It’s something I ask founders when we’re working on their company’s origin story.
But when a friend pushed me on the same question a while back, I wasn’t clear.
“Were you just born wanting to have a messaging consultancy for B2B tech companies?” he asked.
“Of course not!” I answered. And I went back to the drawing board and asked myself:
What are the experiences that brought me here? What are the learnings upon learnings upon learnings that have shaped my perspective?
I got it all down on paper. All the seemingly haphazard movements of my career. I ruminated on it. I trimmed the fat and let it marinate.
In the end, I was left with a unique and genuine story that no one else could tell. And it fundamentally changed the way that I looked at my business.
Whether you’re a startup founder or an entrepreneur. If you work in a company or are looking for a job. It really doesn’t matter who you are.
We all have these amazing stories that prove we are unique and show we have something to offer that you can’t get anywhere else.
So what sequence of events brought you to where you are now?
Getting your story down will give you more clarity and conviction.
Read the full video transcript here:
I wanted to share some amazing story advice that I got from a friend a while back that I found so powerful and helpful in my own growth as a business and an entrepreneur.
So this is a friend of mine who is an amazing salesman. He’s sold like a zillion dollars worth of software in his career, he really knows his stuff, and so when he said “Hey Emma I’d love to see your pitch, can you give it to me I was like *gasp!*” You know because I do story but this guy is like the king of pitches, so I said “Okay, yes” and I threw together a deck.
I did all the things — I did the big problem, I dove into the pain points, I showed the solution, what it looks like, what made it unique, and all those things.
I ran through it and at the end you know waiting for cheers and applause and he was just kind of like “Okay, yeah, um that was pretty good.” Which is always what you want to hear!
He’s like “That’s, you know, that’s good, I mean you’ve covered all this stuff, it’s clear you know you’re talking about, yes everything kind of checked the box, but what it didn’t tell me was…why you? What makes you different, why you? I was like really I didn’t cover that because I thought I had?!” He’s like “No, it’s you, why you? I want to know why Emma the person sitting in front of me, because that’s what people are really buying.”
I say “Well how do I do that?” He’s like “Well tell me how did you end up standing right here in front of me? What was the sequence of events that led you? Were you born wanting to create a messaging consultancy that just works with b2b tech companies?” I was like “Yeah, no, of course not. I wanted to be a novelist.”
And he’s like “Then what?” And then I told him all the kind of haphazard movements of my career from being a travel writer to covering bands to editing a team magazine to working in consumer packaged goods to accidentally accepting a job in b2b and not really knowing what that was back in the day.
I told him the whole story about how I ended up in this spot and he’s like “That’s it. No one else has taken that path and therefore you have this unique perspective and this unique point of view on the work that you do and it’s the sum total of all of that that happened in the past” And at first I was like “Really? No one wants to hear my stuff?!” You know, as I’m sure you are probably thinking, but I kind of ruminated on it, it kind of marinated, it was in my head. I kind of went over it again and again. I got it down on paper and as I trimmed back the fat I did see a clearer path of learnings upon learnings upon learnings and blending perspectives and experiences and ending up with this kind of unique, amazing thing that no one else could really say, and it fundamentally changed the way that I looked at my business. And it had everything to do with me.
So I don’t know if you’re a startup founder or if you work in a company. I don’t think it really matters what you do. We all have this amazing story that proves that we are unique and that we have something very unique to share in the world that you can’t get anywhere else. And I want to invite you to answer that question: “What sequence of events brought you to where you are standing today? All of it.
It may not seem relevant at first, it may seem silly, but do it and get it down on paper. You’ll start to see a very unique story appear and it may help you move in a new direction or just amplify where you are now, and just make you feel more clear and have more conviction about what you’re here to do. Because we’re all unique and we’re all the sum total of our experiences.
This exercise is an amazing way to discover that. So I invite you to try it and if you would leave a comment with something that surprised you or what you realized about yourself after doing this exercise. I would love to hear.