If You Don’t Tell Your Story, Someone Else Will Tell It For You

by Daniel Jacobs

In my work, I get the opportunity to see thousands of people at important crossroads; moments when they can either grow and embrace a changing world, or shut their eyes and their hearts to growth, relationships, meaning. 

I’ve seen many people grow in ways that went far beyond others’ expectations. They’ve made incredible discoveries, reinvigorated relationships left for dead, found happiness they believed was gone forever. 

And I’ve noticed that the people who experience incredible growth tend to have one thing in common: They know how to tell their own story!

It’s not just any story they tell. Specifically it’s a story with three acts: 

  • Act I: Origin - Where you came from. 
  • Act II: Vision - What you stand for. 
  • Act II: Action - Where you’re going.

When you know where you came from, what you stand for, and what you are willing to do about it… you tend not to be deterred by obstacles. Even in the worst of times, your story acts as a guide, a rudder, a sense of direction. 

But if you don’t tell your own story, someone or something else is likely to tell your story for you. Maybe you’ll buy into the version of your story told by your parents, spouses, teachers, or bosses. Or perhaps your own worst fears will do the storytelling.

When you’re not in control of your own story, it doesn’t matter how good that story looks to others.

In those stories you may come across as completely inept… or incredibly successful. But when you’re not in control of your own story, it doesn’t matter how good that story looks to others. From the inside, it just feels like an aching, gnawing, meh.

I know this feeling because I’ve felt it before. Maybe ask yourself whether you’ve experienced this feeling, or perhaps whether someone you care about in your home, community, or workplace has experienced this feeling. It’s not a fun place to be!

And here’s the thing: none of us have to feel this way. We all have powerful stories. And we all deserve to know how to articulate where we came from, what we stand for, and where we’re going. All it takes is a little bit of will, and an excitement to explore and discover! 

—Daniel Jacobs, Avanoo CEO & Co-founder

About Daniel

Daniel Jacobs is a husband, father, inventor, and storyteller. His work has been featured on Fortune, Inc. Magazine, Business Insider, Apple News, HuffPost, and most major news publications in the United States. He is CEO and co-founder of Avanoo, which uses the power of stories to drive connection, belonging, and performance in the workplace.

About Avanoo

Avanoo brings together the world’s oldest artform – storytelling – and the world’s newest technologies – AI, machine learning – to support teams in experiencing more connection, belonging, and performance. Our app makes it easy for employees to share and listen to each other’s stories wherever they are, and our insights dashboard makes it easy for leaders to understand where and how stories create lasting impact on their teams. Learn more: Avanoo.com
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