Sharing your story can be transformative, not only for you but for the person who reads about you, hears you speak or absorbs your message through whatever means you choose to share it. There are hundreds of ways that you can make your story count but for today, I’ll stick with my top five, all of which I have done.
The first won’t come as a surprise. You could, of course, write a book! That book doesn’t have to be the factual account of your experience. It can be and that’s a powerful way to share your experience, but it’s not for everyone. I turned my story into fiction, offering the message I wanted to share with the world in a way that made sense to me and the reader I wanted to connect with. In another book I’ve written, I wanted to share the power of dogs in developing our understanding of growth mindset and resilience but as the book was for children, I needed to create a world that would engage five/six-year-olds and as my drawing leaves a lot to be desired, find an illustrator. Your book isn’t really about you; it’s about how you change the world for your reader. When you think about it from this new perspective, it becomes less daunting.
If a book feels too big to start with, then you could start a blog. There’s refreshing freedom with blogging that allows you to express yourself in the moment. You can share your story in real-time, bring your experience into the mix for context and ensure you find your audience through your authenticity. Whatever lights you up, whatever you would like to change in the world or whatever legacy you would like to leave, you could create a blog to support your mission.
Did you wince at the commitment involved in creating and maintaining a blog?! I hear you; I have one for my social enterprise and one that you’re reading now. You could share your story in an article or an interview. There are easy ways throughout the year to approach journalists for print, radio or TV pieces. For example, if you have a story of adoption, National Adoption Week is in October in the UK. If you have built an entrepreneurial business based on your own experience or expertise, World Entrepreneurs’ Day is in August. If you have rebuilt your life thanks to being outside and embracing the power of gardening, National Gardening Week is in May. They’re random examples, I know, but you can see what I’m getting at!
If you’re thinking, ‘they sound ok, but I want to go BIGGER’ then you could turn your mission into a business, social enterprise or charity. I did, admittedly by accident, but it has worked out ok! I wanted to offer survivors of rape and sexual violence a new model for recovery and resilience building. Thanks to my first book, I stumbled across a way to do that in person and the rest, as they say, is history. What is the one thing you would like to change in the world? How can you make that change on a BIG scale and make it sustainable?
My final thought (for now) on ways to make your story count is more personal. Set yourself a challenge that directly relates to something you want to achieve, overcome or prove to yourself is possible. My challenge was Ironman Wales (the most awesome of all the awesome triathlons – in my opinion). For me, the mental and physical challenge gave me the perfect amalgamation of reclaiming my mind and body. The event itself was one thing, but it was the training that changed me, the decisions each and every day to give 100% to training, deciding what to fuel myself with and how much sleep to get. I was never a threat to the elite field, but to me, crossing that finish line meant I had changed my own narrative.
Whatever your story, you can choose how to make it count!