I was riding high in my personal and professional life in 2005. I had my own boutique PR firm that I had started in 1998, which was thriving. I’d been accepted into a masters program in Positive Organization and Change at Case Western Reserve, which was to start that September.
Then in May of 2005, Byron Barker, the youngest of four in our family, went from being my younger brother to a missing person to a homicide victim. Nine year later, Byron’s homicide case is still a cold case.
This event became a major turning point in my life. My life from that moment was never the same. Everything I thought was important to me was not important to me anymore. I could not go to Case Western because I was grieving and it no longer held importance to me.
Two years later I had the opportunity to go to a workshop that I had paid for or I’d lose the money. I decided to go and see if I had a flicker of life and inspiration in me.
I found that I was indeed inspired, so I decided to pursue working with people as my new work. In 2007, I started training as a life coach and then in 2009 became a Master Life Coach with Martha Beck.
The Importance of Your Signature Story
You might wonder why I chose to tell this story about my brother’s death. I share this story because it was a transformational time for me – a big defining moment in my life.
This is one of my “signature stories” that I tell to show why I’m doing the work I’m doing today.
I was riding high in my personal and professional life and then the unthinkable happened. It was a pivotal moment for me. The circumstance changed me forever.
I learned that no matter what life hands you, you can use adversity to help you live a remarkable life and rise above it.
This story became my “why” I do what I do today – coach women entrepreneurs to build a business around their passion and make it profitable.
I want women to experience the freedom to do what they love and get paid to do it.
This life event was a breakthrough time for me when I realized that I wanted to live a more meaningful and purposeful life.
Why is it important to tell your story?
Each of us has stories that have shaped us into who we are today.
Stories connect us emotionally. People connect and buy with the heart. So when you share your story with your clients or your friends, it connects you to them. It gives meaning to “why” you do what you do.
It sets you apart from everyone else. It also shows that you are vulnerable and being vulnerable builds trust.
People will remember the story you tell
People will not remember data or facts but they will remember your story. Stories are universal – they connect us. A story connects you to your ideal clients or friend’s heart – it can give new meaning to “why” you do what you do.
As an entrepreneur, we call this your “signature story.” This is a pivotal moment when you realized what you were doing was not serving you any longer. For example, let’s say in your former career you were an attorney doing litigation and that no longer held any meaning for you. You realized one day in court that this was something you no longer wanted to do. That is a turning point.
When you first tell your signature story, you may feel like you are sharing something that is too personal. You may feel vulnerable. You may feel like this is not a professional thing to do. However it is what we want from you. We want to know the real you.
Read more about the importance of storytelling for your business.
People Crave Connection
One of our greatest needs is connection. If you’ve been reading my blogs in the last three months, you might have noticed that I am telling stories. I am not sharing my “dirty laundry” but stories that changed who I am. I tell stories that became lessons of what I learned from the experience and how I rose above it. I didn’t become a victim of circumstance of my defining moment. Instead I used it to learn a lesson. I learned how it could make me stronger.
When you connect emotionally to your ideal clients or your audience, they are most receptive to hearing what you have to say or to make a change or make a decision. Stories help your audience move into their imagination and make the experience more of their own. When you are vulnerable, you are speaking to their heart.
How to Think About Your Signature Story
- What were you doing before your “defining moment” or the life event that changed you?
- What were you doing when you made a decision that you couldn’t continue doing what you were doing?
- What was the struggle you experienced or the low-point where you made a decision that you had to change?
- What happened after that — what were you doing before?
- What is your “why” you are doing what you are doing now?
Now it’s your turn. What is one story you can share about a defining moment in your life? What is the one story that can become your signature story? I’d love to hear from you.