Kendal's Podcast

Ep. 11 – The Power of Your Story: Change The World With Your Story

Hey, this is Kendal Netmaker live from the studio, and today we are going to be talking about the power of your story. There’s a good chance that you listening right now, you have an amazing story, and some people might even say that they don’t have an amazing story or they, they do kind of have a story, but they’re kind of scared to share it. So in this recording, what they’re gonna be doing here today is I’m gonna inspire you, give you some tools that you can take home today, and it’ll allow you to share that story deep within yourself and change the people around you. Because I truly believe it only takes one person to change another person’s life, to change your community, to change the world. And you can do this through the power of your story. For those of you who don’t know who I am, I built my own career off of a story, and I learned these storytelling techniques from my background myself.

I am a First Nations man. I grew up on a place on Sweet Grass First Nation. So growing up in my community, we were immersed in storytelling growing up, and a lot of our belief system is revolved around passing on stories. And we are always told morals of the story at the end of things, or sometimes we would have to figure things out on our own. So in doing so, a lot of the times you are using the senses of listening. You were always observing what was happening around you, whether it was a ceremony, whether it was an elder speaking to you. So you’re always forced to listen and be in tune with the other person who was speaking to you and giving you guidance, giving you wisdom, and so on and out in the marketplace. When you’re, you share a story out there, that is the number one way to build trust, to build connection with everyone out there, especially if people don’t even know who you are.

So in this recording, I’m gonna share with you some ways that you can do that. So you can make impact in yourself, your business, your, your organization, your nonprofits, and so on. So you can find ways to grow your organization. Find, find ways to grow yourself as an individual. ’cause when you do this, everyone else tends to win. And perhaps the most amazing piece through all this that I’m gonna share with you today is that you’re gonna feel more confident in yourself. And when you feel more confident in yourself by sharing your story, you are gonna inspire other people to feel the same way, because you’re gonna inspire them to wanna share their stories. In our organizations, in our workplaces, the more stories that we share with one another, those tend to be the most impactful things that we can remember for a long time.

Our lives are built on a story. When we were born, we were given two things. One is our gifts. We have all these gifts within our that we can use to our advantage to help us to build businesses, to, to launch careers, to become that athlete and so on. But we also have a story. We have a story from ever since you were born in this world to up into this present moment. In listening to this recording, you have a story. And I really believe that everyone needs to hear that story. So today, let’s talk about the power of your story. I did not realize the power of telling stories. When I first launched my first successful business, neechie Gear, when I was launching this business, about eight months into it, I had a product and I had a social mission. So I was selling men’s and ladies hoodies, t-shirts, and so on with my neechie gear product, my neechie gear designs and so on.

And I would put it out in the marketplace, and people were, were liking it, , people were, were were making the sales and it, but it wasn’t big. It was just a hobby at the time. What happened was, about eight months into it, I started to introduce the background story of why we created this business. And when I started to introduce the background story of why we created this business, people became moved by it. And what happened was people started to get a better emotional connection with our brand. And they wanted to support it. They wanted to be part of it. And what that meant was our sales increased, our brand loyalty was there. We had people coming back again and again and again. So in 2011 I was, , we took it from a one bedroom apartment in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, to a little office, to eventually a kiosk to multiple stores, online, wholesale, and, and all these different things that happened.

But there was one thing that allowed this to happen. It wasn’t because we just were selling stuff. Anyone can sell a product, okay? Anyone can sell a service. It was the fact that we used the power of our story in this branding, and we communicated it nonstop to the marketplace. Every single pitch, every single person that would come into our shops, every single person that we would meet for the first time, we communicated the story, we put it on our website, we made sure that every chance that we got it to be in front of the media, on social media, we would share this story nonstop. We would made a video, we would put on our website and all that kind of stuff. That eventually increased everything that you now see today. And I’m gonna share with you how we did this. So 2012, we made a decision.

We’re going to share this story, and here’s the story. So I, I’m selling men’s and ladies t-shirts. I have a social mission to try to help underprivileged kids through the profits of this business and donating to select charities, select organizations, select individuals, select teams who cannot afford to take part in extracurricular activities like sports. So that was my mission. I had a mission. I was selling some cool products, but when I brought the Y in and I started to communicate this with every single person, things started to change. So here’s the story. I started to tell the story about way back in grade five. And I told the story about, , being in grade five and I was living in my community, Sweetgrass First Nation, and I was growing up with my mother, she’s single parented, and myself, my three younger siblings. And she did everything she could to try to give us this opportunity to have success in life.

A lot of things in our background, we couldn’t really change, , we were, we were living in a community. We became dependent on the welfare cycle. We were pawning our belongings and so on. Like so many things that I, I did not realize that my mom had to go through. And I developed this sense of appreciation for everything she did for us. So I’m in grade five, and I happened to meet my best friend in grade five. We became very close. His name was Johann. And Johann was a kid who was originally from South Africa. We both had the same interests. We both liked the same things. And one of the main things that we both liked was playing this sport called soccer. So every day at recess, we’d be playing the sport of soccer, and eventually springtime was coming. And my bus had just pulled up one day and I had to jump on my bus.

I was going back home and Johann was already ready. He had his soccer outfit on, and he was ready to play on the afterschool team. Right before I’m leaving to get on the bus, Johann turns to me and he asked me a simple question. He’s like, Hey, Kendal. And I turned around. I was like, yes, what’s going on? He says, back to me, why aren’t you playing soccer with us after school? You’re just as good as any of us on this team. Why can’t you play with us? And I paused, and I didn’t know what to say because sometimes we have a hard time sharing stories about ourselves. We have a hard time communicating because we’re scared of what other people think. This is why most people don’t share their stories. I just stop listening to the negative dialogue in my head. And I just opened up to my buddy because we were good friends.

And I explained to him that the reason I cannot play on your team is because the bus that just pulled up is my only ride to and from my reserve. I told him I was living on welfare. I told him we were pawning, our, our valuables, my bike, my little Super Nintendo. I loved, I told him we were collecting cans and bottles and so on. And , he told his parents that night, I went back home. The next day I jumped on the same bus. I come back to school and Johan says to me, Hey, Kendal, I told my parents what you told me, and we want to help you out. And from that moment forward, this family, they would pay for my soccer fee. They drove me to games in practices. They would drive me to my first nation community to drop me off.

We became even stronger friends. And I was at his house every single weekend. His dad became my role model. I would watch this guy and how driven he was, how, how much he would look after himself, his workouts, his his studying, and so on. All these amazing things. And I would take all this in. And when I was there for a few years, I was at his house almost every single weekend by the time I was in grade seven. , our friendship just blossomed from there, from grade five to grade seven. But he came to me one day at school and he says, Hey, Kendal, we’re moving. So immediately as a kid, I’m thinking, oh my goodness, what’s gonna happen to my buddy? What’s gonna happen to our friendship? Or, , we’re playing soccer all the time. Oh my goodness, , they’re, they’re moving two hours away.

I’m probably not gonna see him. , we rarely left our community before they left this family. They gave my mom, my three younger sisters and ourself, myself, a 1986 Ford Crown, Victoria, burgundy red. It was sitting in their driveway. They were not gonna take it to the city where they they’re gonna move to. And they gave it to us because they saw how much my mother was sacrificing and doing everything that she possibly could to give her children a chance to succeed in this thing that we call life. That opportunity that they had given to us, allowed me to continue, me and my sisters to become involved in afterschool activities, sports. We’d be eventually get a chance to go into high school, play high school sports. We excelled all of us. And it eventually landed me a college volleyball scholarship. I went to go play volleyball for two years.

I come back and I graduated with two degrees in education, in arts and science and so on. And I was able to build my first company neechie gear. And when I started neechie Gear, my goal was to give back the way that my buddy Johan had helped me and inspired me through a clothing company. How can I do that to possibly thousands of youth across this country? That was my story. And I would communicate that story to all these different people, every customer, every pitch, competition, because when I started to get into this business, I had to raise money. And the only way that I knew how at that time was to throw myself into these business planning competitions. And part of that was learning how to do a business pitch. So the first part was hard. I didn’t know how to write a business plan.

So I’d submit my business plan into all these competitions, and I would have to show up as a finalist to now do a business pitch in front of judges. I was terrified back then of public speaking. I was always the shyest kid. The only way I knew how to do this was to share a personal story, like the one I just shared with you of how Johan had helped me and how I wanted to create this clothing company to help inspire the next generation of, of young athletes who are underprivileged and so on. How can I create a brand like this? So every single business pitch that I went to, I was able to influence the judges with this story, this emotional connection to a product with a social mission. It was purpose driven. And because we are able to combine all that into one piece, I communicated at all these competitions, and guess what happened?

We started winning money, we started placing. So now I have about $16,000 in cash services to start this business. And that is how neechie Gear started. But what’s most importantly, this is how it continued to scale and still be relevant to this day, is because we had a brand story, we were able to create brand loyalty. People kept coming again and again. And what the best part of this probably was? The more we told the story, people became so emotionally attached to it, they felt part of it. And because they felt part of it, they would tell the story for us absolutely free to their friends. They would say, you gotta see this neechie Gear brand. You gotta see this Kendal net Netmaker story. You gotta hear about this story. Go to his, his website,, watch his videos and so on.

We get people talking about this for us all the time. So that’s free advertisement. This is the power of your story. If you combine the power of your story in any product, any service, any personal brand, any career, any organization, any business, I guarantee you’re gonna see results happen for yourself for the long run. But it starts with you having the courage to first tell it. And I’m gonna share with you some tools today that will help alleviate the stress, alleviate the worry, and focusing on getting this message out to the people out there that deserve and need to hear your story. Your story is so powerful and people need to hear it. The deeper the story, the deeper the impact. And a lot of people, what they’re thinking right now is, , who wants to hear my story? what? I thought the exact same thing when I first got into business, when I first threw myself out there in the marketplace, , I started to share these, these ideas and these concepts with my coaching clients, and I would get them to share on a live platform, whether it’s Facebook and so on, and they would share the story of why they were starting their, their business and so on.

And you would be surprised how many people would come and that would support ’em on their opening day or their brand launch because of that story. Because they had the courage to get on a microphone, to get on camera and to share the story of why they’re creating this business, why they’re creating this service and so on. This is the power of your story. Your story can give you opportunities in career places when you’re applying for applications and so on. Using the power of your story is extremely powerful. I hope that you take this opportunity and to get inspired by me sharing this with you today so that you can apply this into your life, your workplace, your, your, your business, and so on, so that you can continue to take your life to where it deserves to be. There’s three different ways to share a story now in organizations or businesses.

This is the typically the three ways you can do it. If you are not comfortable sharing your own story, and let’s pretend you want to create a a t-shirt business, just like I started in the beginning, there’s three different ways. So number one, I recommend using number one by the way. Number one, you use your own brand story because people connect with other people who are just like them. And like I said, the deeper the story, the deeper the obstacles that you share about why you’re creating this, this business, this organization and so on, more people will come and support based on how much you’re giving out there. So when I wrote my book Driven to Succeed, I shared everything. I was like an open book and I felt very vulnerable out in the marketplace. But because I did that, I had more confidence in myself.

I was able to get more confidence in the marketplace in sharing my story in, in a, in, in expanding my products and services and so on. So number one, you share your own brand story from the founder, from the person, the personal brand, whoever the person behind the scenes is that created this product, created this idea, created the service. You share the brand story. When you share the story. First and foremost, you have to write this out. So I always recommend you write it out on a piece of paper. And then when you get to the point where you need to send it out into the marketplace, so you can use that text and create it like a Facebook post, a a LinkedIn post, and so on. Whoever you wanna share that with. And then if you want to take it up a notch, you take what you have there and you create a video that you record, you publish on YouTube, you put it on your Facebook, your LinkedIn, your, your Instagram, whoever you’re marketing to.

And most importantly, you put that brand story of what your why of why you’re creating your, your idea, why you’re trying to get ahead in your life, your business. You put that onto your websites, okay? This should be right in the front page or on the about us page or your story page and so on. Every single person needs a story video of why you’re doing what you do. It’s very important. So if you’re not comfortable doing that, there’s other organizations that do B or C. So a, we have tell your own story, the brand story, your why story, the owner story. number two, you use a celebrity story. And most of us, we can’t afford celebrity endorsements, but big companies like, like Nike for example, they are doing an extremely amazing job at using other celebrities to endorse our products by telling their stories.

And you see it all the time on Facebook, on YouTube and so on of all these amazing videos of all these athletes who are telling their stories or they, , very inspirational. And it creates an emotional connection with the viewers so that it makes them wanna buy that product that they’re wearing, which is usually something that they are getting paid to do. So that’s B, you get a celebrity, you get, you get an influencer if you can to, to endorse your product, your, your service, and so on. And c the last one is you use a current client story, a success story of someone that you’ve helped, that’s someone that’s been inspired by your product, your service one of your best customers is always the best idea to do this as well. So when you’re using a customer story, what they’re gonna do is they’re gonna be brutally honest to you and they’re gonna tell you on a video, if I always recommend using a video, if you can record them, get someone who’s a, a local videographer to go and record them and to share with the world why they choose you for your product, your service and your knowledge.

People believe in other people, people believe in other, in celebrities and influencers, but most importantly, they’re gonna believe in you, your story. And if you tie all those in together, you are gonna have a powerhouse of a personal brand, an organization brand, a community brand, a business brand, whatever it is that your goal is, the power of your story needs to be in there to make it happen. As a keynote speaker, as a coach consultant, my clients are always asking me, how did you get into this field? How did you become a speaker? How does a shy kid growing up on your community, growing up in poverty with very little self-confidence in themself, being able to share their own story to the marketplace and throw themselves out there again and again and again, and hoping that your story is impactful. Well, my answer is, is I tell them a story of how this all happened for us.

You see, I didn’t just magically write a book or, or become a coach and so on. So being the shyest kid, growing up all the time on my community in every classroom, I was always the kid in the back who didn’t want to be noticed. That was me. I was a shy kid, I was always, , people called me a mouse ’cause I’d never talked growing up and getting into business, I was forced to talk more. And I did this by sharing a lot of stories like the one I just shared with you, that story, saying it again and again and again, gave me confidence in myself. So if you struggle with public speaking, for example, and you’re having a hard time sharing this with the world, it is the easiest thing for you to do, to share a personal story that relates to what the goal is of what people are trying to hear from you, whether it’s a class project, whether it’s a, a presentation for for, for a meeting, a business, and so on.

Try to tell a story that they can relate to. This is how you get rid of a lot of these nerves out there. And that’s how I did it for myself. I’m always telling stories. So when I got into speaking, I’ll tell my clients, let’s pretend a client calls me and they’re like, Hey Kendal, we love to book you for a, a keynote presentation. , by the way, how did you get into speaking by the way? And, , I’ll have to explain this process and I’ll tell them that, , I was once that that shy kid in the back of the room. But I overcame this by telling stories that relate to the audience. So I tell ’em the story. In 2012, I get asked to go and speak at this northern community in Saskatchewan. And the, the school I was speaking in looked like everything was ready to fall apart from the, the theater stage to the podium, the staircase looked like the janitor had put it together right before the event started.

Like it was all put together pretty bad, but who could blame them? I got asked to speak, I go up to the podium and I’m thinking, , I meet the mc for the first time. He’s like, Hey, Kendal, good to see you. , you got a few minutes to do, tell your story. And , good, good luck today and I hope you have an amazing time here in community. So I go back to my chair and as I’m walking down these stairs, as they’re wobbling back and forth, I’m thinking, oh my goodness, these things are gonna fall down anytime. And every time the mc would go up and down those stairs, I’m thinking, oh my goodness, I hope it doesn’t fall. I hope it doesn’t fall. So as it’s getting near to the time that I’m ready, get getting ready to speak, guess what my inner dialogue is saying, oh my goodness, I hope I don’t trip.

I hope I don’t trip. I hope I don’t trip. I hope I don’t tr fall on those stairs. So the mc finally goes up and he is like, Hey, Kendal Netmaker, come on up. You got a few moments to share his story. Let’s give it up for Kendal Netmaker. So I’m getting up, I’m trying to be cool from the, the, the front audience and I get up the stairs, my hands on the stairs, and I’m almost at the top of the stairs and something happened. I trip. That’s right. But I didn’t just trip and stumble, I fell all the way down the stairs just like you’re a kid rolling down a hill freely and so on. And that was me. So I fall all the way down the stairs, I’m embarrassed, everyone’s laughing at me. My face is red, there’s sweat coming down my face, my heart’s racing.

I feel like everyone can hear my heart racing at that time. I’m so embarrassed. And I, I find a way to get myself up. I go back up the stairs even more cautiously, I finally get up the stairs and I get to the microphone and I pull my little notes that I had in my, my jacket. ’cause I didn’t know how to speak from the heart at that time. So I used to have to write all these notes out. And I remember the podium was there and I got my notes. I put ’em in front of me on the podium, and I looked out to the audience and I froze. In fact, as I grabbed my piece of paper, all you can hear was the ruffling of the paper shaking uncontrollably over the microphone. And everyone started laughing. And I literally blacked out from there.

I don’t even know what I said after that. I was so embarrassed, and I was so traumatized from that experience that I thought, why would I ever do that to myself again? And then someone said, Hey Kendal, you should come share that story to our community. And someone else would ask that and someone else would ask that. So I’d go to all these high schools, colleges, universities and so on. And what happened? I was able to create a business out of speaking and I was able to create coaching programs, books and so on, audio programs like the ones we are listening here today, that is the power of telling your story. Just because it doesn’t come out the, the the way that you hope it would the first time does not mean that people don’t need to hear it. I really hope, and I encourage every single person who’s listening to this here today, yes, you, I want you to share your story because the world needs to hear it.

And if you share your story out there in the marketplace to the world, everyone who you meet for the first time, you were gonna be able to create a connection that most people are too scared to create. Because you had the courage to share your story. You had the courage get outside your comfort zone, you had the courage to use the power of your story to enhance your life, your business, your community. And guess what? People deserve to hear it because that’s your story. It is your connection to everyone else out there, and it’s gonna separate yourself from all the competition. And at the end of the day, you become more confident that people around you feel more confident and people will adopt your story as their own because it’s gonna be inspiring and it’s gonna help a lot of people out there in the marketplace use the power of your story.

I believe everyone should write their own book, even if you don’t publish it for the marketplace, write your own book, tell your story. Go back to ever since your first memory of being in this world that we’re living in. , for myself, my my earliest memory is, is five years old. And I, I, when I go and speak, I tell the story from my earliest memory up until the present. And I really believe that if you share this story, you can have something here that you can use to inspire for future generations, your kids, your grandkids, and so on. If you get a chance and you do get a chance to publish your story like I have in Driven to Succeed, I had every single thing that I’ve done out here I was mostly not good at. , the only thing that I was able to naturally do pretty well was to tell stories.

But I didn’t know how to speak, I didn’t know how to write books. I didn’t know how to do audio programs. I didn’t know how to create online courses. I didn’t know how to sell T-shirts. I didn’t know how to print t-shirts. I didn’t know how to sell my stuff in stores and sell on Amazon and all that kind of stuff. I had no clue what to do. But I focused on one thing, telling a story over and over and over again. And the more I would tell the story, people started to say, we need to hear your story on a book. You have a book. So I started to write Driven to Succeed, and I started to share my personal journey from start to where we are today. And I would tell the story over and over again and eventually when we launched it in, in 2018, it became a bestseller in weeks.

And people all over the country started to buy it on Amazon in bulk orders for their, for their communities, for their organizations and so on. And so much things happened after that. , I was able to, to get into more consulting, I was able to get into more coaching. I started getting more coaching clients all through the power of a story. You see, the more that you embrace your own story, the more that you share your own story, your client story, people around you story, the more people are going to want to jump on the train with you. For example, if you’re a leader and you have people that you’re leading with in your organization, and the more that you’re open telling your story, what’s gonna happen, the people around you are gonna feel more comfortable around you. They’re gonna want to tell their stories as well.

They’re gonna want to be more open to you about things that are happening behind the scenes that maybe you are totally unaware of because you are so focused on your own journey. But if you’re open with your own story about where you come from, the struggles that you’re going with as a human being every day, making yourself vulnerable to people, people will build a new bond with you, built on trust, built on loyalty, and when you need their help, they’re going to be there to step up to the plate to help you succeed in whatever area of your life, your business that you need them to step up to. So I hope you can see the power of your story and the impact that it can have on the world. I’ll give you an example also in an organization how this works. When we go and do consulting work or training with organizations, one of the things that we do is we bring in team members into small team building activities and we get them each to share a, a really personal story of resilience, of overcoming something that most people don’t know about.

And sometimes you’ll notice that some people will, will be in tears, they’ll be really scared to share it, but they’ll feel like the weight has been lifted off their shoulders. And at the end of the exercise, what we do is we do another exercise after everyone had a chance to share something and we say, I like your story, because everyone gets a chance to kind of give feedback of their story, but they can only share something positive. So everyone gets a chance to share something positive of what that person’s story was about. So now the person is feeling empowered. , now they have the weight lifted off, now they have positive reinforcement of the story, they feel good. So everyone gets a chance to do this. And then we do a team building exercise where it’s a competition against other teams who have done this.

And what happens is these teams work way more effectively together because they know things about each other. how they did this through the power of a story, they shared things about themselves, they were vulnerable, they were open, and because people were able to do that, they’re able to work collectively together more effectively. This is the hidden power of a lot of things out there, from brands to organizations, to teams, to leadership and so on. The power of the story, the power of the story has the power to unite people, to unite a community, to a country, to unite organizations, to create change in the marketplace, to create change. Whatever it is that you want to achieve with your life, I guarantee you, if you should use the power of your story today, you are gonna see tremendous results in the long run. And most importantly, you are gonna bring everyone that is on your bandwagon, on your business, in your family, in your career, and you are gonna uplift them because you had the courage to tell your story. Keep moving forward!


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