March 23, 2017

The Six Rules of Story Selling (3 of 6)

This article is part of a series of posts I wrote about telling better stories about your work. Whether you're writing a book, an email series, or a Facebook ad, you'll find these six rules helpful...

Rule 3: Fear of judgement is the biggest barrier to effective story selling.

When I was eight I lived over the road from a friend called Gaz. Gaz had go carts, and other fun contraptions. But, there was a problem.

Gaz wasn’t allowed to cross any roads.

Which meant he wasn’t allowed out of sight of the house.

So, I went off cycling with another friend, Michael. We cycled all the way through a nearby village called Port Sunlight, to a big A-road. We’d gone about 2 miles. Two miles now doesn’t feel that far, but compared to the end of the road we may as well have gone to Mars.

Michael lived with his Grandparents. On the way back I asked him what his Grandad would do if he caught him out this far.

“He’d kill me,” he admitted. “How about your Mum?”

“I don’t know,” I replied. “I think she’d kill me too…”

We didn’t tell anyone where we’d gone. Nobody saw us. And nothing bad happened. It was like a secret adventure.

I remember the story now because it pushed back the boundaries of my world. It was also an early prototype of the way I still live today. I’m writing these words from Florence, Italy. This time my Mum does know where I am, but the point of the trip is still the same. It’s an exercise in pushing back boundaries.

Telling your story is really a boundary-pushing exercise too. When you start to tell your story, it’s like travelling beyond the end of your road for the first time when you’re not supposed to. It feels exhilarating at first, and then terrifying. You worry that everyone is judging you. You worry your story isn’t “enough”. You worry you haven’t done many interesting things.

To tell your story is to invite judgement. People WILL judge you when you tell your story, and that’s the biggest thing to overcome. The only way to get round this is to continue showing up. To show up on a regular basis, telling your story.

Judgement has a polarising effect. When you put out your true story – your true version of what you stand for and what you believe in, some people will be drawn to you. And some people will be pushed away. Both of those outcomes are okay; what you don’t want is people in the middle. Having people love or hate you is infinitely better than having people not care.

Rule 3: Fear of judgement is the biggest barrier to effective story selling.

The only way round this is to keep telling your story.

People WILL judge you, whether you like it or not. Even if you don’t tell your story, people will still judge you. They’ll come up with their own labels for what they think you are, and what value you provide.

Wouldn’t it be better if you were in control of that?

Rob Drummond

Rob Drummond runs the Maze Marketing Podcast and Maze Mastery. Rob specialises in content production, ad creation, storytelling and CRM systems. He has two published books, Magnetic Expertise and Simple Story Selling, affordable on Amazon.

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