How to Influence Using Your Own Story: An Interview with Mark Brown

How to Influence Using Your Own Story: An Interview with Mark Brown

“We don’t need another hero.” -Tina Turner

I sat down for an hour with one of America’s story masters, Mark Brown, and here are some of my thoughts.

Do you want more influence? Our influence comes from our ability to connect. Our ability to connect comes from what we share in common with others. We all have some things in common—humor, seriousness, dark, or light—that apply to other circumstances that others would face. Too often we look to the stories of people like Abraham Lincoln, Neil Armstrong, or Barack Obama to provide lessons and inspiration to fuel us to victory. These stories are really out of reach for the average person. It is difficult for any of us to feel connected to these figures in history, who seem to have lost their imperfections over time. It is much easier to relate to the person standing right in front of us; it’s much easier to draw inspiration from them. And what if that person in front is you?

Mark Brown has some suggestions.

Before we begin, we must know that we all have a story and that is powerful. Too many of us have heard about Thomas Edison finding a thousand ways to NOT make a light bulb or Abe Lincoln and his failures. Don’t choose these played out reruns—use something fresh. Your story. Even if you did not climb Mt. Everest, Mark says, “One man’s mundane is another man’s magnificent.” Mark left Jamaica at 18, came to America with two suitcases and $40 in his pocket. “That was my life. That was my normal. It wasn’t too exciting at the time, but it blows other people away. Your mundane is somebody else’s magnificent!”

How do you find your story?

1. First, inventory your memories and ask, “Are there lessons that I can learn from these memories?” In many ways, it is not our strengths, but our weaknesses that connect others to us. Can you remember a time where it was not perfect?

  • Life as a kid
  • Elementary school experience
  •  Your high school
  •  Your first job
  • Times you innovated and were creative
  • Your best boss
  • Your worst boss

2. Create a story file. Use BEST-WORST-LAST-FIRST. What did that teach you?

  • First car, last car, best car, worst car
  • First friend, last friend, best friend, worst friend
  • Etc.

There are stories there. There are experiences there that are interesting to others! The common connects. And remember that flaws and vulnerability are what others identify with most. No batter bats 1,000. Nobody is perfect. Do we share our mistakes? Do we show others that we are human? If you are willing to share, you can grow from it, and others can too… “Your story told with authenticity and vulnerability…”—there is nothing more powerful.

Find your story and share your story.

Mark Brown is a 20-year fulltime keynote speaking veteran, and Toastmasters Speaking National champion. He has spoken on 5 continents and to over 1.8 million people.

Here are some important points in the podcast. Do yourself a favor and listen.

10:35 How Mark became a speaker
12:30 SAY YES
13:45 Serving employees unselfishly
17:15 The inglorious side of being a speaking celebrity
22:05 YOUR STORY told honestly, with authenticity and with vulnerability
22:36 Hearing the voice Pressing On story
25:47 When it ain’t all rainbows and bunny rabbits
26:35 Authenticity with vulnerability
30:28 When your self-talk is bad—how do you control it when something goes wrong?
31:40 When Mark faced grief just before a speech
34:50 How to assess when you mess up
36:20 A mess up doesn’t make you a failure
38:07 How to find your own story
43:45 Maintain a story file. BEST WORST LAST FIRST. What did that teach you?

Here is how you can connect with Mark:
Email- [email protected]

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