Should You Or Shouldn’t You? The Bad-Ass Truth about Your Personal Story - Christine Kane

A butt-ugly turn-around moment in my life happened when I was trying to fall asleep in a freezing cold cinder-block room in New York City’s East Village after a hellish performance at a premiere venue.

I thought my career was over.

I shivered between the threadbare sheets, questioning my existence, pondering a degree in accounting, a lone tear rolling down the side of my face…

You’d think I was primed and ready for a Spielberg-like spiritual breakthrough involving some angels.  Or, at the very least, a spaceship.

But what happened instead?

A cockroach walked across my face.

(True story. You can read how it turned out here.)

I sometimes tell this story when I speak because it hits my point home:  You can Uplevel your life regardless of the circumstances that surround you. Or crawl on you. (Plus, it’s pretty hysterical to me now.)

One of my colleagues heard me tell that story once and suggested that I stop telling it. “It makes you sound really pathetic,” she laughed.

A valid point, I suppose.

(Though I constantly hear from students of the Uplevel Your Life Mastery Program that the “cockroach” story was what made them hit the “buy” button — and over 1500 people have hit that very button!)

This idea of revealing the bare truth about ourselves is something that we – as solopreneurs and business owners – often struggle with.

After all, aren’t we supposed to be experts in the know?

My students ask me:

How vulnerable should I be?

How much should prospects know about my story?

In other words: If I share this stuff, will I still be seen as professional?

When it comes to your story, here’s the million-dollar truth:

You must tell your story.

It doesn’t have to include cockroaches.

But it does need to open your prospect’s heart and give meaning to WHY you do what you do.

Your story builds trust and creates a memorable brand. (Yeah, I don’t love that word either – but just roll with me here.)

There’s three reasons your story works:

1 – People remember stories.

Your prospect might not remember the first thing you said with your facts, features or data…

…but tell her about the time you got laid off the same day as your husband and that’s what propelled both of you to start a business?

THAT is what she will remember.

That’s because stories are visceral.

Stories are universal.

They connect with our hearts.

2 – People need connection.

More than ever, we’re all seeking deeper connection beyond just a “thumbs up” button. (Though we still like those too!)

When it comes to your marketing materials, always think in terms of connection.

And make sure your story is a part of it.

Your story builds trust. It tells your prospect that you’re real. It tells her that you “get” her.

3 – The C-V Cocktail

“C-V” stands for Credibility-Vulnerability.

Let’s start with Credibility.

Knowing how to position yourself is crucial in your marketing.

I teach my very own “CREATE Formula” for positioning yourself as the go-to expert in your field.  The very first letter stands for Credibility.

Your credibility speaks to your prospect’s head.

This, of course, means your results, numbers, certifications, publications, sales, speaking dates, etc.  Your credibility is a part of what attracts people to work with you.

But it’s only ONE PART of our little marketing cocktail.

The other part is vulnerability.

Vulnerability speaks to the heart.

Both head and heart matter to your clients.

So, when it comes to your work in the world – whether you’re trying to get customers, clients, readers or patients – your story, your vulnerability has to be a piece of the puzzle.

Now, I’m not asking you to share about the time you drank too much at your cousin’s wedding and fell down the stairs and yacked all over her shoes.

Nor am I telling you to post on Facebook that you’re totally miserable today and you just forked your way through three plates of mac and cheese.  (We all have bad days. But some things do not serve to build your business!)

I am, however, proposing that you get very clear about the turning point in your life that started you on the path to doing what you’re doing right now.

So, here are some questions to get you started creating your story:

What were the circumstances in your “before” scene?

What was your struggle, your low-point?

What was the turning point?

What happened after that?

What made you do the work you’re doing?

If any answers are percolating in your head, here’s your assignment…

In the comments below, tell me how sharing your story will do more to help you connect with your prospective clients – and where you’ll start using it!

Oh, and one other thing…

If you have your own business…

…or if you want to start one…

please do yourself a big favor and grab my free DVD by clicking here.

It’s called “5 Fast Ways to Make Money Now” – and I’m going to send it to you totally free of charge.

Together, we’re going to find the money in your business. I’m going to teach you the secrets to amping up your cashflow.  I rarely talk about this stuff so openly – so grab yours before we run out of them.


 

22 COMMENTS ADD A COMMENT
  • Debbie

    Hi, I think I am living that pivotal moment you speak of right now lol. I guess I better jor down a timeline.

    I currently hold a very crummy job in an industry I would love to make a business in but live in fear. Due to the poor wages and working conditions I decided maybe to get back into
    my old field of work for more money and less physical stress. I had a job prospect, three interviews and then was asked to complete a personality assessment before they would give me my job offer. They dropped me like a hot potato and I have no idea what this psychometric whatever even told them. I know I have ADHD and it may have showed, or perhaps it just told them I’m friggin crazy because this is only the latest event of a string of things that have happened, not a good fit, restructured and on and on it goes. I guess you can say I am in the dark night of the soul moment hopefully jumping into a light and not a fiery inferno.

  • Wendy Feller

    you hit the nail on the head again for me. I can’t believe I didn’t know about you before yesterday when a good friend and mentor told me to read your blog. I just started my own blog as an adjunct to my girls clothing business and I, too, have been trying to figure out just how much to reveal about myself in light of the fact that OCD you put something out there on the WWW, it is permenant. But after reading this post, I feel that you have actually given me permission and fortified what I already knew. Cheers!

  • Ben

    I agree Christine,
    My story is exactly why I am where I am now and my story is what shows people the transformation I have made, where I have come from and where I am now in my life. And that shows them where I have come from.

    And thankyou, you have just made me realize that I haven’t specifically shared my story on my site and instead am just telling people what EFT can do without saying what it has done to me which will make more of a connection. I am going to rewrite some of it, thanks! 🙂

    -Ben

  • Nikki

    This is perfect for me right now! Because I’m new at this (I’ve been sewing for a while, but have only recently starting taking myself seriously and stepped out to create a business), I’ve been focused on making my Etsy shop look professional. Without really meaning to, I’ve hidden myself from view. But I know that one of the main reasons I choose to spend my own money is because I’m fond of the person doing the selling – because I connect with them or their story somehow. And I think there is an audience who might connect with my story as well: being a new mom who completely lost her sense of self and then rediscovered it piece by piece by tapping into my creativity again. The children’s clothes I make and sell aren’t inexpensive, and I think that my story is adding to their perceived value – Thanks Christine!

  • Jema

    Your cockroach story is almost to good to be true! So, there is a reason for those creepy little guys! Without the cockroach, your story might have missed a great visual!

    Thanks for reminding me to be vulnerable, as I start my own blog connecting into my own experiences or “memoirs” it will be important to connect at a real level. Great advice! Like A Monarch

  • Michelle

    This is very timely for me too. I have a story that I think a lot of people would relate to and really expresses vulnerability. It’s just so hard to go there when it involves shame – even though nothing I did was shame-worthy. I guess that’s where the question of what’s too much to reveal comes in

  • Dianne

    I am in the middle of writing a script for my very first video that will introduce me and my business to customers. I read the draft and thought this is so cold – what is it that’s missing? Now reading your article, I know – me and my story about my business. Thank you.

    • Christine Kane

      That’s awesome Dianne! Can’t wait to hear how it turns out!

  • mj

    Yes! Ive been thinking about this for a while, but reading this im convinced… Ive always thought i have a pretty good story of how i got to where i am (health/creativity coach) but i never tell it, because it involves abandoning mom, court battles, depression, panic attacks, etc etc uuggghhh which im not really proud of, but it got me to where i am, learned to mother myself and re-build my self esteem. And the ironic thing is, even though i have never told my story, i have a really nice FB page and people email me all the time saying what an inspiration it is, and last week a girl emailed me her life story and she said, i know only someone who has been through a similar situation like you can understand—- but i have never told my story! LOL… i think people can tell haha. Anyway, im going to write it, spare them the horrible details, and but it on my next newsletter, i really think it is time as well, i cant hide my past and just pretend i got here with no effort.
    btw when is your next group workshop (uplevel you)? i hit reply on your newsletter the first day of the last one (end of march) to see if it was too late to join, but i didnt get an answer 🙁 im in for the next! please let me know as soon as you know the dates!!!

    • Christine Kane

      mj – wisdom comes ONLY through experience. so OF COURSE people can sense you’ve “been there!”

      I’m SO SORRY that our team didn’t respond to your email. that’s really unusual for us. How about this? The Uplevel your Business LIVE event is at the end of july. (29, 20, 31) If it’s a great match for you – I’ll go ahead and honor the early bird tuition that was in that email you replied to! Sound good?

  • Tina Games

    Hi, Christine –

    Many thanks for another rich blog post!

    I wholeheartedly agree with the power of one’s “story.” ~ It took a lot of courage for me to tell mine two years ago in my book, “Journaling by the Moonlight: A Mother’s Path to Self-Discovery.”

    And since the publication of my book (and accompanying journaling card deck), My purposeful work in the world has evolved in ways I could have never imagined at the time.

    I share my “pivotal life moment” (as I like to call it) in this video – located on the home page of my book’s website: http://www.journalingbythemoonlight.com/

    Many thanks for letting me share! 🙂

    ~ Tina

  • Sage

    I love your cockroach story, even though I’ve seen it about 6 times! You remind me that we can start upleveling from ANYWHERE. I’ve even thought, “Well, I’m in a pretty bad situation now, but at least there’s no cockroach on my face.” 🙂

    Thanks for always keeping it real, Christine. I feel like you just “get it”.

    • Christine Kane

      Sage — thanks so much! I want to make this stuff real because so many women tell themselves big lies about what it takes to run a business – and what I know to be true is that you can do it and be totally yourself and totally authentic. So I appreciate your comment!

  • Wayfaring Wanderer

    After soaking in some of your knowledge for the past couple days, I’m realizing that there are some areas where I am severely lacking. However, I’m feeling extremely motivated to figure out how to fill in those gaps!

    Telling my story is one way I can go about doing that. While I love to share using my blog and social media, I really only seem to share trivial things like photos that I take and things that I like. What I don’t do is take the time to tell people more about ME!

    When I really think about it, my story could be very inspiring to other people if I took the time to share it with them…if I included them in my journey. (This comes back to the whole “people not knowing what I do” thing I commented on yesterday’s video.) Most people don’t know that I was laid off from my job two years ago and that I decided to pursue what I was passionate about instead of going back to an office job working for someone else.

    I’ve got some homework to do! 🙂

    • Christine Kane

      So glad you are taking part in the free video training in addition to the blog posts here! It will really crank things up!

  • Jack Kinley

    I hear this all the time and I REALLY struggle with defining the boundary. My typical reactions are to go to either extreme – to throw my hands up and say “F*** ’em if they can’t take a joke,” or completely write my voice out of the equation. I recently conducted client interviews to get feedback on my web site before I re-launch it and the overwhelming lesson among the feedback is that my clients like working with me because I am ME…not because I’m just like every other capable designer out there. And my irreverent humor is a major part of what you get when you work with me. I think it comes off as flippant and uncaring sometimes and that’s sort of the mine that I have to avoid stepping on. Because I care deeply about what I do – otherwise I’d be working at the Gap (which was fun when I was 21 but not really a lifelong career aspiration at this point).

  • Jill Marie

    Love it! Your questions to get clear on my turning point are Gold. I have been playing with my story for awhile now and your questions will really help me get to the essence of why I do what I do thus if others identify with that then we can move up the Pyramid that you so wonderfully taught us the other day 😉 Thanks you!

  • Jacs

    Ha. This is so pertinent to me right now. I am going through a thing right now, about being seen. I have in the past been scared to be seen because, y’know, They (?) might not like me, or worse, I might be attacked for putting myself out there. Thank you for sharing your vulnerability. I don’t have a cockroach story as a pivotal point, but there are others. You are so right. Stories just stay in mind rather than a list of facts etc.
    If I were to have clients, I think they would want to know that I haven’t always considered myself creative & how they too can tap into their creativity.
    x Jacs

    • Christine Kane

      Jacs –

      “Being seen” — YES!

      It’s one of the biggest mindset blocks I work with on my clients and students. Success is in the spotlight – and those of us who learn that and let ourselves be seen really become world changers because we give other people permission to step up and be seen themselves!

  • Mary Meckley

    After reading this, I realized that not sharing my full story has been the missing link for me as I get ready to launch my website. Thanks for sharing and providing such a thorough overview of this important topic.

    • Christine Kane

      You are very welcome, Mary! Send me a link when it’s done! I’d love to see the changes you make!