Are you afraid of sharing your story?
Scared of what people will think of you?
That’s exactly the problem one of my students had.
In a previous life, she worked in a hospital, where she was told to keep her story and feelings to herself.
Because the patients had enough to deal with, or so she was told.
When she went through one of my courses, she discovered that sharing her story could do wonders for growing her audience and attracting the right kind of clients.
So why is it so important to share your story?
Your story allows people to connect with you.
Sharing your story allows your readers to connect to you. It builds roads to their heart and mind, and reveals that you are not so different from them.
Your story is also a big red stop sign for the people that aren’t right for you. That’s a good thing. You want to keep the people that resonate with you, and shoo away those that don’t.
That’s how you build an audience of people that you love interacting with. And that’s how you build a business.
What if you don’t have a story to tell?
If you feel like you don’t have anything to say, it’s most likely because you feel like nothing you say has value.
You’re so afraid of what people will think that you’ve suppressed what comes naturally to you.
But this is not just about telling a random story. You have to keep your readers in mind. Think about how you can help them overcome obstacles and slay dragons.
So, how do you tell your story in the right way?
You share what’s relevant to the reader. You share what will make their life easier.
You solve a problem.
It could mean sharing one of your biggest mistakes and what you learned from it.
In my writing, I’m honest and transparent, because I want to demonstrate that you don’t have to be perfect to do what you love.
I don’t try to come across as an expert. My primary goal is to show you that it’s possible to follow your passion and craft the lifestyle of your dreams.
That’s why I mix life lessons with business advice.
If you’ve read enough of my articles, you probably feel like you know me. That’s the story effect in play.
But here’s where you may run into a problem.
You may not feel comfortable sharing your story. And that’s fine. I’m not telling you to share your deepest secrets.
In the past, I’ve had trouble sharing some of my mistakes and fears. But what I’ve noticed when I’m scared of sharing something is that the focus is all on me.
It’s about what people will think of me. What will happen to me. But when I shift the focus to you, my reader, I start thinking of what will help you the most.
So turn the spotlight on the people you help. Ask yourself what will help them move forward, and you’ll know where to start.
Embrace your story, because it is who you are.
We seem to have this tendency of wanting to be someone we’re not, but we are who we are. You have to use the cards you’ve been dealt.
When you accept that, you become less serious about sharing your faults.
I have plenty of faults, just like everyone else. And the more I’ve shared, where relevant, the more thank you emails and comments I’ve received.
Why is this?
It’s because deep down we are all the same.
Fears. Dreams. Insecurities. Worries. Deep down, it’s all (mostly) the same.
We want people to like us. We want to do well in life. We want to be valuable, and we want to find meaning.
Deep down, we’re all the same.
Sharing your story reminds your readers of that sameness.
We’re all in this game together.
When you share your story, people connect with you and your business. Your audience grows, and you filter out the people that aren’t the right fit.
So embrace your story.
Share what you’ve gone through and what you’ve learned, because that’s where the power is.
All the best,
Ready to Do What You Love?
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Deb Lamb says
I loved this post. I have SO many stories that I have no idea where to start. I’ve been trying to figure this out for some time now. What do I start with? How can I make it relate to my audience, which are not many, and how will it help them? So many questions. Thanks for sharing your passion.
The way I do this is by focusing on what problems or frustrations my audience has.
So for example, I write about business and personal growth, and one of the big problems people have is finding what they are passionate about and what people are willing to pay for.
Now, I’ve been through this, so I simply share my story of the mistakes I made, how hard it was, what I felt, and then also how I finally stumbled upon the solution.
Make sense? 🙂
Deb Lamb says
Thanks, Henri. That does make sense and I’ll be sure to think about that when I’m in the process of telling my story.
I’ve just got to get busy and get it done. 🙂
Make it a marvelous Monday! Thank you.
Great post – I totally agree with you. I’m sharing my own story of a recent experience in your beautiful snowy country over here:
Kathy Gabriel says
Great encouragement and questions … thanks for the nudge.
The story is unfolding … in a kaleidoscope kind of way.
Great post Henri!
You really know how to get down to the nitty and the gritty. I can definately relate to what Deb said. I’m right there with her.
It seems to get a little clearer all the time now. Thanks to some deep focus and you of course.
Things definitely get clearer with time, which is why I emphasize the importance of just moving forward, one step at a time.
Thank you for this post.
Very timely as I am about to embark on rewriting my story for the umpteenth time. I can relate to what Deb is saying. Even though I have been asking the question, the answer to my story keeps changing.
I believe that writing your story is a process that takes time and a few rewrites. As you mentioned, in a previous life, it wasn’t appropriate to share your story. When you finally get to do it you have so much bottled up inside, you share too much.
You’ve also spent years playing by everybody else’s rules, you’ve lost sight of what it is ‘you’ have to offer.
It has taken me lots of journal writing to unravel all of this before I could reach a stage of what it was that I have to offer.
I have not done it yet, I’ve started by understanding what my site has to offer. What I bring to this offer is the next step.
What I have to offer is my next writing project.
I can definitely relate to wanting to share too much. For me the answer has been to keep writing and putting my work out there. With time I’ve gotten better at simplifying and cutting out more stuff.
I also want to point out the key to you getting clarity, which is simply the act of taking action. You’ve been journaling and doing what you have to do.
So to get clarity, it’s simple, yet so hard. You have to keep moving forward and embrace the fact that things are rarely going to be crystal clear.
Thanks for sharing, Priska!
I do believe sharing my story so people can see where I come from and why I am teaching what I am now, and how I come to the conclusions I have.
But I also found that certain bad experiences in my life I was addicted to telling, I was ‘stuck’ in the story and kept telling it to get attention and to get people to go “wow that’s bad”. Those types of stories i’ve tried to minimize and just share the stuff that applies to show people where i’m coming from.
Very good point, Ben!
Prince Yababa says
Amazing article, man! I’m so glad I decided to subscribe to your blog when I did. I like that, the comment section is entitled “Speak your Mind”.
Nitin Aggarwal says
Great point. That make a lot of sense to share our own story to connect with people. Another point which i like is to look at your problem with others perspective. Rather than thinking that i made lot of mistakes think that people can benefit from our mistakes and share them.
Thanks Henri, you have realy put some encouragement in me.
I obviously struggle with this, hence my reason for reading. I think most people do as society is all on about how each person has enough to deal with so don’t burden them with your stuff as well.
While I can’t get myself to write like this, I do enjoy reading your articles purely because of this. It’s a mindset thing I need to get over, and would guess that practice makes perfect.
Thanks for being open and honest.
While we do have our own stuff to deal with, sharing your story is about alleviating, not about piling more on. It’s about looking at a problem people have, and then sharing a story from your life of how you solved/overcame it.
It takes practice. At first you’ll face a lot of resistance (from yourself), but all you can do is put one word in front of the other.
Tamara Jones says
Oh, I think it’s kinda rude to tell someone to keep their story to themselves! Only people who have no stories worth telling could do such a thing.
I have learnt so much listening to other people’s stories and reading biographies. There is just so much in the way people have coped with difficulties and the way they share it with other people; I really think that it’s one of the best ways to get inspired.
It’s true, deep down, we really are all the same.
Thank you for the encouragement and lovely words.
Thank you for writing this!
I just recently posted my first ‘story’ on my website. I had been skeptical before, not sure of whether readers would care or not about what happened in my life.
This post clears things up a lot. We all have something to relate to, sharing a story can create a bond between the writer and the reader. It forms trust.
Thanks for clearing my mind and now I know I need to get out some more stories!
your all articles are informative and helpful ,that gear up me in the every morning and lead to make my work successful
Thanks Henri! Your articles are always very helpful!
Steve Daar says
I’ve found this to be incredibly true. Not entirely sure why but your story and your complete, naked truth is very compelling + builds bonds.
Tell your story or perish!
It all comes down to being vulnerable I think. Because people connect with emotions, not your advice. There were articles I was so afraid of writing. But when someone told me “I needed to read this today,” I knew it was worth it.
Sharing personal stories is definitely a great way to connect with your readers. I’ve learnt a lot to just let go and dare to be vulnerable.
Absolutely. And as writers, we have to remember to make what we share relevant for the reader. If you can blend in both relevance and emotions, you’ve got a mighty powerful cocktail.
“you’ve got a mighty powerful cocktail.” ==> I like it! 😀
You know, almost eight months ago, I made a comment mentioning something about your VERY impressive sales rank on Amazon.
I then commented saying something about how your success was “making me itch” to write a book for Amazon.
Now even though I never did write that e-book for Amazon, what you replied with, has given me “supernatural-motivation,” no matter how depressed I get.
You said: “Do it! Follow that itch.”
Past three months I’ve made $182. Sure it’s not much, but without any prior investments at all?
I’m surprised I even made a sale!
Nicely done. Progress is progress. If you can do this, what else can you do?
Hurricane surfing sounds fun.
But I guess I’ll stick to doing whatever I’m doing. Seems to be working, (somehow…)
Thank you for sharing your story and your positive attitude about life in general and especially about the lessons we learn from our “failures.” I recently subscribed to your blog and newsletter. My entire adult life even before the existence of the internet, I have dreamed of being able to make a living by writing while traveling the world. Along those lines, I’ve had some crazy adventures and some enormous failures…
You asked “Are you afraid of your story?” YES! Last summer, I published a book that addressed a lot of issues that had been laying heavy on my heart for a lifetime or at least twenty years. When I became too overwhelmed with the subject matter, I quit writing for a while and did a series of acrylic paintings that are included in the interior and cover art. In the process, I have created a product I am proud of but am terrified of promoting. It made me feel emotionally safe to halfway fictionalize the story and tell it from a third person perspective. When it was all said in done, the big question became, “Why did you write a book if you didn’t want anyone to read it?” People that have read it or heard excerpts at reading events have had a powerful reaction to the material. I’m not at all afraid that it isn’t a good book, I’m afraid of people identifying me as the main character. I’m so scared of this that I’ve become very tongue tied and stiff during a couple of podcast interviews. I had another interview recently and decided to drop the BS act and found that I felt more comfortable.
I liked when you said, “Your story will be a big red stop sign for the people who aren’t right for you…You want to keep the people who resonate with you and shoo away those that don’t.” This makes so much sense. Thak you for writing.
It’s a continuous learning experience. There will be no time when you feel entirely comfortable. If you do, it means you’ve stopped growing. Now, you can feel comfortable with the discomfort, but that’s another matter.
Thanks for sharing, Lindsey. This is the path. Let your book do its job and find the right people.
I liked this one, Henri. You really do have a unique voice here on the inter-webs. What I like most is the honesty of your writing. You don’t try to posture like some uber-expert. It’s refreshing.
Thanks Tom 🙂
Thanks for the great post Henry!
I’ve been thinking about starting. A blog for a long time but I’m not sure what the specific topic should be.
I have some idea of helping with relationship problems and family issues because i feel i have overcome issues there myself…
If you don’t have an audience yet, how do you decide what to write?
Start writing, and see what happens after that. Whenever something seems to stop you from starting, take the next step anyway, and often the answer will reveal itself.
This is so on point for me right now. I never liked to share my stories and I think that’s why I’m suffocating for so long. I’m starting to tell now!