You tell your story in everything you do or say - whether you think you are, or want to, you are. You are the best storyteller out there. BUT do you tell your story in the right way? It is up to you what you show the world. It is up to you how you portray yourself. I recommend doing it with confidence and a full blown positive attitude.
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I meet a lot of different people in my life, and I like to focus on what these people tell me about themselves. More specifically, I focus on HOW they tell me. You see, over the years I’ve come to realise that it is how you tell your story that affects the direction your life will continue to go in.
If you talk about the day ahead in a negative way, the chances are it'll be a miserable day. It's your story.
I used to work with someone who, whenever anyone asked how she was, would smile the biggest smile and say, “I’m great thanks, how are you?” It didn’t matter if she was having the worst day or if she’d got off a ten-hour flight. She always smiled and was always great. I quite liked it, even though I didn’t quite understand it. I started to do the same from time to time, and it felt positive.
A few years later I heard something that made me realise exactly why my friend did what she did and it made me think. The way you tell your story changes everything.
How to Tell Your Story
I was out shopping for stationery (surprise!), and the guy in front of me was also in a wheelchair (we don’t usually stick together you know). The guy went to the till and the checkout lady smiled and asked him how he was. His response astounded me: “I would be better if I wasn’t in this bloody thing [the wheelchair]”.
Now, don’t get me wrong, being a wheelchair user isn’t sunshine and roses. But like anything, it is what you make it.
The checkout lady was asking him how he was and his response told pretty much his entire story without him thinking about it.
He told her that he was a negative person who didn’t smile and only focused on one thing and could not look beyond it. He also told her that he wasn’t interested in others as he didn’t ask her how she was.
This may or may not be true; maybe he was just having a bad day. It doesn’t matter though, what matters is that was how he told his story.
So, what happened? Upon hearing his response, the checkout girl stopped smiling and didn’t speak again until she gave him his total cost.
Even then, I could tell she didn’t want to talk to this guy because his “story” had repelled her.
Does the way you tell your story make that much difference?
I was served by the same checkout lady. As I am also a wheelchair user, she was uneasy as she didn’t want the same experience again. I could tell this just by her body language and lack of smile. So I smiled and asked her how she was, which made her visibly relax. I had, in a few words, engaged her and told her that I was a warm, friendly person.
I’m not saying you need to go around lying to people. But you need to be aware of what you are telling people about yourself. You meet people every day, and you never know where these meetings could take you. Sometimes, people are looking for someone with your story.
I once met a guy in a coffee shop who was looking for a speaker. We got chatting, and he liked my story. If I had started the conversation like the guy in the shop did, I would have missed out on a pretty nice speaking gig!
Do you see how important it is to tell your story well?