As a member of New York Women in Communications (NYWICI), an organization of professional women in media and communications, I’ve attended events with incredible speakers who demonstrate the power of sharing your story.
Madonna began her presentation by asking for her slides to be turned off. Before she began her formal presentation, she shared how she’d been struggling emotionally with the recent death of her ex-husband. She also shared her life-altering experience of losing her parents and three daughters in a fire from which she was able to escape. You could have heard a pin drop.
At another event, Morning Joe’s Mika Brzezinski spoke. Within seconds of taking the stage, Mika shared her experience of being fired from a job she loved.
NYWICI also hosted an evening with Arianna Huffington who collapsed because she was so burnt out from overwork.
All of these women used their stories to engage and inspire the audiences but they also used their stories to inform their mission in life.
After her tragedy, Madonna was determined to make a difference in the world. She decided to tackle an industry she knew–the world of advertising. She founded a groundbreaking movement called #womennotobjects
Mika’s mission for helping women know and grow their value is a direct result of the lessons she learned looking for work after having been fired. She has a book and a speaking platform called Knowing Your Value.
And after Arianna left The Huffington Post, she devoted herself full-time to her mission of helping executives slow-down and invest in self-care.
What have you learned from your trying times? How can you apply those lessons to your life goals? How can you turn your misfortune into your mission?
Here are three things you can do (and one thing you shouldn’t):
- Reframe your Shame: Often when misfortune hits, we turn it into crippling shame. Reframe your shame by experiencing the emotion, as painful as it may be, rather than running from it. By experiencing the emotion, you take its power to shame you away.
- Own your Value: One thing Mika Brzezinski stressed is that even when your “stock is down,” you need to own your value. Discover and focus on what you’re great at, what value you bring to the world, and what strengths you have. Share them freely and confidently.
- Listen for your lesson: Everything that happens CAN be a springboard to a discovery. What have you learned from this? In Arianna’s case, she learned that she wasn’t taking care of herself, a value that had been instilled in her very early in life but she had ignored. Has any of your misfortune come about because you have betrayed one of your values? How can you turn that into your mission?
- Don’t be FAUXthentic: Listeners can tell the difference between FAUXthentic and Authentic. When sharing your story on the page or in person, allow yourself to tap into your emotional memory and not your logical interpretation.
I recently heard a well-respected professional speaker say that nobody cares about our stories. I disagree. A well told, authentic, relevant story not only creates instant trust and rapport, it can also be healing to both the speaker and the listener.
If you want to work on your story, I’d love to talk.