Who are you? We asked this question in the first part of this series. And  we established that it is a question you can answer through storytelling, if you want to get to your promised land.

We also mentioned the reasons and benefits of doing this. Storytelling is one tool that can help you determine who you are, and if you this, you will unleash the power within you for great benefits.

Your identity or personality do not fully disclose who you are, neither do your job titles. What matters now are the solutions you can offer the marketplace and how are you communicating them. That is branding through storytelling.

I told you mine (in brief). Besides being an author, storyteller, editor….I put a power phrase….I unleash the power of storytelling. This is a promotional rider that says in 6 words, the solutions I offer.

Inside this promo is a story. Telling it has helped me to discover myself, that is knowing my potentials, strengths and passion which I did not know of, until I made the effort to find out who I am. That effort has determined what I do today for a living. I succeeded in doing so through telling myself, my story. It was a phased process which helped me to determine what I do in my consulting business.

Please take the promo riders of some great corporations. Marriot Hotels…The Spirit to serve; Coca Cola…Make it real; British Airways….We never forget you have a choice. There are so many others. You can view these riders as titles of corporate stories. Corporations use them to get attention and generate interest in their business.

Behind every great corporation is a story. This is true and they make efforts to tell the marketplace their stories. These corporations have reasons for doing that. For Nike, the global maker of unique sports shoes based in Oregon, USA, the title of its corporate story is: The Nike Story? Just Tell It! Can you see the action in it? The company is asking you to tell its story. To tell it, you have to understand it.

Every new Nike employee is told this story which they imbibe and tell others who care to listen. Some highlights of the Nike story:

  • The best way for a company to create a prosperous future is to make sure all of its employees understand the company’s past. That’s why many veteran execs at Nike spend time telling corporate campfire stories.
  • Why? Because Nike has made understanding its heritage an intrinsic part of its corporate culture. Think of this approach as internal branding: The stories that you tell about your past shape your future. Which is why, these days, Nike has a number of senior executives who spend much of their time serving as “corporate storytellers” — explaining the company’s heritage to everyone from vice presidents and sales reps to the hourly workers who run the cash registers at Nike’s stores. “Our stories are not about extraordinary business plans or financial manipulations,” explains Nelson Farris, 57, Nike’s director of corporate education and the company’s chief storyteller. “They’re about people getting things done.”
  • To foster that kind of understanding, the company launched its corporate-storytelling programmer in the late 1970s, as an hour-long lesson given to new employees. Today the orientation lasts two days, and the story of Nike’s heritage is the first item on the agenda.

Nike’s storytelling programme demands that its sales force tell customers the Nike Story. Nike also tells what it calls, Shoe Stories. Why? The company says it helps the marketplace to understand why Nike exists, the company’s foundation and who they are today. When this is done, it helps customers and other stakeholders to understand that all of Nike’s products “are still rooted in improving an athlete’s performance.”

So what is the story about who you are? I gave a guide in the first installment of this series on what the story comprises; the reasons and benefits for telling it. Today we take the remaining part of the story guide.

1. What the marketplace requires now are solutions; it is more of what you can do, not your certificates or title. Discover your talent and strengths, and create a business that offers solutions to the marketplace. It is no longer what you studied in college or university. It now more of what you have passion to do. Examples are:

– Stand Up comedians who make people laugh. Many of them are very rich and fulfilled. They discovered their talents and are using it to offer entertainment which the audience pays for. This is a solution. There is no school that teaches you how to make people laugh. It is a talent which comedians have turned into profitable businesses. What do stand up comedians do? They tell stories for a living; stories that make people laugh. They crack jokes, jest, make witty comments and demonstrations, all to make people laugh and relax. Can you see the power of storytelling and how some professionals have turned it into big business?

– How do you define your business? You can do it with a good story of the satisfaction you are offering your customers. There are women who sell pre-packaged vegetables and fruits in mini-markets in urban centres. What they are selling are convenience and time in the real sense, not just vegetables. Many of them see vegetable selling as their business. That is their story. But their real story is that they are saving executive time and offering convenience. How you define your business goes a long way in giving that business staying power and sustainability. More on this later.

2. To get to your promised land. You need,

– Discipline. Indiscipline can ruin your career and progress in life even if you are very talented. That turns out into a bad story.
– Vision and focus.
– Persistence.
– Belief in yourself and self confidence. You can’t be confident if you do not know who you are.
– Staying power.

3. How to discover yourself
– Do your SWOT analysis
– Identify what you do well. Tell the story
– What is your talent and strength?
– What do you have passion for?
– How can you develop it?
– How can you turn it into business that offers solutions?
– Follow up your discovery with branding.

4. Who you are and marriage. If you do not know who you are:
– You can make great mistakes in marriage.
– You may marry the wrong person and become unhappy.
– Discovering yourself assures you of marital bliss.

We shall continue this series in the next edition.

Eric Okeke is a storyteller, editor, business writer, motivational speaker and author of the best selling book: I Want a Husband. He is one of Nigeria’s most experienced financial journalists. He has published several articles in local and foreign publications and in websites such as http://www.ezinearticles.com, www.ezinearticles.com and www.writingcareer.com. He is currently running Infomedia Company, a media consulting and information marketing company. Visit his blog at http://sallywantsahusband.blogspot.com

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