Personal stories are difficult both to find and to tell, especially in a business context. We know that personal stories elicit trust and make it easier for people to connect with our message, but we struggle to find a way of telling them.
If you want to invite people to move forward with you, you need to tell a personal story or, as Marshall Ganz says, the story of self.
Why do we struggle so much with this kind of story? The story of why you left your job and started your entrepreneurial journey; the story of how you stood up for your values; the story of the moment when something went wrong at work and you learnt an important lesson. All stories have three dimensions, but with personal stories the three-dimensional element is harder to articulate: - The dimension of being true to what happened in the moment - The dimension of being true to how you felt at that moment
- The dimension of being true to what it meant to you. Each dimension requires a commitment to a particular kind of truth: being true to the facts, being true to the feelings and being true to the meaning.
And each of these alignments with the truth requires three types of courageous action:
- The courage to be humble by accepting that we can only tell what we remember - The courage to be vulnerable and talk about how we felt - The courage of self-awareness to find out what it really meant to us.
Personal stories are powerful because if you’re truly committed to telling them there’s no place to hide.
People always remember moments of truth. They are rare and courageous.