I’m reading the inspirational story of James Altucher in his book, Reinvent Yourself.  I am also pissed at James right now because he offered the book for free (just pay shipping) and then he used my credit card info to charge me $99. I’ve sent three emails and I get autoresponders telling me to contact another email or contact a link. Fuck!

But I love the book.

Although this is a great lead in to talking about how much I hate gurus, click bait and online marketing, instead I’m going to talk about stories.

There was a beautiful quote in the book, in a chapter about why James loves Kurt Vonnegut, This story is about how emotional anchors made Kurt’s writing great and how when he lost his emotional anchor, his writing was shit.

The quote:

“What are your emotional anchors: The events that staple the timeline of your life to something that totally destroyed who you thought you were?”

That got me thinking. I am a coach, consultant, speaker, blogger for twelve years now. I’ve rode a rollercoaster of success to failure, failure to success. I’ve gotten tired, stopped, started, restarted, rebooted, gotten jobs, bought businesses, bought franchises, closed business, quit jobs, walked away, launched projects, trashed projects, joined groups, left groups, quit and restarted again.

Bottom line: There is an inspirational story arch to my life that I’m only now getting real enough to understand.

Yesterday, my friend Janai Carlson invited me to coffee.  I met Janai through Toastmasters and we’ve know each other for many years but not closely.  She was in an incubator where I teach. She never hired me as a coach. And she moved away. But she was in town and over coffee I thought, maybe after all this time she wants a coach. But no, she brought me to my knees.  She told me her version of my story and how my story inspires her.

I wasn’t the same all day. And I think it is because, I don’t see my story the way she does.

  • Where she saw creativity, I see cliché.
  • Where she saw courage, I see fear
  • Where she saw wisdom, I see despair

I realize that to authentically tell my inspirational story, if I choose to, I  need to lean into my emotional anchor, what has destroyed who I think I am?  Dang. That’s deep.

As I work my way through my 30-day Facebook Live Leadership Challenge, I am focused on being more authentic. I want to use my life to tell stories and then to see what happens. It is strangely vulnerable and fun at the same time. But there are uninspired days when I have something to teach but not an inspirational story.  Now I an reminded that we  all stop to hear a good story even with 10 browser windows open.  It is crickets when the story is absent.

I appreciate what James and Janai are reminding me:  It is not what you know or what you say that people remember, it is how your story makes them feel.

Reminder to self: If we want to authentically succeed, then help people feel inspired no matter how if looks and feels to you. For even in cliché, fear and despair,  I inspired a friend.

Here is Wednesday’s  live Facebook feed. Share your story with me. Comment on mine. Be vulnerable.

Ruth Schwartz

Ruth Schwartz is the author of "The Key to the Golden Handcuffs". She is a high performance business consultant and leadership coach. Connect with Ruth to participate in the conversation. Google+, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube .