Once upon a time, stories held the power to captivate and enchant audiences. They painted vivid pictures, evoked deep emotions, and transported listeners to extraordinary realms. But in communication, a distinction exists between merely telling a story and crafting a narrative.

Denise Schroder is a leader who fearlessly embraced vulnerability, defying the odds to create a life worth chronicling. She is the visionary founder and CO-CEO of Schroder Real Estate Group. Also, Denise has harnessed the immense power of storytelling to captivate audiences worldwide. She has fearlessly shared her life’s triumphs and tribulations with unwavering determination, even when vulnerability seemed daunting. In today’s episode, Denise unravels the art of storytelling, explores the nuances of crafting a compelling narrative, and uncovers its transformative impact on how we connect, inspire, and influence those around us.

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    1. How can one capture the attention of reality TV?
    2. How to get your ideas out?
    3. What is leading with a drive for results?
    4. What does it take to lead with purpose and achieve desired results?
    5. The difference between telling a story and crafting a narrative.

    “I heard this soundtrack in my head that, ‘You’re not worthy. You don’t have any value. You don’t have what it takes. You are not enough.'”

    Denise Schroder


      [04:11] From Small Town Dreams to Big City Challenges: A Journey of Resilience, Triumph, and Real Estate

      [16:06] From Negative Seeds to Media Success: Harnessing the Power of Storytelling in Real Estate

      [18:37] Denise’s entry into the LATTOYG Playbook 

      [26:09] Signature Segment:  Denise’s LATTOYG Tactics of Choice

      [28:06] Balancing Passion and Purpose: Nurturing Self-Care in a Demanding World

      [29:58] Inspiring Leaders and Brands: Unconventional Strategies for Success

      [36:38] Signature Segment: Karan’s Take


      Denise Schroder is a remarkable individual who has made a name for herself in the real estate industry. As the founder and CO-CEO of Schroder Real Estate Group, she has embarked on an incredible journey alongside her husband, Troy. What sets Denise apart is her innate ability to harness the power of storytelling, allowing her adult life to be chronicled and documented through various media appearances.

      Denise’s captivating presence has graced the stages of esteemed platforms such as Oprah, Steve Harvey, Rachael Ray, CBS’s “The Talk,” “House Hunters,” and even the 20th season of “Worst Cooks in America.” With finesse, she has mastered the art of leveraging these television appearances to gain local recognition for her real estate agency and elevate her personal branding. This strategic approach has significantly propelled Denise and her husband’s business toward resounding success.

      In addition to her accomplishments in the real estate world, Denise is also a published author, having recently released a captivating book titled “Out of the Box.” This literary gem peels away the layers of her intriguing life story, revealing experiences and insights that have shaped her into the dynamic individual she is today.



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      Click the plus button on the tab to access the written transcript:

      Episode 37 | Going from Broken to Barrier Breaker with Denise Schroder

      Denise Schroder  00:00

      I’m scared to death trying to not let her see my organs, you know, internally shaking. She whispered in my ear. And she said, “You’re here because you’re not afraid to be transparent and vulnerable with your story. And if you will lock eyes with me and pretend that we’re having a girl chat, just like we’re in my living room,” she said, “You have the opportunity to impact millions of women that are dealing with this same situation.” And she said, “Can you do that?” And I said, “Yes.”


      Voiceover  00:34

      Welcome to the “Lead at the Top of Your Game” podcast, where we equip you to more effectively lead your seat at any employer, business, or industry in which you choose to play. Each week, we help you sharpen your leadership acumen by cracking open the playbooks of dynamic leaders who are doing big things in their professional endeavors. And now, your host, leadership tactics, and organizational development expert, Karan Ferrell-Rhodes.


      Karan Rhodes  01:09

      Hey there superstars This is Karen and welcome to today’s episode. Sometimes when you’re a leader, your story is your power. It draws legions of people to you and convinces them to follow your lead. And while stories are powerful, it is common to be hesitant to be vulnerable when your story contains some traumatic life challenges. Our guest today overcame that fear of being vulnerable although she admits it wasn’t easy. We are so pleased to feature Denise Schroder. She’s the founder and CO CEO of Schroder Real Estate Group, which she co leads with her husband Troy. Denise has used the power of storytelling to have her adult life chronicled and documented through the years through appearances on Oprah, Steve Harvey, Rachael Ray, CBS The Talk, House Hunters, and season 20 of Worst Cooks in America. She has an art for tapping into the power of media and TV appearances to gain local recognition for her real estate agency, increase her branding and helping she and her husband’s business to experience a fast climb to success. So be sure to stay tuned for just two minutes after the episode to listen to my closing segment called Karan’s Take, where I share a tip on how to use insights from today’s episode to further sharpen your leadership acumen. And now enjoy the show. Hey there superstars This is Karen and welcome to today’s episode on the Lead at the Top of Your Game podcast. I am super honored and pleased to have a dynamo in the real estate industry that has such a fascinating background, even over and above that. You know we’re just gonna have a blast today. So pleased to welcome to today’s show. Miss Denise Schroder, who’s the founder and CO CEO of Schroder Real Estate Group. She runs that business with her husband Troy. And she’s also the author of a new book called “Out of the Box. And we’re gonna pull back the layers of the onion and let her tell about that in a bit. But welcome to the show, Denise.


      Denise Schroder  03:25

      Hi, I’m so excited to be here. We are so excited to have you.


      Karan Rhodes  03:30

      And listeners I was teasing with Denise right before we went live that I loved her name because Denise is my middle name. And I resonated instantly. So Denise, share that little note back that I didn’t know about our name.


      Denise Schroder  03:44

      Yes, our name actually means “wise discerner.” So, nothing’s getting past us. Not at all. We’re on our game.


      Karan Rhodes  03:54

      Absolutely. Yeah. It is. And I will accept it. And I’m sure you will, too.


      Denise Schroder  04:01

      Yes. Sure will.


      Karan Rhodes  04:03

      Sure. Well, Denise. For as much as you feel comfortable. Would you mind starting out by sharing just a little a little sneak peek about your personal background?


      Denise Schroder  04:11

      Sure I am. I’m a small town farmer’s daughter. So that means I have a really strong work ethic. That’s something farmers are known for. So my dad taught me to always, always work hard. And I always had a dream of getting out of this little bitty small town and like ending up in New York City. I’ve always been a performer, a singer. I went to college on a vocal scholarship. And I always had this dream of ending up in New York City. But I ended up having this like champagne taste on a beer budget. And so I ended up in Oklahoma City, which is like an hour and a half from my little town. But it’s where I was supposed to be you know, even though it wasn’t my initial childhood dream. It’s where I built my family and my career, my business and it’s where I was supposed to land so, so that that’s, that’s something I’m really thankful for. And I’ve been here ever since I’ve never left Oklahoma, so


      Karan Rhodes  05:09

      Wow. So yeah, that deep roots there, huh?


      Denise Schroder  05:14

      Yes, deep roots


      Karan Rhodes  05:14

      And is that where your practice is too?


      Denise Schroder  05:16

      Yes. It sure is. Probably I would say, well in 1999, I learned the power of like storytelling. And my first public speaking engagement was on The Oprah Winfrey Show. And I had, I’d written in a letter to her because I was having some hormonal issues after I had a baby. And my doctor wouldn’t listen to me. Everybody told me I had postpartum and I knew my body. And I knew that’s not what was going on with my body. They wanted me to take an antidepressant and sit down and be quiet. And so I wrote in, I emotionally dumped this letter to Oprah. And within an hour, I had a call from her lead producer, Mary Donahue. And I was shocked that I even I never expected to hear anything back. So she said, We’re gonna fly out to your house, and just a few days, we’re gonna film you all day kind of get to know you build your story film, you’re doing your everyday things. And then we’ll fly you back to Chicago to Harpo studios for the show. And I’m just like, Is this even, is this real? Oh, my. So you know, I told her, I said, I’ve never really done public speaking on this kind of forum before in my life. So you get up there and there was a few guests and you sit on the Oprah seat you in the front row the audience. So when she asks a question the camera pans to you. And they try to make you feel comfortable, you kind of melting into the audience. And I said, I can do this. Well, about 10 minutes before she started. She said, I want Denise up here with me the entire show like onstage with and I’m thinking, Are you kidding me? So I get up, I take a deep breath. And I put my shoulders back and I sat down next to her and she’s doing like sign language under her chaired for someone to change her shoes that weren’t comfortable to standing up unbuttoning her pants, and I have too many carbs for lunch. And I’m scared to death trying to not let her see my organs, you know, internally shaking. She whispers in my ear. And she said, “You’re here because you’re not afraid to be transparent and vulnerable with your story. And if you will lock eyes with me and pretend that we’re having a girl chat, just like we’re in my living room,” she said “you have the opportunity to impact millions of women that are dealing with this same situation.” And she said, “Can you do that?” And I said, “Yes.” You know, when she asked you if you could do something right? You say yes. And so that was my I think my first really, you know, going on the show for the topic I was going on. I didn’t have a sex drive. They they titled The show “Women who don’t want sex.” That’s not a fun title to have no and my mom wasn’t you know, real thrilled about that either. Right for my small town, because the show was about a lot of things that were hormone related. But that is part of one of the symptoms. Right? She found out I had no testosterone. I didn’t have postpartum. So mystery solved. I’m so glad that I went there. And it was one of the highest rated shows in 99. So I went back six months later to talk about my results after I’d gotten on some testosterone supplements, and just share the story. And since then, my, my life has kind of been adult. It’s been chronicled on major TV shows four very different things,


      Karan Rhodes  08:45

      For different topics, because I You had mentioned there were quite a few you’ve been on.


      Denise Schroder  08:50

      Steve Harvey. But so to backtrack, so it kind of tethers together. I wanted to get my real estate license about 23 years ago, and I was married at the time I had two young kids that were just starting school, and I had worked in property management, I’d had one of my superiors come to me and say, look, you’ve run out where you’ve won all these rookie sales Awards, the natural progression for you would be to get your real estate license. And so I was that seed was planted in me, you know, when somebody sees you and they see a gifting in you. Yeah, when I came to my family and friends and I said I want to get my real estate license. I know this is what I’m supposed to do. I was met with you can never make it. It’s too saturated. Why would we line in the garage walls with superficial pictures, you know, signs with your face on them with no yard to steak like Outer Limits? craziness, right? So the dream didn’t die, but you know, I suppressed it. It was definitely something that I buried and I began to feel pretty defeated. I began to realize I was in a really toxic relationship where every idea thought decision was based around creating a peaceful environment. Not about me being myself, I had become like a shell of myself a very censored, watered down version of me. And so I heard this soundtrack in my head, you know, you’re not worthy, you don’t have any value, you don’t have what it takes, you’re not enough. And I had just started believing that, over the course of time. And so I really, really wanted to, I knew I needed to get out of this relationship. And so I saw a advertisement in Oklahoma City about donating your eggs. And this is something I just recently, you know, I put in my book, and I hadn’t really verbalized it to people. It was something very diabolical that I did, it was a $1,500 bonus, if you donate your eggs, I had to give myself hormonal shots, like three times a day for about 10 weeks, I was swollen, I was bruised, I was a hormonal nightmare


      Karan Rhodes  11:13

      This was to give your eggs as a gift to someone else for you to use. Okay, wonderful.


      Denise Schroder  11:17

      So, even though I felt like I was blessing someone, it was really hard thinking that I was doing this kind of diabolical act. But I had no money. I had no resources. I didn’t have any money to start a nest egg. And it was just something I saw, you know, as an answer. So I did that. And I pursued, you know, leaving the relationship with that that I was in and it cost me over 50 grand to get sole custody of my kids. It was a really, really dark time in my life. And mother who I just turned 50. So my mother was 49.


      Karan Rhodes  11:55



      Denise Schroder  11:56

      Yeah, yea! She was dying, misdiagnosed with a hernia. Well, she actually had stage three colon cancer. And when they went in to look for what was going on, they found a tumor. And they said, it’s amazing news. It’s encapsulated. You don’t even have to have preventive chemo. We got it out. She continued in that hospital where she had the surgery to lose like 15 pounds and she was already like 90 pounds. She was emaciated she was withering away. And the pastor’s wife came to my, came to the door and said get her out. She’s dying. They’re killing her here. So the metaphor guided her to Oklahoma City and the surgeon said they’ve mutilated her, they left perforations all throughout her colon. And we found out that the surgeon was in a hurry to get to a college football game. And so he did a shoddy surgery on my mom, she was dead a few months later. So I’m dealing with that. At the same time as I’m dealing with this really acrimonious situation with my kids, I didn’t even know which situation to deal with or grieve. And it was a difficult time. So I went to counseling for two years, two times a week, and I just I committed wholeheartedly that I wanted to heal the broken parts of me, so I didn’t break other people. And first and foremost, my kids that was so important. And so I committed to getting myself healthy and reprogramming myself and rebuilding my self esteem and getting my identity back. And so in, you know, fast forward many details, you know, couple years, I moved to a little suburb, and I’m working in an office and in walks my FedEx guy, the most gorgeous man the biggest blue eyes this like magnificent smile, the sexiest legs. Troy we saw each other every day for five years before our first date. I tried to set him up with other people. I wasn’t in a place that I wanted to date and it just wasn’t the right time. But once we got our first date, we quickly you know when you know you know you know you know we we got married we blended five teenagers four of them were girls and everyone thought we were nut bags and we you know retrospect we probably were we probably were, then we quit our jobs.


      Karan Rhodes  14:28

      Yea but it sounds like a lot of fun wants that light. Light of a guy, your soulmate comes in, you know.


      Denise Schroder  14:36

      Yeah. We’ve we’ve both been with partners that we couldn’t be free. We’ve never felt like we were the butterflies that we were meant to be. We both always wanted to be self employed. So we lock arms and we quit our jobs in the same day within a year that we got married.


      Karan Rhodes  14:51

      Wow. That is amazing.


      Denise Schroder  14:52

      And then we we did financial services for a bit and he had a childhood friend that said, Guys, this company’s incredible come with me on this ride, trust me, we trust him seven mouths to feed. He wasn’t thriving. He was actually going bankrupt when we quit our jobs. So we are devastated that he had lied to us about a lot of the, you know, things about this company and about our, our potential. So we were not going to tell our family, we’re not we weren’t going to tell our family that that didn’t work out because they’d all say, well go back and work for the man get a J-O-B. So we did some other things in between. And before we arrived at doing real estate, so it wasn’t easy. Basically, he came to me one day and said, Do you want to do real estate together? And can you imagine my response? I was like, angels were singing?


      Karan Rhodes  15:44



      Denise Schroder  15:45

      So I told him, I said, I’ve waited two decades to do this. This is what I know I’m meant to do. And being able to do it with the love of a lifetime. Like there’s a lot of pressure because failure is not an option.


      Karan Rhodes  16:00

      Yeah, but I bet you dove right in, right? So how did you?


      Denise Schroder  16:02

      I decided that I wanted the the seeds that someone planted in me so many years ago that were negative, that I could never make it never stand out. I said, I’m going to use those negative seeds for good. And we’re going to pave our own lane, and we’re going to do things differently. And so that’s what we’ve done with our social media approach with our use of storytelling we’ve used we’ve gone on Steve Harvey as blended family experts I’ve gone on I became a private investigator in my own home with teenagers. So I went on Steve Harvey, for dangers of teen technology was what it was this show was called them I’ve done the Food Network Worst Cooks in America done Rachael Ray HGTV House Hunters. We’ve done that four times. And now we host our own show selling Oklahoma City, the American dream. So we’ve been able to use the power of storytelling in media, press releases, TV, coaching, volunteer teaching at schools at colleges teach about leadership, teach about your what you do. When you get the the attention in the media, whether I’m going on Steve Harvey, or the Food Network with has nothing to do with real estate, it always says Oklahoma City Realtor being featured on the Food Network, Oklahoma City Realtors bringing HGTV back. So we’ve been able to create this local recognition. And it’s been really amazing how exponentially that we’ve grown through using these mass, you know, like HGTV House Hunters gets 96 million households that watch it. Think about


      Karan Rhodes  16:05

      We’re one of those are here. My husband is addicted. So


      Denise Schroder  17:54

      It’s free for us to get on. It’s a lot of work, you know, but the exposure is just phenomenal.


      Karan Rhodes  18:00

      Amazing. So is it hard to tell us a little bit more? I want to unpack that a little bit? Because number one, you are a fantastic storyteller. So let me just give you kudos there. But for the everyday Jane and Joe, who does not have connections, you know, in the industry, I mean, we all know it’s is it’s kind of hard to get your you know, forget to 15 minutes of fame, five minutes of fame. What What were some of the best mechanisms to capture the attention of such shows.


      Denise Schroder  18:37

      Well, if you see a show that’s kind of related to what you do like house hunters, for me, it’s directly related to what I do for a living. So I was speaking at an event and someone came up to me and said, Hey, I just shot an episode of House Hunters, you would be perfect. I got a connection of a contact with that I had to go through casting. That didn’t mean they didn’t want to come to Oklahoma, they thought we were rednecks with no teeth. They didn’t want to come Oh, so we had to convince them and pitch them and go through a very, very vigorous casting process. So once we got them convinced to go, we got them convinced our buyer was the perfect buyer for the show. You know the rest was history, but you just research the shows and that and the different things that you want to be on. And you know, you can do a lot of Googling and you can learn a lot from YouTube about casting things that you how you have to present yourself because you’re selling yourself you are writing so you really just need to be yourself first and foremost because they can sniff you if you’re trying to portray yourself someone you’re not just to get on TV. So just being yourself and identifying, you know, not everybody’s meant for TV but a lot of places are looking for content, blogs, newspapers, your local media star even if you have someone at Fiverr for five bucks or 10 bucks, write you a press release or a media release or a human interest story about your clients, no matter what industry, you know, you really do have the opportunity to get mass exposure because you don’t have to be a writer. You don’t have to be an actor. One of the things we’ve done has been reality TV, so they want me to be me. So, you know, I don’t have to remember a script or anything like that. They want me to be off the cuff and just be completely transparent. Well, and you know, I didn’t have a paycheck for seven months when we started real estate. And that’s a long time, we only had $30,000 in our bank account when we quit our jobs. Not very much money when you have all these kids


      Karan Rhodes  20:48

      No, not at all


      Denise Schroder  20:50

      And braces, you know, just things happen. So, we, my dad is a farmer. And so when I felt discouraged, my dad’s never worked for the man. He got his degree, he went right back into family business. I call him and I said, Dad, we’ve done every actionable step to tell everyone that we’re Realtors now. We did open houses, we’ve doorknocked, we’ve called everybody’s brother and their brothers, brother. We’ve done this for seven months, gone to every educational class, we’re competent, we’re ready to serve, but nothing has happened. And he said, What have you watched me do your entire life? And I said, Well, you watch the weather because farmers watch the weather like, yeah, their main thing. Right said, You’ve watched me get up every day, rise early, and you get up and you watch me plant, nurture, plow, till, before the harvest months and months and months before just a few week process of harvest. You’ve done everything and he goes, I can’t wait to see your harvest. But you have to be faithful. That’s right. can’t give up. And I needed to hear that that day. So shortly after that, the last five months of the year, we sold 40 homes, which the average agent sells like 4 to 10.


      Karan Rhodes  22:07

      Oh my gosh Denise! That’s amazing.


      Denise Schroder  22:09

      Well, God told me you were faithful. And you’re where you’re supposed to be. Because I was questioning, well, maybe God really doesn’t want maybe that’s my desire. And not his. I was. I had a lot of questions about that. In our case, I feel like God takes us through things in our lives, like my divorce was so terrible. And it was so difficult and so painful that I had an opportunity to become a certified divorce real estate expert, and also a family law mediator. And so I was getting so many clients that were getting divorced. And yeah, I had a really deep empathy, but I needed high conflict skill resolution, and I needed to be well versed in the legal process, because it’s going, it’s going along simultaneously, right? At very different speeds. And I can’t just have a regular realtor navigating that.


      Karan Rhodes  23:04

      No you’re so right and I want, because what we love to do is also give you know, a tip or two for our listeners to take away. And so listeners, even if you’re not ready for HDTV or one of the talk shows to Denise’s point there are other mechanisms to start getting your perspectives and words out. You can start locally. Like she said in speaking locally, there’s the HARA website, Help a Reporter Out


      Denise Schroder  23:34

      I use that


      Karan Rhodes  23:35

      They are always asking for quick quotes and questions, you gotta be spot on and then sign up to their list. But those get used in major publications many times. And that helps to give you backlinks and exposure. So I say all that to say, and Denise you feel free to poke holes in the advice but show up where you can and feel most comfortable. Just go ahead and start planting those seeds. Because you never know what kinds of seedlings and growth will come out of those.


      Denise Schroder  24:08

      And also be the digital mayor of your space your niche. It may not be real estate. I mean, it could be any other you know, business that you’re in. Start with little bite size videos, commit to doing three little thirty second videos that you’re putting on the Instagram story, make a real start doing you know. Troy as our life is my documentary. I document everything. I used to be a photographer, I love telling stories. I like being behind the camera as much as I like being in front of it. So earn the right by treating your clients in a way that you make them feel like they’re close to you and they can trust you and they’ll start sharing their stories and allowing you to tell their stories. You can start small you know you wouldn’t just start small with little little videos on your social media.


      Karan Rhodes  24:59



      Denise Schroder  25:00

      The be the star, you’re actually the star of your own Facebook page. You don’t need permission.


      Karan Rhodes  25:05

      No! you own that you have all, you’re the decision maker, you’re the talent. You’re everything. So take advantage of it out there.


      Denise Schroder  25:16

      Yeah, it’s so true. You don’t have to have a TV show?


      Karan Rhodes  25:20

      No, not at all. Not at all. So Denise, I always love to ask the guest. And as you know, I read a book on leadership, execution and leadership branding. And it’s all about how some of the world’s best individuals and companies got there, you know, what did they actually do to get there? And so long story short, my audience says, we did a lot of research and flushed out the top seven that were applicable No matter your industry, or if you’re employed your career stage, you know, it just these tactics really helped them up level their ability. And so you were so kind to share with me that leading with a drive for results really popped out for you. And so I’d love to for you to explain to the listeners why why did that tactic resonate a lot with you?


      Denise Schroder  26:09

      That would really jumped out at me because I Troy is a little bit more laid back than me. And so I’m someone that needs to be reined in and paced, often, I go full throttle. I waited over two decades to do this. And I also lost my mother at such a young tender age that I know we’re not guaranteed tomorrow, since that has created an even deeper drive for getting results because I live like there is no tomorrow. So I am an overdrive in my tenacity. And I am action oriented. And you know, I want to, I don’t just make a list, and it never comes to fruition like I am committed wholeheartedly, no matter what hurdle comes in place to get to the finish line. And so that has been a blessing and a curse. Because you have to have quality of life as well. And you have to put your relationships and you can’t just come home every night empty for the people that love you and count on you. So as much as I love the driving results in it, it’s a fire in my belly. It is what really fuels me every day, I do want to make sure that I don’t come home with an empty tank, because that is so innately within me to always be pushing like I will reach a goal. And then I’m always like, what am I doing next? Just sit there and savor it. And you gotta remember to sit and savor the accomplishments that you’ve made. And so that’s been something I’ve worked on.


      Karan Rhodes  27:46

      So that leads into a great question. And because you are so driven, and you had your multi passionate about a lot of things, what does it take for you to lead on at the top of your game? How do you provide that sanity or self care or refocus? Or do you do it well?


      Denise Schroder  28:05

      I mean, in the mornings, I get up and have I get up early, I get up about 630 I do my devotion I get on my elliptical, I water my plants. I have a smoothie with you know, protein energy shake, I don’t even need caffeine. So I’m just you know, I’m kind of like I’m one of those annoying people that bounces out of the bed like an energizer bunny and everyone else is like, Please be quiet. Like, don’t talk to me two hours, you know, right? So, but it’s important for me to have that quiet time before I throw myself into the chaos. Because in my line of work, I always call myself a fireman. You know, a lot of my day is putting out fires, and solving problems. It’s not all glamorous, like steak in a sold sign, you know, everything’s, you know, rainbows and butterflies. A lot of my day is dealing with people that are going through divorce or death and it’s not a happy time, aren’t selling their home is not happy. So I spend a lot of my time doing things that are really draining, but necessary for me to walk arm and arm with our clients and counsel them and love them. And that relationship and that trust we have helps our relationship transcend the transaction. So they’re in my life. They’re in my tribe.


      Karan Rhodes  28:07

      I bet they have you on speed dial when a collegue needs help, right?


      Denise Schroder  28:37

      Yeah, a lot of a lot of them do.


      Karan Rhodes  28:45

      And, you know, because you appears to be a great reader of people and you have a high degree of emotional intelligence. I’m just curious, is there a leader or brand or company out there that has really impressed you? And how did they do that?


      Denise Schroder  29:58

      There’s an author that I found through a podcast on public speaking. And the podcast is Grant Baldwin and he if you want to get into public speaking and honing your skills, it’s a really great podcast. Jesse Cole, he wrote a book called Find your Yellow Tux. He started out as broke, he sold his house to buy a minor league baseball team in Savannah, Georgia was living on air mattress. Everybody told him, you’re dumb. You’re buying this team that has no tickets. Nobody cares about it. Well, he has created this baseball team, where it’s basically breaks out into a circus, and he’s the greatest showman. So baseball, the baseball game is a circus, the the players dance. The cheerleaders are banana and Savannah, bananas, banana, bananas are the grandmas. The cheerleaders are grandmas, anything that’s normal, he does the opposite. And so he now has the ESPN show, he has a best selling book, he has a training program. And he’s one of the most highly sought after leadership speakers in the country. Wow, I read the book. And it inspired me to read to write my book. And so I reached out to him on LinkedIn. And this is another thing for your listeners, reach out to the authors. They want to hear how your book resonated, how it, you know, made a stirring in your heart and your spirit to move you into action or encourage or empower you authors want to hear that. And so I wrote him and I said, You are my spirit animal. You’re my brother from another mother. And I said, I want to be on your podcast. And I thought he’d be like, who are you? This is like, they said, Yes. So I got on his podcast. And then I was chosen out of 20 people in the country, he picks people from all over the country in different industries to go behind the scenes and watch how they created this magic. The tickets for their baseball games are over $300. And they’re sold out for four years. I mean, this man has been enormous ly blessed. Wow. So I got on the podcast got picked to go to the leadership deal will COVID happened. I didn’t get to go. Now I’m hosting the show American dream. And guess who’s coming here to play baseball next month. So I get a hold of them. And I said, I want to feature you as my segment. So as the American dream, you’re living your American dream, and I’m hosting the show. And he said yes. So I get to meet him in person and feature him on the show and go behind the scenes. I’ll probably end up in a banana costume just to be you know, with the cast. But that is someone that inspired me so much. And, you know, just reaching out to someone and telling them how much their work inspired me has made this relationship come to fruition in a beautiful way. So I encourage people reach out when someone that you admire, or you’re watching on YouTube, because if you can’t afford a coach, sometimes you’ve got coaches and mentors everywhere.


      Karan Rhodes  32:58

      That is true. And I will vouch for that piece of advice. When I wrote my book, I admired Simon T Bailey, who used to be a sales executive at Disney. And he struck out on his own to be a world speaker. But I knew he was extremely busy. I wasn’t sure if he would even be willing. And lo and behold, he did he was so happy to do so. So to your point you don’t know until you ask.


      Denise Schroder  33:25

      Oh, and you know, Jesse Cole hero was this Walt Disney. And so he went to Disney and he had his whole staff, they go to Disney and they do what’s called reengineering reverse engineering service. And they go through the park of somewhere with a creator they love. And they write down things that made them feel special and things that they’re doing different. And they do this, you know, a couple times a year at different places, but they always go to Disney World. And so long, it’s it’s really cool. He’s used, hey, this person inspired me, I want to go reverse engineer, what are they doing to make things so magical? Because it’s all about how we make people feel.


      Karan Rhodes  34:05

      That is that is absolutely right. And it’s spot on. And that’s also what we teach in our workshops on you know, really a few things…how to differentiate yourself number one, as a leader because people want they don’t want to follow the status quo. They want to know what you’re bringing special to the table, you know, and then number two is really in reverse engineer successes so that you can learn from


      Denise Schroder  34:33

      In all industries. I mean, you can learn from Yeah, that’s I think it’s I think it’s amazing. And there was a company that’s a heat and air company, and I read a book called raving fans one time, and one of the things they were saying was this guy. He asked every one of his clients, what is your favorite thing? What is your favorite item under $20? It was just like a text he sent to the clients will ever you know people like Okay, they like they’d like to talk about themselves. So set the item back. It might have been a Snickers it might have been a shake. It could have been any number of things. Well, when they would go to do their next appointment, guess what? They came with? That item,


      Karan Rhodes  35:13

      That thing that is tremendous.


      Denise Schroder  35:16

      Every single time every single time. It’s something different.


      Karan Rhodes  35:21

      Oh, absolutely sounds like meaningful, but meaningful as well, because it mattered to them. Well, I literally promised this at the beginning. I said we’re gonna blink and boy, time flies. But Denise, thank you so much for your time and being on the elite at the top of your game podcast.


      Denise Schroder  35:39

      Thank you. So much.


      Karan Rhodes  35:39

      and, and also, please let us know. We’ll have it in the show notes. But let the listeners know where to find you. For more information,


      Denise Schroder  35:47

      You can find me on Instagram really easily. Denise sells Oklahoma D E N I S E. And then you can order my book on Amazon called Out of the Box. And I would love to hear from you. If you read it. I’d love your feedback.


      Karan Rhodes  36:02

      So she’s inviting you listen, I have all the links in the show notes. But thank you all so much for the gift of your time. And we’ll see you next week on our next episode. Take care. Well, I hope you enjoyed our conversation today with Denise Schroder, founder and CO CEO of Schroder Real Estate Group links to her bio her entry into our leadership playbook. And additional resources can be found in the show notes both on your favorite podcast platform of choice. And on the web at laid your game And now for Karan’s take on today’s topic of vulnerable storytelling. While the concept of storytelling is powerful, I want you to know that there’s a difference between just telling a story and crafting a narrative. Telling a story is something that we all do every day, sometimes dozens of times a day. But when we tell a story, we tend to focus on the way that something happened. And most of our stories answers the five why’s, what happened, when it happened, where it happened, who had happened and what they did about it, right. But when we craft a narrative, we take a different approach to storytelling. Crafting a narrative is all about creating a memorable audience experience. One that’s designed to produce an emotion, or that resonates with who you’re speaking to. And as leaders the highest purpose crafting a narrative is to communicate meaning to whoever you’re talking to, and reveal new perspectives in a way that motivates them to act. crafting these types of narratives requires two tools vulnerability to express something honest about ourselves, and a strategy to understand exactly when to rebuild. It is a realistic and practical way of using our own personal stories to connect with your teams or audience. I also want to share a quick tool that you can use to construct your story. It’s a simple story structure that is used by the public narrative model of leadership in organizing, and you can find that link in our show notes. And it’s also on the web. So first, you start by thinking of a powerful choice that you made in your personal professional life. And you think about what was a key moment when you turn to your values to decide what you should do? And then you answer the following three questions. The first, what was the challenge that you face that demanded such a choice? Number two, what was the choice you made? Why did you make it? And how did you feel? And number three, you should answer what was the outcome of the choice? And what did it teach you? Vulnerable storytelling is one topic that we do cover in our senior signature leadership development experience called leading at the top of your game. So if you or your organization is interested in increasing the savvy of your employees to better lead in the moment, please take three seconds to check out the program on our website at And as you all know, my one ask of you all at the end of every episode is that you subscribe, like and review the podcast. And please SHARE with just one brand because you all help us extend our reach. And that helps us extend our power to help others just like you to lead at the top of their game. Thank you so much for tuning in and see you next week. And that’s our show for today. Thank you for listening to the lead at the top of your game podcast, where we help you lead your seat at any employer, business, or industry in which you choose to play. You can check out the show notes, additional episodes, and bonus resources, and also submit guest recommendations on our website at You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn by searching for the name Karan Rhodes with Karan being spelled K a r a n. And if you like the show, the greatest gift you can give would be to subscribe and leave a rating on your podcast platform of choice. This podcast has been a production of Shockingly Different Leadership, a global consultancy which helps organizations execute their people, talent development, and organizational effectiveness initiatives on an on-demand, project, or contract basis. Huge thanks to our production and editing team for a job well done. Goodbye for now.

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