When I decided to go all-in and launch my copywriting business, I started doing all the things – company name, website, networking. I put a tagline and an elevator pitch together and hit the ground running. Okay, maybe not running, but walking fast. As I have settled into my business and it has grown and evolved, my initial story is not necessarily my whole story. It was my story in motion while I was getting everything together.
We talk a lot about our stories and how they mingle with our branding. But have you really done a deep dive into your personal journey from day one? When you go back in your history, you can reflect on and search for situations, events, and challenges where you developed strengths from dealing with those times.
For instance, one of my first jobs was in a small retail clothing store in my town’s center. The store was never busy, and they started to cut my hours shortly after I started working there. Then one day the husband fired me because he thought I was stealing. Now at 15 years old, I was embarrassed and mortified and so upset that I had been accused of this. Looking back now I can see that he was probably also embarrassed and did not want to admit that the business was failing. I also think he didn’t want to pay unemployment so he fired me for something that would prevent that. He chose pride and shame over honesty.
It’s no surprise that honesty comes up as one of my top values and strengths in every test I take. I am honest in my content and with my clients, and I urge them to be honest and original in their content as well.
If you’d like to uncover some of your own stories that built your character, here are some exercises you can do:
- Start a chronological timeline of events in your life that have had a profound effect on you, both positive and negative. Take your time. Go through 5 years at once. Keep revisiting and adding things you’ve missed.
- Select 5 year chunks of time again, and choose the 3 events on your timeline that impacted you the most in that 5 years. Then journal separately about each experience – how and why it happened, how you felt then compared to how you feel about it now, and how it changed or strengthened you in some way.
- Go through these journal entries and reflect on the skills, strengths, and talents you developed because of these life experiences. Make as long of a list as possible. And be confident and generous with yourself here, these are the things that will separate you from your peers and colleagues.
This awesome list you have started to build is your personal superpower list. Those strengths are the things that make you unique.
What can you say about those strengths and how they enhance how you work with people?
Do you use two or three of your skills or talents together to offer your clients something no one else can offer because of the experiences you had along your story timeline?
There’s so much to brainstorm here and plenty of ideas for communicating your originality and genuine abilities to your clients. Don’t forget to go back to the other time frames in your life and repeat the process to extract additional unique skills and abilities that you developed on your journey.
You are stirring the pot with these exercises, so be sure to give yourself some time to process and handle any feelings that might come up. And take a moment to thank yourself – this is not easy work. Make sure you take time for some self-care when you’re going through your story this way.
If you’re interested in getting some support around crafting a deeper story, let’s talk.
Right now, in the Content Development Incubator, we are establishing a creative practice to elevate the quality of the content we write for our businesses. We are building stronger ideas, unique perspectives, and confidence in how we do what we do like no one else. The next session of the Content Development Incubator starts on September 21st. If you’d like to join the waitlist, email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org