The biggest excuses I get from clients looking to build a premium personal brand are “I don’t have a story,” “my story is all over the place,” or “my story is not interesting enough.”
There is so much self-consciousness — and as a result, self-sabotage — around using your life experiences as a story that’s compelling enough to captivate an audience and use as a foundation for a strong personal brand.
I’m going to nip that in the bud here and now. You do have a story worth telling — and if you believe otherwise, it’s because you’re not looking hard enough.
Let me ask you this: do you really believe that throughout your entire life, nothing of interest has ever happened? That there are absolutely no stories that others would find interesting, engaging, or could learn from? Probably not. Your experiences have led you to where you are today, and how you share them with the world will have a direct influence on the types of people and opportunities you attract into your life.
Your story is as interesting as you choose to make it. I could tell you the most exciting story about a trip to the doctor’s office, or the most boring story about a skydiving experience in New Zealand. When it comes to storytelling, it’s not what you say but rather how you say it.
The good news is, you have a choice. You can keep telling yourself that your story isn’t interesting, that it’s too complicated, or that people wouldn’t care… or you can choose to get into the driver’s seat of your own story and turn it into a personal brand that attracts your ideal audience as well as increases your visibility, impact, and income.
Here are the 3 steps to turn your life experiences into a story worth telling:
1. Reframe your past. If you’re struggling with leveraging your story as part of your brand, the first step is to ask yourself why. Is it because you’re comparing yourself to other people? Because you feel it’s not good enough? Are you ashamed of your parts of your story, don’t want to hurt those involved, or feel fearful of what other people would say?
What are the thoughts, beliefs, and past experiences that are keeping you small? Make sure to journal on these questions and get whatever insecurity you may feel out on paper so you can begin the process of confronting and reframing.
You’ll likely find that it’s not your story that’s holding you back… it’s your mindset.
For example, you may be telling yourself stories that disempower you. Instead, shift your perspective to reframe reality in your favor. For example, if you feel self-conscious that your story is not exciting enough because you’re a stay-at-home mom living in the suburbs, know that there’s women in parts of the world who look at your life with envy.
If you had a happy, safe childhood and wish you had more drama to share, know that there’s people who had traumatic pasts who would be mesmerized by your stories about playing in the yard with your siblings.
There’s always someone out there who can learn from what you have to say. When thinking about what role your story plays in your personal brand, choose to look at your past as a collection of experiences that have led you to where you are today and can support your current goals and mission.
2. Choose your present. If you choose to frame your story as uninteresting or boring, that’s what you’ll get. What if you started to actually look for the small adventures and excitement in everything that you do?
For example, when you’re dropping your kids off to school, are you listening to the quirky things they’re saying? That’s a story you can post on social media that will showcase your personality. When you’re meeting with your clients… are you paying attention to their concerns, wins, and difficulties? That’s a lesson or insight that can be shared with your audience to support your credibility.
As you’re going about your everyday routine, are you appreciating the things around you? Even something as simple as a quick chat with the barista at your local coffee shop could turn into a story about how important it is to connect with others every day.
Choose to look at your days as a collection of potential stories you can share with your audience. It will not only make great content for your brand, but will also transform how you perceive your life.
3. Design your future. Your story extends far beyond your past and present. You can also design a story that you can step into in the future.
For example, think about the story you’d want to tell your grandchildren someday. Who will you become, what will you do to get there, and what goals do you need to set for yourself to become the story you want to live? If you’re less than satisfied with your current story, then what would your comeback story look like?
The best part is, the very act of documenting your journey from your present to future story will capture your audience’s attention, because so many people want to change their story and influence others with their own experiences… yet few actually do it.
The stories you tell — past, present, and future — have a huge influence on the life you create and how people perceive you. When you learn to rule your story (rather than let it rule you), you can strategically and consistently leverage your experiences to build a personal brand that is profitable, impactful, and inspires others.