Last month, I led a workshop for a group of fifteen entrepreneurial women called Marketing with Heart. We focused on drafting our business origin stories - the foundational root material that fuels our work and our message for the world. It was amazing!
We shared stories of the challenges our lives have handed us:
Losing a loved one…a car accident…the experience of being silenced as a woman – in our families and culture at large…feeling disconnected in a distracted world…losing touch with elders…witnessing the suffering of others… (to name a few)
We explored how these challenging circumstances became seeds for our mission in business. Every woman described a calling she felt to offer her experience as healing medicine to others.
To be in a room with fifteen women claiming their stories left me with one word: Powerful.
At the end of the workshop, several asked, What’s next? I've got my story, now what?
That’s what I’m writing about today. Because storytelling is great, but ultimately, you have a business to promote.
In my work, I see how the majority of women feel nervous about sharing their story publicly. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, it’s scary to share personal details in a public forum. And in a culture that exploits women, this isn't entirely on us. And second, it’s daunting to figure out which details to share and how to “package” them for public consumption.
So what is the balance between holding back and oversharing – in a world that's becoming more and more voyeuristic and exploitative? And how do we choose which details are pertinent to our audience?
Enter the delicate intertwining of our story and message. Here is where we're called to courage and discernment.
How your story translates to brand messaging:
Our stories are personal. We get to decide what parts, if any, we want to put in the public sphere.
Our stories are tender. They belong close to our hearts. They tell of challenging, often painful events that occurred outside of our control. These are the stories we continue integrating and healing from.
Our stories are inspiring. For every challenging circumstance, there is a response. The story of how we responded is the piece that works well for public consumption.
Here are some questions to help you figure this out…
Remember this: Your business comes from you but it is also separate from you. It has an energy of its own. It’s worthwhile and important work to untangle your personal material while still letting your business be an expression of you.
This is where we RISE from the roots of our story.
Think about where your transformative life lesson overlaps with the learning your audience is seeking. This is the connection point. Here is where you can speak to them from the heart of your life’s experience – without bridging too far into your personal material - and YOU get to decide where this boundary is.
Here's an exercise to try.
Draw a Venn Diagram with two overlapping circles. Place your story in one circle. Place your client's aspirational story (what they’re seeking) in the other. In the overlapping portion, write your life lessons, and the outcomes your client is seeking that align with your offering. Not all of your client’s aspirations will align with the life lessons you have to share. But some will. And this is where your message lives - in the intersection.
To make this easier, I created a 2-page worksheet for you. On page 2, you'll see where I use my own story as an example. Click below to instantly download your free copy.
If you’d like to go deeper with this material to extract your life lessons and find the clear message in your story, I’d love to help.
I'm currently offering a 4-session coaching package where we get to the root of your brand message. And I'm thrilled to share that my clients are receiving fast and meaningful results.
For those of you who know me, I'm not the type of person that likes to brag. But these results are REAL, and I want you to know what's possible.
I do have openings coming up in April. Do get in touch if you're interested. CLICK HERE to set up a time to chat.
As we enter the Spring season, I’ll leave you with some beautiful words from one of the participants in my workshop:
“We create both from who we are and also what we also need to see manifested in the world.”
Who are YOU? And what do you need to see manifested in the world?
Until next time,
Happy Valentine's week!
In keeping with that theme, I have an important tip for you:
Your message is the HEART of your marketing. Don't put the cart before the horse and design your logo before you know your message and audience inside-out.
To learn more, click below to watch my FREE 5-minute training about "Message Before Brand." (I filmed it outdoors in the fall. Birds are chirping. This alone will give you a lift!)
Need a tip to help you connect to your message?
Start by fleshing out a challenge you've faced in your own life. Ask yourself how overcoming this challenge has shaped who you are today. Chances are, this is closely tied to the work you're doing in the world. And this, my friend, is the message you have to offer others.
Diving deep isn't easy. Introspection can be uncomfortable! But it's so worth the effort. Why? Because your message is MAGNETIC. And as women, we're often taught otherwise, so that's the pattern we need to break.
Is there a story inside of you waiting to be shared?
Can your life story inspire others?
My hunch is YES.
My work is helping others journey into their darkness and extract the light. Whether you're a speaker, teacher, coach whatever your business is...if your story can serve a higher purpose, I can assist you in constructing it in a way that is authentic and that delivers your powerful message.
If you need help, reach out to me. Drop me a note at email@example.com and let's connect. I'd love to be your guide!
Last weekend I spent time with a group of women in the woods studying wholeheartedness and the healer archetype (from The Four-Fold Way, by Angeles Arrien).
We examined the following quote by poet David Whyte:
“You know that the antidote to exhaustion is not necessarily rest? The antidote to exhaustion is wholeheartedness.”
Now that's a quote you can chew on, right?
It invites us to take a closer look when we're feeling exhausted and burnt out. It's an opportunity to ask ourselves, "am I really tired, or have I become disconnected from my creative passion?"
Of course, there are times when we're experiencing that bone-deep exhaustion so many women feel at the end of a long day – taking care of others, parenting our children, keeping our home, preparing meals, and maintaining a career – all in a culture where we’re paid less and expected to do more than our male counterparts.
Try telling a bone-deep exhausted woman she doesn’t need to rest; she just needs open her heart a little more. Um…no. Sometimes we just need to rest.
And then there are times when opening our hearts can tap us into a deeper wellspring of energy.
For entrepreneurs, here's a way to open your heart that's quite effective:
Remember your WHY.
Please join me in congratulating my client, Kathy Mickel, on her new website!
Kathy's WHY is to help others rediscover their direction and meaning in life. Her story describes how she found her own direction and the courage to leave the corporate bubble to start her own yoga coaching and retreat practice.
Author and Branding Consultant
I am passionate about helping women write their truth and share their message. I offer
personalized coaching programs designed to help soulful entrepreneurs tap their inner wisdom, write the stories they need to tell, and build a business they love.
My memoir, What I Gave to the Fire, is available in both print and Kindle formats on Amazon.com.