How many company “About” pages do you remember? Can you think of any companies off the top of your head who have an amazing story that stuck with you?
Yet every company has a fascinating story. I used to interview lots of entrepreneurs and CEOs and I always found their stories amazing. But it took some work to tease the good stuff out of them. Their default was to provide boring, chronological answers.
You are your own company – “Me, Inc.” Your ability to translate the facts of your life into a story will dramatically impact the opportunities you have. If don’t tell your story and it’s only discoverable through a bullet-point timeline, no one will remember or be attracted to it. But if it’s a genuine narrative arc, you’ll be unforgettable and interesting.
Without worrying about what format or medium to tell your story in, first just try to think of your life as a story. Sketch out the major plot points. See what themes emerge. What always seems to bug you? What do you always seem to overcome or do well at? And how have those led you to the choices you’ve made?
Take the plot points that seem most relevant and create a narrative arc, with rising action and tension leading to a climactic realization or decision. Then let the story bring us to the present (but not yet a full resolution, because your story continues!) Outline this story. Then practice telling it verbally. Have a 10 minute, 2 minute, and 30 second version.
If you can get really good at that and know your own story flat, you will begin to find it ways to translate it into any medium – blog posts, interviews, podcasts, pitches, emails, etc. Then you’ll be able to tell your story quickly and easily. That will lead to more people wanting to work with you.