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MICHAEL BENJAMINS

Founder & Lead Co-creative Storyteller

"The important stories are the ones we tell ourselves and all we have to decide, is what to do with them"

My story: Welcome

Q: CAN YOU SHARE THE STORY BEHIND THE INCEPTION OF QUESTS-INC?

A: Certainly. The foundation of Quests-Inc traces back to a deep-seated passion for mythology, anthropology, strategy, and role-playing games that I shared with my older brother during my teenage years. Together, we explored the captivating realm of co-creative storytelling, an experience that sparked my aspiration to become a storyteller and world builder. This fervor for collaborative storytelling unearthed remarkable benefits:

  • Boosting Confidence and Resilience: Stepping beyond our comfort zones nurtured self-confidence and resilience.

  • Gaining Fresh Perspectives: By walking in the shoes of diverse characters, we gained insightful perspectives.

  • Unleashing Imagination: We reveled in the freedom to craft limitless stories and scenarios.

  • Problem-Solving Empowerment: We thrived on crafting solutions to myriad challenges.

  • Deepening Connections: Shared trials, victories, and setbacks brought us closer.

  • Creating Collective Goals: Collaborating to shape stories and memories strengthened our bond.

In my early adulthood, I embarked on a journey across Western Europe, initially working in the hospitality industry. As my childhood dreams took a back seat, I transitioned into roles spanning coaching in the financial sector, delving into Carl Jung's psychological profiling, and exploring the publishing world by organizing charitable book events.

My professional path eventually led me back to hospitality, where I immersed myself in sales and marketing.

Progressing through internal training and external coaching, I eventually led my own team to remarkable achievements. However, a profound turning point arrived in early 2020 with the passing of my brother. The trials of that year, compounded by the impacts of COVID, family matters, and personal challenges, left me feeling shattered. Amid this darkness, a glimmer of hope emerged from my boyhood dream of storytelling.

Nurturing this dream with shared experiences and boundless imagination, I harnessed the power of storytelling and role-playing mechanics, birthing the Inner Quest Motivation Method.

My story: About

Q: HOW DID THE INNER QUEST MOTIVATION METHOD EVOLVE FROM THERE?

A: The Inner Quest Motivation Method became a vessel to:

Unlock Creativity: It harnessed the wellspring of creativity within individuals and teams.

  • Express Narratives: Transforming stories into tangible experiences through role-playing.

  • Drive Change: Translate actions into catalysts for transformation and connection.

  • Develop Leaders: Nurturing collaborative spirits and visionary leaders.

  • Foster Innovation: Crafting fresh group experiences to foster innovative perspectives.

  • Inspire Unity: Igniting inspiration, engagement, and unity among employees.

  • Create Lasting Impact: Crafting moments that endure, defining teams' journey.

Recognizing the global challenges of hybrid and remote work, I saw that many shared my feelings of depletion and disillusionment. Combining my dream, passion, and experience, I embarked on a quest to enhance coaching, mentoring, and training. The goal was to awaken latent potential within individuals and teams, thereby achieving extraordinary results.

On the Summer Solstice of 2022, aided by Invest NI, Quests-Inc came into existence. Our consultancy is dedicated to leadership and mindset team coaching, as well as personal development. Through co-creative workshops and the enchanting power of storytelling, we aim to:

  • Engage Employees

  • Unite Teams

  • Energize Workforces

Our approach brings together the essential elements to unlock the creative economy. We invite you to join us on this remarkable journey of empowerment, unity, and limitless potential.

My story: About
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'IMAGINATION IS UNDERATED'

Michael Paul Benjamins

Read my story bellow as told at Tenx9 Belffast 

My story: Image

Looking further than we ever have before, science is providing humanity with new perspectives. Gazing millions of miles into space and time, the James Webb telescope is using new infrared technology. By collecting, and analyzing the data, our scientists are testing old and new theories. Making sense of the world around us; one discovery at a time.


Good evening, my name is Michael. This is my story of discovery 


I was born in Holland two years after my brother to a Dutch father & French mother. We moved from Amsterdam to London. We were brought up speaking both French and English and by the time I was 4, we lived in France on the outskirts of Paris. Speaking both languages in the 80’ had its benefits and its challenges also. I found it really hard to write one language when I could understand two. 


I remember the torture of those days. A weekly morning exercise, called Dictee.

The teacher would read us a non-inspiring text. We had to capture the exact spelling of each word and the correct punctuation of each sentence.


During the lunch break, the teacher would mark our papers so we will get our results on the day. For the records, my average was easily calculated 


On one of those days, I was ten. I made a conscious effort to not leave it to chance, so Before giving back my dictation, I carefully went over all the words, 

Checking, and correcting them, again and again. Which meant it looked much messier than usual. I admit it. Nevertheless, I knew my efforts wouldn't go unnoticed.


The bell rang letting us know lunch break was over. 

As we settled, the teacher announced that she would be returning our dictation and added that there were some good surprises. The sudden silence in the classroom. I was Feeling nervous and excited at the same time, It had to be me

It was the first time I made such an effort. 

I remember pouncing out of my seat as she calls my name. 

Smiling with confidence ready to be rewarded. As I approach her desk I notice the paper in her right hand with a lot of red markings on it- I did not understand could they be a mistake. It wasn’t until I was standing right next to her that I recognized my own writing…covered in red inc ALL over it! 

And It was at this moment I was certain my efforts would go unnoticed today

Unnoticed…was also her left hand, Taking me by surprise, 

Grabbing my ear and dragging me in front of the classroom, shouting: 


“Regardez moi ça, exactement ce qui ne faut pas faire, mais jamais tu n'écriras le français”  “Look at this, this is exactly what not to do!  You will never be able to write…” 


Holding the tears, the words echoed through the child's soul...

She wasn’t done. She dragged me to the next room surprising the younger pupils,

Waving my paper in one hand while still pulling me by my now very painful ear:


“Regardez moi ça, l'année prochaine c’est exactement ce qu'il ne faut pas faire”

 “ May this be an example for you next year, do you hear me do not do this” 


She was in total rage, she had lost it and so did I, by then I could not hold it anymore and I cried all afternoon until the bell rang.  The teacher was warned for her actions. Sadly that summer the teacher fell asleep drunk while smoking. 

Another disaster was that I believed her.


I did not give up my quest for communication and by the time I reached my thirties with determination and help from Personal computers, the internet, and the language of Shakespeare I worked hard to become director of sales in London building a team and achieving great results.


7 years ago we Moved from London to Belfast with my daughter Grace and her mother. Our family life suffered while I was working as a director in London with long commuting hours and travel.. It made sense at the time while expecting our second child to relocate to Belfast. Tragically A few days before the departure date.  

Our life was turned upside down…when Our unborn baby’s heart, Stopped beating at 4 months and through the next two years we grew apart, without talking, or sharing our grief. While we did move, That new start was really a new end. We held on to the idea that buying a house would be the foundation to rebuild our family.


In winter 2019 After a couple of failed attempts, we finally found a house, the offer was accepted, finance set... Excitement Joy This was going to be the new start.


Until the evening of the 3rd of Jan 2020, I was reading a bedtime story, when I got a call. It was my mother.  I turn the speaker on. 

“Hello Grandma, we’re reading…” She interrupts…

 “ ..Your brother is dead he is gone you hear me he is dead … “

 I turned the speaker off and bounced out of bed. After this, I called my father to tell him his eldest son was dead 


That day was the day Suddenly my brother passed away. A role model of inspiration, courage, and determination. My best bud was gone. He was a writer and a park ranger loved by his local community. A month later he was buried. Rays of lights beaming through the open doorway as the chapel doors had to be left open so everyone who came far and wide could attend.


A loved family friend who came to pay his respects caught pneumonia on that day and joined my brother two weeks after the funeral. Both in their early forties and young kids.


The house fell through at the start of the pandemic, intensifying talks of separation with my partner after a decade together just as I was furloughed. 


The worst was knowing my daughter was experiencing her family falling apart. 

For a while, her mum carried me as I could not stand…shocked….


Then she left. I was overwhelmed. 


In the space of a short time, I couldn't make sense of anything

My brain stopped working after 25 years of professional experience with great progression and success.  What was going on? What was happening inside my brain?


I felt exhausted and depleted and I was having serious difficulties with Concentrating Analyzing and processing information, emotions, and behaviors -


Until the day I came across a well-known science magazine about the brain and the human body.


It's a challenge to become our best self when our brain is depleted because even though our brain represents only 2% of our body weight it burns 20% of our energy reserves every day. 


When we become exhausted our brain loses its executive function; Making it hard to focus, follow directions, and handle emotions. Impairing a person’s ability to organize and control their behavior.


I began reading more and I found another one that captured my attention. .. 


It's proven by the study of brainpower that specific hormones are released during different situations, such as when two mammals feel connected, our brain releases Oxytocin. Hence, we experience trust, report, and bonding which boosts our dopamine levels increasing our motivation, creativity, ingenuity, and goal orientation.

—-----

Two small articles about our brain's executive function and the chemicals our body naturally releases connected the dots for me. By Discovering the science behind the powers of storytelling, and the benefit of imagining together. I found a new purpose,  obsessed. Making sense of my inner world was one discovery at the time.


I call it the Inner Quests motivation method to regain my executive function by harvesting the power of storytelling and opening the scroll of imagination in small groups.


Realizing I was not alone in feeling overwhelmed with life and struggling to adapt to change with low energy levels. I transmuted my experience and discoveries to help people cultivate imagination and inspire well-being with co-creative storytelling workshops. 


As this ten-minute story is ending, I remember my French teacher one last time. Now I look after my daughter 50% of the time in her life.  I stand ready to remind her that the most important stories are the ones we tell ourselves and All we have to decide is what to do with them.


Thank you

My story: Text
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