How to tell your personal story to help catapult your business and find your (seemingly) elusive target audience
I LOVE a good story. Don’t you? It’s the reason why I can watch the same romantic comedy over and over again, even if I could narrate the entire movie with my eyes closed. I love how movie announcers call some films, the “feel good” movie of the year! I always perk up and run to the TV (or these days my iPad) when I hear those words, because doesn’t everybody want to feel good? I know I do…and so do your clients.
People in general (your target market included) love a good story. Whether it’s how you turned your heartache into a novel (yes, I’m talking about Eat Pray Love), the come-back from behind struggle or the don’t judge a book by its cover type of story…people love the realness, emotions and authenticity of a story that is based on the reality that we live in.
Stories are how we connect with our community, family and friends…and it’s also one of the best ways to connect with your customers. Just keep in mind that just as all preconceived “feel good movie of the year” won’t make it on everyone’s “must see” list, your story (if told in a compelling way) will not resonate with everyone. However, those who connect with your story become your target market, which in the end, is the goal.
The key to telling your story however isn’t necessarily about the things that happened to you, but the lessons you learned along the way.
It’s about taking the fundamental elements of your life, picking out the most poignant moments and building a story around how those circumstances helped shape you and your business (or as in my story how my fall from grace helped launched my own business, but more on that later). When your story is about the lessons you’ve learned and how you applied it to your life, the story isn’t about you anymore. You’ve connected your life with that of your audience and you’ve made it relatable and that is what engages your target market to follow you, buy your products and help promote you and your business.
My own personal journey falls between the “don’t judge a book by its cover and a come-back from behind” type of story…at least I hope!
I had what appeared from the outside, a pretty good life. I had thriving career, a supportive husband and an amazing little girl. But one day, karma came barreling down my front door and changed my life completely. I had kept my big secret from almost everyone I knew.
Not to worry, I won’t keep you in suspense…you see long ago for reasons that I was unable to explain to myself or others, I stole money from my old place of business. I had a high ranking position, was well respected and one of the youngest in the company of thousands to have held my position. But early in my career I made some extremely wrong choices and kept it a secret for years. My secret was brought to light during an investigation of another situation (a.k.a. karma). I was forced to leave my position and tried as best I could to deal with the repercussion of my unethical mistakes.
Unfortunately for me the story didn’t end there. A few years later once I had settled in to my new life with my husband and family out of state, my old company decided to press charges. Faced with 5 years probation (which is what my lawyer said I would likely get) I walked into the courtroom for sentencing…and I didn’t walk out until 19 months later. I didn’t get probation. I didn’t get to pass go. I didn’t get to collect $200. I did however go to prison.
I’ll spare you the sordid details of how I made it through those agonizing 19 months without my daughter, husband, family and friends. What I need you to know is that I did make it. I found a way to find the silver lining. I found a way to get up every day. I found a way to motivate myself. I found a way to cope. I found a way to survive. I found a way to smile. I found a way to laugh again. I found my strength. I found my purpose. I found ME.
Unfortunately my marriage didn’t survive my time away and I came home without a husband, a home or a job. But the one thing I had and the only thing I focused on was my daughter. She was and continues to be my saving grace. I realized shortly after coming home that I could never go back to my old life. As much as people around me had changed, so had I. Without being aware of it, I found my real purpose in life while I was away.
My decision to launch my own Life and Business Coaching company came with some trepidation. I knew that I couldn’t do it without being transparent about my own journey. Although it sounds cliché, I decided to share my own story to show people that we are not defined by our past mistakes. We are however defined by the lessons we’ve learned and how we pick ourselves up and move forward.
In my business, I help my clients push through barriers, find solutions and not focus on problems, take responsibility and accept reality so that they can create and build a better and more promising future for their life and business.
My story continues to be written, but for now I’m happy with where it’s taken me thus far. I’ve experienced things most of the world will never go through, but it’s made me much stronger, patient, grateful, loving, honest, nonjudgmental and optimistic about what’s ahead.
Your story and the way in which you tell it, is your Marketing. How you make people feel is your Brand.
What is your story and how can you use it to help your clients understand and face theirs?