Owning Your StoryThursday, May 29, 2014
Fourteen years ago I received a 3:00 am phone call from a colleague stuck in India. This person had lost their plane ticket home for a flight that was scheduled to leave in less than two hours and were counting on me to get them out of their mess from half a world away. Fortunately, this was back in the pre September 11th days when my advice of "turn on the waterworks at the ticket counter" worked. Today, that solution wouldn't go very far. Then again, you can now reprint a ticket easily thanks to advances in technology.
What does that have to do with what I do now? Everything. A large part of what I bring to the table is the ability to look at situations and find solutions that work. Everything I experienced in that job – the stresses, the deadlines, the crazy phone calls, the amazing people – brought with it a lesson that shapes the way I see the world and approach business. Every other experience in life does as well.
Every job and project you've worked on in the past is part of what you bring to the table. A client asked me the other day, "Why would anyone care what I did 20 years ago?" My reply was because it mattered – and when she started telling me her story, she too began to see that it mattered and that it applied to her career now. Life doesn't fit neatly into disconnected boxes; everything adds up, all the dots connect.
When you're telling your story, don't revise history. Own your real story – good and bad – and allow all of what and who you are to make the services and products you offer better.
Originally published June 2010