It’s Wednesday and I am sitting with a private client for her VIP Day and we’re reviewing her business idea. We establish the verbiage, the USP, client profiles, and finally we arrive at designing how her personal story fits into her business. Why? Because the story of how you arrived at creating your business is the connection between your passion and what you do for a living. You want to have a rehearsed answer for the question that always comes after asking what you do for a living. “What made you get into… [your profession]?”
Weaving your story into your business mission requires sensitive threading. There are things you should reveal, such as being an independent thinker or that as a child you played with office supplies instead of Barbie dolls. Yet, certain aspects of your story are best left out, like your father’s raging alcoholism or your mother’s depression. It is also important that your story is NOT designed as a covert way to get even with those who have let you down, or to play victim with the ‘poor me’ card. Rather, when you use the storytelling formula that I teach you end up explaining where your passion comes from and how it relates to your current awesomeness.
I work with many creative entrepreneurs and corporate executives, most of whom are women. All too often, women who are in charge can be seen as too tough, cold, unapproachable, or even mean. And, some of us have forgotten how to have fun and enjoy life and come across as tight and money hungry.
When we design the background (your story) of your career or business, we establish the relatable things about you that teams and customers are longing for. They want to believe you. And they want to believe IN you as a person whose life has brought you to this point for a good reason. You want to turn relationships into dollars.
For some reason, this part of my career coaching is often met with huge resistance. My clients feel their stories are irrelevant, or they are not comfortable revealing things they consider too personal. Sometimes when I tug on their roadblocks we discover landmines ready to explode. Issues haven’t been resolved and they are still hurting us.
If people can’t relate to you, they won’t trust you. You are holding back. You are hiding a secret. You are not telling me what got you here. I can smell that secrecy from miles away and now I don’t believe anything you say.
Unless we are willing to share pieces of our world, why would anyone want to do business with us? Think about it. Eighty million (80 million!) Millennials are comfortable baring all. Their entire lives are traceable—their workouts are public, their video game histories are published, every move, piece of clothing, and bite they eat is captured and shared!
Beyond corporate transparency stands personal transparency. Do you have it?
If you want to work with or sell to the new buyers (Millennials), you need to understand that the reason behind your mission is just as important TO THEM as the vision it stems from. They want to know the real you.
Here’s me: I help women to be better leaders and fight for gender equality because I was a single mom in a foreign country. It was a huge fight to get to where I am, but I figured it out and I am sharing with you how I made it. Because my background is the arts, I also design programs to help creative entrepreneurs run their businesses. I believe that without art and creativity we are all screwed. And I have no time for nonsense. I say it as I see it.
Stay away from clichés like brand-leading [anything], selling the best product, creating award winning ideas, and blah blah blah. That is so 90s.
Trite advertising and corporate talk is boring buyers out of their minds. Authentic became a buzzword out of the need to cut through crap. Now, it’s so overused that I feel a wave of nausea coming on if I hear it.
Let’s just be real with each other.
Share the real story. Learn how to talk about your business, your work, and the experiences that got you here. This part of business is truly changing. We are looking for connection points and relatability between people. That is what will help you sell more and get people to back you up 100%. You be you. And please—stop talking about yourself in the third person.
And if it’s time for you to connect the dots, connect with me and let’s examine how we can get your story straight.