geraldine started home-schooling. She wanted to give her daughter opportunities she felt the school system wasn’t offering, particularly around communication.

No body teaches you how to collaboratively work with others.

Looking for opportunities to support her daughter to work in groups and build healthy communication skills led to the development of The Story Weavers. It uses a video conferencing service similar to Zoom that brings children together in groups of 4-6 to work on story projects. As far as possible the children lead it themselves with some guidance when required. Geraldine says it’s amazing how it teaches them to stay focused and support each other. One of the big things they learn is how to communicate well, for example knowing when create space for each other to speak and having the confidence to own up to mistakes and feel supported.

Successful Communication

The work Geraldine has done to turn her life around and support children has changed her view of Success. When she was younger she viewed success by external means. It was all about how much you earned and how good you were at something. Now she recognises that it is a feeling that comes from within. It stems from a place of feeling calm and happy and feeds into the world by doing what you love and building memorable moments.

When this is in place challenges no longer feel threatening, in fact you start to love them. This is what Geraldine wants to contribute to the world through the work she does with children. Her aim is to give children the confidence to face life’s challenges. She believes that when we have good communication skills we have the capacity to handle conflict and make it something that builds relationship rather than breaks it.

The Hero’s Journey

Geraldine suggests that we all need to write our own life story from the perspective of being the Hero.

To create a good story there need to be four things in place. First you have the character, the hero who has a goal. Then comes the conflict that needs resolving. Next is the value based decision taken and finally the resolution – the lesson learned. When we see ourselves in this hero role, we have the confidence to face life’s challenges with certainty and the faith that we will always “figure it out”.

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Geraldine Schmidts Links:

The book Geraldine refers to is The Untethered Soul by Michael A Singer. It is one I personally recommend and is included in Books Paul Recommends:

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