Do you love to read? I do, I’m an avid reader. I’ll pretty much read anything… from classics to chick lit, serious literature to pulp fiction, mysteries, thrillers, love stories, memoirs, self-development and much, much more.
Ever since I was small, I’ve loved a good story… stories entertain, educate and inspire us. They help us to connect with people and places, and they influence our behaviour.
Everything (and everyone) you’ve ever wanted, or chosen, or fallen in love with, directly resulted from being inspired by what you believed that product, service or person would bring to your life. In other words, you fell for their story.
And, while the concept of “story-telling” might seem like another overused buzzword, when it comes to designing a career you love and positioning yourself to achieve it… it’s actually one of the most important items in your metaphorical toolbox.
It’s so, so important that your professional story communicates your unique value, captures imaginations, forges connections and wins hearts.
Does this question leave you struggling for an answer?
When someone asks, as they regularly do in pretty much most social or professional settings, “What do you do?”, how do you answer? If you give your job title and/or a list of your responsibilities, then I’m guessing that same person has potentially asked you the same question previously. Am I right? Why? Because a generic list of responsibilities is not appealing enough to be memorable.
A unique and personal story is informative, engaging, creates an emotional bond and (hopefully!) makes the other person think… “I need more of that in my life”. And it’s versatile – use it at job interviews, for positioning and promoting yourself (or your business), or in everyday conversations.
If you need to create or polish up your personal story, think deeply about the events of your life and work that have had a significant influence on you. Consider what engages and inspires you, the people who’ve made a difference and the challenges you’ve overcome. There are clues everywhere if you look closely.
How to develop the most important story you’ll ever tell
The best and most memorable stories require these essential elements –
1. A RELATABLE “HERO”
Contrary to what you might believe, the “hero” in your personal story is not you! Instead this character should reflect the individuals, organisations, projects or causes that give your story structure and substance. While you might have been this character in the past, now your “hero” should resemble your potential employer or client. The aim is for your listener to see themselves or something they instantly recognise in your “hero”.
2. NAME THE PROBLEM
For your story to engage the reader, your “hero” must encounter a problem. You need to describe the issue, challenge or complication experienced by your “hero” in a way that means something to them… they’re either experiencing it now or know this problem lies between them and success.
3. ENTER THE SOLUTION “GURU”
This is YOU!! Introduce yourself… who are you, why are you here, what can you do, and what solution do you bring to the situation?
4. ESTABLISH YOUR AUTHORITY
Now you’ve introduced yourself, establish you’re no cowboy. Explain why you’re the “real deal” and, where possible, do so using one of the great story-telling commandments → “show, don’t tell”. In other words, use real situations and evidence to showcase how you’ve used your unique combination of knowledge, strengths, and skill to solve this problem for others. Instead of, “here are the things I’m really good at” try, “here’s an example of when I did X and the result was Y”.
5. PROVIDE THE “TA-DA” MOMENT
So, your “hero” was facing a challenge, you turned up and applied your special superpowers, and “ta-da”… what was the outcome for the “hero”? Explain how you deliver success and create positive change for your characters. Make this as tangible as you can… they’ve made more money, reduced costs, increased productivity, streamlined processes, increased customer satisfaction etc etc.
Does someone asking you “what do you do?” make you cringe? Then maybe it’s time to develop or polish up your personal story.
If you need some help… for the remainder of July, I’m offering a Laser Coaching Power Hour for only $129. Let’s spend an hour together and work this out for you…