Relationship Building through our Stories

There has been a great deal of talk lately about how and why to use your own story when working with others.

Whether you are a leader in your community, a leader in the workplace or a leading expert in a particular field you do have influence on others.

How you influence others will create the ability for you to either build and manage successful teams and projects or not. Traditionally it appeared that there was quite a distinct line between the personal and professional lives of employees and especially of those leading. As the business world has evolved over the years, including the influx of entrepreneurs and small businesses those lines have blurred. Connecting, networking and teamwork have taken on much more importance.

Both the corporate world and the small business world have had to adapt in order to maintain a certain level of success when it comes to relationship building. New York Times best selling books such as; Keith Ferrazzi ‘s Never Eat Alone and Simon Sinek ‘s Start With Why bring fresh perspectives to the subject.

Ferrazzi’s book; Never Eat Alone, about networking, gives some excellent tips and strategies. The key to those things I have highlighted from his book is that each of them lead right back to your own story! Think about how you have overcome certain things, what you have learned from stories and perhaps who has helped you along the way!

1) Make helping others to find their purpose and to have the courage to follow their passion your priority.

2) Real networking is is about finding more way to help others be successful and working hard to give more then you get.

3) Continually create the environment and community you want for yourself.

4) Be genuine when networking; be kind and transparent in order to make ‘real’ connections.

5) Share your passions with others; personal and professional passions.

6) Learn to communicate well with small talk; be honest and sincere.

7) Communicate powerfully through sharing compelling stories.

Ferrazzi says; “connecting should advance you rather than compromise you and real networking is working hard to give more then you get”. Our story, how we have overcome challenges and obstacles and what we have learned from that creates our authenticity. When you are authentic you are not compromising yourself! Those around you will feel confident in your abilities and your motives in collaborating with them.

In Sinek’s book Start With Why the premise is to discover your ‘Why’. The ‘why’ is about why you do what you do, have a passion for certain things and how your ‘why’ drives you. Sinek explains that knowing our ‘why’ and living it daily is the key to truly living successfully. Your story is powerful in revealing your ‘why’, all that you have overcome and learned leads up to what creates passion and drive within you.

1)  Knowing your why amplifies what works, these why’s are the stories of those most successful

2)  Start everything by asking yourself why you are doing it

3)  You cannot expect others to get what you are doing or come along side you if you have not clearly defined your ‘why’

4)  A clear sense of ‘why’ sets clear expectations, for you and others

5)  The choices you make show others what your ‘why’ is

6)  A ‘why’ without the ‘how’ has a great probability of failure

7)  It is necessary to find your patterns to discover your ‘why

8)  After finding your ‘why’, live your ‘why’ consistently

As Sinek says; “Success comes when we wake up every day in that never-ending pursuit of ‘why’ we do what we do.” Our story is the best way to discover our patterns and the purpose of our lives. Our story reveals the answer of our ‘why’. What better way to connect with, lead and collaborate with others then by living our ‘why’!

Angela is a writer, inspirational speaker and talk show host. She is a successful entrepreneur and created her businesses Grief to Grace to provide counseling/consultations and Your Story Matters where she produces and hosts Your Story Matters radio show to share encouraging and inspiring stories from around the world.
As a freelance writer she has written various articles and blog posts on professional networking, inspiration and the value of sharing your story. She is the author of her memoir Grief to Grace. Angela has spoken to various groups and organizations to share her story of healing from shame and fear to discovering her life purpose. She presents powerful messages about a particular cause for those organizations that she speaks for as a keynote. You can find Your Story Matters Facebook page here


  1. Kelly Karius on February 12, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    “Start everything by asking yourself why you are doing it.”
    This is all powerful stuff, but I really like this one, it resonates with my work in terms of melding intellect with emotion in the brain.
    As a helping professional, sharing my story has been really important to my work, also knowing when and where to share it and making sure I’m not making it about me! Sharing our stories allows others to find common ground to begin and grow a relationship and get grounded in support that they need.
    Thanks for the post, and making me think!

  2. kirk smalley on February 12, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    very frequently i find myself in need of inspiration…your words here have solved that for me for days to come. i was searching for an answer today and this has seemed to fall right in the spot i needed. thank you so much!

  3. Patricia Morgan on February 13, 2011 at 3:42 am

    Thank you Angela,

    Your friend Kelly suggested I come to your blog. I met Kelly recently at a women’s event in Consort Alberta.

    Your willingness to focus on stories is commendable. It is through telling our personal stories that we discover the layers of ourselves and discover the answers to the beliefs and behaviors of others.

    Just last night a long time friend visited after a hockey game. He began telling stories of how he transformed from a Catholic brother to a college instructor to a happily married (most days) husband and addictions specialist. We heard aspects of him that helped give even more depth to a man we have long loved and appreciated.

  4. tracey on February 13, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Thanks to your endless energy and desire to help those around you.