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Once upon a time is a simple and captivating phrase from an early age. With this phrase, we are exposed to the magic of storytelling since human beings first walked on earth. We’ve been sharing stories, warning each other of mortal danger, teaching right from wrong, and inspiring our tribe to take action. The latest science tells us that our bodies produce the hormone oxytocin. We start to form a connection with the person to whose stories we’re listening, which binds us together and helps us make sense of our experience. I’m a storyteller. I started my career as a teacher, I became a career guidance counselor, and now I want to help business leaders in this digital era reconnect with their audience with the power of the spoken word.

I’m here today with my site, ‘salmish’, to encourage you to help you embrace your own story and share more of it with the world. I say more of our story because most of us are holding back in the bite-size world of social media. We share only the selected highlights on our Instagram feeds and Facebook walls. We proclaim to the world all the beautiful things happening to us.

You know, those staged selfies. Well, those pictures only paint half the story, like it or not. We become museum curators archiving our achievements in digital form, yet for many of us, those posts only paint part of the picture. It’s like watching the trailer for a movie without actually seeing the whole film. You get a sense of the action, but the experience lacks emotional depth. Think about all the things you’ve achieved in your life so far, that series of events that led you to be here and read these words, those fantastic adventures, and all the disastrous decisions that make you who you are. How well do you share those stories? When do you share them, or do you keep them to yourself? Most of us dismiss our stories as irrelevant, embarrassing, or uninteresting. Yet, those stories are vital in helping our audience understand who we are, and when I say audience, I mean anyone you communicate with, your family, your friends, and your team at work.

What Happens When you tell your story not only on social media

When you share your stories, you create a connection; When I started my journey as a teacher, before that I decided to go to drama school at 20 years of age, and I thought it would be easy. The reality was very different. The journey could have been more linear.

One rainy afternoon, I found myself sitting in a dull office; it seemed I was struggling to find my identity. I was creating a story and turning it from something exciting and unique into something bland and vanilla, the drama had disappeared, and the narrative had become dull in an attempt to try and fit in. I had lost my sense of identity. Not only that, but I see it many times with the clients I work with: we are reluctant to share the things that make us, who we are for fear of appearing either dull or arrogant, and yet stories are the very thing that makes us who we are.

I’m not advocating being boastful or regaling people with a long list of all your accomplishments. I support sharing things about yourself that help you connect with your audience. We don’t read the CVs of the people we admire, we read their biographies, and we want to peek behind the curtain to experience the highs and lows. Sharing your story is an act of vulnerability; it requires allowing yourself to be seen, but with exposure comes power in the digital age of social media.

Social media why-we-are-here

Are we alive only on Social Media?

In the age that we live in, invisibility and anonymity are just not options. A quick Google search of your name yields reams of data. Your story is out there; it should be you; who tells it. Now, whenever I talk about what I do, I reveal much more about my past—the highs and the lows. I want to prescribe sharing some part of your story at every opportunity; why? Because it will make the world a more connected place. We live in a time-poor society, where we’re encouraged to keep things brief and stick to facts to ditch emotion for logic. Yet, we are imaginative beings; when we give our stories a voice, we allow them to resonate in the hearts and minds of the people we interact with as soon as a story has been told. It has momentum and levels that allow us to do more than just document our experience. They will enable us to imagine and create what is yet to come, which will trace our past, shape our future narrative, and continue to influence the stories we tell in a simple three-act structure with the beginning, middle, and end.

My reason for being here

Instead of summarizing my experiences in 140 characters or uploading the perfect photo, I’m here today because I’ve been lucky enough to get the opportunity to share my story with you. It might feel like a step outside my comfort zone, but it’s an act of generosity that will create an instant human connection, and who knows where that connection could lead? The stories of your past shape the story of your future; once upon a time, that time is now.

My reason for being here tonight is to help you understand that discovering your personal narrative will not only guide you to find your life’s mission but also serve as a lifelong source of strength and motivation to help you accomplish that mission.