It’s my most overused phrase. But there’s one story that goes untold. Your story. The story of how you got to this place in your life. We have an incredible ability to take our stories for granted. We dismiss them. Discount them as a self-indulgent luxury that nobody else will be interested in.
Some are reluctant to tell the real story because, well, it’s too REAL. They don’t want to look back. They don’t want to reflect on the past. They’re too busy creating the future.
Others see it as irrelevant. Who cares what I did? Who cares about the path that I’ve taken? People only care about what I can do for them. The results I get for them. The difference I can make in their lives.
If you’ve ever watched superhero movies or read comics, you’ll be aware of the concept of the origin story. It’s how Spiderman, the Hulk, and all their chums got their powers. It’s their back story.
The concept is the same for you. What’s made you the superhero you are today? What’s shaped your view of the world, what’s made you who you are today?
There are two main drivers for writing an origin story. Firstly it’s to build trust with your audience. You’re pulling back the curtain. You’re revealing the real you. You’re being more human. Sharing the journey you’ve been on reveals your character. It shows your values and what drives you.
But, the single biggest beneficiary of writing your origin story is you.
You learn a lot by looking back.
Your origin story reveals truths you didn’t see the first time around. Things you ‘just did,’ now have significance. How do I know this? Because I’ve done it myself. Moments from my past that were written off as a failure now take on an entirely different complexion. More importantly, each time I’ve worked with a client on their origin story, there have been moments of discovery. Some of those have been quite easy to understand, while others have required a bit of probing to make sense of.
Some of those moments have been emotional. Being there when a personal and business breakthrough occurs is magical. It’s what gives me the biggest buzz in business. It’s also why working on a 1-1 basis as a coach is where I want to spend more of my time.
But the real joy I get is when one of my clients push the ‘publish’ button on their own Origin Story. Below are three fantastic examples of the Origin Story in action.
The origin story isn’t just a single story. It’s a story of the individual stops on your journey. It’s your anthology. The set-piece moments that have punctuated your life. And within those individual stories, there will be themes. Weaving the threads into your tapestry reveals the bigger picture. You learn from the experience.
And what’s great is this. That new understanding of your history can help shape your present and your future. But that only happens if you’re honest with yourself. I mean truly honest. You need to challenge yourself. It will make you uncomfortable. It will force you to face up to your reality, but that’s OK because you’re in total control.
Your story is exactly that – yours. Only you can decide whether you share it or not. How vulnerable you want to be is your choice. Maybe the process of creating your origin story has given you personal insight that has helped you. It’s served its purpose. You can keep it to yourself. There is still value.
But what could sharing your story do for your business? Could opening up bring people closer to you? Could revealing more get you more? It may well do, but it shouldn’t be the driver. It’s a by-product because your origin story will help articulate two key drivers – your WHY and your VALUES. And for me, as a buyer of products and services – that’s important.
I want to know that you’re invested.
I want to know that you care.
I want to know that you’re human.
If you’d like to write your origin story, here are my five steps to help get you started.
When you’ve pulled your first draft together, confide in someone that knows you. Speak to a close friend or a family member. Let them read your story. Get their perspective and recollections of some of your highlights. Can they add anything? Do they see things differently? Can they challenge you?
I was the one that challenged Karran, Yva and Vicky. I asked the tough questions. I was an interviewer as much as I was a coach. But there’s no reason why someone else can’t fulfill that role for you. Find that person who will be honest with you. Your story deserves it.
If you know me or have read any of my business or personal blogs, you’ll know that I’m a sharer. I’m comfortable showing my vulnerability. I’ve shared lots of different stories, but something’s missing. My Origin Story.
That’s right. I’ve not written it. But I will. In fact, I AM.
I’m going to document the process of writing my story. I’ll share the journey across a series of blog posts. I’ve already created my outline which I’ll share as the first blog.
My hope is that by following my journey and reading the stories of Yva, Vicky, and Karran that you’ll be inspired to write your origin story. And, if you do, I’d love to showcase it as another example of the power of storytelling.
I'm a storyteller, case study specialist and the founder of The Story Edge. I want more people to tell more stories. I write stories, teach people to do the same and generally encourage people to use storytelling in their business.