OK, what’s your story?
Is it good?
Are there plenty of bootstraps, hard labor, starting with nothing, build from the ground up in it?
Kate O’Neill, founder and principal of KO Insights, recently had a client for whom she helped compile her stories. The client was a CEO of an up-and-coming company, and O’Neill was helping her feel more comfortable talking to the press.
In business, stories sell. If your business is good, your stories – about your products or services, about your company and about yourself – will also be good. They need to be well told.
O’Neill wrote about her client in an Aug. 31, 2014, column in the Tennessean newspaper in Nashville.
Meaningful stories provide a colorful antidote to the mundane questions like, “what do you do,” O’Neill writes.
Business networking experts also try to coach clients to tell stories, even if they only have a few seconds to talk to someone in an elevator. One can answer the “what do you do” question with something other than “I’m in marketing.” The answer can be a colorful story about, say, how you helped solve a client’s problem. The person posing the question may or may not be looking for a clever answer, but a colorful story will likely be remembered for a long time.
O’Neill says the best stories are often those about employees who exemplify the company’s brand and culture, or about customers who have become raving fans of your product.
For those of us who may not be in business, crafting a good story from our job, or our life, makes interesting and often impressive party talk. We never know whom we meet, and we need to presume that every person who asks about us is a potential client or employer.
Experts on crafting resumes often advise clients that job titles are often meaningless. It’s better to spell out what you did for your employers, i.e. how much money you saved them, or earned for them, whether something you did helped the company make needed changes etc.
As children, or even as adults, we heard some marvelous stories – particularly around campfires. Many were fiction. But, we were excited to hear them, and our elders were excited to retell them, over and over. We remember them well into adulthood, notwithstanding the old saw about how a story changes with each telling.
Crafting your own stories can take work. You may even need help, which is what some of us do for a living. But you need to tell your stories right and well, so you don’t feel uncomfortable telling them to the world.
Some of you may be modest. Some of you don’t believe you have a story. Everyone has a story. Many have multiple stories. Tell them with confidence.
Looking for something to come into your life that will create a great story for you? Visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. Listen and watch some great success stories from average people who have completely changed their lives. You may want to do the same.
So work on your story. Get help if you need it. Learn to create conversations about your products, services, skills and yourself. You just may run into the one person who will be so impressed with your story that he or she completely changes your life.



We have to start life somewhere.
When we do, our relationship with the future is, well, complicated.
Kate O’Neill, founder and principal of KO Insights, discussed this idea in a May 11, 2014, column in The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville.
O’Neill discussed a project she had worked on for a large firm. One of the executives asked her how long a particular feature would take. She told him eight months. He asked how sure she was in that projection. She answered, “70 percent.” He told her that the longer it takes to get something done, the more risk there is and the less certain we can be about it.
The lesson: “Every day could be your last,” O’Neill writes. “Whether it is or not, you can take intentional, meaningful risks today to build the future you might get to enjoy.”
We hear a lot of talk today about uncertainty, as if forgetting the old adage that the only things certain are death and taxes. Part of the uncertainty talk is about taxes, and the fear of rising taxes is keeping some potential employers from expanding, so they say.
No one can know what will come next, but it should never stop us from acting. If you know you have something good, go for it. If you are unsure that what you have is good, then it may be best to stop, think and evaluate. How can I make this idea that I THINK might be good a little clearer to me?
Fear, sometimes irrational fear, can sometimes prevent us from doing something that would be good for us. Don’t let fear, particularly irrational fear, stop you.
Don’t blow something off because you THINK you know it may hurt you, before determining for certain that it will. In other words, standing in front of a moving train certainly could hurt you, so don’t do it. But examining a new business venture, or interviewing for a job that you may have never done before may benefit you. The worst that can happen is failure that you are certain to learn from. The best that could happen is a very positive life-changing experience.
You feel great when you’re “in the zone.” But if that zone is a comfort zone, be wary. The comfort could disappear, then what?
O’Neill writes that our complicated relationship with the future can make us live our days in a balance of hope and impatience. Have you ever told your (pick one: parents, spouse, teachers) that you are onto something big, and they ask you when you expect to achieve success? Though you would like it to be tomorrow, success often doesn’t come quickly. You may have an idea of a perfect time, but that perfect time may come and go. If you know what you have, and what you are doing, are good, don’t give up because your predicted timing has come and gone. As O’Neill says: “try, fail, learn adjust. Try, succeed, learn, adjust. Then, try, fail, learn, adjust” etc.
If you are open to looking for something that could give you the future you want, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. You will see how others are living their dreams, and how you could, too.
If you fear uncertainty, learn that uncertainty is a way of life. But don’t avoid positive action because you fear the uncertainty. Take, as O’Neill calls them, meaningful risks. Step outside the comfort zone if the comfort has disappeared. You will survive. You could thrive, if you maintain the drive. Forget the fret. It wastes energy.
You may not know the perfect time, but it is out there if you keep looking for it.