For most of us in business, 2020 was a year of personal and professional challenges. Some of you are still fighting your way bravely through an obstacle course full of financial and emotional hardship. How can you turn your 2020 challenges into 2021 success stories? The answer is found in your story of resilience where you’ve undoubtedly had to tap into, in order to keep going.
From big brands to mom and pop storefronts, personal resilience is at the heart of many great business stories.
My own most compelling professional resilience story is not from 2020 but from six years ago this month. A week before Christmas 2014, in one heartbreaking phone call after another, I let go of my team of freelancers. Up until then, they were my “Ink Team.”
Unbeknownst to most of them, I was in a financial free fall and quickly approaching bottom. My fall from entrepreneurial grace included massive credit card debt, a failed business model, and the loss of my identity. It was my team or me. One of us had to go so my business could survive. This was a devastating reality check about the depths of my denial that I’d be able to turn things around.
The mistaken belief that I was “fine.”
I was not fine. My business was definitely not fine. The solution was a combination of that wake-up call, seeking out the right mentorship, and finding the courage to make tough decisions and sacrifices in all areas of my life. As a result, I became debt-free and rebuilt from the ground up, a business that I am truly in love with today!
Why am I sharing my resilience story with you?
As a memoir writing expert of 19 years, I’ve seen from the literary front lines how storytelling is one of the most powerful forms of communication. For instance, working with my client, the CEO of a $50 million dollar corporation who fearlessly shared her failures and lessons on the way to the top. She could have just written a standard “how to” business book rather than a memoir. But that would have lacked the impact of sharing her personal stories of resilience in the face of roadblocks.
As that client and many others have learned, sharing your personal story of overcoming obstacles, has the capacity to create a powerful personal connection and thereby trust and rapport with your customers.
Creating a personal connection with your customers is more important now than ever before.
Because it’s like that they have experienced more personal and professional obstacles in 2020 than in recent history. You can help them, by letting them know they did not struggle alone or in vain.
Share how you overcame the obstacles you faced this year. By sharing your story of personal resilience from this year, you have the power to lead your customers in uncovering the best of 2020, turning it into a positive for 2021. And chances are, your customers will be grateful to you for doing this!
This is especially true when you think of how much time we spend in our businesses, planning for the upcoming year, with 2020 being no exception. Are we to believe our 2020 goal planning was a waste of time? Absolutely not!
We can reframe our 2020 not by the things we expected to happen, but by what we learned from the things that did happen.
Here are 5 Tips for telling your 2020 story of resilience
Here are some tips to tell your story in a way that strengthens the connection with your customers and attracts new ones for the New Year:
- Be authentic! Portraying yourself as a complete, three-dimensional person (not just your business) can be a customer magnet
- Share stories with detailed takeaways of how you overcame obstacles. This provides instant, actionable value to your customers. People remember value.
- See how you can align your resilience lessons with your customers’ problems. How can the lessons you learned this year help your customers with the problems they deal with every day?
- What is the most effective content form through which to share your 2020 resilience story? This means having an understanding of where your customers are looking for which types of content from you. Unless you have information to the contrary, a good rule of thumb would be to start with your blog and/or email list.
- Here’s a structure for telling the story of each challenge you faced this year.
- Pick a challenge you faced and overcame.
- How did you push through it rather than quit in the face of it?
- What did you learn about yourself by displaying this resilience?
- How could you make this lesson actionable for others?
Above all, share the honest reality of your 2020 story and resilience lessons from the heart, without holding back or self-censoring. Sharing your story is not selfish – it is an act of service!
Christine Whitmarsh is a memoir expert who helps authors write life-changing books, taking them through book development, coaching, and ghostwriting services. She is also a bestselling author of five books, most recently the memoir “The Power of the Curve” has been described as an “Inspirational story about a curved journey to personal and professional success!” Christine hosts the podcast, “Your Daily Writing Habit.” When not inspiring authors to change the world with books, Christine is a passionate student of the aerial arts.
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