by Deborah Shane
“The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.” — Muriel Rukeyser
On January 5, 2007, I was sitting out on my lanai looking out at the lake and golf course in Ft. Myers, FL. I was officially and unexpectedly in between careers and jobs, living in a town where I literally knew one person. I had made a voluntary career transition in August 2006 and decided to embark on yet another adventure in my life — one that did not turn out the way I had anticipated.
I was stunned, uncertain and yet strangely excited. The question came into my head, “What do you really want to do, not what do you have to do?”
I really wanted to start my own company using all of my gifts, talents, passion and expertise to help others and do what I do best: teach, guide, and train. On February 4, 2007, I launched Train with Shane, now DeborahShaneToolbox.com, and in 2015, I will celebrate eight years in business.
That defining moment on the lanai led me on the most exciting, nerve-racking, and challenging ride of my life.
“Deborah Shane is a tenacious, curious, empowered person who has transitioned through several careers. She has transformed herself from a rockin’ singer, published songwriter, teacher and award-winning radio sales professional to a two-time award-winning author, entrepreneur, writer, trainer, speaker, radio host.”
We know that stories are the most powerful way for people to connect with each other. We all love stories because we all have them and can relate to them.
The plot, the characters, the setting, the conflict, the resolution, the moral is the oldest form of telling and sharing experience, wisdom, and history that we have. Today, storytelling is one of the most effective approaches to use in brand recognition and career advancement and development.
Telling a story to drive home a theme or point is so powerful and lasting that it can cut through all the noise and clutter to grab someone’s attention very quickly.
- The courage and perseverance of Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind adventurer to summit all seven of the planet’s highest mountain peaks.
- The innovation and vision of Ray Kroc of McDonald’s to revolutionize fast food.
- Sara Blakely getting over her fear of sales to make Spanx the success it is today.
There are thousands of these stories that come out of the lives of real people that drive home the lesson, principle, and moment of clarity that comes when we take that leap of faith to do what we are driven to do and really want to do.
3 Ways to Build Your Story and Connect Your Brand
- Identify your life hapers and turning points. We all have specific moments in our lives when things shifted and changed — moments that shaped our ideas and were turning points in our lives. Think about five of those moments in your life and what lesson came out of each that makes you who you are today. Use that to craft a story.
- Think of random situations or occurrences you were involved in or witnessed that greatly moved you and why. Craft a story around what you saw, thought, felt, or learned.
- Talk about things, issues, causes that you are passionate about and why. We all have charities, causes, and things that we want to be a part of and align ourselves with. Craft a story around how these led you to do something.
When it comes to attracting and relating on a resume or in a face-to-face meeting on a job interview or networking event, use the power of your real-life story as a connector and point of relatability. Pretty much works every time.
Make sure your LinkedIn profile is the place where you tell that career story, in first person. Skip the bullet points and instead make them into a compelling story. (See my LinkedIn profile by following the link in my bio, below.)
Final Thoughts on Your Career Story
Whatever your career story is, find it, tell it, share it, and celebrate it.
For more information, see also these sections of Quintessential Careers:
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
This article is part of Job Action Day 2014.
Deborah Shane, named a Top 100 Small Business Champion and Top 100 Small Business Podcast by SmallBizTrends.com, is the author of two books. Her new book is #trusthewhy: Fundamentals, Value and Humor Get You Through Anything, a blog-to-book collection of 56 articles about, careers, social media, branding, marketing, professional advancement. She also published the award-winning book, Career Career Transition – Make the Shift, in 2011. She is a branding strategist, social-media consultant, featured writer, and speaker. She hosts a weekly blog and award winning small business radio podcast with more than 525K downloads. Deborah delivers practical and tactical ideas in her articles featured on Small Business Trends, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, Careerealism, Women For Hire, and she is a go to resource for the media on NBC, Fox, CBS. Engage with her @DeborahShane, on LinkedIn, and visit her at DeborahShaneToolbox.com.
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