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,
Author and Branding Consultant
I am passionate about helping mission-centered business owners share their message through compelling written and visual content.
My memoir, What I Gave to the Fire, is available in both print and Kindle formats on Amazon.com.