The story that led me to take a huge career change and leap of faith when launching a brand-new business in 2018, is what drives me on during the testing times that all entrepreneurs inevitably face. But up until a few weeks ago, I had held this story close. Mainly because, its intensely personal, but also, to be completely honest I couldn't see the value that would be gleaned from sharing it. A quick succession of events turned this on its head and since then I have learned a vast amount about the power of storytelling and how this is vital for any small business - now more than ever before.
A leap of faith
It all started 15 days ago after seeing a post on Facebook in The Brand Builders Club. It invited me to be part of an extraordinary project by writing a chapter in a book that would help entrepreneurs and small business owners who are in pain right now and need hope. Whether they are just starting a business and are trying to survive or are trying to keep their existing business alive.
If I've learned anything from the last few years it has been to say yes and work out how. The concept behind the book also hugely resonated. I know first-hand how difficult it is to get a business off the ground, let alone in the environment we are currently in. I put myself forward and replied yes. Then the enormity of writing my chapter in seven days suddenly became a reality.
Get out of your head
So there I was, on day one, staring in front of my computer looking at this beautiful blank piece of paper. The logical side of my brain (my comfort zone) went into action and started typing all the amazing learning I've grasped that have helped me to run a successful business. Words filled the page faster than I could have expected, and the pressure of the word count was diminishing.
To be honest, I was feeling pretty proud. Not only had I completed the majority of my chapter on the first day, but the possibility of getting the task completed and out in such a short timeframe seemed achievable. Yet, the voice in my head (the one I take time to listen to) was telling me that something wasn't right. I spoke to my husband, who is my continual and much appreciated sounding board, and he agreed. We returned to why I wanted to be involved in the book in the first place, and why I believed I had something worth saying. Suddenly it was glaringly obvious what was missing. The dots were there, but without the story that wove them all together, they lacked meaning, they lacked power. I knew that I needed to write from my heart. I knew it was time to tell my story, no matter how painful it would be to revisit the day that changed my life.
Vulnerability is your greatest weapon
I took a deep breath, I hit CTRL ALT DEL and on day five I began again.
As I saw my life events begin to fill the page the pain started to rise. My words gave colour to the day that had changed my life. Seeing my story written down for the first time ever brought a world of emotions and feelings. I was used to being vulnerable with my clients I work with, but never by delving into my own personal anecdotes.
Its hardly a new idea that storytelling has the power to truly connect us together, to inspire and nudge us to move into the limitless possibilities of our imaginations. No matter how great the tips and ideas I was sharing were, without my story they seemed detached and unrelatable. Not only did the story suddenly connect the dots on the page, it also shifted something in me. Despite it being the reason that underpinned why I became an entrepreneur in the first place, I had hoarded it away up until now. But the sudden realisation that it could help so many people gave me a feeling of profound completeness.???????
One drop creates a ripple effect
Knowing that it is now going to be read by thousands of people does, of course, feel strange. Yet I know, deep in my heart, that it was the time to tell it. My mentor Sammy Blindell, who started the project, says One drop creates a ripple effect, and shes right. If my story changes one persons life, I know they will go on to help so many others. Incredibly, its looking like the impact will go much further than that as the book is already Number one international best-seller.
Sharing your life stories and experiences can be an exposing and sometimes painful process. Yet the 'Why' that drives entrepreneurs and small businesses is almost always shouting louder than any other part of the business. It is this that powers you through the long hours, or the times when you feel like you're hitting your head against the wall. It is this that keeps you moving towards success. If anything, while we navigate these uncertain times, people want to lean into their tribe and feel a connection. There was never a better time to harness the power of storytelling to make people stop and listen.
I'm a huge fan of John Maxwell and it's true what he says: there's a gift in everything. You can stare at problems or hard experiences. Or you can look inside them and see the seed of a gift that's there. I can now see the gift in my story, what it has given to me, and what it can do now to help others.
The Law of Brand Attraction book was launched on May 10th and has already positively impacted many who have read the book and all the proceeds are going to support Clear Sky Children's Charity.