She had been invited to dinner at the home of a young lawyer she was recruiting to work with her in the mayor’s office. What harm could it do to enjoy a meal with the young woman and her fiancé, just to ease their minds. They had wondered if leaving behind a big paycheck in the private sector to pursue a career as a public servant was the right move for the young woman.
The young attorney had graduated from Harvard with honors, and was enjoying her career at a high-profile law firm. Her fiancé, a young Harvard graduate himself, had a heart for their community. So, over a casual dinner, the representative from the mayor’s office convinced the two up-and-comers that the new post would be the right move, and had the potential to make a difference in their lives and the lives of so many.
The mayor’s representative was none other than Valerie Jarrett, the longest-serving presidential senior advisor in American history. And the young couple she had to convince to pursue a life of public service?
Michelle Robinson and Barack Obama.
That was the story Valerie Jarrett shared last month at the 130th commencement for Spelman College. That is Valerie Jarrett’s story — or at least part of it. But it’s hers alone. It is unique to her and to the overall journey she has traveled in her career and her life. No one else can tell that story.
And as Valerie Jarrett told the audience that day, “Own your choices and tell your story.”
So, what’s your unique story?
We all have one. Your story reflects your experiences and expertise, your life lessons, your mistakes, and your triumphs. Your story includes the aha moments, the OMGs, and everything in between.
People are drawn to stories. That’s what they’ll remember when they read your book. Oh sure, your bullet points, spreadsheets, comparison charts, and pie graphs are nice. Even your 6-step process is impressive. But above all of that, the readers of your book will remember the stories you share about how you learned what you know, who influenced you, the goofs you made along the way, and the wisdom gained.
Find a way to nail your story in your book. When you value the journey you’ve traveled to get where you are, and when you’ve dusted off the scrapes and scabs of life to the point that they no longer hurt to the touch, you’re ready to tell it. Only then can you share a story that readers will connect with in an authentic, emotional way.
That’s the stuff good books are made of.
Anita R. Henderson is president of The Write Image, LLC and creator of the Write Your Life Coaching Program. Her work with professionals and entrepreneurs has resulted in multiple award-winning books and has helped authors grow their media and online visibility, speaker platforms, industry credibility, and overall confidence in their ability to write a compelling, high-quality book and leverage it in their business or career.