How to Tell Your Personal, Powerful Story

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Last week I told you how much I love stories. As a kid, I sat nose in book, waiting to scream at whoever roused me. Nothing’s changed 25 years later. I still love books. Still raise an eyebrow if roused. Joy is to make a snack and read children’s books. If you read as a kid, like my nephew, you’ll always be able to access the magic and whimsy of life, even as an adult. That is a superpower.

My own life has twists and turns that’d entertain you.

  • That time I poked my sister in the eye with a pen and she went to the hospital. I ate chocolates people brought her, and flew to India with my grandma the next day.
  • That time we posed for a TV commercial.
  • The time I rode on a killer whale at SeaWorld. Or was that Abha?
  • The time my grandma died and I couldn’t understand the pain.
  • That time I was depressed and ran into the woods at night.
  • The time I skipped every college class.
  • The time I hid in a trunk so my Muslim boyfriend’s mom didn’t see his Hindu girl.
  • That time I asked Iman and Donald Trump to be in my magazine.
  • That time I won the hoop shoot in 5th grade and the crowd went wild.
  • The time I got stuck in the inner tube at the wave pool & someone pushed “Waves.”
  • The time he asked me to marry him.
  • The time I survived heartbreak.
  • That time I worked with Seth Godin that changed everything.
  • The year I dated in New York City
  • That time I started WW III in my family.
  • The time I moved to Boston to study photography; the only one un-tatted.
  • The year every single thing I asked for came true.
  • That moment I knew I was a woman.
  • The time I fell in love with myself.
  • That time I fell in love with him.

A story’s beauty is undeniable, and the most powerful story you can tell is YOUR OWN.

Your stories are the best place to start to answer big question: “What’s my purpose?” “What business should I run?” “What am I good at?” “How do I want to help others?”

Start with your stories.

In business, telling your story is the most powerful tool to attract the right opportunities and people to you. Not “one of the most” but the most powerful tool. Telling your story is the right way to begin a career that feels like you and helps the right people.

You know your story from high to low, from glory to doom to everything in between. You can pull lessons from your life and use them in your business. Because you’ve felt your stories to your bones, you teach from a real place what’s made your life better. You know the turning points that made an impact, so that’s where you begin.

Telling your story is the only way to stand out from the noise. When you stand out, your people find you easily.

They see and hear you in a different way than everyone else, because you’re not like everyone else. They know you’re unafraid to be yourself. You also feel less fear because you don’t have to “be someone else” to attract people. They resonate with you because you’re real. As Mira Nair, director of “Mississippi Masala” and “Monsoon Wedding” said, “The more specific you get, the more universal you become.”

Strong marketing, strong sales, and strong branding begin with strong stories. Stories where you’ve fulfilled your deepest needs help you sell. Stories that align with who you are help you brand. Stories that teach what you’ve learned help you effectively market. Stories run your business.

It’s a lot of fun to go back into your life and pull out the stories to see how they’ve shaped what you’re doing this very minute. My entire business is built around my story of how I went about fulfilling my purpose. Not everyone likes my stories, but my people do.

Here are some more stories I use in my programs, speaking gigs and working with clients. You see how important stories are to running a useful, relevant, and interesting business.

Inspiration, Fulfilling Your Potential, Sales & Business

  • How hitting rock bottom pointed me to my true life purpose
  • How I turned huge amounts of fear into Fear.less Magazine
  • How I finagled my way into jobs with my greatest mentors and role models
  • Why not taking advice from the best people in the world was a good decision.
  • How I dropped $9K to learn to run my business and made $10K. All in one month.
  • How I experimented with different jobs in college to decide what I wanted to do.
  • How I went from zero money to a six-figure business in under a year.
  • How I went from unhealthy to wealthy money mindset, and how it changed my life.
  • How I survived heartbreak and how it showed me how strong I was.

To uncover your own stories, answer the following questions:

  • What stories do you naturally tell about your life or business?
  • What are the turning points or key defining moments, good or bad, in your life?
  • What stories have made a difference to you or taught you about yourself?
  • What skills or information do you most want to teach people?
  • What do you already find yourself teaching, coaching, and training?
  • What challenges have you faced this year?
  • What core topics or lessons keep showing up in your life?

Don’t skip over your story or deny it. Don’t believe it’s not useful or that people won’t listen.

Don’t blow it up or exaggerate it. Don’t embellish. What’s real is good enough.

It is brave work to tell your real story. When you do, more people than you know will find it useful. And then some.

So, how are you telling stories in your business? What’s one of the most powerful stories you tell that people enjoy? Is there a story you have in your pocket that connects you with others?

To telling it like it matters. Because it does.

xx Ishita

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