Do you remember the career interest surveys from high school? These were self-inventories, a battery of questions designed to gauge your interests and skills. Your responses would lead to a recommended career path.
The survey told me I should be an accountant. That wasn’t surprising. I had done well in bookkeeping classes. I could see doing that for a living.
And, that’s about as much thought as I gave it. I enrolled in college as an accounting major.
Three days into my Accounting 101 class, I knew something was wrong. The professor was talking about the myriad details you would need to “account” for in this profession. It hit me: Could I really see myself doing this for the next 50 years? The interest just wasn’t there.
In high school I was also pretty good in English and journalism. When it came to doing homework, I always did the writing assignments first.
Turns out that in choosing a career path, I had overlooked my real passion.
That day, I switched majors.
After college, I worked 21 years in public relations and public education, all as an employee. I made good money and generally enjoyed the work, but something inside me kept saying, “You don’t belong here.”
So, I quit my job and in 2007 started working as a marketing consultant. A year into building that business, we experienced the Great Recession. (How’s that for timing?!)
It was a struggle. A mighty one. It was a time of great personal searching.
In the midst of that struggle, I joined a business networking group. A few months into it, I was asked to give a 10-minute presentation about my business. I remember wrapping up my talk by saying, “If there is one thing I do best, it’s helping my clients tell their story.”
That statement was completely off the cuff. The words had barely left my mouth when I thought, Did I really just say that?
Isn’t it funny how some of the most authentic and salient things we say in life are unrehearsed? They just sort of bubble up and spill out of our mouth.
As I sat down in my chair, it occurred to me: Yeah, that really IS what I do best. I’m a storyteller. That’s the value I bring to my clients.
One of the other people in that networking group was Grant Webster. We had known each other prior to that, but this group helped forge a deeper bond between us. We found that we had some similar talents as well as some complementary talents. In time, we became business partners.
And, now you know my story. You know much of why I do what I do.
There is a reason why you do what you do. It’s your story. And, you need to tell it.
Why? Because knowing your story is what leads to people trusting you, and trust is what leads to them buying from you.
As Simon Sinek says, “People don’t buy what you do; people buy WHY you do it.”
At WebBrand, we say it this way:
Businesses are built on relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust is built by telling your story…authentically.
I started down a career path several years ago based solely on a skills inventory. It didn’t square with who I am. It was inauthentic.
I challenge you to define WHY it is you do what you do. When you do that, and when you are able to communicate it to others, you will attract success.