Everyone has a story.
I went to my second Social Media Breakfast YYC this morning; it was well worth it. The August 2015 topic was ‘Engagement is Hard Work’. The focus was to teach us how to share our story and engage with our customers, supporters, and donors to grow our business or non-profit. The main guest speaker was Theo Fleury. He spoke about his thoughts of suicide, the sexual abuse he endured for years, and his years of drug abuse. He shared how he managed to come through it at the other end and be an advocate for those going through trauma.
There weren’t time for questions so after the round table discussion I went over to Theo to ask him: “How do you connect and inspire others when you haven’t been through hell, when your story isn’t as traumatic?”
Theo answered my question with a couple more: “What do you want to accomplish? What do you do?”
There was a brief moment of panic when I thought to myself, “What the heck am I trying to do?!” Then the answer came: “I’m a yoga therapist. I want to teach people, all of whom have gone through their own shit, that they have it in them to feel better. I want them to know they don’t need me or a physio or chiro or pill to do it. I want to empower people to help themselves so they can live better, healthier lives.”
Theo’s response (I’m paraphrasing):
“You can’t change the people that don’t want help. It all starts with you. Work on yourself first. Others will see and feel the change in you and will follow your lead; the change will rub off on them. Lead by example and others will be inspired to follow.”
I walked away on a high. Theo was right: you can only ever work on yourself. And there’s a heck of a lot less pressure to improve yourself than there is in saving the world one person at a time.
Work on yourself first. It’s an inside job.
So that’s what I plan on doing. I’ll work on myself and share my story. My story doesn’t need to be flashy or overly traumatic. Like a movie, some stories are dramas, some are tragedies, but the best ones are the ones where the audience identifies with the main character. If sharing my story helps and inspires one person then it will have been worth it.
Final pieces of wisdom from the Man of the Hour: Take it 5 minutes at a time. Move forward. Never look back.
Thank you, Theo.