How To Get Your "Story" Down
Do you find that the dots in your life are easier to connect once you're on the other side of a transition?
Of course, during the transition is usually when we need that story the most. I remember being on an interview for an e-commerce company when I was thinking about leaving the ad agency world and I simply couldn't find a compelling story of why it all made me whole and interesting. I ended up at business school where I had loads of time to think about my own story, even taking a class I especially loved, appropriately called The Power Of Story.
The class is sold out year over year and it's the brainchild of Jennifer Aaker, a behavioral psychologist and researcher on things like how stories drive decision making. One of the classes she led and shared as part of LeanIn.org is the exercise of doing a personal inventory.
Somewhat related to one of our popular posts about my mistakes and fixes to answering "What do you do?", I thought I'd pass along these prompts to practice your own personal inventory on where you're at with your current story:
1. When you introduce yourself, what do you say? What story do you share with people about yourself?
2. When your friends or colleagues introduce you, what do they say about you? What story to do they share about you?
3. What's an example of a story from the past month that was told about you? What happened as a result?
For my purposes, I like to practice this in the context of both, other mothers and new social acquaintances. I like to think about what's relevant to who I'm talking to and what I want people to take away - for me it's an interest in Bodie and/or the Mother Untitled conversation. The other tid bit that helps with storytelling according to all the pros is a bit of vulnerability ( a relatable truth) - for me that usually comes through in the "why" I started Mother Untitled.
While all of this is probably said in a matter of a minute or two, thinking through the first three prompts is such a reminder that no one currently cares about how I split my days in the week or what I did previously. By the way, a friend said that she's most recently getting described by her move from West to East coast and another friend said she often gets introduced among friends by her amazing personal Instagram. One of them is fully focused on her career at the moment and the other is fully at home, immersed in motherhood, but for both of them, the power of knowing their story is simply to be able to find and share and get others excited about the thing that makes them happy.
Getting comfortable that you are interesting and interested in the world around you, regardless of whether you're stay at home, working or somewhere in between is such a powerful exercise for me, even if to Amy Cuddy's point, I tell no one else but myself - what about you?
What's your "story" on your first mom date? Do you find these prompts or other exercises helpful in thinking this through? Would love to hear!