#31 Telling Your Life Story
Getting clear on what you bring to the world (and what you want from it)
Telling your story isn’t easy. In fact, it’s an act of bravery that is sometimes overlooked, because so much good comes from it. I’m a firm believer in the idea that the world needs your stories. Not, wants. Not, deserves. It NEEDS your story. Because stories shape a better world and, boy, do we need it.
My belief power of stories beyond writing was reinforced when I interviewed for a job where they asked my life story. I had a full hour to talk about myself and how I’d gotten “here.” I’d never been told to share my entire story (through the lens of my career and expertise) from womb to the day of the interview. I was surprised by how much I learned about myself and what I wanted in my career from telling it. How clear I got on where I had been and where I wanted to go. There was a method to my madness.
So how do you tell your life story?
Start by writing it down. In three ways.
1. The long version. Put every detail and element into this version. It can be as long as a novel or a short page if that’s what your story demands. But put it all in there. Start to finish. Start at the beginning and end on today.
2. Then do the short version. This one should be two or three paragraphs—a page at the very most. Focus on the highs, lows and wins that exist in your long version.
3. Finally do the 30 second version. This is commonly known as the elevator pitch. What is a compelling summary of your two longer versions that you could share in the course of an elevator ride? Practice that one.
My elevator pitch to describe my marketing career is: I’m a business and marketing strategist with a focus on brand storytelling. I help business owners build their brands through effective storytelling.
If you’re not a fan of writing things down, dictate it into your phone. The medium in this case is only part of the message.
So, what’s your life story? Try it. Tell me how it goes; What you learn. Because the world needs your story and for you to share it, you need to be clear on what it is. You can do the same exercise for a business or your career if you’re seeking clarity in that (or another) area of your life.
A Story Well Told
If you’re anything like me and still in a place where lockdown measures are in place, you may have found yourself cooking far more than usual. I have an entire album in my phone of impressive meals I’ve created. One of the ways I’ve been able to do that is by following intrepid food bloggers on the internet—specifically Instagram. One of my recent favourites is George Lee who is just 19 and shares delicious vegan recipe videos through his Instagram page. Think Basically but for GenZ (and this aging Millennial). Each recipe tells a story and together they bring to life the magic and deliciousness of Asian cooking.
Also, if you’re enjoying this or if there’s something you’d like me to cover in a future letter—an element of your storytelling you may be struggling with, please let me know by leaving a comment below. I’m here to help.
Thanks for reading and I’ll “see” you next week. Whatever the world may bring, there will always be important stories that NEED you to tell them. I’ll be here to help.