It’s high time we talk about a personal frustration of mine, which is:
People don’t see their story for the ASSET that it is.
ASSET: /ˈaset/ n. Anything tangible or intangible that can be owned or controlled to produce value.
As savvy business people, you and I both know that assets are not meant to sit in a corner gathering dust.
It's wasteful and makes no business sense!
And yet, most people keep their story on a high, dusty shelf until someone explicitly gives them a stage, or asks them to "tell me about yourself."
What a wasted opportunity!
Assets are meant to be leveraged.
As in, put into service of generating more and more value.
I've been thinking about the best way to address this.
And it occurs to me:
The problem is that people tend to think of their “story” as their “chronological history.”
Thus, their understanding of how to leverage their story remains narrow and constrained.
This prevents them from seeing the full beckoning expanse of future dividends that story can make available.
(And it's not just the unsophisticated who are guilty of this fatal assumption -- since I started coaching MBA's at Berkeley Haas school of business, I've seen how the most talented and intelligent are often the most guilty of all!)
Here is the truth:
As long as YOU view your "story" so narrowly, you will never understand what an asset it can truly be.
And thus, it will never even *occur* to you just how many ways you can leverage it to generate massive value in multiple areas of your life.
Consider ALL THESE RESULTS that regular people have generated by leveraging story (no amazing hero's journey saga required):
Instead of lecturing people you care about, you can inspire them to consider other possibilities -- without jeopardizing your relationship!
Instead of arguing with stakeholders, you can inspire them to re-think their assumptions -- without triggering their insecurities or defenses!
Instead of pitching the features of your tech solution, you can give investors a vicarious experience that inspires them to say: "call me when you're ready for funding."
Instead of rehashing complaints when a colleague asks “how work is going,” you can easily engage them in a bigger conversation that gets them excited about where else your talents might be used!
Instead of “splitting the difference,” you can conduct a graceful negotiation -- and show them why making YOU happy is the best investment they’ll make all year!
Instead of selling your services, you can position yourself as the how to your prospect's why -- such that they end up THANKING YOU for accepting their money!
And my personal favorite...
Instead of waiting indefinitely to adopt a child, you can connect so viscerally with the birth mother (over all the other applicants!) -- that you'll be flying to Utah to meet your new infant son in less than a year!
These are all off the top of my head -- real-world applications of how clients have leveraged their stories to create MASSIVE real-world returns.
To say nothing of how I’ve leveraged story in my own life!
Among countless other things, I've leveraged story to:
Escape the 9-5 entirely and become my own boss
Quintuple my rates in my first year of business
Land $7k+in gear sponsorship (just the other day!) from leading outdoor retailers (more on this later)
And I don't say this to brag. The point is this:
Don’t get trapped thinking your story is just a summary of who you have been and what you have done.
Instead, see your story as a dynamic ASSET that, once properly understood, can be endlessly leveraged to get to where you want to go.
Regardless of whether you think you have a "hero's journey" story or not.
I promise you, this one paradigm shift will make all the difference -- and yield dividends far into the future.