current trend in business is to tell your personal story. In my post, What’s Your Personal Brand?
we discussed creating your personal brand. But today we are going to dive a little deeper and talk about writing your personal story. But first here is my personal story:
In August of 1989, I started at the University of Tennessee as a freshman believing that I would go on to study business and the law with my goal being to become a corporate lawyer. Okay for those of you doing the math, I’m 46. Now that I have your attention back, my freshman year passed with my goals not really changing as I completed all your basic freshman stuff. But in my sophomore year, I took an introduction to marketing course that as they say changed my life. I connected with the material in a way that felt like it was a part of me. The principles of marketing just clicked with me. I liked the art and science of it. The way it was and is the perfect puzzle to figure out. How to show people that you can meet their needs with what you are selling? I was hooked. I declared my major in business with a concentration in marketing and began my career building marketing programs for organizations both large and small.
For a long time, it was just me building my career, completing my MBA, and looking for the right place that would allow me to utilize my love of my field. I worked with small businesses, large banks, retailers, and national non-profits where I learned that love of figuring out the puzzle suited me in many roles beyond just marketing. I developed the ability to see not only the larger vision but to understand the importance of the pieces that must fit together to make that vision happen.
Then another event happened in my life that change me forever. With some prodding from my Mom, I entered the world of online dating. I was skeptical. Figured that alone was going to be my path. But I met an amazing man, Sam, that became not only my best friend but my biggest champion in life. He inspires me to live up to my potential as a woman, a daughter, a mother, and a friend. If we meet in person ask me about my online questionnaire and what one thing I changed before I pushed the button to post my profile.
I continued in my career until we decided it was time for us to add to our family. As so many of you know just making that decision does not always lead to becoming parents in the ways you might first have thought. For us, it was a journey that led us to Korea, which happens to be the country my husband and his family immigrated from in the 1970’s. Today I am the very proud mama of my daughter Mia. This was the third time in my adult life that the world completely changed for me. All these things that I once thought out of my reach were a part of this amazing life I get to live.
Then one day my husband and I were talking at dinner about me starting a company. And my daughter said “Mommy’s job is being a mommy.” And that is my favorite and most important job but I realized I wanted her to know I was more than that. I wanted her to know that women were capable of amazing things when they put their minds to it. I wanted her to have a belief that anything was possible in life if you believe in yourself and surround yourself with the right kinds of people that can help you achieve your greatness.
That is where the idea for AMI took shape. Amy Matthews Integrated is a business consulting firm based on the premise that great ideas can and should be nourished, encouraged, and supported. That great ideas from women entrepreneurs do and will completely change the world as we know it. I knew that I wanted to take that love of marketing along with that need to figure things out and blend it with my passion for seeing women achieve. I knew that my role would go far beyond just drafting marketing plans, posts, and tweets. I knew that I wanted to serve as that partner and champion that helps women by holding them accountable to their goals and potential while helping them get things done. I wanted to help women entrepreneurs turn their ideas into profitable realities.
That’s my story. It has taken me a while to be able to write it and understand what needed to be included. Here are some tips for writing yours.
Don’t be afraid to get personal. I know that is hard for a lot of us that came up in the corporate world. But it is the way now. Many people want to feel like they really need to know you before they are ready to do business with you.
Don’t feel like you must share what you aren’t comfortable with. Of course, there are things you will leave out. I have left out things that happened in my life that shaped who I am but are personal to me and my family.
Make sure you have permission. If you are going to share things that involve others in your life make sure they know. In those cases, it isn’t just your story to tell.
You aren’t writing a biography or a tell all book. Start with your story like I have above. It shouldn’t be super long. Then begin to condense it down into a shorter look at who you are.
Once you have it don’t shy away from telling it. Incorporate this into your networking. As you follow Tina’s tips from Networking on Purpose
remember to use your story to create a personal connection with people.
Blend it. Make sure you blend your story with the story of what you do. It is part of what sets you apart.
I hope that the process you go through for writing your story is as positive as mine has been. And if you feel like sharing please do so here or on our AMI Facebook page.