How to Use Storytelling to Talk About Yourself EP084

- When someone says to you, 'So, tell me about yourself,' how does that make you feel? Because for a lot of us, that creates a moment of utter panic. Because how do we tell the story of ourselves? How do we use storytelling to answer that question, 'Who am I,' either to ourselves, or to someone else? Well that's exactly the question we're answering today on Find the Red Thread. I'm your host, Tamsen Webster or, and don't forget to like and subscribe. (light, upbeat music) I know personally, I'm tempted when someone says, 'So, tell me about yourself,' to start at the beginning and to give them a recounting of every little thing that has happened over the passage of time. The problem with that, of course, is it's pretty boring for yourself, and for other people. But what people, I think, are really asking for when they want to hear the story of you, is they want to see the patterns of who you are. And that means we need to figure out what patterns show up over those passages of time. Okay, Tamsen, how do we do that? Well, we can do that if we remember one simple phrase, that what is true for you is what you do. It's another way of saying that how you see drives what you do, but what's true for you, what you believe to be true, what you value, the truths that you assume about the world, they guide everything you do. Which means if we're trying to structure this story, this answer of who am I, and where have I been, and tell me about yourself, then we just need to find the patterns of those truths. We need to find the things that we do over and over again, and we match them to the events in our life that have made them happen. 'Now that sounds all well and good,' you say, 'but how do I actually do that?' Well, that's where the pieces of The Red Thread, as we've talked about them before, come in. And remember those pieces are the Goal, the Problem of Perspective, the Truth, the Change, and the Action. So how does that map to telling a story of who you are? Well the first is, let's look at the Goals. Those are the things that over and over again, throughout your life, you have either tried to achieve for yourself, or you've tried to help other people achieve. So you could say, for instance, that 'I really like helping people find their true self,' or that 'I like helping people 'find the power within themselves,' that might be how I answer the question. So it's really looking for, what goals do you help you, or other people, achieve? Now the Problem of Perspective in this case isn't so much a problem, but it's really the kinds of problems that you're drawn to solve, again, either for your own sake, or for other people. What are the things that people come to you, over and over again, asking you to help solve? Or, what are the kinds of things that when you see them, either in personal or professional life, you can't resist going in and trying to help figure it out? Now for me, I often describe that as trying to close the gap between potential and reality. Or, trying to close the gap between energy and power. Now, you can find all sorts of different ways to explain that, but understanding those problems that you're drawn to solve, is the second key step in understanding how to tell the story of you. Now, the third piece, of course, is those Truths. So identifying for people, what are some of those core beliefs, values, mantras, truths, and axioms that guide how you see the world, and how you live your life? Now for me, a couple of those are, what's good for the goose is good for the gander, so that's why I'm really focused on fairness, and making sure that everything I do is something that I would do for other people, and vice versa. Another one is that a stitch in time saves nine. That I'm trying to find the fastest, most efficient way to solve a problem for people. And you see that as soon as you start to describe those truths, the tendency is then to explain, what does that lead you to do? And that's the 'who am I' story version of the Change. It's the what you do, over and over again. Those kind of high-level skill sets that you've developed. And then the equivalent of the Actions are the specific things that you've done over time. So for me, a high-level change, or the high-level Change, could be something like, 'so I tend to put in systems and processes in place 'in order to help people close that gap 'between potential and reality.' And then the equivalent of the Actions are the details of them. That's meant that over time, my skillset has largely fallen into communications, persuasion, marketing, messaging strategy, branding, presenting. Because I've found that (back to my Truth) that's one of the fastest, most effective ways for people to really understand what both the reality, and the potential is. So once you understand those pieces... What are the things that you help people achieve the Goals. What are the problems that you're drawn to solve: the Problems. What are those values, beliefs, sayings, mantras that you live your life by: the Truths. How does that lead to the high-level set of things that you do? And, what are the skillsets that you've developed as a result? Those are the Changes and the Actions. And when it comes to telling the story of who you are, then you just start to match up individual stories to some of those things. So, if I'm telling the story of myself, oftentimes what I'll start with is a Red Thread of myself. I will often say something along the lines of, 'I help people use processes to close the gap 'between potential and reality.' Or, if I'm talking to a business, I could say, 'I use a system or a process for figuring out 'that invisible connection between branding and behavior.' And then I can go back and say, 'and it all started way back in seventh grade, 'when I decided to do an experiment in my seventh-grade class 'testing whether or not people 'would think differently about a piece of chocolate, 'whether or not they thought it was a premium brand, 'or a regular brand. 'They did, by the way. 'Even when it was not a premium brand, 'if they thought it was, they thought it was better. 'So this,' I could say, 'is where my love of branding and brand strategies start,' and then I start to give other illustrations all the way along. So, will this give you the comprehensive way to tell your particular story? No, that's where I hope you will work with me, and think through, and watch some of the other videos, or listen to the other podcasts that I've done, but it will give you a place to start. So when you've got that question, or you need to answer that question, 'Well, tell me the story of you,' now you have a framework to start building that story. Find the Red Thread. Find the Goals, the Problems, the Truths, the Changes, and the Actions. Match those to events in your life that helped you reach, or helped you develop, each of those pieces. And then, you've got the story of you. I hope you enjoyed this week's episode of Find the Red Thread. I'm Tamsen Webster of And if you're looking to see how ready you are to put your Red Thread out into the world, go to Or if you wanna work with me one on one to develop your story of you, reach out to me at Until then, and the next time, may the Red Thread be with you. (light, upbeat music)