Please don’t read this and move on before you have taken some time out to think about how this applies to you and your business.
I had a kind of epiphany last night and I have woken at 4.45 a.m. to write my thoughts because I couldn’t get back to sleep again before I shared this.
I interviewed Kate Loving Shenk last night about her experiences with Google Hangouts but this has nothing to do with that other than the research I carried out prior to the interview.
(Incidentally, this applies just as much to me and probably 95% of people that I encounter in business.)
Prior to the interview, I was looking at Kate’s Facebook profile and website and was interested to see that she is a spiritual healer with a special interest in eradicating the fear of death. She also has 3 decades of experience as a nurse.
After meeting Kate in a Google Hangout, I realised that she has a kind and caring personality but her profile and website are not instantly magnetic and it bothers me greatly because I think they could be. (I think I need to adjust this in my own business too, by the way.)
I lay awake thinking about why we are attracted to other people and particularly the business leaders in our online community. In almost every instance their magnetic power lies in their personal story.
Let me give you some examples off the top of my head:
Brendan Burchard – at the core of his personal story is a near death experience in a road accident when his immediate thoughts turned to the question ‘did I live, did I love and did I make a difference?’ This epiphany has driven his business forward to try to offer as much value to other people as possible so that he can answer this question in the affirmative when death finally comes knocking at his door.
John Thornhill – his success as 7-figure marketer derives from his story of working on a car assembly line in the north of England and his struggles to build a business whilst working on the line full-time. His story of success is magnetic to the many people who are also struggling in a job they hate and want to emulate John’s success. We can identify fully with his story.
Omar Martin – his story of struggle as a door-to-door salesman positions him as someone that can teach us all about selling strategies. His wife was his sales manager and they have gone on to create a highly successful online business in partnership.
Dennis Becker – aka as ‘the 5-buck guy’ – he struggled with a retail store and ran up huge credit card debts before he finally found success. He went from despair to making something like $35,000 almost overnight when he promoted the Xbox. From that point on, he knew that he could succeed online and has gone on to be a highly respected and successful leader in our online community.
Ann Sieg – a leading trainer of network marketers, recounted how she struggled in network marketing until she started doing demonstrations of what happens to our gut by eating the wrong foods. She actually extruded some horrible gunk through a stocking in front of her audience in a graphical display that was probably horrifying to behold.
Dan Kennedy – his story was one of incredible struggle for many years before he finally broke through to point where he can command incredible fees for his marketing prowess.
Echkart Tolle – in his book, The Power of Now, he recounts how he was in the depths of despair and depression, to the point that he had thoughts of suicide. In fact, he said that ‘he couldn’t live with himself’ and then he started to question the ‘self’ he couldn’t ‘live with’ and he came to the realisation that it was the internal chatter which had created a fictitious ‘self’ or ‘ego’ and that, if he could remove himself from thoughts of the past and fears of the future, and just live in the present moment, he could live in a state of constant ‘bliss’. He recounts how he sat on a park bench for a couple of years in a near constant state of bliss as he began to appreciate the joy of living in the present moment. This story is magnetic to most people who also struggle with their negative thoughts.
In fact, in almost every single instance of a top brand, they have a magnetic story of struggle and redemption.
If you read about Richard Branson’s career, he flirted with business disaster for many years and even went to prison for a VAT fraud that subsequently shaped his ethical approach to business. His struggles with British Airways to establish Virgin Airways are also part of that branding story. Richard Branson’s personal story are very much part of the Virgin brand and the reason why he features in so much of their marketing.
Perhaps you can think about other successful leaders and what attracted them to you?
I can almost guarantee that it was something about their personal story that resonated deeply with you. Often it was the story of their failure and despair and subsequent recovery from that position that is a magnetic attraction to those that are still struggling to find success.
And so I return to Kate, who I mentioned at the beginning of this article.
The thing that kept me awake last night is that behind her interest in eradicating the fear of death is her personal story.
From reading her profile and website, I still don’t know what that is!
I am willing to bet that something in her personal story – perhaps her encounters with death as a nurse, or even a deep personal tragedy, has inspired her to share her experiences and insights on this subject.
The thing that really bothers me is that I don’t know.
And yet I think that this is the key to unlocking the potential of her business and income-earning ability.
And it’s the same with me, I don’t think my personal story, and why I feel I have something that I can to offer to entrepreneurs to improve their business and personal lives, is nearly as strong as it could be.
You see, it requires that we share our story of struggle and failure (something that we all experience at some point in our lives) and it shapes who we are and is at the core of why we are motivated to do important things in our lives.
The fact is that we often hate admitting our story of struggle and failure to ourselves (and particularly to other people) and we try to bury our hurt with all the stories of our successes.
It’s called ‘putting up a front’.
But by doing so, we do not connect and resonate with the very people that we can help most by sharing our story – often the exact same struggles that people are going through themselves and we can specifically help!
You see their personal experience is one of struggle and they cannot connect fully with someone who claims to have ONLY known success (- a claim that is just not credible by the way!)
‘Lifting the curtain’ and sharing our personal struggles and failures, and how we overcame them, is in fact the most important and magnetic thing we can do in our marketing.
The recent release of the film ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ recounts Jordan Belfort’s struggle to rise to success, his subsequent imprisonment for fraud and he now has a successful business centred around his powerful ‘Straightline’ sales system.
But it is his personal story, and the authenticity of it, that makes him truly magnetic.
In an article I wrote a couple of months ago, I recounted how my sister had paid $15k to Bo Eason, whose main purpose is to help people to find and articulate their personal story. (If you haven’t watched the video on that page, I strongly urge you to do so!)
At an intellectual level, I fully understood the power of his consultancy but it was only when I encountered Kate’s profile, and woke up last night thinking about it, that the lesson was fully driven home.
Has Kate had many encounters with death as a result of her nursing career? Did she suffer a personal tragedy? Did she become the person that people naturally turn to when death came knocking at their door? Did she have an epiphany whilst sitting at the bedside of someone who was dying? Did they reveal the secret of finding peace when faced with the spectre of death? Did she learn to come to an understanding of death through a long journey or was it an overnight revelation?
I really, really want to know these things because they are the important factors that compel Kate to do what she is doing and would compel me to listen to what she has to say on this subject.
(I hope Kate will forgive me for talking about her specifically but, as I say, I think this same lesson applies to the majority of other businesses I encounter – it was just her unfortunate luck that her business specifically sparked this insight within me and motivated me to write this article from the heart!)
I know that I have to address my own profile and website too and refine my own personal story further because my story is not nearly as powerful as it needs to be.
But I believe that this is what makes us magnetic as leaders of our community. This is what will drive our success as a business and a brand.
No one else has exactly the same story or experiences that you or I do, so no one else can exactly replicate our own special brand or business.
The only question is ‘can you and I articulate our personal story powerfully enough so that it magnetically attracts the specific people that we can help with our unique skills and experiences?‘
I believe THAT is the key question that most service providers and product creators have to address.
It is so critical to our success and fully realising the dream or vision that we have for our business and our personal life.
In fact, I would go further, it is critical to realising our real purpose in life i.e. to improve the lives of other people through the knowledge and unique experiences we personally acquired by living through our personal journey and how we overcame the many challenges along the way.’
That’s where our brand power really lies.
And the interesting thing is that we all have the ability to help others through our own life experiences.
I truly believe that ultimately this is the key to your branding success and mine – yes, there are other factors, like design and copy, but the real power of your brand to attract the very people we can really help lies in the story that lies behind our brand. Chew on that for a while and tell me I am wrong!