Narrative is story, your story. The reason you do what you do, the way you choose to do it and the reasons behind why you do these things.
Establishing your narrative is important because it becomes the lens that you view success through, it directs and guides almost all the decisions you make as you develop your personal brand.
Almost every business leadership book has touted the importance of having a company vision, writing a vision statement, and clearly communicating that vision so that you can lead a group of people in the direction you need. Vision statements are an important part of leadership. They are also an important part of your personal brand.
Narrative is, however, different. Narrative brings something new to your vision and message.
Narrative tells the story of why you exist and everyone loves a good story. Good storytelling draws people in; gives readers or listeners something to connect with, and has an underlying moral that teaches a lesson or challenges a thought.
Questions that help you develop your personal vision
- What problem do I plan to solve?
- Why do I believe this problem needs to be addressed?
- Does this problem matter to other people?
- Do I honestly believe we have the answer to that problem?
- What changes do I believe I can affect?
- What are my greatest strengths?
- What is my dream for my life?
- How would things be different if my dream came true?
- Does my dream connect on a personal level with others?
Questions to ask to develop your personal narrative
- What’s your life story?
- Who or what made a big impact in your life?
- Why is this important to you?
- On a good day, what excites you?
- On a bad day, what irritates you?
- What do you believe that most people don’t believe?
- Why do you believe that?
- What problem or injustice do you see in the world?
- What are you doing, or could you do, about it?
If vision is about painting a picture of where you want to be, then your narrative is the story of how you get there.
When developing a personal brand the vision will help direct you, but the narrative will help you develop the means in which you get there. The narrative will also outline what’s important to you, what you wish others to see and understand about you. It will become the basis of the message you portray through your personal brand.
About Mike Saunders
Mike Saunders is the CEO of DigitLab, an international speaker, and has had the privilege of working with some of the worlds most prestigious organisations including Vodafone, IBM, Microsoft, KPMG, Norton Rose, Mr Price, Toyota and Exxaro. Along with his experience in business, Mike has also contributed to leadership programmes for Gordon's Institute of Business (GIBS).