Many of us spend a long time searching for the tools we need to better ourselves in life. Whether it’s advice or strategy around starting a new business, getting a new qualification to further our career, or learning a new skill just for us, there can be a temptation to feel the need to do more, be better, work harder.
But the one thing we often forget to connect to when we live in a world that’s very driven by masculine energy, is one of the most powerful tools we all already have; our personal story.
Connecting to our personal story often gets forgotten because many of us don’t realise the value of it. Until I began working with spiritual teachers and coaches, I had never stopped to consider that what I already knew from personal experience and my journey through life could help other people. I had the “Who am I to speak up?” question going around and around my head before I started my blog about my business because I had always assumed that to help others and inspire people you needed to have a string of letters behind your name. But I quickly realised that people aren’t always interested in the details of what you do, they are interested in the reason why you do it.
One of my favourite TED talks is Simon Sinek’s “How Great Leaders Inspire Action”. Whenever one of my private clients is struggling with their why or their message, I start by sending them a link and asking them to sit down and listen to Simon’s wisdom; “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”. And getting clear on our why, the reason we do anything in life, comes from dropping into our hearts more and connecting to our story.
Doing this for the first time can feel strange. We can question whether our story holds any value. We can wonder who would want to listen to it. We can feel nervous about how much of it we should share. But it’s such an important piece of the puzzle to us becoming more empowered in our lives, as owning our story, and owning and understanding every part of it, means fully owning who we are. But wait, is that allowed? Don’t I need to edit myself so I don’t offend anyone?
Or at least, these were some of the questions that were popping up the first time I began to do this. I had spent my entire life editing myself, and by this I mean wearing dozens of different hats; Good daughter in my parents’ divorce, Girlfriend, Sister, Caretaker, Hard-working employee, the go-to girl who would bend over backwards for everyone but herself, scoliosis sufferer, and so many more. And all the while I had been who I thought I ‘should’ be versus just being who I really was. I would often hold back my words for fear of offending someone. I would often let someone else take the credit for my ideas. I would make sure I was pleasing everyone and often worried about what other people thought of me. It was exhausting. Until I realised it didn’t need to be, and cutting and pasting different versions of the real me to make other people happy was never going to serve me long term.
Once I began to own and be proud of my story, my lessons and my journey so far, even though some of the things that had happened weren’t my finest moments, I began to see monumental shifts in my life.
I was able to let go of things that were no longer working for me, including a difficult relationship that I had been ‘carrying’ because I felt I had to for years and a corporate job that was gradually dulling my spirit day after day. I began to realise I held a lot of value, that my story was inspiring to others, and as I started writing and speaking up, people contacted me to tell me how much my words were helping them because they were struggling with the exact same things. And I began to attract the most amazing people and experiences into my life, all because I was stepping more and more into the core of who I really was without being afraid of that person or ashamed of her.
But if we’ve never done this before, how can we connect to our story in a way that feels authentic , allows us to see the value we hold as a person, and feels a little less daunting than just sitting down with a blank notepad and pen and expecting the words to flow?
Here are my simple steps to connecting to your story:
1. Begin by writing down a list of your tools. Include everything that you have as a skill or personality trait that allows you to connect with others, learned or not learned, certified in or not certified, what you intuitively know, what you’ve developed over time, who you are as a person, what you can do, what you’re great at, and don’t miss anything out.
2. Now, write down a list of outcomes from these tools. How have they served you and others now, in the past, what have you achieved with them?
3. Now you can begin to write down your story so far and how you have shifted and changed your life. Know that this is a gradual process so break it into chunks and keep coming back to it; what do you remember as a child, what decisions have you made in your life, what have you achieved, start playing the movie of your life in your head, all you’re doing is writing the narrative.
4. Whilst writing your story, bring your attention to the 3 tangible results you experienced during a transformation(s) in your life. This helps create markers in your story and allows you to see which parts are important highlights; people are interested in your journey and how you’ve transitioned and transformed.
5. Next, write down what you KNOW you can facilitate for other people. There is a natural quality that we all have when it comes to helping others. We might be great listeners, we might find it really easy to make recommendations. There will be something that you can do with your eyes closed that doesn’t feel like ‘work’ to you because it’s your natural talent, but is of tremendous value when it comes to helping other people.
I want to invite you to really own your story, and get excited and curious about what learning more about yourself in this way can bring. Sharing your truth is powerful and allows people to connect with you in an authentic way, so take a moment to ask yourself what story you have that needs to be heard? What are you longing to share with the world? And then drop into, be proud of, and really own the beautiful person you are.