I am brave

Speak Your Truth & Be the Author of Your Own Stories

Sharing your story is the best way for you to influence, teach, and inspire others. Stories will help you bring people together to connect ideas, values, and purpose. They convey culture, history, and values.

Be brave, confident, and empowered to speak your truth.

5-Minute Moments of Affirmation

Confidence and Empowered

Define Your Own Narrative

As a business professional, or anyone who intends to set their own terms and define. a brand, it may be important that you define your narrative first. You shape the stories about who you are, why you are here, what you believe, what you stand for, where you belong and where you choose to go in life. It's your brand to define.  Your personal brand is the foundation of your professional image, so define with intention.

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Be the Author of the Stories that Will Be Told About You

Personal stories are powerful because they bring our journeys to life. Sharing those stories help us heal, grow, and understand how we view and move through the world. Stories are universal, they provide a pathway to common ground, empathy, and support. They also help to shape our intentions, actions, goals, and habits. 

So, what do I mean by "our stories?" Stories are the things that you tell yourself over the course of your life. They are often rooted in memories and the emotions associated with our lived (and perceived) experiences. Our stories are often based on assumptions, some rooted in truth, others not so much. Our stories are often influenced by gender, culture, and social norms; including religion and family history.

Why are the stories we tell ourselves so important? How we define our experiences and recount our memories control to some degree, how we live our lives. The stories we tell ourselves impact how we see ourselves. They impact our self-esteem and self-worth. They can catapult you to move through spaces with confidence and self-assurance, or not. Stories are powerful enough to thwart your drive and success.

It is often said there are three sides to a story,  your side, the other side and the truth. The consensus is the story that gets out first is the one that prevails as truth. Let me illustrate the point. Let me introduce you to a former client, we'll call her Joyce. Joyce is a well-known public official in a metropolitan area. When I think of her, I recall her speeches, her achievements, and her impact on the communities that she served. I would probably detail some of her challenges, especially those she faced during her campaign. I was part of the team of people who were responsible for positioning her to be seen as worthy to her constituents to get their votes. It was my responsibility to ensure her brand was aligned with my interpretation of her stated purpose, values, mission, and goals. That is my side of the story.

Others who met Joyce had varied impressions of her. Some found her to be distant and aloof, others found her straight talk refreshing. It was the task of the marketing team to portray her as both attentive and approachable. However, I believed that community members hearing from Joyce directly would be more impactful than any images, or copy that that I could create for her. Joyce's energy, her voice, and her body language would have a greater impact on her followers. She could convey her messages far better than any brand manager, journalist, or public relations director could ever put forth. No one can tell Joyce's story better than her. We worked closely together to craft her story in a way that helps others understand her motive, desires, and her ideas for the issues that are important to them. This tactic forged common grounds.

Many people soon began to admire Joyce because she was transparent about her thoughts, emotions, and experiences. She shared openly about the childhood trauma that shaped her views on homelessness for example. Those who heard her message could feel her passion for the well-being of children. It is because of her experiences with hunger as a child that she is determined to put forth policies to help families who live with food insecurities. Joyce fights for funding for school lunch programs to provide nutritious meals because she understands how at least 2 meals per day, for five days a week, will positively impact a child's ability to thrive. As a constituent, you may resonate with her why and find her dedication to this cause to have more value than her lack of bubbly personality. 

Jane sharing her story, in her own words, rejuvenated her campaign. This is an example of why it's important to tell your own story. Be brave and authentic. Share your story with friends, family, colleagues, followers, and constituents so they get to know who you are. Reduce misunderstandings and misconceptions by getting out front with your own truth. You must tell your story before others shape a narrative that doesn't collaborate with your brand image.

Emotional Intelligence

Body language experts, (and wannabes) attempt to decode little nuances in your behavior. Those nonverbal cues often speak the loudest. Body language includes physical behavior, expressions, and mannerisms to communicate, without words. Most body language is done instinctively and subconsciously. They are speaking to others, often without your consent. It is essential to understand (whether you're aware of it or not,) when you interact with others, you give and receive wordless signals.

Joyce wears her heart on her sleeves. From my perspective, she was comfortable with showing her most intimate emotions openly and honestly.  Unfortunately, for many women, wearing our hearts on their sleeves is not encouraged behavior. Joyce's authenticity implies that she could control her feelings in public. It was clear that she understood the emotions of her suffering constituents, but for some voters, the greater question was whether she was friendly. Joyce may not work well as a Walmart greeter but her emotional intelligence and her expertise made her an effective leader.

Women in leadership

The Emotional Intelligence of Service Providers Doing Emotional Work

Emotional intelligence is the ability to navigate the foggy world of emotions while also harnessing your emotions for your highest good.

Helping, Helping Professionals

For those who work on the front-lines, it is critical to be in tune with your emotions. It is essential, not only your work, but equally as important, to care for your well-being.

Embrace Change

Don't fear change. Actively pursue new opportunities to grow. Change is the pathway to new experiences. 

Strong Sense of Self-Awareness

Do the work to understand yourself in deeper and more meaningful ways. Be confident in your strengths while maintaining attention on your areas in need of attention. When you are in tune with your emotions,  you can identify situations that trigger negative responses. Further, self-awareness helps you prepare to avoid unhelpful, unhealthy, reactions.

Show empathy for others

Imagine for a moment that you are a parent struggling to feed your family, would you connect with a leader who is cool, calm, and collected? Would you relate to Joyce, who is passionate, and speaks with vigor and a sense of urgency about solutions to solve the problem of food insecurities for families? Or would you prefer a candidate that is friendly and sociably outgoing?

Assertively expressive

Understanding there is a difference between being assertive and aggressive, people with high emotional intelligence are comfortable advocating for themselves, and others. They may be passionate and forceful but they do so in a respectable way. You don't need to operate from the prison of insecurity. Good leaders can express their needs and desires without infringing on the rights of others.

Story Variations

Joyce has a sister, who shares her memories of being food insecure growing up. She too speaks of her childhood going to school and going to bed hungry. Both sisters grew up in the same home, under the same conditions. However, Joyce became a public servant to ensure other children did not share her experiences. She has dedicated her life to changing policies to fight capitalism and greed while advocating for public assistance for families. Her sister, however, has climbed her way to the top of Corporate America. She subscribes to the notion of "picking yourself up by the bootstraps." She doesn't support welfare programs, fair wages, or social programs. She believes CEOs should earn 324 times the median worker's pay because they work harder than everyone else. When you ask how they share their worldview, both Joyce and her sister say, "Growing up poor, not knowing where my next meal was coming from is how I see the world. How else would I tell my story?"

Standing in Your Truth

Sharing your story takes courage. It's not always as easy to do as it is for me to write this article encouraging you to do so. I get it. I understand how your truth may be harmful to someone else's legacy. If you have been betrayed by someone you love, it may be difficult for you to tarnish their story. If your truth goes against someone in authority, it may be equally as challenging to go against the grain. However, this is where you must be brave. Dig deep to find the courage to stand tall in your truth.

Speaking your truth is how you practice self-love. It affirms that you have a voice, you deserve to be heard, you should be cared for, and that you are worthy. Sharing your story, particularly if you are a helping professional of any kind, is important to care for yourself first. If you are like me, it may be more common for you to advocate for others and not so much for yourself. It's time to break the cycle., including the stories that we tell ourselves that allow us to neglect ourselves.

As a former social worker, I have selectively shared with clients stories about my experience with domestic violence. I used my story to help women understand the depth of my empathy. I have also been transparent with my partners, children, and the women that I mentor about my history with rape. Speaking to women who have the shared experience of sexual assault has been liberating for me. It has contributed to my understanding, acceptance, and reconciliation of the trauma of it all. Sharing my story helps women resonate with me. It is a central part of my human communication and emotional expression. Telling my story gives me the authority to write my narrative, and release myself from shame to be empowered and evolve. This is why emotional intelligence is essential to service providers, leaders, and women in business.

Sharing your story has the potential to help someone else not feel so alone. Would you share a time when telling your story has evoked compassion, support and influence from a stranger?

Sharing your story is the best way for you to influence, teach, and inspire others. Stories will help you bring people together to connect ideas, values, and purpose. They convey culture, history, and values.

Be brave, confident, and empowered to speak your truth strengthened with emotional intelligence. Click the red button below to get your 5 minutes of affirmation. 

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Embracing Your Worth: The Journey to Mental Wellness and Self-Love

Embracing Your Worth: The Journey to Mental Wellness and Self-Love



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