People build instant credibility when they share their story. That is, if that story is true, is authentic, and resonates well with the intended audience. When you meet someone new, he or she wants to know not just about what you’ve done and where you’re going, but also about who you are, and how that might intersect with who they are, and what their interests are at the time. Telling your story will not only help you connect with people you newly meet, but also with people you’ve known for a lifetime. What’s more, it helps you connect better with yourself and your meaning, direction and purpose. Below are some thoughts on how to best tell your story.
- Decide to tell your story, rather than providing that resume in verbal or written form. The story will help you define both your purpose and your direction, and help you thread together the stepping stones along the way, first for yourself, and then for your audience.
- Don’t hide the warts. But don’t dwell on them. Nobody’s perfect. And if you *are*, you haven’t lived well enough. Understand why you took the detours along the way, and even consider the experiences ‘features, not bugs’. Emphasize the learnings behind the un-planned events, and how that added to your wisdom, strength, knowledge, direction and experience.
- But don’t highlight the warts. Especially if you’re getting the same life lesson again and again…
- Focus first on the beginning, then on the middle and then on the end. Your beginnings shape you and direct your successes and challenges to date. Your middle is where you are right now. How has that beginning shaped your middle? What kind of end would you like to shape? Are you headed in that direction? If so, detail it. If not, why not, and where would you like to go? And what’s stopping you from getting from here to there?
- Define the key characters in your story, and the choices you make to keep them engaged in your story. Do the have a full cast of characters? Who’s missing? Who’s engaged? Who’s playing the wrong role?
- What patterns are you finding in your story and what, if anything, should you do about it?
- What or who is missing in your story to date and what can you do to address that missing piece or person?
- What could you do today that you couldn’t have done yesterday or last year or five years ago?
- Who knows your story, and who should know your story? What would it mean if they found out about your story?
- What will you celebrate about your story? How will you celebrate? Who will you celebrate with?
Create your story . . . make it the middle and ending of your heart’s desire. Share it with those who matter to you.