If you look back on your professional career, you know how you got started, remembering the ups and downs, and recognizing the people you met who made a big difference. Every detail and bump in the road creates your story and positions you as the perfect person to do what you do.
Keeping the creator's story a secret is a mistake many entrepreneurs make, but entrepreneur and author Marc Lerust aims to change that. Founder of Purpose Ministry, host of the award-winning The Unconventionalists podcast, keynote speaker, and Glow in the Dark. As the author of how sharing your personal story can transform your business and change your life, Lerust inspires people to have the confidence to share. their personal story in an authentic and empowering way.
Most people don't share their stories because they find them boring. They think no one cares and can't see the benefit. Lerust knew they were wrong. "People are too close to their stories to see the mountain of values that trample them," he said.
Here are three reasons why sharing your personal story can transform your business and change your life.
Stories get people's attention
"We are ready to pay attention, communicate and preserve history," explained Leroust. "Since the first primitive language-like systems appeared more than 2 million years ago, storytelling has been an important part of sharing and storing information to survive and thrive as a species." Your biology wants you, and other people are programmed to want to hear what you have to say.
Leroust describes storytelling as the "ultimate hack" for attracting attention and making sales. But why is it so powerful? Apparently, this is thanks to neuroscience.
In his book, Leroust, Princeton University neuroscientist Dr. Uri Hasson, who studies how we tell and listen to stories. Research shows how effectively storytelling can synchronize two brains. According to Hasson, the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiments showed that the narrator's and the listener's brainwave activity differed at first, as might be expected. But as the narrator shares his story, the MRI shows that the listeners' brainwaves have begun to converge. from the narrator.
Lerust's research, including Hasson's findings, led him to believe that storytelling is "the oldest and most powerful tool in the entrepreneur's toolbox" because telling your story creates a connection between you and your audience. This helps them understand your hopes and dreams and understand where you are coming from. They relate to you, they sympathize. They can be inspired and persuaded by your message.
Your story is your unique selling point
Almost anything in your business can be copied. Competitors can learn your secret recipe, copy your content, products and services, and copy your sales strategy, but they cannot copy your founder's story. It all depends on you, so it makes sense to take advantage of it.
"In today's noisy digital world, people buy from people they know, like and trust," says Leroust. "And personal stories are a great way to connect emotionally and engage with your audience, building trust with you." Lerust knows that "people relate to other people much better than a faceless brand or logo."
How many times have you read the "About" page of a website to learn about the husband and wife team who risked everything to create their product and grow their business? These stories are popular among savvy business owners because they work. Even though these brands have grown and won, the story remains. Ben & Jerry's is still about school friends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, who opened the first store in 1978 in a gas station in Vermont, although it was bought by Unilever in 2000. The same goes for Quaker Oats, Spanx, Cadbury and Starbucks. The story was recalled after the company changed hands.
"You'd be crazy not to use your most valuable asset to stand out from the crowd," says Leroust. Criminal, almost. You won't miss out on profits or give your best team members to work on your business. But you left money and influence on the table while staying in the shadows.
Sharing your story heals you and inspires others
Lerust explained the work of the actors, speaking openly about their "flaws, imperfections and awkward moments in very public settings". This, he says, is what built their tribe of superfans. "Kevin Hart drew more than 50,000 fans to Sunday's show" because "we all need relief because we are not alone in our global struggles." Leroust believes that hearing others talk about their weaknesses reminds us that we are not as bad as we sometimes think.
"Most people don't realize that there's an incredible gift in the process of owning and sharing a personal story, warts and all," says Leroust. When you do that, "you will experience the ultimate freedom, which is that nothing can hurt you when you have nothing to hide."
In her work with entrepreneurs and business owners, Leroust encounters people who fear what the world will think or say if they reveal who they really are. "God forbid someone knows that sometimes you have off days or that your life isn't as perfect as your Instagram feed or that you don't know everything," she challenges.
When someone is in complete control of the story, it is engaging and compelling. "The reason we're attracted to people who are unashamedly aware of their history is because we want to take off the mask and be who we really are, especially in a professional or business context." Seeing someone do this gives us an opportunity to introduce ourselves.
Change your business and your life by putting it in the spotlight
Lerust wants you to make a choice. "Do you spend your time and energy trying to hide and control people's perception of you in order to feel safe and have a false sense of control?" Or do you choose to spend the same amount of time and energy "discovering moments from your past that can inspire, resonate and leave a lasting impression?"
The latter, he says, means you can have a more positive impact on your life and the lives of others. Make people stand up and listen, use your true USP and help others become a better version of themselves by sharing your journey with your network, prospects and customers.