Why to Tell Your Story

I’ve written recently about telling your story and how to keep telling your story ad how some stories write themselves, but haven’t really delved into some deeper reasons to tell your story, so here’s the “why” of telling your story, both your personal story and the story of your business.

I spent the day today on the road with my family going to and from a funeral in Murfreesboro, TN. I have two teenagers, so part of the chatter on the way up was about why exactly we were driving 3 1/2 hours each way to go to the funeral of a lady we never met. It was an excellent teaching time, mainly to get through to a couple of teenagers that it’s not about them, but also that it was about our friend who’s mother passed away after 88 wonderful years of life.

It was a wonderful home-going celebration of this lady’s life, and the theme that ran throughout all the words shared about this lady was “stories.” Sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, and friends all spoke of the stories this lady would share about life, love, friends, family, history. Everyone who knew this lady knew everything about her life…

Because she constantly told her story, both in writing and verbally.

What’s this mean to you and me? Here’s 4 simple thoughts to answer that question, and I hope drive you a little closer to sharing your story.

  • All it takes is one generation who doesn’t know your story for your entire story to simply vanish forever. If you don’t regale your new employees with the genesis of your business, how will they ever know, understand, and live out the culture that you created?
  • How will they know how it all started? It’s said very often that you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been or where you came from. Or that you should always remember where you came from. But what if you don’t know where you came from? What if those who came before you never shared those stories? Who have you received advice from? I’ll bet you next month’s coffee bill that they gave you advice in the form of war stories from their own hard knocks.
  • Who else knows your story? Very few people know your own story as well as or better than you do, so who better to share your story than you? If you don’t share it, who will? We’re not talking NY Times bestselling autobiographies here, but rather simply how you got where you are today and why you chose that path, or that path chose you.
  • How do you entrench your team in the culture if you don’t tell them the stories behind each and every part of the culture and why that particular word or phrase is used? How will they know?

You have to tell them. Everyone loves a story, and everyone has a story. Your story matters. Tell your story, or it might just vanish. That reason alone is a huge part of why we’ve engaged in telling the stories of the people who have walked the halls at Atlanta Mission. Their stories are rarely told, because many times their stories are not pretty and don’t always end in “happily ever after”, but those are the stories that make us understand how important our own stories are to the people right next to us.

I’ll let you decide whether these points are more appropriate for your family tree or for your business, but it’s likely that the two are very intertwined.

What do you think about that?

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