Your Personal Brand Story: Does It Need To Be A Story Of Struggle? Everyone faces challenges, but not all stories of transformation are filled with extraordinary events — and despite popular opinion, they don't need to be.
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Do you ever feel like your personal brand story is missing something?
Maybe you've noticed every other brand story presenting an immense challenge, but without a struggle to share of your own, you wonder if you need to amplify your life events to make your story more powerful.
If you've already tried that, chances are it felt ungenuine. You're not alone. When we see these stories of struggle everywhere, it can feel like our story should be like this, too. But that's not the case at all.
With a strong story, you can seamlessly resonate with your audience and get recognized as a thought leader. But the secret to making it more powerful lies in your authentic story… not a model that amplifies the challenges just to connect with your audience.
Keep reading to discover the best way to adopt the favored hero's journey model and write a killer bio that earns your audience's love and trust — even if you don't have a dramatic event or immense challenge to construct it around.
The hero's journey trap
You've seen the classic hero's journey: the hero is called to adventure, discovers a guide, faces a challenge, experiences a profound transformation and returns to the world with newly discovered gifts or insights.
While a great model, initially curated by author and professor Joseph Campbell, it does, however, present a trap. Over time, it has led people to believe that a story is not powerful or engaging unless it entails a grand challenge or adversity; such as a traumatic car accident, chronic illness, problematic divorce, falling into poverty; the list goes on.
We see it all the time: those inspirational stories of overcoming hardship — and when true, can make a huge impact! But, the challenge lies within those who don't carry a story of trauma or monumental challenge.
They end up trying to make their story 'more exciting' by overdramatizing their life events, which can do more harm than good.
The truth about creating a powerful brand story
When planning a novel back in 2014, I found myself seeking to force an element of evil into my story. It just didn't come naturally, yet I deemed it essential!
I blindly reached out to one of my favorite fiction writers of all time: Richard Bach. To my surprise, he wrote back! I was beyond excited! Here was his advice:
"Your stories can tell simply that your characters want to live a simple, gentle life. What stood between them and that life, and what did they do to find their way through the cliffs? How is your heroine different from others? What does she think and dream? What kind of wind blows her toward her dream, and what currents take her off course? How does she change, from Chapter 1 to Chapter 20?
The evil forces, the bad guys, are for writers who write for what they think their readers want... You do not need evil to tell a lovely story."
Reflecting upon this, I recognized how it applies perfectly to personal brand stories. You see, you are the character, and the dramatized challenges are the evil forces we feel are necessary.
So, despite the familiar storylines, your story does not need to entail this to be of influence.
Want proof? Many thought leaders have significantly impacted with their unique gifts and message without focusing on their challenges. Such as:
- Marie Forleo; who followed her desire to go against the conventional grain and chase more pleasure after recognizing she was unfulfilled;
- Jay Shetty; who followed his inspiration after meeting a Monk and not resonating with the route his student friends were taking;
- Preston Smiles; who followed his innate desire to share love and happiness, care for others, and do "big things."
Everyone faces challenges, but not all stories of transformation are filled with heavy, extraordinary events — and despite popular opinion, they don't need to be. You can simply run with a different story; driven by desires, dreams, insights and realizations.
How to write a killer bio (without amplifying your life events)
You can now unfold your most genuine personal brand story — without falling into the trap of feeling the need to dramatize everything. Follow the prompts below and infuse them into your story of transformation.
1. What was your chapter 1?
Reflect upon where it all began, who you were and what life looked like. This is the part that will resonate the most with your audience who knows this world well.
2. What stood in between you and your dreams?
Everyone faces problems and obstacles, big or small. What stopped you from creating your dream life at the beginning?
3. What "wind" blew you toward your dream?
Before seeking a new path, you were called to action, to adventure. What was the final straw that made you make a change? This could be a moment, a realization or simply your yearning desires.
4. What helped you find your "way through the cliffs"?
Who and what aided you get across the line? Identify mentors, guides, books or practices that helped you to give your audience insight — and connect the dots to you and your offer.
5. What "currents" took you off course?"
What challenges arose that could have stood in your way of success? For some, this is rock bottom; for others, it's simply a more profound insight or realization that makes turning back no longer an option.
6. How did you change due to your success "from chapter 1 to chapter 20"?
Reflect on your transformation and highlight what changed for you, internally or externally. This transformation can happen over some time or in one precise moment.
7. What gifts do you now have to share with the world?
Look at where you are today and what you have 'returned' with: new insights, wisdom, gifts, experience or purpose. What are you here to do, who are you here to serve, and how?