Have you ever been urged to tell your story? Chances are good that you’ve heard this advice more than once. And yet, perhaps like many other people, there never seems to be a very compelling reason to do so. Well, unless you’re preparing for a job interview.
Yet, the question, “What’s your story?” is neither idle nor superficial. [Tweet This]
Still, it can be helpful to know why uncovering and sharing your story – as well as listening to other people’s stories – can be good for your career … and for your life in general. As Lisa Cron documents, in Wired for Story, there is solid brain science behind storytelling. Specifically,
“Neuroscientists believe the reason our already overloaded brain devotes so much precious time and space to allowing us to get lost in a story is that without stories, we’d be toast. Stories allow us to simulate intense experiences without actually having to live through them. … [In fact,]… our expectations [of a story] have everything to do with the story’s ability to provide information on how we might safely navigate this earthly plane.”
Put another way,
“Story is the language of experience, whether it’s ours, someone else’s, or that of fictional characters. Other people’s stories are as important as the stories we tell ourselves. Because if all we ever had to go on was our own experience, we wouldn’t make it…”
Benefiting from a good story is, on some level, like hiring a coach or consultant. Someone who has the kind of information you need to survive and improve so you can live successfully. And while you might not think about it, your story matters to the people who you want to hire you!
In fact, we are all more predisposed to work with people whose stories resonate with us. [Tweet This]
Increasingly, people seek to connect, partner, and do business with people who “get it” and therefore “get them.” And the way they determine this is via stories. This makes personal brand storytelling more important than ever. And to tell your brand story in a way that is authentic and will resonate with your audiences requires self-knowledge. As creative writing instructor Robert McKee points out, “Self Knowledge is key – life plus deep reflection on our reactions to life. [Italics his].”
More than ever, your story is your brand. So, it’s critical to go deeper than conveying a one-sentence personal brand statement arrived at from the examination of the 360 feedback and introspective exercises. To go deeper you need to examine the life events that shaped your brand DNA. Doing so grounds you in the vision, purpose, values, passions, beliefs, and skill sets that you bring to creating value. Even more, it enables you to share the specifics of your accomplishments, and your failures, come backs, and other key life turning points.
As counterintuitive as it may seem, it’s a mistake to hide your stumbles in life. In fact, your mistakes and what you draw from them are your story. [Tweet This] As Lisa Cron defines it,
“A story is how what happens affects someone who is trying to achieve what turns out to be a difficult goal, and how he or she changes as a result.“
In other words, taken as a whole, your failures as well as your achievements offer your audience the language of experience that connects to their expectations and draws them to you to learn more. And the more your story resonates, the more likely it is to establish an emotional connection with your idea audience and fuel their desire to work with … you!