I recently met Diana Nyad, the famous long distance swimmer and motivational speaker and broadcaster who swam from Cuba to Florida at the age of 64. She is someone who not only has broken many records in long distance swimming, but is also a caring individual who connects with us while sharing her stories from her core that she uses to inspire and “reach out” to us. Why, because she uses her own experiences to make her point that we all can relate to on some level. She brings us into her world and shows us how she strived and continues to strive to reach goals, dig deep inside daily to understand and why she has certain goals and what the cause and effect will be behind them. to do so, and at times failed while reaching for her dreams. She is one of those individuals who never gives us and I believe never will when she has a goal to accomplish.
I like to use the term “reach out” because a lot of speakers, who I consider to be entertainers, coaches, and healers, truly want to reach out to us for a purpose. Sure, some of them like talking about themselves and their egos lead while they are up there on stage. But most of the best speakers in the world want to tell their story to drive change. They want us to come into their world and see how yes, we all can make a difference, even if it simply means empowering your co-worker who is down about his or her job. Again, we all have a purpose and story telling is one of the best ways we have of coming up with new ideas.
The big lesson: Ideas that catch on are wrapped in story. But there’s a difference between a good story and a transformative one that moves hearts and minds. But the story you tell yourself is the most important one of all. You cannot inspire others unless and until you have inspired yourself.
Share stories of triumph over adversity. This is what Diane Nyad does so well. Storytellers who inspire embrace their own story of triumph over adversity and, by doing so, challenge us to dream bigger. The more inspiring your origins, the more likely you are to use your imagination and invent worlds where everything seems POSSIBLE! If you have overcome adversity in your life, in your career, in your business, it’s important to share that story because we are hardwired to love rags to riches stories, stories about how people have faced life threatening diseases and are living healthy and successful lives. I can go on and on here with examples of famous story tellers who are changing millions of lives. And we love them because WE NEED TO HEAR THEM!. I am also writing this post because I believe you are one of these speakers. You are someone who can embrace your history, because it’s the stuff from which legends are made and legacies are left. Know that you are a legend already.
I see purpose in everyone and I know you want to talk, share your feelings, and most of all, to feel as though you are heard. Don’t we all? I believe we all can share stories that will change the lives of others. And most importantly, believe that companies need to be able to tell their own story, just as Patagonia continues to do in an effort to help individuals see and feel how this company is really trying to and continues to make a social impact to get others involved in their cause to nurture our world, our people, and our environment.
My dream is to do a TED talk and I will. I have so many stories I could tell from my personal challenges and successes and stories about my professional life working in Silicon Valley that would make the hair on your back stand up or even make you cry. I want to hardwire with people so that they can see and believe that they can overcome diversity, fight illnesses, become stronger by failing, help others evolve while showing them that they have a voice that needs to be amplified and shared with the world. So feel free to tell your story in the workplace or with friends. Tell your story to yourself and see how it feels. You never know who you are touching and inspiring. And show your employer that you have a voice that can lead to change and positive action. You are the story. Believe in your voice and its power.