Powerful Story – Part 2: Challenges & Choices

Hopefully now you are comfortable after reading part 1 on Vulnerability. This is by far the hardest. Now let’s see how to tell your story in the most powerful way possible. Pouring your heart out to anyone can be boring and may freak out people. Imagine if when you ask me for my story I hit you with this:

  • Physical violence or the threat of it was always present when I grew up
  • School, TV, people around me were all telling me what I could not do

You would probably think that I am looking for attention, saying “poor me how unlucky my life was”. Nothing resonates, nothing showcase my values, nothing highlights the tough choices I made, and most importantly there is no happy ending in sight.

When you tell a powerful story you need all these elements to cut through. You can not just list facts about you. You must weave together the most exciting parts of your life into a memorable and unique story. 3 things are key to do this: 1. A challenge; 2. A choice; 3. An outcome

  1. A challenge: I listed 2. “Physical violence or the threat of it was always present when I grew up” & “School, TV, people around me were all telling me what I could not do
  2. A choice: It does not matter what people say or what you may think… You always have a choice! The choices may not be pleasant, but you still have it. Or like my new idol, Grant Cardone, would say, “don’t be a little b*tch”. Show your values through the decisions you have made. While people will not automatically connect to your challenges, they are very likely to relate to your values. That’s the key to stories resonating with people. Take the example of “Physical violence or the threat of it was always present when I grew up not very relatable if you are not from the hood. Now, when I add my choice to reject violence in my life because I witnessed the long term negative impact and how it does not solve much. Suddenly, you appreciate my values of standing up for what I believe is right, despite what what people around me think and do. You may also relate because of that proud time you stood up for what you believed was right.
  3. An outcome: Firstly, it must be a great outcome. Think Hollywood happy endings. Although people love surprises, we all prefer happy endings. We want to leave and go back to our lives with a positive vibe. Secondly, it should leave room for the next episode, that will also end happily. Take my example of “School, TV, people around me were all telling me what I could not do”. Instead of letting this negative energy get to me, I used it as fuel for my ambition. I just needed enough fuel to go places with people with bigger aspirations. I fed on that new energy. I could do a lot when everything was stacked against me, now that I have some support I am running on all cylinders. I graduated from the best schools in the world, worked for the best companies in the world and created success for my family and me. Happy ending right? What if I then give them a glimpse of even bigger thinking for the future “after creating success for my family and me, I want to create success to my community” now you are hooked, next time we meet you will ask me about that next episode. And because my previous story was unpredictable and ended well… you are anticipating success for the next episode too…