What is my story? There’s Natalie who is a single mom with two kids trying to run her own business. Natalie who peed her pants on camera and wrote a book on pelvic floor dysfunction. There’s new mom Natalie who mowed lawns and sold Scentsy to try to make money while staying home with her babies. Young Natalie who visited her mom in prison and tried to remember no one is inherently bad or good. There’s Natalie who spoke on stages with some of her idols and lives a life she only dreamed of. Natalie who backpacked part of the Appalachian Trail and made a ton of mistakes along the way.
I have a lot of chapters in my story, and chances are you do, too.
I get this question a lot, where people want to know how to tell their story in a way that connects to people. Some people worry their story isn’t special or hard, others worry no one can relate to them, some worry their story is too hard to tell. But let me tell you, your story is important… but YOU get to decide which ones to tell.
The Emotion People Can Relate To
When thinking about your story, think about Chicken Soup for the Soul. That might date me a bit! But one thing all those books have in common is that each story is filled to the brim with emotion. Remember this: it’s not the story itself people will relate to, it’s the emotion. People can relate to heartbreak, sadness, elation, desire, passion, perseverance, etc. Maybe they can’t relate to hiking the Appalachian Trail or starting a business, but they can relate to wanting adventure or finding their passion. None of the stories in the Chicken Soup books are about how great things were, then they stayed great, then they were always great! That’s not relatable.
Find a story that shows overcoming obstacles, relatable emotions, and helps people to feel seen. No story is too boring if it involves emotion. Find a story that helps people not feel so alone. But if your story is too hard to tell, don’t tell it right now. In truth, sometimes you shouldn’t be open (I wrote about that HERE), so make sure you’re sharing something that isn’t still a wound. I promise you have stories other people can relate to. It’s all about the emotion!
Understanding the Power of Hope
The best stories can relate to the person you used to be. The person dealing with step one when you’re now on step 10. For me, my stories are best if they are for people just starting a business, beginning their fitness journey, or are brand new to personal growth and mindset work. Channel the younger you and remember what you were struggling with back then.
The most important piece of any story is hope. You don’t have to only tell stories that are resolved, you can tell stories that are still in the process of happening. But understand the power of hope. I’ve been staring at a dwindling bank account while taking a chance on a new business. I have been divorced and on my own while trying to change my family tree for my kids. I’ve tried something new and epically failed at it before becoming successful. Each story provides relatability, but also hope.
Take a look at all the chapters in your life. Which ones show an emotion that others can relate to, and which ones provide hope?
Your story is one that other people need to hear.