“My personal story is so ordinary. How can I possibly use it to build my dream business?”
Do you resonate with this? If yes, you are not alone.
Considering their story ordinary is a common perception most coaches and entrepreneurs have. But I am here to challenge that and say, that’s simply not true!
Every story is golden and immensely valuable to somebody in this world. Every story may not change the entire world but it can certainly change somebody’s entire world.
Not convinced yet? Sure…I get it. You have taught yourself how your story is not extraordinary for so long that obviously, it will take more than a few sentences to convince you.
So, let me convince you in the only way I can…by sharing my own story.
My own story is one of diagnosis and survival from aggressive breast cancer. I had been living pretty much a normal life until the week of my 34th birthday when I was diagnosed with the most aggressive form of breast cancer. Whilst I enjoyed my pre-cancer life, I now recognise that I was living on autopilot.
Cancer jolted me out of my autopilot mode. Not the birthday gift I was expecting, I must say!
Warrior mode took over
I spiraled into my warrior mode and forayed into what would turn out to be a long and aggressive treatment. I had made the decision that I would do anything that is required of me to beat cancer.
A promise to myself
My cancer diagnosis was synonymous with uncertainty and fear. For over 6 months, I did not know if I would survive. And so, every single day I made a promise to myself, “That if I survive cancer, I would do everything in my power to live the rest of my life, no matter how long or short it is, as joyously and meaningfully as possible”.
Eventually, I did make it to the other side but was left so poorly that I felt I was vegetating mentally, emotionally and physically. Depression hit and the celebration around ‘surviving cancer’ went out the window.
The Wise Man
Amidst this depression, it was my oncologist who once again came to my rescue. He played the sage in my story when he said, “Cancer is a life-changing experience. Let it be an experience that changes things for the better for you”.
Mind. Blown. Totally!
It was time for me to make a choice: I could choose to stay where I was or get busy fulfilling my promise to live joyously and meaningfully.
I could make ‘choice’ my superpower! And that’s exactly what I did! There is something immensely powerful about facing our own mortality because it changes the definition of fear and courage for us.
I began filling up my cup by enlisting professional help for my physical and mental well being. The next step was to come off my autopilot and start living consciously. The decision to step away from the corporate world to set up my coaching practice was a consequence of this transformation.
Ha! If only I could tell you that my ‘conscious living’ panned out exactly how I had imagined it!
What I dreamt of and what really happened?
I had the dream to build a successful coaching business where I would attract my 5-star clients, and coach them to live their dreams. I aimed at joyous freedom by unlocking my potential and experiencing the possibilities but instead, I found myself working to the edge of my sanity, emotionally and physically fatigued, and with no freedom. Self-doubt and fear of ‘I am not good enough’ cropped up; I was so impatient that I ended up making several wrong business decisions and lost more money than I could afford.
Eventually, my coach helped me see that I did not need anyone else to rescue me or my business because I was enough. Until now, I was the one who wasn’t seeing, hearing and validating myself.
I rewired my biggest inner story that was keeping me stuck, ‘I am not an entrepreneur!’ I also learned that I must give myself time and permission to build the business I wanted. I did a lot of mindset work that changed things for me.
But more than anything, I owned my story and used it at every networking event, FaceBook group, every social media platform, and in every conversation. In short, through my story, I brought the ‘me’ in my work and I got out of my own way.
“Wow! That’s inspirational! You see I never had a big trauma like cancer. I have no powerful personal story to talk about to build my business.”
(I hear it all the time!)
No, you may be correct about a zillion things in the world but not this one!
Do you know that in 2018, there were as many as 17 million people who were newly diagnosed with cancer in the world?
Yet, in a world where so many people have been touched by cancer, my story continues to give hope and inspiration to those who hear it.
Yes, it may not have changed millions or billions of lives in this world but it definitely has changed a few hundreds of thousands of lives.
And it not just the people going through cancer who benefit from my story but also people going through other illnesses, relationship challenges, people wanting to leave their jobs to set up their business, people who have been through divorce, people who are feeling stuck and joyless in life, people who are not feeling enough or confident…the list goes on.
And I am sure as hell that in my post-cancer life, I have not climbed up the Mount Everest or been to the moon or cycled around the world….at least, not yet.
My cancer story is an ordinary cancer story. And yet, it is extraordinary to those who hear it.
So, next time you worry that you cannot use your personal story to be seen and heard to build your business, remember that is just not true!
Now, go ahead, share your story and change this world!