Why aren’t you telling your story?
Fear #1 – Maybe it’s because you think it doesn’t matter (it does).
Fear #2 – Maybe it’s because you’re worried it will offend someone (it will sometimes & that’s OK).
Fear #3 – Maybe it’s because you’ve got a story that you know you MUST tell but the thought of telling it makes you feel like throwing up (you’ll come close, but you won’t).
Fear #4 – Maybe your story is the kind of story that you worry your audience can’t handle (they can).
Fear #5 – And it reminds you of shit you don’t really want to remember, never mind share with a ton of people. You don’t want to tell THAT story because you don’t want to burden your audience.
Fear #6 – You don’t want people to (horror of all horrors) feel bad for you.
As a coach and speaker, you want to tell a story with power, hope and impact.
You have a powerful story that shows your audience what could be possible for them and makes them feel good.
It may be the EXACT same flippin’ story you don’t want to tell.
Before I get into how you can share a tough personal story in a way that feels good for you and great for your audience, let’s look at what hiding your story may be doing to your business and your life.
Why Hiding Your Story Hurts
I don’t know what’s going on in your business, but I can tell you what happened in mine while I was keeping my heaviest story under wraps.
I’d burned through more than $28K+ in savings and racked up nearly $14K in debt.
Sure, I was getting clients. I was also spending embarrassing amounts of time and energy on far too many tire-kickers. I was making money, but certainly not enough to cover the money I was bleeding on all the products, trainings and coaching promising to fix my problem.
By the way, 80% of that stuff was worth the investment, but only half (or less) of it was effective for me because I wasn’t ready ON THE INSIDE to execute on it.
The BIG reason I wasn’t ready to execute on it was because I had NOT come to grips with telling my story.
As a life-long saver and the mother of two young children living in one of the most expensive places to live on the East coast, I can tell you that the money fear got REAL. Fast.
And thank God it did.
Because it forced me to stare that mother of a story right in the eye and deal with it.
I knew when I started my business that I would one day tell the story I never wanted to tell, even though I did everything in my power not to tell it for the first two years of my business.
And I paid for not telling it.
Oh did I pay.
Here’s the thing.
I didn’t just pay for it in my business.
If you know my story then you know the hurt goes much deeper than that.
(If you don’t, you can hear it in my webinar The Connect & Convert Strategy — How to Turn Your Audience Into Paying Clients with Your Powerful Personal Story.)
Look, I’m not saying that hiding your story will actually kill you or your business.
What I am saying is that Maya Angelou wasn’t kidding.
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you”
And if that untold story is the very reason why you do what you do, your business will continue to struggle until you find a way to tell it.
How to Feel Good About Sharing Something That FELT Bad
I’m not going to bullshit you.
Facing the ugly stuff in your life isn’t easy.
Sharing what you might consider the broken parts of your story with A LOT of people is downright terrifying.
But if you truly care about connecting with your community, your clients, your loved ones – then this is the straight up truth . . .
Your real story, the messy one with all its pain, shame and secrets IS your BEST story.
It’s the one that forges the deepest bond with your audience.
As long as:
- You’re not still living it
- You’ve made sense of it for yourself
- You’ve made sense of it for your audience
Let’s begin with #1.
If you’re still waist deep IN your story, hear this loud and clear. That is NOT the story you share with your audience and potential clients. Maybe it becomes a story someday (or maybe not), but until it’s resolved it’s not a story your audience wants or needs to hear.
[Note: DO share what you’re experiencing with someone who can help you get through it!]
That being said, you’re story doesn’t need to be over in order to tell it. In fact, if it’s your personal journey that fuels your purpose and your work, no doubt your story is still unfolding.
Let’s look at #2. Even though hiding my story for the first two years of my business caused lots of tears, fear and anxiety, the truth is I wasn’t ready to tell it. I thought I’d made sense of it years before but as a result of starting my business, a harsh truth emerged. I had more work to do.
If you haven’t worked out what you think, feel and believe because of what you’ve experienced, you have to figure that out first precisely so you won’t burden your audience with your story.
And finally, #3.
Once you clear any of the last hangers-on of emotional and energetic pain surrounding your story, you may still struggle with the more obvious challenge that all storytellers face:
Does this matter to my audience, and if so, why?
This is the most important piece of the puzzle friends.
If you can’t find the intersection between your audience and your story, then it’s just a story.
Yes, it could be emotional, powerful, shocking, inspirational, but if it lacks RELEVANCE, you leave your audience wondering what it all means for them.
Fortunately for coaches, it’s often your personal journey and growth that drives you to do the work you do.
That’s why telling your story – no matter how much it makes you want to puke – is so important for connecting deeply with the people who can benefit most from it.
And when you finally tell that damn story you don’t want to tell, you’ll see that your audience doesn’t feel bad for you at all.
Because your pain helps them heal.
Because sharing your darkest truths is surprisingly liberating.
Because your story sets people free in the most meaningful way.
And isn’t that the point?
What’s something painful you’ve been avoiding in your story? How is it holding you back? Share in the comments.