What If There’s Nothing Special About Me?

Jake Thompson
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But there’s nothing special about my story.

I remember telling my coach that early in our time working together. I was new to public speaking and had hired his team years ago to help me elevate my craft to better serve my audiences. I had goals of becoming a household name as a speaker, but mentally, I was struggling to see myself as one. I wasn’t able to connect my stories with everyone else who carried that “speaker” title. I’d never been homeless. I hadn’t overcome a powerful addiction or had a near-death experience, and I didn’t “live in a van down by the river.” By all accounts, my life was very, well, normal.

And that normal thinking was keeping me in neutral at the starting line instead of taking action for my goal. Normal doesn’t change lives – or so I thought.

The next week I was casually talking about my mental struggle to a friend who immediately pointed out that they “enjoy hearing those powerful stories – but they can’t relate to them at all.” And it hit me. Those powerful life-changing stories are incredible – but many of us inspired by them can never directly relate to them. My friend went on to encourage me with the reminder that:

My power lies in the fact that my story is *relatively* normal – because that’s what most people can relate to.

Most of us know what it’s like to struggle starting a new routine.

Or stumble one week into trying to start a new habit.

Or fail while trying something new (start a blog, build a business, try out for a sport).

Those type of setbacks are something we can all point to moments in our life where we’ve experienced them. We consider these things “normal” parts of life that most of us can relate to having gone through. They aren’t near-death experiences, but many times, they feel like they are.

I procrastinated for more than a year on starting a podcast because I was fearful it wasn’t “enough” to impact people. I’ve avoided joining a group out of fear not having “what it takes” to succeed. I’ve self-sabotaged myself in a number of ways over the last 30+ years. I know what it’s like to avoid the hard road because I feared the unknown or was concerned I wasn’t ready for it.

The good news is I also know what it’s like to take the hard road, to step into the unknown, and to overcome those fears because I’ve done just that.

So when I talk to people about starting a business, they ask questions because what seemed “normal” to me, is still new and unknown to them. My “normal” story is full of experience and lessons that I can freely share with them. My normal is something they can relate to and learn from as budding entrepreneurs.

And when I talk about the importance of goals and what steps I took to reach mine (and still currently implement to reach my next ones), my “normal” routine helps provide a system and framework for them that they hadn’t considered before. And suddenly, my friends have new tools with which to reach their goals – and inspire others.

It’s only normal because I’m used to seeing it.

It’s normal to me because I’m used to the story. I see it every single day, so the uncommon looks quite common. But to others? It’s brand new. The same applies with your story.

You may believe (the lie) that there’s nothing special about your story – so why does it matter that you tell it. You may believe (the lie) that your story is too normal to make an impact. Or you may believe that because your story doesn’t look as glamorous as someone else’s, you should just keep it locked up.

Don’t buy that lie being whispered in your ear.

There’s power in a normal story.

We have a (terrible) habit sometimes of believing that the obstacles we face in life are unique to us. Many times, we fail to share what we’re up against because we think we’re the only ones going through it and no one else could relate. In all reality, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of people going through the same situation we are – or one much more difficult. Many of these individuals are overcoming that obstacle, but because we don’t know their story, we believe we’re all alone in a battle with a Goliath we can never defeat.

But the moment we learn of that other person’s story? Everything changes. We go from being isolated and feeling like we can perhaps never win, to believing there’s a chance. And for any Competitor, a chance – even a 0.01% chance – is all we need to keep competing. We see that other person’s normal story, we immediately relate to it because we too are going through that same thing, and we are inspired because we suddenly know what we are trying to achieve can be done. Someone else’s normal story is the catalyst that changes your path.

“Normal” is Something We Can Connect Over

Any relationship is built over a shared connection. Business, friendship, or romantic relationships all have a shared connection and goal. The relationships grow from that connection and what both parties can relate to. Without it, there is no relationship. Your “normal” story is the one thing that others can connect to. It doesn’t have to be wild such as a near-death experience, you lost a million dollars, or gained 400lbs.

It could be a “normal” as balancing a career with a growing family and starting a side hustle.

It could be as “normal” as realizing that you’ve let your health go for the last 5 (or 10) years, and you decide to join a gym and starting cleaning up your eating habits so your life doesn’t end prematurely due to poor health issues.

It could be as “normal” as having an idea that you believe the world needs to hear, and you start a blog to share that idea over and over again.

Your “normal” is what someone else will one day see and be inspired because they’ll realize they’re just like you. They’re not alone, there’s hope, and if you can do it, then just maybe, they’ll finally start to believe that they can too. It’s not the flamboyant that changes everything. Its…

“Normal” stories shared boldly by “normal people” are what will change the world.

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