Knowing and sharing who you really are.
Knowing who you really are and opening up to the willingness to share who you really are creates a sense of freedom and authenticity as you grow your business. This question, “Tell me about you”, is the question that gets just about everyone flustered. Why? because you sometimes have a hard time looking within to know your authentic self or what your message really is because you have levels of yourself. You have the self you show the world, the self that you share with loved ones, the self that you are within. This is a good thing because you have learned to filter. When someone says, How are you? This person is not looking for a list of new medications or how your back is feeling, etc. Now if your mom or best friend asks, you will share more.
However, you might try too hard to hide your vulnerabilities and then you seem too perfect and not relatable at all.
Even though there are different roles that you play in your life, sharing from an authentic place is how others resonate with you in the most powerful way.
Your story makes you unique. People like YOU. They do not want a version of you that is a copy of someone else.Click to tweet
Your story makes you unique. People like YOU. They do not want a version of you that is a copy of someone else.
Be your authentic self because people intuitively know when you are being the authentic you and when you are not.
In my own story, I talk about losing my brother at a young age. I was a mere teenager when my younger brother took his own life. I came home from school when I was 17 years old and I found my 15-year-old brother after he had killed himself, and it was a terrible, tragic shock. I floundered for about seven years before I started to effectively put the pieces of my life back together. This is a story of overcoming.
Later in life, I had a near-death experience and dramatic healing.
Sharing the struggle, fear, and frustration, in addition to what it took to overcome these events in my life are part of my story and when I became comfortable with sharing more of my life, my coaching practice grew. People want to know about your pain and struggles. They want to know that you triumphed. They want to know who you really are. They want to know your story of overcoming. Because if you can do it, they can too.
When I nearly died, I searched for stories of overcoming and healing. As soon as I found one, I knew I too could heal.
Now that doesn’t mean that you have to have a terrible, tragic story in order to be interesting or in order to have a compelling story. Your story could be one triumph after another and no little dips in your life, but guess what? That kind of story is inspiring, too. Everybody would want to know how you did it.
When I was comfortable sharing and reaching out to people with my story, my coaching practice really took off. Prior to that, it was not that I was ashamed of my story in any way, but I had developed this professional persona in the corporate world and then in higher education where nobody knew that tragedy had happened and I did not want to be- the girl whose brother died. I did not want that to be my professional signature.
What I found is that sharing that part of me was sharing the real me.
People love stories about overcoming.
Remember when you were a kid and you always wanted to hear a story from your mom, dad, grandma, or grandpa? Now that you are grown up, you still love a story especially when the story involves overcoming something difficult. People love stories, but they love the story even more if you can pull out some lessons learned. So with your compelling story, you want to be able to come up with some key points that you can pull out so that others can apply them to their lives.
One example of a lesson from my story is that as a result of my tragedy I had this view of myself that I could never be happy again. I thought I might get to okay but I would never be really happy – like skipping down the road kind of happy.
However, I discovered happiness in my life through education, through working with the masters, through working on myself, and through different programs. I realized the power of thought. I realized that I could choose the way that I felt. If I wanted to be happy I could choose happiness. That is an example of how I was in one place with my thoughts- thinking I am never going to be happy again and I found my way back to happiness and a happy lifestyle through my thoughts…
The lesson is that people have a choice over the thoughts that they think.
With your authentic and compelling story, you want to be able to pull out and teach the lessons you learned so other people can benefit and use your experiences.
You might wonder where you will use your compelling story? You might use it on your website, you might use it on your blog, and you might use it in an introduction when people are introducing you on radio shows or at live events. You might use this story at networking events. Though I have to say when I am introducing myself to a complete stranger, I do not just blurt out my tragedy to triumph story abruptly; the story evolves through conversation. Know your audience. When I am delivering a keynote I do share the story.
What makes you unique?
Think about your own story right now.
What makes you unique? Think about one lesson that you could teach someone based on your life, just write three to five-word phrases, and you can expand on it later. Then, you can develop more lessons.
You will want to start merging your story into a powerful tool that is motivating and inspiring to other people.
A big part of your compelling story is sharing mistakes. When I look back at my life, there were plenty of mistakes I made during that seven-year span when I was floundering. I share some of those mistakes with my coaching clients. I share them and of course, I made mistakes even after that, my goodness, it has been over 25 years.
When you are willing to share your mistakes, you allow others the space to share their mistakes and vulnerabilities and this allows change and growth to take place.Click to tweet
But the point is: when you are willing to share your mistakes, you allow others the space to share their mistakes and vulnerabilities and this allows change and growth to take place.
When I work with my clients who are coaches, I tell them about my first year trying to get my coaching business online and what a disaster it was because I did not know anything about online marketing all those years ago. There are multiple blessings for others in the mistakes that I share. When my clients learn about my business mistakes in that first year, they save a lot of time and a lot of money because they can avoid the mistakes I made. It’s also a powerful message to know that you can make mistakes and still be successful. Mistakes are allowed. If you aren’t making mistakes you are not going for a big enough goal.
Maybe you are not sure how to develop a compelling story. You might be thinking my job is: I am a manager in a law firm or I am a manager of accountants or I am a stay-at-home mom or I own this business, for example.
You know what you are doing in terms of your career, but when it comes to being your authentic you, you might be thinking, “oh okay who is that really?” Maybe you have been trying to be someone different to please others.
Start with these journal prompts:
I am passionate about…
I feel vulnerable when…
I know most about…
One day I had a question from a client- “how will I know when I am passionate?” and I knew what she was passionate about just by listening to her talk. When it seemed like she was “neutral” about a topic her voice was at a certain level, but when she started to get excited, then her voice started ramping up in volume and enthusiasm. Her enthusiastic voice involved her passions. I could hear her passion in her voice even though at the time, she couldn’t hear it herself. It took an observation from me to reflect her passion back to her.
You can reveal the passion within yourself by getting quiet with soft music and candles, and turning your mental and spiritual focus inward to your inner voice. Be sure to keep a journal handy.
You can also ask other people:
What do you love about me?
You can ask close friends, or close colleagues or a mentor,
What strengths do you see in me?
If you ask your mom or dad they might be a little too close, because they knew you when you maybe got stuck in a tree, and then could not get down. Obviously parents see us in a different light.
What do others seem to love about me?
Where do I get compliments?
What just seems to flow naturally?
What can I teach naturally and organically?
You can also write a list of fifty strengths.
Once you get past ten, you will be reaching deep which is where the gold is.
Answering these questions gives you clues to your authentic self. I want to point out that this process involves trial and error. There is no such thing as a perfect definition of your authentic self. Your authentic self evolves as you grow and change.
Telling your story.
You will likely have times when you share your story and you find that you add pieces of your story or take pieces away.
Don’t worry about getting it wrong. There is no wrong.
Try a few different versions of your story. I had another client share with me that, she has noticed that every time she shares her story – it changes and has grown quite a bit from the point in her life when she first started sharing it.
By practicing telling your story, you will start to get comfortable. I encourage you to tell your story and record it or video it. Talk through it and then listen to how you sound. You can use notes, but let your storytelling come from your heart. IGTV, Youtube, and Facebook live are great places to share your story and be sure to have a call to action at the end of your video. This can be as simple as grab your free gift (be sure to describe it)here- and give the link)
Other ways to use storytelling in your business.
Storytelling is also powerful when you use other people’s stories (with their permission). You can use testimonials, case studies, and survey data. In my book, Be the Inspiration, I include someone else’s story for each key concept. The most important key to success is authenticity and you want the story to be an example of the point you are trying to make.
How are you using a story in your business today?
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Sheri Kaye Hoff
Coach, Trainer, and Author, Sheri Kaye Hoff, is a Business Coach known for inspiring massive action and a catalyst for personal and business growth, joy, and profits in a way that is fun, relaxing, and fulfilling, Sheri inspires people to do the work they love and make more money. Sheri helps business owners and professionals to relax into success. She uses both spiritual and practical techniques to obliterate blocks and create dramatic change. She is a business, leadership, happiness, and inner game expert. She has overcome nearly dying, and the loss of her brother at an early age. She has made it her life mission to discover the keys to happiness and success and then share them with her clients and community. Learn More About Sheri