The YES Effect podcast

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TYE 124: What I learned from getting bullied at school

Mar 05, 2022
Shelli-Varela, Stu-McLaren-Tribe-Live, tribe-live, online-membership, stop-bullying

This is my true story of the day I got beat up at my new school - a day that changed my life. I felt completely invisible, unheard and unseen by my teacher and peers. It also inspired my life’s mission: to remind others that your story matters, and you can use it to serve your audience, follow your true passion and build your business.


This clip is from a keynote speech I gave at an event called “Tribe Live” hosted by Stu McLaren. It’s the first time I’d ever shared this story publicly. Most of my talks are about how I became my city’s first female firefighter, but this story hit this audience harder than any I’ve ever given. It includes references to the story of Nancy Case, founder of Taffy2You, Dentist Em Courtney, and a fateful encounter with a truck driver.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • The most important phrase in storytelling
  • The 3 objections people have to using their story to serve & sell
  • That everyone has a story - even when you think you don’t
  • Why more people care about your story than you think
  • How I held myself accountable to a challenge I felt uncomfortable with
  • 3 quick tips to telling your own story
  • The most important thing to remember if you feel imposter syndrome
  • Why the quietest people are your most important audience
  • How a chance encounter with a moving truck driver in my neighbourhood proved that more people are listening to you than you realize



“A well told story serves. A well told story spreads. A well-told story sells.”

“Most amazing stories are based on one key phrase: ‘And then I realized…’”

“Everybody has a story.”

“Your humanity is so much more important than your perfection or your expertise.”

“Press the damn button.”

“If people can’ t feel you, people won’t follow you.”

“Are we saying something that’s safe or something that’s true?” Because honesty is not the same as being boldly truthful.”

“The people listening quietly in the background are the people who need to hear it the most.”

Links mentioned in this episode:

Stu McLaren:

Episode 99: How a NZ Dentist brought the house down with her first talk with Emz Courtney

Episode 95: How Business Can Foster Human Connection with Nancy Case

My random encounter with a truck driver who’d been quietly following my content

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