Eleni Sarantinou bLU Talks 2019

Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge

I was born in Greece, the home of olives and grapes. I studied Economics and had a successful career in IT before stumbling across Life Coaching and NLP. Today, I’m an NLP trainer, a Life Coach, a wife, a mother, a world traveller. Nothing gives me more joy than sharing what I’ve learnt, and am still learning, with you. Read more


Last night was a good movie night: ‘A Prairie Home Companion’; a 2006 musical comedy on the last broadcast of a live radio show. I devoured every song and dialogue and would like to share with you a couple of lines of Kevin Kline’s character Guy Noir describing the angel Asphodel (played by Virginia Madsen).

“She was beautiful; she gave me a smile so sweet you could have poured it on your pancakes. She was wearing a white trench coat, so white that rain would be embarrassed to fall on it. It was an honor just to sit there and inhale the same air that she had so recently exhaled, just to exchange the atmosphere between us, so to speak.”

What makes these lines even more special is the pace and intonation of the actor’s voice, facial expressions and body language; he is breathing the words out to perfection. They evoke loads of wonderful images, sounds and feelings within us.

In the realm of our unconscious, the residence of habits and emotions, the noble house of all wisdom, there is one secret agent with instant influence: the metaphor; it challenges beliefs, transforms thoughts, teaches softly while entertaining, relaxes an overused brain. It is the time when our intellectual side, our logic and limiting judgments surrender to peaceful sleep; when our more spontaneous side creates!

Effective metaphors take us away from reality and through symbolism lift us to new levels we dream of reaching. Stories take a shortcut to dealing with what is important to us. The unconscious knows how to personalize the analogies between a story and our own life in order for us to grow.

Movies, pictures, stories, songs are transmitters of various powerful messages. They are metaphors. A painting on the wall in a Bistro, a fairytale about a far away land, a story we read in the newspaper, they all change our internal world of thoughts and the meaning we give to events and situations. When the metaphor’s intentions are benevolent and the way it is offered of high quality and skill, it touches our hearts.

Languages and cultures have their own metaphors integrated. An expression, saying, description can be metaphors: ‘Every cloud has a silver lining’, ‘Her eyes were filled with joy’, ‘Back to square one’, ‘I am in good hands’, etc. Each one of us develops our own relationship with metaphors and stories; they are part of our normal expressing as well as our inner voice.

Telling people what we want them to do or how to behave can sometimes be a lesser choice. The mind tends to analyze, feels threatened, and gets scared, arguments may arise. In contrast, powerful metaphors create momentums for both the one delivering it and the one receiving it. Children get often distracted when we come up with a list of rules, orders and ‘facts’ but we have their undivided attention when it comes to stories. Adults are no different. We love stories because they are fun!

Great communicators master the use of metaphor in all of their personal or professional roles; from leader, presenter and negotiator to colleague, parent, lover and friend. As with everything, it takes practice, dedication and passion.

Do you feel like making a point or sharing your point of view? What about telling a beautiful story instead?

I love stories! Looking forward to hearing yours (by email or by comment)!

Change Book Cover

The Change Book Series is all about empowerment and collaboration! My chapter with title ‘Sacrifice-less’ came straight from my heart in a flash.
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