I recently had the opportunity to give my first TEDx talk at TEDxNormal in Normal, Illinois. For once, I gave what I believed to be an unselfish speech. I didn’t talk about my business or try to elevate my personal brand as some subject matter expert or brilliant writer.
But I wanted to.
That’s right, I wanted to promote myself.
Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t going to plaster my name and Twitter handle on the screen or wear a t-shirt with my name on it, but it’s only natural to try to personally gain from the efforts we put time, money, and hard work into, and my TEDx talk was certainly that.
As someone who’s mainly self-employed, monetizing life is a necessity. The problem is that I often miss opportunities that lie far outside of what will help me and my family financially. We all do.
My TEDx talk is titled “The Importance of Being an Unselfish Storyteller.” It details my embarrassment, regret and shame stemming from a missed opportunity to selflessly help a girl who was in need of someone to share their story with her, and what I’ve done since to never let that happen again.
Using public speaker and inspiration Lizzie Velasquez as a model of what can be accomplished when stories are shared unselfishly, I talked about how she turned a painful bullying experience into a story that helped millions of others. One thing said in her TEDx talk stood out to me beyond everything else. “I don’t think people realize the power one person can have to change a situation or impact someone’s life,” Lizzie said.
We all have this power, but few of us realize we have it, and even fewer realize that it comes from our stories.
When you think of helping others and making a difference, what do you think of? Volunteering, picking up trash, giving someone a hand. We think of the physical and far too often forget about helping people emotionally, which is just as important if not more important in some situations.
Sharing your tough stories, things that you would normally keep inside, helps people connect with you and realize that they aren’t alone. The information gained can change their perspective on a whole situation or possibly their entire life.
So when do you share unselfishly? Whenever you believe it may have even the slightest ability to help someone else.
These opportunities appear daily, but we miss them. For example, have you ever heard two people discussing something in a coffee shop and known the exact answer to what they were talking about? Instead of being labelled as rude or nosy, we keep quiet and don’t share. Sometimes someone who is right in front of our face is practically begging for us to help and he zone out or decide to keep something to ourselves for no reason other than to avoid risk and because of fear.
When presented with the chance to help another, will you rise up to the challenge and do whatever you can to help? Have enough courage to harness the power you have to positively impact others by being an unselfish storyteller.
Michael Luchies is a writer and entrepreneur. He is the Founder of TrepRep, member of the Kahuna Business Group team, Co-Host of the Entrepreneurs on Campus Radio Show, TEDxNormal speaker, and Co-Host of the Trepidemic Podcast. Connect with Michael on Twitter and email him to discover how to increase your personal and business brand’s reach and revenue at Michael@TrepRep.com.