When was the last time you shared the story of you? Not just the highlights reel that is probably posted on Facebook right now, but the real story of you? Your story is so important. The more confident you get at owning your story, the more you will be able to live in a way that is powerful and authentic.
I want to remind you that your real story is complex and BEAUTIFUL. It includes all the amazing gifts and talents you have, the missteps and mistakes that led you to where you are today and everything in between. Your story is what makes you uniquely you and when you learn to fully embrace it, amazing things can happen!
Honestly, one of the things that holds us back from really showing up in this world and achieving our deepest dreams is not having the faith that our story matters. We compare ourselves to others and often convince ourselves that our story isn't really that important or that the mistakes we've made are just too big to overcome. Both of those conclusions limit how we show up in the world.
It's so easy to tell ourselves that either our story isn't cool enough to make a difference because we haven't climbed Mount Everest, swam with sharks or started a multi-million dollar business by our 25th birthday (by the way if you have don't any of those things your story really is kind of awesome!). Or to look at the things we've done that we've labeled as "mistakes" and decide that those are just too big to really "make anything" out of our lives.
For a long time I didn't like my story and as a result I really struggled to like myself and find my value. I looked at the parts of my life that hadn't turned out the way I hoped and I convinced myself that I wasn't good enough. I truly started to believe that I was broken and that I didn't have a lot of value to give. I won't share all the unpleasant details today, but let's just say when you don't value yourself or your story, it's easy to make poor choices about life. Maybe you can relate.
The beauty is that our story is what makes us who we are and allows us to step into this world in a way that is uniquely ours to own. I had to learn that my story had value and wasn't limited to the things I'd do differently if given a second chance. Instead my story includes all my talents, gifts, relationships and experiences that are mine alone. All those things have made me who I am today.
As I shared in my post last week, when I got ready to launch my business I was worried that no one would care about what I'd have to say. I just "knew" that my story wasn't that unique or cool or inspiring. But part of growing as a person and definitely as a business owner is learning that my story and perspective help me reach people that others can't reach. I connect with people precisely because of all of the things that make my story different than your story.
I've also learned that the more willing I've been to share my story, the more connected I am to those around me. The reality is we all want to know that others have experienced similar things to us.
A great example was the "me too" campaign that was going around Facebook a couple of weeks ago. For those who aren't familiar with the campaign, it was an opportunity for women (and men) to highlight the prevalence of discrimination, harassment and abuse that happens every day. The challenge was simply to write "me too" on your Facebook feed if you had experienced those things.
I was proud of my friends who stepped up and acknowledged that those things were part of their story. Sometimes just knowing that others have had the same experiences as us, particularly when those experiences are bad, gives us confidence and courage to share our story.
As human beings, we crave authenticity and connection in our lives. When we are willing to show up and own our story, we are able to give in ways that aren't possible when we don't believe our story has value.
I won't go as far to say I'm proud of every choice I've made in life, who is, but I am proud of my ability to own my story. I've learned to be thankful for how it's shaped me and molded me into who I am today. I am challenging you to believe that your story has value. Your story matters and it is an important part of helping you achieve your goals and dreams.
As you look at your story, ask yourself the following questions:
1. What is unique and special about me?
2. How have the challenges I've faced made me stronger (or how can they make me stronger if I'm still facing them)?
3. How can I use my story to help others?
4. How awesome am I?!? (This is that stretch question! Challenge yourself to start noticing all the amazing things about your story. It really will change your life.)