Imagine with me for a hot second that the moment you took your very first breath and cried your first hello to the world, the doctor looked at your mom and said, “Congratulations! Here’s the minute-by-minute guide on how to raise this child. It’s worked with the last 300 children I’ve delivered, so it’s guaranteed to work for this baby, too.”
<insert your personal reaction to that scenario here>
For most of us, this scenario doesn’t just feel ridiculously naive. It feels a little bit revolting, too.
One of the greatest gifts of parenting is being handed a child and knowing that you’re entering into a beautiful abyss of the unknown. It feels frightening and exhilarating all at once – a blank slate with rosy red cheeks and the tiniest cry you’ve ever heard in your life – 100% yours to discover and shape.
When my husband and I had our first child, I was the ripe old age of 23. I was rushed into labor 4 weeks early because our baby girl was getting smaller in my womb. Because I was young and lived in a world without Google or WebMD, I didn’t realize that this reality should have sent me into a full-on terror. When the doctor broke my water, I felt a slight trickle down my leg.
“What’s that?” I asked him.
“Your water – all 3 cc’s of it.”
At some point in my pregnancy, nearly all the amniotic fluid in my womb had seeped into my body, and without it, Grace couldn’t keep growing inside of me. Had I carried her to term, she most certainly would have been stillborn.
When we took her home with us, she weighed in at 5lbs, 4 ounces. And because she felt so small and so very fragile, we refused to drive over 30 mph the entire route home (via 60 mph country roads and highways).
During those first weeks, I would have relished a minute-by-minute manual that solved the mystery of sleepless nights and hard-to-nurse babies, but it was all those moments of unknown that began to shape me into a mother. The journey was so deeply personal, and while I could soak up wisdom and anecdotes and all the What To Expect advice I could read, read, and reread, nothing could prepare me to be this human’s mother.
There had been no Grace before her, and there would be no Grace after her.
Because she was uniquely human, I was forced to tune in, to observe, to wait, to grow, and to give every ounce of myself so that I could meet her right where she was at.
It’s been a rhythm that’s been on repeat for every year of her life since.
Any parent can likely tell you a similar story.
After parenthood, I noticed that my conversations with friends changed drastically.
We’d talk about dirty diaper hacks, sore tatas, painful labors, sleepy baby tricks, the best Baby Einstein tracks, and all the reasons why Barney was in reality a terrible purple demon escaped from the gates of hell.
We shared our stories with one another so that we could connect, and we shared our stories so that we could understand that our struggles and our journeys were in fact very normal, very real, very human.
And this, dear friend, is why even in business, stories are always personal.
As a business leader, getting personal with your story isn’t just another marketing trick.
Your story is the portal to the best parts of what it means to be human.
Your story is the invitation for your audience to peel back their layers and look closely at their own worldview.
Your story is the Siren call to community, the philosophical workhorse to building bridges over entire worlds that have been blown up by the hard wars of life.
Jasmine Bina of the Concept Bureau says that “storytelling is an exchange where one offers something, and asks the other for their attention in return.”
And that’s definitely true, especially in business.
But storytelling is also a sacred agreement – an acknowledgment that this work we’re doing isn’t just about finding a way to make an “easy” 6 or 7 figures.
Story is MUCH bigger than that.
It’s the one human tool we’ve got that lets us leave this world in the same, earth-shaking way we showed up – and the only way to do THAT is to always, always, always make it personal.
Ready for a brand story that defines your place in the market, clarifies your value, and owns your successes?
Here are 3 ways I can help:
- A deep-dive story audit for small business owners who want to use every bit of their brand story for more growth and more audience connection. Get the details here.
- Power Hour: Get clarity on your next step forward, or strategize on your message or new offer with this one-hour Power Hour Session.
- Brand Story Intensive: If you’re ready to dig deep and really uncover your true, authentic brand story (so you can connect with your right-fit clients), let’s chat.