A butt-ugly turn-around moment in my life happened when I was trying to fall asleep in a freezing cold room with cinderblock walls in New York City’s East Village after a hellish performance at a premiere listening room.
I thought my career was over.
I laid 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 2000 people have hit that 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 are three reasons for this:
1 – People remember stories.
Your prospect might not remember a 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 what I call the “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 there are some things that 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, give me a brief overview of a story that you think would really resonate with your prospects and clients.