Your Origin Story Brings People Together
The way you stand out was in front of you all the time. It’s you, and the powerful story that only you can tell.
It is not the benefit of the products and services you provide or how much you know.
Facts alone, never helped anyone carve a space where people wanted to join in.
What makes one person/company stand out from the other is ideas and how other people make that attachment to join in and more importantly, care. This has got nothing to do with producing more content, a pristine company video, or believing a rebrand is going to make people pay attention.
This article is about finding your origin story and the connection that surrounds it, that links to what you do today.
What People/Businesses Do
When it comes to having something to say, so people buy in, is normally centred around how a company makes money. These are complemented by the skillsets that you provide within your industry. The difficulty is, everyone else in your industry does the same.
A narrative is shared around what your industry does and how people fit into that industry with the knowledge they have and the information they provide. For instance, it’s why you should spend your time/money with a service provider.
From this, content then fits within a vessel.
WHAT YOU DO (WITHIN YOUR INDUSTRY) – posts, videos, channels, ongoing narrative
What provides competitive advantage is not what you do, but the story that attaches everything together.
YOUR BELIEF – the story that centres around what you do
When you look back at where you started, it’s how we see ourselves going forward. This then helps you carve your own space.
Back To Where It All Started
At YATM Creator Day, I shared where YATM all began. As I got to the end, I was overwhelmed by it all and had to fight back tears. That had never happened to me before.
It was a story where we don’t always have to conform to what everyone else does.
When I was 11 years old, my middle school decided to deliver an election. I took part as one of the political parties. At 11 years old, my agenda was pretty flimsy.
Pupils had to represent a political party and share from the school hall their manifesto. On that stage were Conservative, Labour, Liberals and the Green Party and one other!
A boy called, Scott Beaton, decided to make his own stand. He represented the Let’s Have Another Party, Party.
When it came to counting the electoral votes (the whole school year voted), I collected one vote. The whole year laughed. That vote was from me. At that moment I felt ridiculed, upset, humiliated and embarrassed. For an 11-year-old, that feeling had stuck with me for many years.
When it came to the Let’s Have Another Party, Party, Scott had won by a landslide. Scott’s originality and knowing that a room full of middle school children would be on his side from his idea was one of the most creative ideas I have ever been a part of.
The underlying story was that we don’t have to fit into what everyone else tells us to do. When you can put your own flag in the sand, for the right people, then they will make their own choice. It is all about possibility, connection and making that space for others on the edges.
The moment I became upset when telling that story, was that the person I am today would have got back into the time machine and said to the 11-year-old me after receiving that solitary vote, that everything turned out ok. We took that torch and YATM is effectively the let’s Have Another Party, Party.
That’s the origin story. It’s about independence, experimentation, creativity, community, identity and self-sufficiency.
YATM started in a school hall at Oakdale Middle School.
Where It All Starts, Matters
If you care about something, it’s probably a story and not over-ruled by facts.
From the story I shared, something happened. It wasn’t until years later that a choice was made. In my case, it was to start You Are The Media. What happens is that it opens doors that sets you on a path, that you can always come back to.
The origin story you start to tell becomes owned by you, not anyone else. This then starts to become transferred into your ongoing narrative that is not just about the industry you represent, but what you believe in. More importantly, how this becomes attached to others and why they should care. For instance, YATM is here for people who want to build on their own terms and be self-sufficient.
Knowing Your Starting Place
The ideas and stories that associate you with what you do, can make a difference.
Here is how you can frame it so you feel confident.
Recognise that your experiences matter.
What this does is help your originality. If you take someone else’s story and shape it as your own, it can lose the sincerity of what you want to share. Understand that an origin story goes way beyond the day you decided to set up your business. There was a reason beyond the promise of success and growth. This is your truth.
Know your worldview.
This is what helps to resonate with others. Can you incorporate your beliefs into your work? Can you pursue curiosity? For instance, my worldview is based on, independence, audience building, self-sufficiency, long-term presence over short-term hits, the strength of a personal brand, live experimentation and delivery of ideas and developing a supportive community. You have to be ok that your worldview is not for everyone.
Find the connection between your industry and your topic.
When you look through your own lens you start to find that link between your industry and the role that you play within it. It now starts to go way beyond the services and products you deliver. It goes way beyond your why, it goes back to the start. If you can find that connection between your beliefs and the skills you have, you build your own space. Read this article on how to grow your audience.
How does your story help others to make that association with what they want?
This is everything about why should people care? You don’t win by being a product/service provider, it’s the attachment that others make to what you do. Your origin now comes at a premium as we live in an AI world. Seth Godin highlighted (9th May), “Selfish hustlers are going to be one of the first big winners in the AI race, abusing systems that were built on traditional ideas of identity and responsibility. Then what?”
Your story can then be applied multiple times
By repeating your origin story it gives meaning to others and also a way to operate with clarity. It becomes your guiding star, you can’t reverse engineer and turn it into something you wanted, it’s yours that you own. What you’re doing is connecting people on a far deeper level that is emotional (what you believe in) and not rational (what you do).
Finding your start glues everything together. The benefit of working with you becomes magnified.
Your competitive advantage is the story that surrounds what you do, not the industry you serve.
What was the incident that started your path? What were the choices you made after the incident? Has it taken years to resonate but it was always there? The story you tell resonates as it’s based on your feelings and perhaps even hard-earned, it sticks with you.
When your audience connects with your origin, everything else follows.