Six Word Story

So… here’s the story as told to me during a recent leadership conference:

While lunching with fellow writers at The Algonquin Hotel in Manhattan, renowned author Ernest Hemingway offered a wager with each person sitting at the table. Hemingway told each of them to put ten dollars in the middle of the table; if he was wrong, he said, he’d match it. If he was right, he would keep the entire pot. Hemingway claimed that he could craft an entire story in only six words. The other writers balked, and after the pot was assembled in the center of the table, Hemingway wrote “For sale: baby shoes, never worn” on a napkin, passed it around the table, and collected his winnings.

I was impressed by the simplicity of the story and struck by the power of 6 only words. Questions began to form in my head… My mind began to piece together the words and fill the gaps in what I saw as a tragic event. Others that I spoke with had different takes on the story which confirmed the power in Hemingway’s message.

The moderator of this session of the conference had shared their own six word story based on personal experiences, and after a short discussion challenged the members of our break out group to come up with their own message. Given the nature of the  message that the instructor had shared, I felt challenged to share my thoughts and feelings – they had opened up during their story, and I had come to the conclusion that for my message to resonate with my colleagues, that I would need to share of myself.

Guiding hand lost, always with me

This story is a reference to my father. I was blessed to have a relationship with my dad that I have always appreciated, but was far beyond my comprehension as a young man. As years passed, my understanding of what he had shared with me became more clear. He was a constant presence in my life sharing his wisdom, love, & values. He was the confidant who coached, mentored, & supported me in the decisions that would be the foundation for who I would become.

And years after he has passed on, I regularly recognize his influence in my thoughts and actions as a professional, friend, and parent.

What’s your six word story?

As always, be intentional


About Jeff

A long time resident of Southeastern Michigan, I am husband to the beautiful Trisha and father to three incredibly bright, compassionate, amazing young adults. I have been called husband, father, brother, friend, demon, scoundrel, team-mate, leader, misfit. I constantly seek personal and professional environments that encourage creativity, empower individuals, and foster excellence. is an opportunity to share thought and opinion based on my personal and professional experience. My passion for learning remains the driver to become a better friend, husband, and father. The focus of my professional efforts (and satisfaction in what I do) is developing effective teams and equipping others to become exceptional leaders. My personal mission statement: to inspire, to love, to promise, to share, to believe that nothing is impossible
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