I want to share an experience that I had in front of the audience two weeks ago. I was thrilled when comedian Alise Morales asked me to be a part of her show The Roast of Your 15 Year-Old Self. This show usually takes place in NYC but Elise comes to Philly every so often run the show at Good Good Comedy Theater. I was ripe with roast material! 15 Year-Old Hillary had a wild ride, and this was something that didn't become apparent until very recently.
Flash forward to the next class. All of the kids were abuzz, talking about the character they had created. Of the fifteen students, fourteen of them brought in drawings of the character. Each drawing showed what their personality was like and what superpowers they possessed. What about that fifteenth student? She sat quietly in the circle with a look of horror and embarrassment on her face. And she was clutching a shoe box.
Lately the most visited page on the Tell Me A Story website is… this one. The problem? I wrote the original blog post in the Spring of 2016 and so much has changed for me since then!
In the past three years, I went full time with Tell Me A Story and have been building it into a full service brand. I started a podcast. I joined several professional networking organizations. And I grew less and less nervous showing up to events because as I showed up as my true self.
Just presence and an open mind to meeting new people, learning new things and seeing what might come of it way down the line.
Here's the thing: I've watched many brilliant TED Talks. And I am sure there are many brilliant ones just waiting to be discovered. But I do not think that a TED Talk makes you a thought leader. I do not think that following a very rigid format is the best way to connect with your audience and communicate and idea that you are passionate about sharing.
I left college in NYC with a degree in Vocal Performance and crippling stage fright. For the first few years out of school I could hide from the fear because I wasn’t putting myself out there to be seen, judged, evaluated, or even praised. After one Summer of auditions, I took an office job and spent most of my free time at brunch, watching reality TV, and going to DJ nights.
Last week I moderated a panel discussion on developing your personal brand. There was a lot of debate amongst the panelists and audience members regarding how much we share from our personal lives when in a professional setting. Should you have two Instagram account? (My intern recently told me about FINSTA vs. RINSTA, and my mind was blown.) Do we stay buttoned up - both on the inside and outside - and keep our hobbies, passions, and feelings at bay?
Here’s my philosophy. Meld the professional with the personal. Be yourself and use storytelling as your guide. Here are six ways that crafting your personal narrative will help you professionally.
One of my favorite things to do, when I’m at a conference or event, is to observe the people who are presenting. Sometimes they are referred to as “thought leaders” or “keynote speakers” or “esteemed guests”. Sometimes they are famous… or infamous. When this person is introduced - they are hyped up by the person who is hosting. There is a long list of credits, accolades, and other intimidating factors. All of this build up raises my expectations to extreme heights and I assume their presentation will knock me to the floor. This is an expert, they will inspire. Ultimately I’ll leave not only learning something new from them, but learning something new about myself. (#fitspiration, am I right?)
Back in 2013, I attended the first ever Bullish Conference in Miami, Florida. The website described the weekend as “a powerful summit for aspiring entrepreneurs, experts, and gentlewomen.” This conference was founded by Jennifer Dziura, the creator of Get Bullish. I found Jen’s articles at a time when I was torn between looking for a full time job in a field that I could care less about and committing to my career as a freelance teaching artist and performer.