Updated: Jan 12, 2022
Many Story Starters battle imposter syndrome -- I know I did! When that happens, even the simplest mental myth can become a roadblock to moving forward.
Check out the common storytelling myths below:
1. "I'm not the expert in my field."
No matter how much training and experience we may have, there's always someone out with a little bit (or a lot) more.
Remember, you don't need to be the world's greatest expert on your subject to be qualified to speak about it.
In fact, many people can relate better to those who are at the start of their teaching or speaking journey than the world's most proficient academics. Trust me, I've sat through my share of mind-numbing university lectures to prove it.
The truth is, your audience may relate more with the 3 easy steps you can teach them about planting a backyard garden than the the Latin names and pronunciations of your family's favourite vegetables.
What's more, the world's foremost expert on the subject may not even be available to teach your audience; but you are.
Remember, you only have to be available and a few steps ahead of your audience, not know every single answer on your topic.
MYTH BUSTER: You are ready right now to begin speaking about what you know today. Expert status is not required.
2. All the good stories have already been told.
Sure, there are a lot of amazing stories that have already been shared and are being shared right now. But stop comparing yourself. There are plenty more stories still to come.
Take your own story, for instance. No one else can tell it, because no one else has lived your unique life with your unique connections at this unique point in history.
All you need to do is recognize the "knowledge nuggets" inside your own experiences and allow your aha moments to become story fuel.
MYTH BUSTER: The world needs your story and only you can tell it.
3. Someone else is already speaking on my topic.
The fact that there are already people speaking on the same topic you want to speak about is GREAT NEWS! It means people are interested in the topic and are likely already paying to hear about it. We call this "product validation."
The key is not to get distracted by the people who are five or 10 years ahead of you in their storytelling, but rather to seize the opportunity to speak to the people in your own circle and serve them well.
Even though 10,000 may be speaking on leadership at this very moment, your challenge is to speak on leadership (or your own topic) in such a way that makes them see the topic from a brand new perspective: YOUR perspective.
Based on your expertise, experiences and life lessons, you'll be able to connect with groups of people that not everyone can reach.
A client of mine recently told me, "Kerry, if a company isn't looking to hire a plus-size, Black woman to teach them about inclusion, then I'm not the right person for them. And that's fine with me. I'm looking for the audiences are are looking for exactly someone like me -- they might just not know it yet."
MYTH BUSTER: Speak on common topics in uncommon ways and you'll carve out a brand niche that will take you far.