The richness of our narratives shapes our character, defines our path, and seals our legacy.
The individual encounters we have throughout our our lives; those small moments when we experience a win. When we break into a new career field and reinvent ourselves. When we decide to fire an underperforming employee. The moment when we pick up our self respect and walk out of a toxic job situation.
Likewise, the moments when we encounter racism, sexual harassment at work or even in the streets as we’re simply walking home from our day. These are the stories that define us. They are a culmination of our lived experiences that what makes us who we are. Our stories are born out of those experiences. Those lived experiences that happen to us in isolation are also experienced by the collective.
So why should our stories matter in the context of running our own business, making an impact, and playing a bigger game in the world?
Simple. Without your story, how will change for the better happen? Without your story, how will you know who you are or where you are going? Without your unique perspective, how will they know you are the right person to hire/fund/lead the team/work with?
Our stories give the work we do deeper meaning and adds a dimension that humanizes our business. Through our stories, you see the real person behind the logo. It provides an opportunity to create real connections, bond over common values, and be a bit more conscious in how we buy and sell. As leaders going for it, storytelling helps you rally the team behind an initiative, win clients, and woo partners. As a tribe, when people share their stories, amazing things happen, and in that “me too” moment, you feel empowered and emboldened. We get the push we need to leap and live our truth.
Your story must encompass these 4 elements.
Get the listener to feel something
5 elements for you to begin crafting your story:
How did you come to do this work? Look for the hook that will capture hearts and minds. This can be: defining moments that changed your life, triumphs you’ve had, painful challenges you overcame, lessons learned, etc. Dig deep.
What are the top 3 values that show up in your story? Courage. Authenticity. Reinvention. Freedom. Equality. Purpose. Etc. These are the components that create connection and impact for your clients or your audience.
What’s the energy behind your story? Inspiring, educational, victim to victory, reflective, visionary, to evoke shock, influence, etc. Focus on the intention behind your story.
Write out a script and revise.
Practice, practice, practice.
I recommend having 2-3 defining stories handy. That way depending on the setting and who your listener is, you can share the story most relevant to the situation.
Your Story in Action
So you have your story, know what? Test it out!
Share it with your colleagues at networking events. Use it in your elevator pitch. Weave it in when you’re guest speaking on a podcast or on stage at your next speaking event. The possibilities are endless. Your stories are endless.
Choose the stories that you are most inspired to share. The rest will fall into place.