WHY SHOULD YOU WRITE YOUR LIFE STORY / BUSINESS LEGACY?
I love listening to people share their life story or snippets of something that happened to them. When I’m working with a client who is either sharing their personal history or business success story, I know that what I’m doing is helping someone review the trajectory of their life — to connect the dots from where they’ve been to where they want to go.
From an individual perspective, why is writing your life story so important? Your written story not only means you get to leave a legacy for your family and future generations, you also get the opportunity to celebrate those who have been a witness to your life and, conversely, you to theirs. You get to record the details of your unique life experience and preserve your part of the family history — without anyone else changing the content.
Writing your life story gives you the opportunity to experience your life twice — you get to capture what has already happened and, in your mind’s eye, to ‘see’ the path or ‘patchwork quilt’ of your life so that you can reset the point to where you want to go next.
The process can be powerful, fun, and help you embrace the totality of your existence. It can also be complex yet cathartic. It can be emotional and entertaining and even comical, if you wish. Most importantly, you get to choose how you want to write your story, what you want to write about, and who gets to read it.
I recently worked with a client who was diagnosed with dementia. Just before he lost his precious memories, we were able to record his story, in all its rich wonder, for his children and grandchildren. Shortly afterwards, this gentleman tragically died, and, to this day, his family continue to acknowledge his book as being one of the most beautiful gifts they ever received from him. They can now read over his autobiography and cherish his memories forever.
Another client I worked with was suffering from motor neuron disease and, just before she could no longer speak, we managed to complete her book so that her nine and seven-year-old sons can read all about her when the time comes.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to record your story.
Why is it important for businesses to write their story? Why is it a worthwhile investment? Your business’ brand identity is unique. All your hard work, from the broader picture down to the smallest personal touches, are behind your business. By providing customers with a portrait of the personality and emotion driving your business, you not only help convey its mission, you instil trust in the brand. According to a study published in the Harvard Business Review in 2012, 64 per cent of consumers cited ‘shared values’ as the primary reason for maintaining a relationship with a business.
By writing your story, you have the opportunity to reveal more of the human element behind your business and to elevate the perceived value of your brand. By sharing the struggles, challenges, setbacks, and the wins experienced along the way, you help others to appreciate the passion, drive, and resilience it took to successfully build your brand.
Writing about the success of the business, in a proud yet humble way, helps you capture a clear picture of what you created. As most of us know, running one’s own business is not easy, so sharing little-known facts about the company allows you to promote opportunities for engagement.
By sharing your success story with others, you convey your purpose and values to a wider audience, and forge a valuable connection with your clients, staff, and younger generations. It is your opportunity to inspire, educate, mentor and even entertain those who are hoping to create their own business legacy. The most successful businesses in the world have the most profound stories behind them — so why not share yours?
One of my clients wrote about how his company survived 20 years in the hospitality industry — and continues to thrive — when many aren’t fortunate to reach just five years. He didn’t reinvent anything on the path to success, but by sharing his personal story he was able to connect with his consumers on a different level, and thereby attract more people to his restaurant as they found they could relate to him in a deeper sense.
Currently, I’m working with an Australian entrepreneur who is developing a worldwide app. By putting his story down on paper, he is sharing the highs and lows of his journey, which celebrates not only his successes so far, but the challenges he has faced along the way. This includes finding the right mobile app developer, identifying the most suitable trademark attorney, and making the strategic decision to launch the app in the USA ahead of Australia (an incredible story in itself). Aside from being a valuable personal keepsake, my client’s book will provide helpful tips for others keen on developing their own ideas about launching a mobile app.
Writing and sharing your story adds a personal dimension to your business. It will help take it from a brand that is heard about, to a brand that is known.
What will your story be?
If you would like to know more about how to get started on writing YOUR story, contact me today.