5 Ways You Benefit From Sharing Your Story Of Struggle
From sports teams to movie characters, we love rooting for the underdog. While that’s inspirational for a film or a story, it can be hard to keep perspective on in your own life when you’re experiencing struggle.
Most of us are so engrained in a “fake it until you make it” mindset that we bury our struggles as far under the surface as possible. We downplay our failures, rationalize, hide our fears and project a sublime life to everyone around us. Since we’re all so good at pretending everything is going great, why bring your story of struggle to the world?
It has been said that what is most personal is most universal. That’s why your story can bring so much value. When you make it okay to share that the path to success has never been a straight line, but rather a squiggly, uncertain journey, you can bring tremendous value to the world.
Here are five crucial reasons you should share your story of struggle with the world.
1. You can shine a light for others.
A mentor’s hindsight can be another’s foresight. Sharing your stories of times of struggle can greatly help other entrepreneurs. Sharing your story will help them to realize that they aren’t alone, that others have been in similar predicaments and made it out alive. Sometimes, that is all someone needs to get through a tough time. You can help even more with ideas and solutions for other entrepreneurs to apply creatively to their own problems.
2. It allows you to practice courage.
It’s uncomfortable admitting to others your failures, struggles or other moments of weakness. That’s true for everyone, yet opening yourself up to moments of vulnerability is surprisingly gratifying. Fear is something we all experience. Publicly admitting to the hardships of your experience is scary. Even scarier is admitting your personal failures and mistakes. Opening up in that way about your life and your business requires courage and being courageous requires practice. Be honest and open with the world about the good and the bad. You’ll be amazed at the reaction you gain from others.
3. People will root for you.
You love a good comeback story. We all do. So why not share the ways in which you’ve faced great adversity and bounced back? Not only will you inspire and help others, but you will be surprised how many people start to root for you and your success.
Stories of the little guy winning are engrained into us from birth. David and Goliath, Jack and the Beanstalk and countless other fables and stories we tell our children are all about rooting for the unlikely contender. If no one knows your struggles then they’ll never know to cheer for you or what you’ve overcome to reach where you are today.
4. It helps you remember the lesson you learned.
Another great aspect of sharing your story with the world is that it helps you to objectively analyze your own past. What went wrong and what went right? Did you handle everything the best way you could? What learning opportunities are there in your past problem solving that you could improve upon today?
Understanding what happened and how you handled situations can provide you with clarity on how to do things better moving forward. You can also share key takeaways alongside your story so others can learn, too.
5. It keeps you humble.
When you realize where you’ve come from you can gain greater perspective on how hard you’ve worked to achieve what you have right now. Feeling grateful for the moment you’re in right now is a rare gift and a humbling practice to keep everything in perspective. You’re always going to want more, but taking that moment to share the story of how you got this far can instill gratitude for the journey up until now. Learning to practice gratitude and the right amount of humility are important for your success in business and life.
Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right (Wiley). He's based in Vancouver, B.C.