110: Be Honest With Yourself: Personal Storytelling in Your Brand
How do you decide which pieces of your story to share and where to share them? How do you know when you’re even ready to do so?
Today’s guest, Shawnta Jackson, is a master at using storytelling to leave a lasting impression. No matter the arena, this successful leader, social entrepreneur, author, podcaster, and single mother commits to showing up as the highest expression of her authentic self. That kind of exposure isn’t easy; even a calculated risk comes with a high degree of anxiety. For Shawnta, however, the rewards of repeatedly stretching beyond her comfort zone - and modeling that lived experience for her audience - continues to inform her life choices.
Please note: We discuss sensitive topics, including domestic abuse. Listen with caution and, if you need to step away, I’ll be back next week with a solo episode.
In this episode, we cover:
- Navigating the in-between stages of life, where we no longer quite identify with the way we once did, but haven't fully stepped into our future identity,
- Journaling as a therapeutic activity and planning device,
- Taking action outside our comfort zones,
- Overcoming the shame associated with sharing difficult life experiences in the content we create,
- The evergreen wisdom of acclaimed mentors, and
- Deciding which of our personas show up where.
Shawnta and I discuss leveraging our overlapping personal and professional identities, when appropriate, in the stories we share and journaling as a creative tool for self-assessment. We also talk about sorting through the shame that often keeps us from crafting more compelling narratives.
MEET SHAWNTA JACKSON
Shawnta Jackson is that person who leaves a lasting impression. She motivates, challenges, and provides thought-provoking dialogue. She is a leader, mother, and social entrepreneur with a vision to help people to help themselves and others.
She is defying all limitations by succeeding as a single-mother and small business owner who for the past 11 years has been relied upon by organizations and teams across the United States to help implement and evaluate socially conscious programs and initiatives. She also serves as a facilitator and guest speaker for various audiences.
She holds a Master of Public Health degree in social and behavioral health from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in public relations from Columbia College Chicago.
Shawnta is originally from Las Vegas and resides in the Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area with her son, Zachary.
Journaling creates space to foster self-awareness, assess coping strategies, and develop discernment.
Personal stories are powerful; the impact your narrative has on another isn’t always or immediately measured by client numbers.
You needn’t know a mentor personally to benefit from their insight; don’t discount the wealth of wisdom online.
The best story is the one you are compelled to tell, not the one you think aligns with the most popular narrative.
“I’m more than just a professional woman; that’s not my only identity [ ] and, so, the reason I choose to share my personal story is because there is power in storytelling.” - Shawnta Jackson
“My mentors and the individuals that I seek advice from, they have never met me. They are on YouTube. They have their own podcasts. They have their own books.” - Shawnta Jackson
“Be honest with yourself and know your story and start with self-assessment.” - Shawnta Jackson
“Ask yourself, is this the story that you're telling because you think it sounds good, looks good to please other people or is this really your authentic, true self?” - Shawnta Jackson