Telling stories in your business isn’t always the easiest thing in the world. In fact, it can be quite daunting for those of us who have spent our whole careers wearing a corporate mask!
But I’m a big believer in removing that mask and unlocking the personal stories that have made you who you are today.
So what exactly is it that holds us back from doing that?
In my experience, there are three barriers that do this: a lack of time, a lack of confidence, and fear of how your stories will come across.
So today I’m going to explore how we can move past these barriers to begin telling powerful stories that truly show the world who we are.
When you run your own business, time is very precious. But remember: we all have the same 24 hours each day, it’s about how you choose to use those hours.
If you’re struggling to find the time to write stories, take a look at what you’ve got coming up that day. Where could you find a few pockets of time to get some notes scribbled down?
My top tips for making the time to write stories
- Time blocking. It’s so helpful to block off a certain amount of time, or sometimes even a whole day, to focus completely on that one task you’ve been needing to do for a while. It’s important that you decide on some boundaries in terms of your start and finish times when you’re doing this so that you don’t become overworked!
- The pomodoro technique. You’ll work for either 25 minutes followed by a 5-minute break, or 50 minutes followed by a 10-minute break. It’s about short sprints of really focused work, followed by a short refresher break. You’d be surprised by just how much you can get done in one of these pomodoros simply by concentrating on a task without distraction.
- Scheduling in time beforehand. Plan out when you’re going to write your stories so that you can’t get booked up.
The harsh truth
You reap what you sow. The only way you’ll get the results from writing stories for your business is by doing the work!
I always tell my clients who are struggling with this to just give it a go. Spend 30, 60 or 90 days making a real effort to fit your writing into your schedule. If you don’t see the benefits after that amount of time, then you can stop (but I guarantee you will see lots of benefits!)
To help you with this, the 30-day Story Sprint will be back in my membership The P.S. Club starting 1st June 2021. Every morning at 8am, you’ll receive a story prompt and an example or template for writing that story. By the end, you’ll have 30 stories for your business as well as hints and tips for how to write and use the stories.
I run this challenge four times a year, on each month that has 30 days, and each time the members of the club have huge successes with the stories they’ve written with me. The one I ran in April went down a storm!
If you’d like to join us, you can click here to join the club.
The second barrier we need to tackle is confidence, or rather, a lack of it.
To answer this I want to refer you to the age-old adage that practice makes perfect!
The confidence you have with something is directly related to how often you do it. Think about learning to walk when you were a toddler. You didn’t just give up the first time you fell over! You dusted yourself off and got up again – determined to make it to your mum’s arms. Over and over again until you were able to walk a few steps, then your confidence grew and before long you were toddling around the house like a pro!
I love these positive affirmations that will help boost your confidence every day:
- You are a writer
- You have a story to share
- You are a storyteller!
My top tips
I have five top tips for boosting your confidence with writing, telling stories, and using language to craft messages.
- Read more. I really mean it: read more! Novels, memoirs, magazines, travel guides, self-help books, anything goes! The more you read, the more knowledge you will have about how writing works, about words and sentences, paragraphs, dialogue, characters – just about everything you could possibly need in order to tell amazing and moving stories.
- Write more. It sounds so simple, but putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard!) really is the biggest stumbling block that people encounter. The writing forces you to articulate the story in your head. It doesn’t matter whether it’s note-form, bullet-form, incoherent sentences, a mind map, or random words on a page, just getting started is the best way to overcome any feelings of doubt.
- Take breaks. This relates to my earlier point about the pomodoro technique, because 10 minutes of focused writing is much better than 50 minutes spent staring at the screen. If the words don’t flow, my advice is to simply take a break. When I need to push through a block, I take my dogs for a walk on the beach, but you could also make a cup of tea or call your mum for a chat. Whatever it is, take a break and come back to the writing later.
- Find a community to help. This is exactly what my P.S. Club is all about. In there, I offer accountability, a safe space, and the option to have your words checked over by me and others. If you’d like to find out more, or if you’d like to try the club out for 10 days for just £10, you can do so by clicking here.
- Embrace feedback and criticism. This links closely to my point above about community, but being able to take on constructive criticism is key. This feedback really is the gateway to learning. It can be a steep learning curve to allow yourself to be vulnerable by asking for feedback, but it is so worth it for improving your content and ultimately boosting your confidence.
For me, this really is the biggest blocker for so many people that I speak to.
A lot of people will tell me “I’m going to appear like I’m arrogant, boastful, or egotistical!”.
But here’s my thoughts on this: This kind of thinking is all about putting yourself at the centre of the story.
Now, on one level, you are doing this because it’s your story, but actually the stories you tell in your business will be about putting your client, and the problem you solve, at the centre of the story.
It all boils down to intentions
If your intention is to put yourself in the centre of attention, your story will come across as boastful.
But if your intention is to be the centre of exposure, you’ll feel very differently.
What’s the centre of exposure? It’s about pulling back the veil, and authentically sharing your experience and what it means to you.
By doing this, you humbly express your humanity, in service to other people. This is what connects people.
When you share from this space, you will never sound boastful or arrogant. There is a massive value in authenticity and speaking your heart; it’s what humanity is all about!
People buy from people, and that’s what storytelling is ultimately about.
There are three stages to this
Courage. It takes real courage to share your story authentically.
Compassion. You need to be compassionate to other people but also to yourself.
Connection. If you are willing to be open, to connect with other people, to share your stories but also listen to other people’s stories, you have the ability to deepen relationships and cultivate meaningful connections with other people.
This is what stories do
When you embrace vulnerability, this gives birth to joy, creativity, belonging, and love.
It’s these four things that underpin great stories.
Would you like more support in telling stories for your business?
Are you struggling with any of these barriers to telling your story? My membership The P.S. Club is designed to increase your knowledge and skills, so you can tell your business’s story with confidence. We’re all about powerful stories and practical support that will allow you to attract more clients and ultimately make more money.
If you’d like to give The P.S. Club a test drive before joining, you can access the membership for 10 days for just £10. Click here to join us today!