Archive for September, 2014
Is there a part of your life story that you usually don’t share? It might be the basis for a jaw-dropping bio.
If you want to do business in today’s world, you’ll need some form of a bio for your LinkedIn profile, personal or corporate website, artist statement, or even your speaker one-sheet.
Great bios use the power of story and vulnerability to create a shared, meaningful experience with your audience. Telling a story of vulnerability is a powerful way to show people—rather than tell them—the unique value that only you can bring to the table.
Brené Brown, author of Daring Greatly, says “Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
Being vulnerable does, indeed, allow us to shine our lights, to become beacons for those who would join our tribe. But being vulnerable is scary.
I recently worked with a client who was a renowned music industry executive. I’ve changed his name and other details to protect his privacy.
“Jackson” made buckets of money for himself and his employers and had a network of hundreds of celebrities. My client’s successes were indisputable, almost intimidating, and that was what he was comfortable with. The culture he was a part of, the New York and Los Angeles glitterati, was all about image.
But his beginnings were more humble. He was from a small Texas town. His first job in the record industry was selling urban music. So, here was this white guy from the country trying to sell rap and R&B. But for Jackson, those sales were more than a numbers game. He was entering a whole new world. Curious and genuinely wanting to understand his end customer, he started spending time with the artists and their fans. He earned their respect, learned the market like the back of his hand, outsold everyone in his company, and was president of a major division within a few years.
Jackson was hesitant at first to talk so openly about his roots. But once he understood that being vulnerable would help people truly experience his high level of integrity, work ethic, and down-to-earth nature, he took the plunge. We began his bio like this:
“How does a guy from Harmony, TX (population 1,179) end up as a high-level executive building 8-figure businesses for the world’s most iconic music companies?”
Do you think people wanted to hear the rest? You bet!
Iterations of my own bio include a novel I wrote that secured me an agent, but went unpublished. This “failure” explains that I’m an excellent creative writer (it’s not easy to get a literary agent). Paired with my sales management background and design skills, it makes a strong case for me as a triple-threat branding expert for my entrepreneur and job-seeker clients.
Think of something you don’t usually share publicly, but that says a lot about who you are.
If you can let your guard down and give the gift of that story to your audience, they will know without a doubt how very special you are.
After all that, if you’re still worried about what people will think, remember that not everyone is a member of your tribe. Consider this other quote from Brené Brown:
“Don’t try to win over the haters; you are not a jackass whisperer.”
If you’d like to learn how to build a brand that is powerful in its vulnerability, one that propels you towards your personal, professional, and financial dreams, I invite you to get in touch!
Kimberly Robb Baker