One night, not long ago, I found myself taking an UBER in New Orleans. Noticing that my driver William had an NFL team’s logo plastered on his back window, I asked him about his quarterback and the prospects for the current season.
As a network marketer, I find people fascinating, and this man was no different. William was engaging and enthralling. I loved listening to how passionate he was about his team. Eventually, as in most first conversations, he asked the inevitable so-what-do-you-do-for-a-living? question.
These opportunities are what distributors live for. I told him I was the CEO of a biohacking company and I explained a bit about what we do. The man responded quickly, “Oh, I could never do that.” “Do what?” I asked. “Be a CEO. I’m just not built that way.” I was a little surprised and asked why not. His response was, “I was born poor, so It’s not in the cards for me.”
So I told him my story. My dad worked construction. We had good years and bad years—mostly bad from what I remember. As I got older (around 11 or 12), I would leave my house each day to get jobs to pay for anything I needed —clothes, sports—anything, really. Our family lived in farm country, so one of the jobs I found was cleaning ditches for an irrigation company. Clearing out sediment and debris that had accumulated and making sure the canals were ready for water. Armed with a simple shovel, I would spend hours and sometimes days on end cleaning miles and miles of ditches.
I remember sitting in a canal one day during a short break, mud head to toe. I remember wondering if this was all there was to life—was this all I have to look forward to—digging ditches?
I thought of my dad. Even though he was never as successful as he or his family desired, he was not against the general idea of wealth. I have known many men and women who thought the wealthy just got there by nefarious means, or nepotism, or narcissism, but dad wasn’t that way. When I was four years old, he made me memorize a quote by Ella Wheeler Wilcox. “There is no chance, no destiny, no fate, that can circumvent or hinder or control the firm resolve of a determined soul.” I can remember days committing that quote to memory but never quite catching it’s depth.
As I sat there in that smelly ditch covered in mud and steeped in anxiety over my future, I started thinking about that quote and how my dad wanted me to have a determined soul. In order to climb out of the ditch that I was in—a ditch of generations before me who never could climb out, my determination had to supersede my fear of the unknown. Nobody in my family had ever done well financially, so I determined at age 12 that I would overcome and climb out of that ditch, and amount to something better.
I told William how that was the turning point in my life. I knew I could be successful, but I also knew it would take determination. Today I’m the CEO of a public company traded on NASDAQ. I have cofounded multiple other companies, a multi-millionaire that doesn’t have to track down odd jobs anymore for money.
I was taught when young that if I was determined, I could achieve, and I believed William could achieve as well.
After I finished telling my story to William, I could tell that it had touched him. He started asking me about LifeVantage, so I told him about the possibility of starting his own business that would let him write his own destiny. Then, remembering how much he loved football, I said, “you know what, William? One of our distributors played in the Super Bowl. He was in town for an event last night, and I think he’s still here. Would you mind if he gave you a call and shared some more details?” I’ve never seen a business card be thrust into in my hand so quickly.
Let’s just say William is a distributor now.
On my long ride to the Big Easy, I was reminded of just how powerful our own stories can be. Better than any marketing slick could ever hope to accomplish, stories captivate us, change us, and stay with us forever. We’re hardwired that way. Think of the last great TV ad you saw. I bet it told a story. Think about your best friends. I’d be willing to bet they’re great storytellers.
Your story doesn’t have to be long. It doesn’t need to be dramatic. Sometimes just a few sentences will do. What’s important is that it is generated by truly LISTENING to what someone is saying and then in a heartfelt response, you communicate a fundamental TRUTH.
Let me say that again. LISTEN to what others are saying, and then share a simple TRUTH.
All I did was tell William about how I viewed the world as a poor, 12-year-old kid, and the path to where I am now. The truth of what I told him did all the heavy lifting. And you know what? It was fun. I shared a genuine human connection during a brief car ride that changed William’s life—as well as mine. In our constantly connected world, this is a rare thing.
There’s never a bad time to tell your story. Tell it to your neighbor, your mother-in-law, the guy you always see in the elevator. Tell it to yourself in the shower!
Because the other truth about stories is that practice makes perfect. Being able to articulate where you’ve come from, where you’re going, and the dreams that have propelled you along the way isn’t easy. The good news is that there are plenty of opportunities to practice.
Our stories don’t just cut through all the white noise out there, they make us human. Before I opened William’s car door, I was probably just another faceless, nameless potential customer. By the time he dropped me off, I was a person, a fellow human being—maybe even a friend. That’s the power of a story.
So what’s your story and how should you tell it? While this is completely up to you, the power of your story is immeasurable, so make it count.
Share it when you’re confident, and especially when you feel vulnerable. It’s humanizing in a way few things are in life, and it will ultimately cut through the clutter. A simple story was able to motivate a driver in New Orleans to reach for something greater within himself. One day he’s going to be meeting with some clients somewhere. He’s going to get into an UBER and share his story with someone else.
So what’s your story? And who’s life could it change?
President and Chief Executive Officer of LifeVantage (LFVN). After more than 26 years of experience, co-founding two successful multi-level-marketing companies, and a long, successful track record of growth across the industry, Darren Jensen is delivering results, driving growth, and setting a standard of excellence. And he does it all with a down-to-earth approach that puts people first. With a diverse background and a passion for service, he takes a unique approach that combines human understanding, 3-dimensional insights, and a lot of hard work into pioneering new science and a thriving company.
Latest posts by Darren Jensen (see all)
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- The Long Ride to the Big Easy By Darren Jensen - November 1, 2017
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