Recognizing the Story Within - Jenna Harrison

We all have a story to tell…

Photo by  Erandy Ramirez  on  Unsplash

Every night as she tucked me into bed, I’d beg my mom to tell me the story of her yellow shoes:

In high school, she fell in love with a pair of butter-yellow, soft-as-gloves, adorable yellow shoes.

She’d admire them in the store window every day as she passed by, and prayed they’d still be in stock if/when she finally saved up enough babysitting money to pay for them ….

And then it happened.

She BOUGHT her yellow shoes! They were the most beautiful things she had ever owned! And she paid for them all by herself!

She wore them to school the very next day, to wide critical acclaim (from her girlfriends).

And then when it was time for gym class she put them in her locker … but because she was running late, she didn’t actually lock it.

And when she returned and opened her locker, the shoes had disappeared!!!

For weeks, for months, she and her posse of girls fastidiously scanned the feet of everybody in school, hoping to catch the thief. But no luck...

The shoes were gone forever.

*****

As her voice trailed off wistfully night after night, I’d exclaim with wonder, "When will I ever have stories to tell??"



Because my life was boring. Nothing ever "happened." Or, at least, nothing of consequence.



But looking back I’ve realized … I still love the story, but it’s not exactly Shakespeare.

And it sure as hell isn’t the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to my mother. Or to me. Or to you! But none of that matters.

All that really matters is that IT STICKS WITH YOU.



Because it’s a STORY! And humans are wired to remember stories.



Meaning this:

No matter what the story, it’s a thousand times more powerful than saying, "Hey! Lock your locker. Something could get stolen!"

*****

So many women I talk to sound a lot like my 5-year-old self: "Ugh, Jenna, I just don’t really have many stories to tell!"



But the truth is they don’t think their stories are GOOD ENOUGH.


Exciting enough.
Impactful enough.

Is this you?



My friend, you’re overthinking it. Trust me! You have PLENTY of stories to tell.



You just need to train yourself to recognize them! (More on that below.)

Because that’s what helps people remember what you’re teaching. And get to know you. And BELIEVE you.

EVEN IF IT’S NOT THE MOST AMAZING STORY EVER!

*****


So here’s how you can start exercising those "story recognition muscles" right now:



  1. Think back over the last week and write down 5 things that happened that made an impact or stick with you for some reason. (Over time you can get in the habit of jotting some down each day.)



  2. Ask yourself WHY it spoke to you ... what it’s teaching you. (This is a great self-development tool, besides!)



  3. What does that have to do with your audience?



  4. And now tell the story! In your online content, during your livestreams, and … huge one here … every time you’re on a discovery call.


Do this exercise now… and just like that you’ll have a month’s worth of content!

*****

On the surface, the story of the yellow shoes is about nothing more than the perils of leaving your possessions unguarded.

But if you dig a little, it’s about so much more…

To me, it was about everything I feared:

The whims of fate! The vagaries of human nature! The emotional rollercoaster of life!

And everything I longed for:

Autonomy (Oh, the sweet freedom of making your own purchasing decisions!)


Glamour (Nobody was ever or has even been as beautiful and fashionable as my mother!)


Adventure (No more boring, repetitious days on autopilot … but stories that last a lifetime!)


*******


A different person would probably interpret a totally different set of meanings! And that’s a-ok.



Your only job is to share what it means to YOU ... and how that can help your audience.



I’m speaking truth when I say stories are EVERYTHING. To humans in general … but especially when it comes to online marketing.



Go forth and SHARE yours. Because somebody's waiting to hear it.



Here’s to making it mean something.



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Connect

You can find Jenna at her site, The Uncommon Way.

“Hi. I’m Jenna

I help ambitious women like you get really clear on exactly what business to start, plan out your steps so you can feel perfectly confident, and then actually (finally!) get paying clients in far less time than you ever thought possible. Without overwhelming yourself trying to do allll the (wrong) things.”