Welcome to a space where your story matters, your experience resonates, and your personal brand shines! I’m your guide on this journey of personal and professional self-discovery, where we debunk a myth that might be holding you back: “I Don’t Have a Story Worth Telling in My Personal Brand” and create a personal brand story.
Most people think they don’t have a story worth telling, and today we are going to inject you with personal branding Truth Serum: the liberating truth is that your story, yes, yours, has the potential to captivate the hearts of the right audience, propelling your career and business to new heights. As a certified transformational leadership coach, I’ve witnessed countless professionals transform their personal stories into compelling personal brands. And today, I’m sharing the secrets with you.
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In a world dominated by social media, the stage is set for you to amplify your story.
Instagram, for example is not just a platform for visually stunning photos; it’s a canvas for your personal narrative. You may be thinking that there are thousands of coaches, consultants and thought leaders out there in your industry, but only you have your story to tell.
Take my client Jody. Her husband was shot and killed in a workplace act of violence years ago. She was left a single mother of three young girls, and a company to run. Since then she has taken her experience and brought her compassion, empathy, and understanding to coach other widows in the workplace.
Share snippets of your journey, moments of triumph, and even the occasional vulnerability of a failure, or something that’s ridiculous that will break the monotony of the social scroll. People connect with authenticity, and your story is the bridge to genuine connections.
The first Instagram post I shared that got over 100 likes in 2016 was a neon sign that read: “Shit Happens”
LinkedIn, the professional powerhouse, is your gateway to a like-minded community. Use it strategically to share your professional evolution, lessons learned, and industry insights.
LinkedIn doesn’t get as much engagement as Instagram or Facebook, for example, but people are watching you (not to be creepy about it). People are on LinkedIn for a reason: they are looking for people to connect with to further their careers. If you are a coach, consultant or service provider, this is a great place to share your story.
Take my friend Marti who is a career coach, author, Forbes contributor, global speaker, and authority in workplace agility. In one of her recent LinkedIn posts she shared photos of her at-home workspace which she had updated with a green screen, circle light, and a standing desk. She gave us a behind-the-scenes look at her life–which stood out against what I typically see on LinkedIn. I clicked through the photos in the carousel and took note of her setup and webcam. It was really useful. It wasn’t her typical type of Linkedin post. Instead, it was personal and immediately connected me to her in a deeper way.
This is an example of how to connect through personal stories. People want to see you being yourself, even on LinkedIn.
Here are a few sentence stems to get your energy flowing towards purposeful connection:
“I used to____, now I ____.”
- I used to go to bed at midnight, now I get eight hours of sleep and it’s done miracles to my energy and focus.
- I used to think I had to work my ass off in order to advance my career, now I realize the best leaders have the best self-care, and I log off completely every weekend.
- I used to give all of my energy and attention to my kids, now I’ve hired support to create a better morning routine before school drop-off for all of us.
Identify two to three stories from your past that you can share to connect with others or something you can share from “behind the scenes” that will create a moment of connection.
The Power of Vulnerability
As a transformational leadership coach, I’ve seen firsthand the impact of vulnerability.
It’s not about airing your dirty laundry; it’s about sharing the human side of your journey.
Jamie Lee Curtis spoke to this when she said, “I believe I can do my job and have a private life. I believe in the separation of church and state. I believe that I don’t owe anybody anything once I’ve done my work. I am by nature a super friendly person, but I also have a very clear boundary of what’s appropriate and inappropriate for me to share.”
When Jamie Lee Curtis was asked how to stay relevant as a 60-year-old woman in Hollywood with a career that expanded four decades, she told Fast Company, “I’m a marketing and advertising exec’s dream girl. I have created a personal brand with some integrity.”
If Instagram is your canvas, vulnerability is the brushstroke that adds depth and relatability.
Consider sharing a personal challenge you overcame on LinkedIn. Maybe it’s a setback in your business or a pivotal career moment. Your vulnerability becomes a source of inspiration for others navigating similar paths.
Your Story is Your Authority
Let me share a little secret – your story is your authority.
Whether you’re a seasoned business owner or a high-achieving professional, your experiences have sculpted your unique perspective. When you own and express this narrative, it becomes a beacon of trust. People connect with the real, and authenticity breeds influence.
Only you have had the career path you have. Only you are bringing all of that experience and expertise with you into your entrepreneurial journey or speaking career.
I have a friend who is continuously asked to speak in Chicago, and in New York about what it means to build a team from your weaknesses, particularly when you are a leader with ADHD. Her unique experience is sought after, and she simply says to me”that’s just who I am” and that is true! You are you for a reason, and people are probably already asking you to share your authority.
Your story becomes the invisible thread connecting you with your ideal audience, clients, and collaborators. Now it’s time to do it with purpose.
Crafting a Crystal Clear Message with Micro-Stories
Now, let’s talk about translating your story into a crystal clear message.
It’s not about spilling your entire life story; it’s about strategically revealing pieces that align with your brand. Think of it as a movie trailer – a glimpse that leaves your audience eager for more.
Use your Instagram captions to share micro-stories. Perhaps it’s a behind-the-scenes moment at work, a reflection on a personal milestone, or a lesson learned. On LinkedIn, leverage long-form posts to delve deeper into your professional journey. Share the challenges faced, the solutions discovered, and the growth experienced.
Recently I shared about how I posted a super syrupy positive quote on Instagram stories and immediately took it down because it wasn’t aligned with how I, and so many other women, are feeling right now. Have a listen here.