How do you write a powerful personal story? (Even when you don’t have a story to tell)

You don’t have to launch Xbox 360 in Europe or tour with rock bands to have a tale worth telling.

Harvey Lee,

Harvey Lee

Feb 13, 2024

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“Harvey! Make sure you sell a full box of T-shirts tonight so you can eat next week!”

 

It’s 1988, and I have a dream. I’m eager to make it big in the competitive music industry.

As a roadie, I’m touring with the future rock legends all over Europe. But before we set out on the road, the guitarist reminded me I had to earn my place in our small rusty van.

What I did next changed how we sold merch for years to come.

This is one of many stories I shared in my book, Backstage Pass. One of many micro-lessons that shaped me into the person and professional I am today.

Now, I want to help you to do the same. I want you to find, write and share your personal story. The narrative no one else can tell but you.

I know what you’re thinking. 

“But Harvey, I don’t have a story to tell.” 

You don’t have to launch Xbox 360 in Europe or tour with rock bands to have a tale worth telling.

Not every story is a life-changing one. Extraordinary stories are hiding in ordinary, everyday life. All you have to do is find them; let’s start here:

  1. Write down three memorable things that happened to you every day. 
  2. Think small. 
  3. What happened at home, the grocery store or on your way to work? 
  4. Create a vault of micro-stories and relatable anecdotes, always ready to go.

I once got inspired to write an article based on my son’s juice carton! 

How do you tell a story so people will gather around and listen? 

Be authentic. Stay honest. Write as you speak. Don’t mimic anyone else. Or compare yourself to others. Comparison is the thief of joy.

Focus on a single anecdote or event. Say one thing at a time. Share one lesson per post. Don’t be afraid to share the same lesson in another story. Tell your personal story over and over. Make them remember you.

Make sure your introduction draws the reader in. The ending should leave them with something worth writing home about.

What do I do? 

  1. I set the context first, grounding the audience to where I am, what’s happening, and why. 

  2. Then, I highlight what actually happened – break it down into smaller pieces. 

  3. Finally, I share the “why” behind the story.

When you put your editor hat on, follow the best writing and formatting principles: 

  • Make it easy to read. 
  • Keep it simple.

Use a free tool like Hemingway to help you.

Shaping Personal Stories Into Learning Lessons

Writing is a process of discovery. When you write your story, you’ll see the wider picture — lessons learned, hot takes. Your experiences will show how they shape you into the person and professional you aspire to be.

Finally, hit “post”.  Share your personal experiences and business lessons on social media platforms like LinkedIn. The feedback you get will help you improve as a storyteller. And confirm which techniques strike a chord with your audience.

Storytelling is a creative muscle. Train it every day. Repeat the process of story finding, writing and sharing. Do it until it becomes a natural part of your day.

I’m excited to hear the story only you can tell.

—Harvey Lee.

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About The Author

Harvey Lee,

Harvey Lee is an author, product marketer, speaker and Rock n Roll veteran.

Harvey's book is as he says: A business book like no other. 

Follow Harvey's work here or connect on LinkedIn.

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