Hi. This is Darla LeDoux of Aligned Entrepreneurs. Welcome to today’s conversation, Yes, You Do Have a Powerful Story. When I visit a website, the very first thing I do is I find my way to the about page because I want to know who I’m considering buying from and more importantly, I want to know why they do it. I want to know that when the rubber meets the road, they’re going to show up, and I am going to get their very best. The best way to figure that out is by checking for resonance with their story.
Much has been written about in recent years as it pertains to knowing your why or knowing your story in business. We’ve got authors like Seth Godin who speak about it, Daniel Pink talks about story as one of the core competencies that will make you a lot of money in the new age we’re moving into, and Simon Sinek has a whole book called Start with Why, and I just want to share a little bit from it. He says, “In a nutshell, consistently put out messages and actions that come from your core beliefs, and people with those same beliefs will find you.” That’s what you’re really checking for when you read an about page whether you’re aware of it or not.
“Forget the market testing to see if people respond to your core beliefs. That’s not authentic. More than anything, what people want is to trust you, and they will trust you if you act from your core beliefs and do so consistently. People, potential clients, customers, et cetera will recognize your commonality and act accordingly. The goal is not to do business with everyone who needs what you have. It’s to do business with those people who believe what you believe. People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
I’ve found this to be really true and that’s why I start in about page, and that’s why when I work with my clients, we actually start with their story because your story is so revealing in terms of what you’re good at, what your talents are, what you care about, and most importantly, what you believe. What is that perception that you have of life that makes you uniquely you because based on what you’ve experienced in life, you’re the only one who could possibly have that same view. You’re the only one who could solve their problem in the way that only you can.
What is your story? Maybe you’re like some of the clients I talk with, and you can’t quite figure it out. You think, “I don’t have a story. Nothing interesting has ever happened to me. I’ve never slept on the street. I’ve never been abused. I don’t have anything interesting to talk about,” or maybe you’ve got so much that’s interesting in your story and you think, “That’s not appropriate for business. Why do they care about that? This is business,” but the truth is it really is what people care about.
I want to talk about how to share your powerful story or why I know that you do have a powerful story. The first thing we want to do is to define, what do I mean by powerful? Power is something that can be misinterpreted or thought of in a lot of different ways like controlling and things like that, having all the power. Here’s my definition of power. I’ve been using this for years and it’s made a huge difference for me. For me, powerful or power is this, it’s actually being able to be your authentic self, being able to being free to speak your core truth, and accept what comes, and that’s the key.
In order to have a powerful story, it can’t be controlled or manipulated. You can’t be trying to be who people want you to be and have a powerful story. It actually has to be related to your core truth, and you’ve got to be willing to share it and accept what comes. If you’re one of those people who is thinking, “I don’t have an interesting story,” I want to tell you about a client I worked with who is a graphic designer who really felt like, “I don’t have an interesting story. I don’t have that, I learned it as the victim to victory story. It doesn’t apply to me.”
She was a graphic designer. We started looking at why does she do what she does, and she was helping everybody. She would take a random assignment here and there from all different types of people. She wasn’t really focused in her marketing because she hadn’t done this work. We looked at her story and different things came up about things that had happened or why she became a designer, etc. One of the things that came up was actually that in school, she really struggled because early on, she was diagnosed with dyslexia. Because of her dyslexia, she had a ton of trouble communicating like the other kids did. She had a ton of trouble with her writing exercises. She just struggled, and she knew what it felt like to have an opinion, to have something to say but struggle to communicate it.
Now, to her, that was just like this awful thing in her childhood but to me, I could see how that made her the perfect person to be a graphic designer for someone who doesn’t know how to speak design. See, she had loads of compassion and patience for someone who had trouble communicating. A lot of times, I don’t know about you, but when I forge with designers, sometimes I am like, “I don’t know what I want. I just know it’s not that,” or “I wish it could just feel more sparkly,” or whatever. We have a lot of trouble communicating with our designers. What was so amazing about her story is she could really demonstrate that she gets it. She gets what it’s like to not know how to have your message land, to not know what to ask for or how to communicate.
Based on that story, her ideal clients could really feel and connect with her and go, “Oh my gosh. I can breathe the sigh of relief. I feel safe with her, to tell her whatever I’m thinking because I know she won’t judge.” Guess what, that energy had real value for her right clients. Your story and really know your story, and how to share it, and how to use it to connect with the right people increases your value tremendously. She went from charging $45 an hour on random projects to having her base package be $8000. She worked with clients she love and it was all good.
You do have a powerful story that you need to be willing to tell. The first thing is to really look at what’s happened in your life, and I have a whole process that I take my clients through to really help you sort it through which things are the right things to pull forward, which things really matter.
The second piece back to this, being willing to share the story and accept what comes. I really do want to address this concern that a lot of people have that, “I can’t tell that story in my business. That’s not relevant,” and yet, maybe it is. I want to tell a story about a client I had in the past who actually didn’t necessarily take my advice. She had had an affair in her marriage, and obviously that’s not something you’d like to broadcast, but what’s amazing about the affair is that it actually transformed her marriage. She didn’t leave, she didn’t get divorce. It actually forced a new level of communication and intimacy within her marriage.
That story shaped so much of her life. So many things changed as a result of that story. It was really clear that it was key for her in her journey, and she didn’t want to share it. She’s a counselor and a coach, and loves helping people with relationship, and that story would really be a means to connect with the tons of other people that go through that experience and actually want to salvage their marriage, but she was really concerned that her in-laws would hear the story, and she wasn’t willing to share it. Unfortunately, she actually chose to step away from the business because she didn’t find the courage to speak her core truth and accept what comes.
Now, I completely get if you’ve got something like that to share in your business, it takes a lot of balls. It takes a lot of courage sometimes to own your truth and to accept what comes. Yet, on the other side of that courage, I’ve seen it time and again when clients have chosen to vulnerably share, the right clients just find them and their business flourishes. You do have a powerful story. You need to own your power in order to really share your story in a way that attracts your right people. When you do, it actually increases the value of the work you deliver. You can charge more, make more money, work with fewer, better clients, and of course, have that life of freedom that you really desire.
Consider it. I’d love to hear your thoughts. What’s your experience with sharing your story in your business? Where do you stop? What are you afraid to say? What are you not sure whether it belongs there? Because not everything does. I’d love to hear your comments and your questions below. This is Darla LeDoux with Aligned Entrepreneurs and we’ll see you soon.
“When we speak truth to power, we begin with ourselves.
When we speak truth to power, oh, the stories we tell.
When we speak truth to power, we begin with ourselves.
For we are the power in our lives!”
This is the chorus to a song I wrote when I was going through a terrible, painful struggle. When I need guidance, sometimes I ask for a song & the Universe sends me inspiration in this form. This one helped me to see that the “powers that be” are where we choose them to be, and we need to place our power totally in the center of ourselves – in the greatest possible harmony with the world around us & our guides & allies, of course, but our own power is all our own. I agree with you, Darla, that power is not control. Power is real, our life force, our birthright. Control is an illusion, impossible, doomed to failure. Power is within us, while control is an attempt to manipulate externals. We are the power in our lives!