Resolve to Tell Your Story

In a time when resolutions are frequently made and broken, telling your story is as important as eating healthy — and should be priority #1.

Christmas decorations are away. That dreadful new morning run routine has begun again. You’re carving the calories from your carefully planned meals. Finally trying to finish that book you’re always halfway through. Financial savings starting for that vacation that you swear you will take this year….

So, how are your resolutions going?

If you’re anything like me (and millions of others), you have high aspirations and have already broken a promise or two in your resolve to be better this year. But, hey, there’s always tomorrow! Or next year…

Here’s one resolution you may have not considered: telling your story. Unique idea, right? Perhaps it doesn’t match your idea of traditional resolutions. But, it’s the most important resolution you could have in 2017. How does telling your story help your waistline or your future promotion, you may wonder? A lot, as a matter of fact.

Telling your story is a skill, just like goal-setting. It requires structure, purpose and discipline. Unlike goal-setting, understanding how to tell your story can more accurately pave the way to where you are trying to go. This is because when crafting your personal story, you need to dig deep. It’s more than a task list; a story involves depth, creativity, and self-expression. Create a story outline that includes what you value, what your dreams are, and descriptions about key moments in your life. Structuring an outline narrative, essentially, includes past challenges (which are important to any story), current views, and future goals. This story-form framework illuminates your goals much better than a task list with a key benefit: you can share your story with others and compel them to take part in it.

If you practice writing and share your story, it is possible to achieve any goal you set your mind to.

Think like a CEO. Their main responsibility is to motivate their team to reach a goal. How? By engaging the emotions of their staff and understanding each individual’s story and motivation. This strategy is a foundational component of persuasion. Telling and understanding compelling stories can motivate people into action. But, can you imagine your boss or CEO describing a detailed story of where the team can go together, instead of giving a list of tasks? This is much more effective to get to where you want to go. With this in mind, how can you personally reach your own goals with storytelling? How can you anticipate challenges as part of the story of success that you want to achieve?

Your story is your brand. And your brand is the single-most important differentiator from any other person on the planet. Think about that. Your experiences — good, bad, high or low — are yours alone. Within that uniqueness, there is power. So, how do you leverage it? Begin by describing your personal experiences, your struggles and your successes, in a way that can connect you to that next cute date, creating your next big milestone, and yes, even getting a raise?

This is possible because your story is the connection point to you to the world around you. And people want to know your story! There is a demand for you — who you are and what you represent. It’s no mistake that “storytelling” was such a hot topic in 2016 and will only grow in the years to come. From literal storytelling events, to the phrase “share your story” being used in numerous advertising campaigns, to even the prompted first line when creating a Medium blog: “Tell your story…”

“Humans are inclined to see narratives where there are none because it can afford meaning to our lives, a form of existential problem-solving.” — CODY C. DELISTRATY, The Atlantic

Each day, the page is blank. Each decision you make, your story is being written. So, grab a piece of paper (literally) and create a story that is effective to help you achieve those 2017 goals.

Goal-setting and creating your story go hand-in-hand. If you have a vision for your life, you have a path. (And if you don’t, there are great tools to help you articulate your vision.) Creating a path is the same thing as forming an outline for a story.

Ask yourself some key questions:

  1. What are the goals I want to achieve?
  2. When do I want to achieve them?
  3. How will I get there?
  4. What elements will help me succeed?
  5. What lessons have I learned to apply to my goal this time?
  6. What makes me unique and how do I want to grow?

This year, consider a new resolution to tell your story. Create a narrative that is true to you. It can be on one page, or a booklet, a verbal conversation with a friend, or taking on a stage and sharing your story with an audience. Whatever your method, knowing how to describe who you are, what you value, and what you are wanting to achieve opens the door to allow your dreams to be actualized.

This blog post was written by @JavelinaCo’s Nicole Underwood.