Tell Your Story

When I started this personal development blog, I was about a month into my entrepreneurship journey. People always ask me if I was afraid to resign from my job to focus on my business full time. Honestly, excitement was the overwhelming feeling I had when I made the decision, and I felt like I had to move on it before I changed my mind. I did not want to allow doubt or “reason” to stop me from doing something that I knew had to be done. Several months later, I am writing my final blog of the year, and I wanted to focus on the story. Since my entire business primarily focuses on developing other businesses, I have spent a lot of time speaking with owners. Some of the best parts of our dialogue is their story. I learn so much about a person when they take the time to explain what got them into business to begin with and all the challenges and growth that has come along the way. Their transparency and vulnerability not only allow me to help them but help others who may be having similar experiences. The power of storytelling can be seen historically across generations, and I would be a fool not to take advantage of it.  

One of the key statements on my website is that “business development begins with personal growth.” Week after week, each blog makes the connection between personal and business. In this case, telling your story is no different. How many times have you wished in retrospect that your parents were a bit more honest to you about certain topics? How much easier would life have been if instead of them telling you “No” or forbidding you to do something, they attached their own personal anecdote to add clarity? Unfortunately, sometimes we keep our story away from people who need it most. In our personal lives, it could be with our friendships, relationships, etc. In business, it could be with our employees or customers. Often, when history is hidden, it is bound to repeat itself. This is not to say that sharing your story could prevent the next World War, but information makes all the difference.  

Please permit me an opportunity to present 3 reasons why you should tell your story:  

  1. Do not waste an experience 
    • We have all made foolish decisions, but sharing your story could prevent someone from making the same mistake. Everyone’s path is different, but we can find wisdom in just listening to how people navigated through this life. A wasted experience is one that was only felt by you.  

  2. Reflection is therapeutic
    • Sometimes the past can be daunting, but looking back to see how far you have come can be the medicine you or someone else needs. No matter how embarrassing or emotional, reflecting on the past can help you process your decisions for the future. Why did I do what I did? Where did I end up? How can I do things differently this time? Reflection does not equal dwelling on past highs and lows. Even if you are thinking about your achievements, dwelling on the past can be dangerous because you often forget that there is more life to live. Finding a healthy balance of reflection for processing versus reflection for regret or longing will help.  

  3. History repeats itself
    • Social Studies was one of my favorite subjects in grade school because I loved seeing what people thought was worth documenting. The pictures, artifacts, and quotes made up the history they believed was relevant. We only have the information that was preserved after all of these years, and I am sure so much of it is missing. A famous quote by George Santayana that is often circulated in history is that “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Whenever we do not embrace our history or only unveil the “pretty” parts, we increase the chances that our successive generations will be mirrors of us.  

So how do you tell your story? By not overthinking it. Do not feel like you have to create a YouTube channel titled “Memoirs of _________.” Your story does not have to be an elaborate showing or museum of your life. It can be as simple as telling your friend about a similar mistake you made before he or she does the same. Or advising a business owner to reconsider a partnership because of the pros and cons you experienced that you would like to share. Remember that it is your story, so you can determine how much of it you want to disclose. The most important thing is to be honest: Do not exaggerate your history to make for a better conversation. And be real: If you really want someone to learn from you, do not make the ugly parts sound beautiful.  

As for this week’s challenge, the last challenge of the year, share your story this holiday season. You may be surrounded by family (younger siblings or relatives), friends, or coworkers. All of them could benefit from hearing from you. Again, it does not have to be a ten-minute video or 5,000-word essay. The challenge is to go out of your comfort zone and talk about something you know could impact someone else.  

Lastly, I want to say thank you to everyone who has ever read my blog posts and participated in the challenges. I have genuinely enjoyed this transition phase in my life, and these blogs have given me so much strength and creative expression. I hope you are encouraged to do something based on what you have read, and I look forward to the next chapter of the personal development arm of my business.  

Until next year,  
Prisca Francis-Eronini