I have an email series which goes out when people opt-in, called the Six Rules of Storyselling.
For a while now I’ve been toying with adding a seventh rule, which is this:
Rule 7: People are both more like you, and less like you, than you can ever imagine
The stories people relate to the most are the ones you didn’t want to tell, because you worried nobody would care. Or you worried you might come across as ‘unprofessional’.
You know what? Being a ‘professional’: an expert at what you do, is one of my highest values. And yet I’ve spent two whole days now wearing pyjamas. Some of you will relate to that anecdote, at least on occasion.
People relate to more of your story than you think, even when it’s slightly weird.
Better still, people nearly always relate to the mistakes you’ve made. Boy do we love to hear about mistakes! There seems to be this idea that telling your story means showing up and saying “hi, I’m John Smith. I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was six, and started 27 million-dollar businesses…”
Yaaaaawwwn. Where’s the struggle? Where the hardship?
At the same time, people are less like you than you can possibly imagine.
All you really know about someone’s true motivation for buying is that they have hopes and fears, and they aren’t you. They don’t have your level of knowledge about what you do. They don’t understand the terminology. They make buying decisions on what for you, are wacky reasons.
This contradiction is something to lean into in your marketing. Take courage from the fact that the buyers on your list will relate with the stories you share, if they are told well. And accept that people are less like you than you think. Just because you would buy or click or respond to something, doesn’t mean anyone else would.