Who’s Writing Your Story?
I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting lately. I’m trying to build out my startup, my coaching business, and my course, and things aren’t going as smoothly as I’ve hoped. I’m making progress, but not at the rate I want.
As I’ve reflected on my journey so far, there has been one idea that keeps coming up over and over. It’s all about the story.
Want to be a good writer? Learn how to share your story.
Want to pitch your startup to investors? Tell them a compelling story.
Want to market your business? You need to have a good story.
Humans love stories. The world is built on stories.
If you aren’t trying to become a writer and you aren’t trying to start a company, are you thinking about your story? I never did until I started writing. Over the first few months, as I started telling my story to the internet, I realized that I wasn’t the one writing my story. I was simply reacting to the world around me. I was letting others write my story while I played a bit part.
And that’s when I realized something. I needed to take control of my story. And that’s what I did. I started by trying to write my story within my employer. That didn’t work and I realized I wouldn’t ever be able to write the story I wanted. So I quit.
And I started to live the life I wanted to live. I started trying to build what I wanted to see in the world. And I failed over and over and over again. I’ve failed more times in the past 6 months than I did the previous decade. I’ve taken myself to the brink of financial ruin. And yet, I’m living a much more fulfilling life than I was before. How can that be true?
I’m currently in a preaccelerator for my startup. There was an extremely timely session that I attended today hosted by Philip Harding of Impact Junkie. We went through an exercise to identify the Big, Hairy, Audacious Problem (BHAP) that we were meant to solve. The first step was to think about our life as a movie. Then we had to come up with at least 5 chapter titles for our movie.
Here’s my list:
- King of the Nerds
- A Taste of Failure
- The Triumphant Return
- Into Hiding
- Entering the Matrix
- The Showdown
- Rebuilding My World
This was an interesting exercise for me. I hadn’t previously thought about the various chapters in my life. Usually, I would think about some specific event in my past and use that as a topic for my writing. It was almost always something that seemed particularly relevant at the time. It was interesting to think about larger chunks of time.
I started noticing some patterns. And that was the next step of the exercise. I had to look for patterns and identify my superpowers. I noticed one trend in my life that seems to be pretty applicable right now.
- I would fail. Usually spectacularly.
- I would figure out how to get myself out of the hole I dug for myself. This was typically a very deep hole because I would refuse to stop digging. Once I figured out the solution, I would start the slow climb back out.
- I would come out victorious in the end.
That’s a really refreshing pattern to see actually. I’m in the middle of the spectacular failure right now, digging away at my hole. I’m really hoping that this is the bottom of it. I feel like I’m really close to figuring out the solution. I just might need to dig a little deeper to find it.
But after figuring out this pattern, I’m no longer focused on the hole I’m in. I’m looking for the solution that gets me out of it. The exercise helped me realize that even though it seems like everything is crumbling around me, every time that’s happened in the past, I’ve ended up ok. My superpowers include sticking to problems way past the point that most people give up and researching problems to the point that I understand how all the pieces fit together.
With my superpowers identified, it was time to think about the who. Who were the people that I wanted to help? Who am I passionate about helping?
I realized that I was passionate about helping others find the information they needed in order to transform their lives. I’ve spent way more time researching diverse topics than most. As such, I can almost always point people in the right direction. I also have an affinity for the underdogs. I love helping people that others overlook.
And this leads to my BHAP: I want to help the underdogs get access to the knowledge and resources they need to follow their dreams because they are the ones who are going to change the world.
So there it is. That’s the problem that I’m meant to solve. It’s bigger than my coaching program. It’s bigger than my startup. But everything I do, I do to solve that BHAP.
Let me know what you think in the comments. I’d love to get your feedback.
And let’s play a game! I’m going to use the chapter titles as writing prompts but I want to let you vote on which chapters I write. I’m partnering with my friends at CentiPenny to give me a way to let my audience support me without breaking the bank. Check out the poll and vote here!