When I saw this quote I had to add my spin to it as it reminded me of a woman I met a few years ago at a networking event. She was wearing a pair of red high heels, nothing strange or unusual about that except she was in a wheel chair. She immediately got my attention (and not just because I love the colour red), I had to know why she would wear high heels when she was never going to walk in them.
I have to admit I couldn’t control my curiosity and I just had to ask her. Her response surprised me, she simply said:
“I love heels and just because I am in a wheelchair and I can’t walk in them doesn’t mean I shouldn’t wear them!”
Of course that’s true but how many of us would be thinking, “what’s the point?” and “what a waste of money!” Don’t pretend that didn’t cross your mind!
I hold my hands up I thought that initially but I was intrigued and it turned out to be one of the most potent introductions I have ever encountered.
That moment moved us away from anything business related. Our conversations became less of what we each did for a living and more about who we were as people. Our connect seemed to be on a much deeper level and only then did we concern ourselves with what we each did for a living.
I bought into who she is way before I was interested in what she did.
And in that moment I was reminded of three useful personal branding and brand storytelling tips:
- People really do buy from people. If you are in business know that people buy you way before they buy anything you have to sell them, so it is important that not only you understand who you are but that you also show up consistently that way creating an opportunity for people to know, like and trust you and then part with their hard earned cash. Even if you are not in business when people buy you they actually have a different listening for you and what you have to say and develop a greater respect for you.
- Be yourself. I deliberately didn’t say be authentic, personally I love the word, but these days everything from foods to fast cars is labelled authentic.The word is so overused that it has almost lost its meaning so I wanted to paint a more colourful picture to capture a fuller meaning. Being yourself (Authenticity) is not easy; in fact it’s easier to be what others want us to be, whether that means nodding in agreement when our boss says something we don’t agree with or trying to impress a group of friends.Everyday we are bombarded with so many messages telling us how to look, how to behave and even how to feel that we have to consciously choose to go against the grain.To be authentic (yes I’m using that word), we must accept the fact that we are imperfect and therefore vulnerable. We have to believe that we are worthy just as we are, even when we’re battling with the fear of not being good enough. It is in these moments that we are forced to let go of who we think we are supposed to be and allow the real us to show up. At this time we truly embrace who we really are, warts and all.
- Own your story
Your story gets told every time you show up, in the way you talk, what you wear, the way you walk, the way you communicate etc. etc. Own it and tell it your way. Be your own Storyteller otherwise someone or something will tell it for you. Just like my friend in the wheelchair own your space and if you need to wear high heel shoes wear them.
“You are the storyteller of your life and you can create your own legend or not.” Isabel Allende
It’s time to be a pair of stilettos in a room full of flats go and walk tall and tell you story.