Friday, April 28, 2017

Sharing Your Story - 3 Women who Embraced Their Albatross & How You Can Too

by Robyn Hatcher

As a member of New York Women in Communications (NYWICI), an organization of professional women in media and communications, I’ve attended events recently with incredible speakers who demonstrate the power of sharing your story.

One event was with the amazing Madonna Badger, founder and chief Creative Officer at Badger & Winters, an advertising, branding and design agency.

Madonna began her presentation about how women are portrayed in advertising by asking for her slides to be turned off. Before she began her formal presentation, she wanted to share how she’d been struggling emotionally around the recent death of her ex-husband. She went on to relate her life-altering experience of losing her parents and three daughters in a fire from which she was able to escape. You could have heard a pin drop. 

I also attended an event where Morning Joe’s Mika Brzezinski spoke. Within seconds of taking the stage, Mika shared her experience of being fired from a job she loved.

NYWICI also hosted an evening with Arianna Huffington who collapsed because she was so burnt out from overwork.

All of these women used their stories to engage and inspire the audiences but they also used their stories to inform their mission in life.
After her tragedy, Madonna was determined to use her life to make a difference in the world. She decided to tackle an industry she knew--the world of advertising. She founded a groundbreaking movement called #womennotobjects 

Mika’s mission for helping women know and grow their value is a direct result of the lessons she learned following her experience looking for work after having been fired. She has a book and a speaking platform called Knowing Your Value.

And Arianna left The Huffington Post, to devote herself full-time to her mission of helping executives slow-down and invest in self-care.  

What have you learned from your trying times? How can you apply those lessons in your life goals? How can you turn your misfortune into your mission? 

Here are three things you can do (and one thing you shouldn’t):
  1.  Reframe your Shame: Often when misfortune hits, we hold it in and turn it into crippling shame. Reframe your shame by experiencing the emotion, as painful as it may be. If we try and run from it or hide it, it will chase after you and weigh you down. By experiencing the emotion, you take its power to shame you away.
  2. Own your Value: One thing Mika Brzezinski stressed is that even when your “stock is down,” you need to own your value. Discover and focus on what you’re great at, what value you bring to the world, what strengths you have. Write them down. Share them freely and confidently. 
  3. Listen for your lesson: It’s not always helpful to hear people say, “Everything happens for a reason.” But everything that happens CAN be a springboard to a discovery. What have you learned from this? In Arianna’s case, she learned that she wasn’t taking care of herself. She also revealed that taking care of herself was a value that had been instilled in her very early in life but she had ignored. Has any of your misfortune come about because you have betrayed one of your values? How can you turn that into your mission?
  4. Don’t be FAUXthentic: You know what I’m talking about. When you hear a story that has been carefully crafted to tug at your heart-strings in a formulaic predictable way and/or delivered in a way that seems over-rehearsed, unconnected or manipulative. Listeners can tell the difference between FAUXthentic and Authentic. When sharing your story on the page or in person, allow yourself to tap into your emotional memory and not your logical interpretation.
I recently heard a well-respected professional speaker say that nobody cares about our stories. I disagree. A well told, authentic, relevant story not only creates instant trust and rapport, but can also be healing to both the speaker and the listener. 

If you want to work on your story, I'd love to talk.


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