for well over a decade, i was a professional retail designer.
i created store plans, visual concept plans, brand image concepts, and product displays
for clients in many different niches of the retail world.
i also wrote about those subjects for trade publications,
presented seminars and workshops on those subjects at trade shows,
and produced & hosted a video series about those topics for an online retailer resource.
there was one basic principle that i used to underline everything i did then,
one 'tagline', if you will, that guided every decision i made for my clients
and every explanation to them about the choices i guided them through.
that one guiding principle was this:
'Tell Your Own Story'.
if you go to my 'old' retail design blog, you'll see that phrase
sprinkled liberally all over the posts and attached links to my online resources.
what i meant by that in regard to my retail clients was
focus on YOUR business.
what you provide, what you sell, what you offer, what sets you apart.
make your brand image apparent in every facet of your business:
your store or showroom interior design & layout,
your exhibitor booth at a show, your window & store displays,
your marketing materials and ads and emails,
your blog and website and facebook page and twitter and pinterest.
your employee's apparel and manner, your apparel and manner.
every choice you make in your business should reflect YOUR story
because no one can tell the same story as you.
sure, your competition is out there.
they might buy product from the same supplier
and have a booth at the same shows
they might even be on your street in your town
but they aren't YOU.
you have a background and a vision and certain indelible facets of your history
that they can never duplicate, replicate, experience, or express
because they are not YOU
and they have not experienced everything exactly as you have.
this principle served very well in that capacity,
and i've heard from countless clients and seminar attendees
that it is the single most helpful directive they have ever received.
'Telling MY Story'
this principle is also something that i am learning about in my personal life.
every choice i make in life should reflect my story and what i have learned from it.
because no one can tell my story except me.
no one else lived what i lived, experienced what i experienced
and no one will tell me that i don't have the right to share
my words, my insights, my perspective, my truth
just because they don't agree or like it or didn't see it happen.
i want my story to mean something, to not be for nothing...
if it can, i want my story to flip a lightswitch on in a reader's heart
and illuminate situations in their own lives that are destroying them,
to give them hope and understanding that they can save themselves.
that faith is worth it, and healing can come to them.
and so i will tell my story,
just as many other brave women (and some brave men) have chosen to do
in their own words on their own blogs and books,
where i find insights and thoughts that teach me, enlighten me, make me think, and heal me.
[i link to those blogs in my sidebar to the right]
i am so grateful for their courage to stand up and speak out,
on behalf of the healing of their own souls
and on behalf of the readers that they know they are helping.
though several people are angry that i talk about my life at all,
there are many others who express their thanks to me for my willingness to do so,
for my ability to use words to express emotions that they have fought with, too.
for the stumbling, halting progress i make and share as part of my process.
for not giving in to the despair that had me crying out for death.
for the growing strength and rising determination inside of me that they see
to break free of pain and brokenness and lies and threats and manipulations and fears,
and to accept support and faith and hope and healing.
everyone has had hard times in life.
no one is immune.
and yet, we all experience difficulty, struggle, hardship, loss, pain
in inexorably individual ways.
to you, to me, to everyone - life is PERSONAL.
and we have to live it, learn from it, and grow through it one person at a time,
living our truth and
telling our own stories along the way.
not telling anyone else's .... just our own.
it's a big wide bloggy world out there,
and anyone who wants to can step up and tell their own story
on their own blog.