"Stories are a communal currency of humanity."
How I built my career on the very thing I thought I was bad at
It all started with a limiting belief. You know, these thoughts that deliver a disempowering message that limit our possibilities. They have a thickness, a weight, and they stick to us like an invisible label.
One of the ones I walked around with and held as a truth for most of my life is this one:
I am bad at telling stories.
An enthusiastic introvert, I used to passionately share stories about my day, my experiences, to my family and friends. Sadly I noticed that my audience’s eyes would often glaze over, looking bored, as I proceeded to recount my adventures.
I regularly got talked over, interrupted or worse, ignored altogether. This type of non-verbal feedback felt like a lethal injection for my teenage self-confidence. I started to shy away from telling stories in a group setting, ashamed, with this recurring thought reminding me that ‘I’m just bad at telling stories, so better I abstain.’
In a twist of fate, I ended up using that very skill, story telling, at work. And building a whole career out of it.
From the shop floor to the very top
My skills were first developed on the shop floor of a small boutique in Geneva, only later to be refined on another shop floor, the lushly carpeted jewellery box of a boutique that belonged to shoe designer Christian Louboutin. My unexpected journey took me from sales assistant to store manager to PR and wholesale executive. A philosophy and international relations major, I always enjoyed building depth to the messaging of the brand, though it happened naturally, as I enthusiastically shared stories of Christian, our head office, to press and wholesale clients alike.
THE TOOLS I USED WERE SIMPLE. LEANING ON THE TRUTH TO TELL STORIES THAT RESONATE.
I became an expert at picking those stories and sharing them, thus helping build the brand’s resonance with a devoted audience of men and women alike.
My career trajectory took on a course of its own, landing me the role of General Manager for the UK at age 30, and later becoming the first head of global communications of the brand.
I HELPED SPREAD THE BRAND'S STORIES TO ALL FOUR CORNERS OF THE WORLD. I SHAPED STORIES THAT MOVED A WHOLE BOARDROOM TO ACTION.
However I also failed to understand when my communication became ineffective, leading me for a while to reconsider my abilities altogether.
Thankfully, I got help. Bit by bit I started to pick apart how I’d gone to be so successful in one area of my communication, and so bad in another, and built myself back up, knowing that the time had come to leave the red soles behind.
Sharing gifts, telling stories
I set out on my own so I could make space for learning new skills. I wasn’t aware of the depth of this thirst for knowledge. Since 2017 I have studied with many coaches, authors, professors. The golden age of online learning was just beginning. And I was drawn to the theme, and skill, of storytelling, and conscious communication.
While I am passionate about brand building, business development and creating considered communication strategies, I did not share my own stories until I launched the first website for AVM.Consulting, and started distributing a weekly newsletter, named the Mettā View, a play on a meta perspective and my love for Mettā Meditation, also known as Loving Kindness.
Within a couple of weeks, I started to write. From a short digest I slipped into personal essays, exploring the themes that were important to me, values, mission, communication, voice, stories… I was pondering publicly on the kind of work I wanted to do, and hoping to serve my burgeoning following, guiding them through their own choices.
In 2020, I enrolled in a mindfulness meditation teacher training program. I was asked to develop a talk, on a theme of my choice, fitting our study program.
I CHOSE 'MINDFUL COMMUNICATION, WHICH BRIDGED MY WORK IN STRATEGIC BRAND COMMUNICATION AND MINDFULNESS.
I was trying to say too much, failing to convey what I wanted. My mentor and peer group kindly offered actionable feedback and I embraced it, making a solemn promise to myself that I would do better the next time around. And I did.
I'VE BEEN ON A MISSION TO BETTER MYSELF EVER SINCE.
Challenging limiting beliefs
Since that day, I’ve come to coach many clients who have their own limiting beliefs around how they communicate their value, who they are, the work they want to do in this world.
Some came for job search, portfolios, CV and interview support, some came to me for structure and strategy, web presence, thought leadership, media preparation; others asked for help exploring their personal story pillars, foundations to build platforms to help them share their mission. Some came because they felt incapable of communicating, or they felt misunderstood, like me at that difficult time in my life, because they too were experiencing exhaustion and symptoms of burnout.
What all of them have in common with each other (and with me) is a deep desire to improve their storytelling, whether their own or their projects, to be better understood.
My clients want their message to be heard so they can have a greater impact on the world.
I am on a mission to empower you to tell a better story: whether that means reclaiming or reframing your narrative.
Being a nerd or a bookworm, I want to share my best and favorite resources with you. I wish I could also tell you what not to bother with, I'm not sure it’s quite ethical, but if something is not listed below, it’s for a reason. Beware of expensive communication recorded courses is all the warning I can offer you.
IF WE WANT TO CONNECT, WE NEED STORIES.
STORIES ARE THE COMMON CURRENCY OF HUMANITY.
HOW WE TELL STORIES ALSO MATTERS
THAT'S HOW I CAME TO DEVELOP A FRAMEWORK BLENDING PR, COACHING TOOLS, SELF-REFLECTION, AND STORYTELLING SKILLS.
The Story of You addresses intention, ideation, content, structure and the modes of delivery and communication of your message. This brand-new methodology is being developed into a book, and a workbook (that one for free) that will be available on this website shortly.
If you are interested in getting started with the Story of You, book your free consultation below.