I have had 12 surgeries in 10 years. Why storytelling matters to me.

This particular article is the place where I pull back the curtain and as a result, it is very raw. 

“I have had twelve surgeries in ten years.” I have to step back a moment to reflect when I said that.

Those who know me best know I am far more comfortable talking about other people’s stories than myself.

I have spent time doing that, writing about other people’s stories. I love it too.

In fact, a goal of mine is to have a podcast or Youtube show or something where I learn the story of interesting entrepreneurs.

I don’t like talking about the story. I really don’t. I don’t want people to feel sorry for me. Let me tell you something, I didn’t sign up for a dozen urinary surgeries. That’s what they were, all urinary. The effect has lasted a long time. This is not the story I wanted to write, but this is the story I lived.

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I believe in storytelling.

I believe in storytelling.

Storytelling can be cathartic and it can also be the bond between your company and your audience.

I grew learning not to talk about myself. I am allergic to self-praise. Something inside me turns a tad when some of my friends put a picture of themselves along with a motivational saying on social media.

I have an article that talks about it, and it is kind of buried on another website and I rarely share it with people. Well, I also put it on Medium as well.

Between the ages of 27 and 37, I had about twelve surgeries (I am 49 now and wonder where my adult life went). Honestly, I haven’t really counted them in a while, so I think that’s the right number. There are surgeries on either side of that decade.

Throughout life, I minimized it by saying most of them were minor, but what you learn it anytime someone sticks something into you, it’s not minor. Minor means you go home the same day. 

Some of them were pretty long surgeries too. I once spent a few days in the hospital at the University of California San Francisco. My ex-wife and I flew out there because this surgery could only be done (at the time) in one of two places in the country.

So, from 1998 to 2008 I had those surgeries. Thing is, I was supposed to be building a career, but that didn’t happen. In 2000 I settled into a job at a bookstore as a cashier. I hung on for 9 years.

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How did I get here?

How did I get here? How did I get to content marketing or copywriting? Good question.

I started building websites when I knew no one else who did that. I played around with online builders including FrontPage Express. I created a website for a couple of churches and a friend’s business. This was way before the emergence of open-source CMSs like WordPress.

Then I went to WordPress because I had a blog and needed something better. Then I built a few websites. I learned how to make the traffic increase. I always seemed to be a step behind the latest trends.

I dove into social media marketing (learned a ton from Shama Hyder) in addition to building websites. By this time, it became harder to make good money building website for small businesses. I was looking for an advantage.

Then, I dove into content marketing (learned tons from Copyblogger!), again, just behind the trend.

I had never heard of copywriting until a few years ago. Turns out, it has existed for a long time. Who knew? Not me.

In the process, I picked up skills that it usually takes a good job to have. I learned various types of copywriting to go along with my content marketing skills. I have a plethora of digital marketing skills.

I even worked with an agency for a while where I did everything from project management to website development. 

I wrote articles for a local business publication where I got to interview startup founders and legendary business owners. I started a hyperlocal media platform.

I didn’t take a job out of college at a hot startup or SaaS company. When I graduated from college, those didn’t exist.

One thing has remained the same along the way. I love to tell other people’s stories.

I am extremely fascinated by how and why a person starts a business. That story, the why is the very core of the values from which they draw their inspiration.

And storytelling is woven in the fabric of our lives. It may be a show on Netflix or Amazon Prime, a good work of fiction, the latest movie at the theatre, or just telling stories during a family Christmas.

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Storytelling connects us. 

Stories connect us. 

Stories, as Jennifer Aaker reminds us, are impactful, personal, and memorable.

Stories have the power to change a life. Stories have the power to change the direction of an entire nation. 

Stories are the platform from which ancient scriptures are built.

So, you see, my story plays into that. Knowing what my story connects me to, that it connects me to wanting to hear your story, is the constant light that shines.

So, for ten years, when I should have been building a career and increasing my net worth, I watched as my world was shattered with surgery after surgery.

And yes, I experienced depression. I had bouts with Major Depression. It hurt other areas of my health as well.

I saw therapists, three over a period of almost 15 years. They all brought something to the table. One helped me get over the stigma attached with learning I had mental health issues

Another helped me come to terms with some of the things that were happening. I became more self-aware. I learned to pay attention to some of those issues of anger and fear.

Another one helped me become more comfortable in my own skin of suffering. He helped me learn to manage the symptoms. He was there also when my marriage fell apart.

And all of them did this with the help of me telling my story.

So, who am I? 

I am a storyteller who has lots of digital marketing skills. My best asset is telling your story. 

The thing I do best is to help you unearth, refine, and shine your story. 

You can call it a brand story, or a story brand, or storyselling or whatever you want. I am pretty sure I come to this with a different perspective.

So, you see, I am a storyteller.

If I have to build a website or write website copy to help you do that, that is what I will do. Ultimately, however, at the end, you want you to unearth, refine, and shine your company story. That is what I do.

Wrapping it up

How does your story play a part in your business? What is your why?

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