In this post I’m going to take you through a writing and self-exploration exercise to help you gain clarity on why knowing and owning your personal story is important to your brand.
People love stories.
People live vicariously through the words and actions of others. So give them something that compels them to connect with you. A story helps people connect to the parts of their lives that are similar to the parts of your life, thus building trust.
It compels them to grow into a bigger version of themselves, knowing that someone just like them (like you), has found a way to transcend their challenges.
Your story is what can help you do that. Use the following questions as a guideline:
- Write about the time in life, where you have experienced some serious pains, challenges or strange circumstances that people can relate to.
- Write down what those challenges have taught you. Wisdom and insight comes with hindsight.
- Write down what results those challenges have helped you achieve in life. Or the benefits of having had those challenges. For example, did it make you more resilient? Did it give you a work ethic? Did it shift your relationship with fear? Did it deepen the relationships you have with people?
- Articulate what you would like your target audience to understand is possible for their lives – having made your challenges. Big or small, it doesn’t matter. It just has to be real. Having connected with them with turmoil, you can then shift the conversation to something more aspirational. You are basically saying “Now the clouds have cleared – what can you see? And where would you like to go?”
Polarity is what causes movement.
The best story I find, is the heroes’ journey of undergoing immense challenge, and eventually triumphing over it. And as a direct result, the hero makes it his or her purpose, to share what he/she has discovered, to enhance the quality of people’s lives around him/her.
- Turning Point Challenge – use this to create tension in the reader’s mind. But the added benefit, is your turning point challenge could also subtly bring to rise, the same pain points and frustrations that your readers are experiencing. As such, your story can be used to connect your message at a subliminal level. Check out the example below.
For three grueling years of my life, I had to consciously choose to continue to live every time the sun rose. In between moments of activities such as work, eating and sleeping, I had to ‘will’ myself to continue living, rather than succumb to the temptation of ending my life. So much that my only solace was in sleep, alcohol and anything that would numb me from having to experience the life I was living. I feared reaching out because I never thought anyone would understand or be able to help me.
- Transcending Your Challenge and The Great Discovery. Use this to plant the seed that you discovered a solution to your challenges, and the sorts of benefits you are experiencing as a direct result of resolution. It becomes a great discovery that your reader has the possibility of accessing too. Again, a ninja way to create an inspiring future for your reader. And it polarizes the pain points covered in your turning point challenge too.
As I looked into the blade that I wanted to use to take my life, I caught a glimpse of the shine in my eyes. It was my mother’s eyes. And I cried. I cried and cried all night like I had when she passed away when I was 4 years old. At the time, I didn’t think I was worthy. As a child I always agonized with the question “Mum…why did you leave me?” and “Am I not worth staying around for?”
The memories bubbled up as my tears wet the scene. She died, and that was a passage to allow me to live. Without that, I wouldn’t be the resourceful person I am today. Like anything in life, it’s a double-edged sword. So I turned the blade away from my wrist, and put it to carve something new. A promise.
- Your Manifesto and Mission for Today – stand for something and people will stand by you. Most people are looking to follow someone, not to lead. So if you communicate the perception of strong leadership – people will want to get on board.
We are born with grace and love. Sometimes it is hard to see that. It is hard to realize the magic that has brought your life to now. I am certain that the density of darkness in life paves the way for a precious stone. My mission today is to help people reconnect with the life they will truly feel worthy to live.
Your story, is a beautiful way of summing up your character. It reinforces your brand values. It also connects with your reader emotionally, and at the same time, creates a potential promise of future gain. And that just might inspire them to take action.
The lives you have lived and the lives you will live, are of value.
So what’s your story? I’d love to know if you are willing to share. Post it in the comments below 🙂