No one else will write your story except you
“The hero always comes out on top.” Or at least, that’s how Filipino soap operas always structure their stories.
You’ll rarely find local TV shows or movies where the hero ends up failing, making them very predictable— “di ‘yan mamamatay, bida eh.” (He’s not going to die, he’s the main character.”)
That’s how Filipino storywriters told it for the longest time. It’s why our brains have been wired to always expect a positive outcome, despite the challenges our heroes face.
And yet, for some reason, it’s an entirely different scenario when we try looking at our own life stories.
Granted, writing fiction is a much easier task vs. planning out our lives and following everything to the dot— plans rarely work out exactly as we expect it.
But what if we could suspend reality for a moment and try to write out each and every chapter of our lives? What if we could lay out the dominoes that needed to fall into place, helping our first push trigger a chain of events? Think about it: your own personal story, deemed worthy to be turned into a book or a movie.
How would it look like?
Writing The Outline
When we were still kids, we’d always be asked with the golden question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Despite not knowing anything yet what life had in store for us, we’d always have an answer. An astronaut? A fireman? A doctor? (Mine was a secret agent.)
Some of us were lucky enough to pursue our childhood dreams. Templates of how we’d get there were readily available. (Do well in school, take 4 years of pre-med, and you’re well on your way to pursuing your career as a doctor.)
Entrepreneurs, content creators, and artists (among others), are part of a less fortunate group.
Writing the outline to get to where we want to be is a burden we have to carry, or else movement in our careers would be non-existent.
What’s worse is that pivots in what we wanted to do with our lives usually came in late— some learned their passions in college; others way past their prime; a few never figured out what they wanted to be.
It’s also during this time where our creativity gets sapped. Life happens— studies, work, family, kids. It’s here where we feel that it’s too late to even start, especially because of the countless responsibilities life has thrown at us.
But maybe, writing the outline isn’t as hard as you expect it to be.
Maybe it’s just a matter of going back to your naivety and asking yourself: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
How I Write My Story
When I was starting out Eight Media, I knew I wanted to become a CEO.
That idea in my head went with a lot of daydreaming; a lot of visions for myself on where I wanted to be years from now.
With just the knowledge of how to create websites, I already laid out in my head what it’d look like to build a digital marketing company.
Walking backwards, I knew that the goal was to step out to an office balcony with my co-founder, look back at our team through the glass doors, and think to ourselves, “we built this”.
We’d have an office cluttered with coffee cups and MacBooks, and dozens of clients under our wing.
Those clients would all come from snowballing referrals, because of how good we were able to build our services.
Those referrals, I believed, would stem from just our first client.
Without having any clients, partners, revenue, or team members, I told myself: “I’m CEO.”
No awesome startup story starts with hitting the ground running on day one and seeing hockey stick growth overnight, no. The best ones start with something like a ragged hippie teenage kick-out working in their garage, eventually innovating on computers, getting fired out of the company he started, and coming back in to come up with revolutionary devices like the iPhone.
It’s why I love starting my story with how I got kicked out twice from two different colleges (even though my parents don’t like it)— it gives me the feeling that I have a story similar to one of the people I look up to.
Realigning myself, it all had to start with that first client.
When I was searching for that client, I jumped straight into doing cold calls with no experience and just a sales pitch, not knowing if it’d end up working. All I knew was I had to make it work, just so it’d be a great continuation to my kick-out story.
It was always less about learning from big-time mentors on what they did, and more about thinking of crazy things to do and crawling my way towards achieving it, no matter what other people (or the odds) say— just because it could turn into an awesome story to tell.
This approach has also helped me explore opportunities that no other entrepreneur has tried out. It’s why I think Eight Media’s primed to tackle problems with out-of-the-box solutions.
The hardships that my team and I go through, although tear-your-hair-out-of-your-head stressful, is something we could always use when we get back up out of every dire situation (and we always do because we’re awesome that way).
I embrace the hardships because it’s a great story to tell to people. I know it’ll always tie up to our next chapter.
After twenty or so embarrassing cold calls, one company called back and became our first client.
Cluttered coffee cups and MacBooks came in our fourth year of operations.
The balcony scene is still a work in progress.
Writing Your First Chapter
Visualize where you want to be five years from now, then work your way backwards to get the milestones you need to hit. These milestones will mark as your story’s outline.
A good goal for a content creator could be having a million subscribers on YouTube.
- This would mean having a team behind you to help out on your videos.
- Having this heavy of a production might mean it’s because you’re putting out a video per week.
- A video per week means you knowing the constant theme or genre for your content, all stemming from your audience telling you which videos resonate with them and which don’t.
- Growing your audience starts with one fan.
- Getting one fan starts with one video.
Remember that you are the author of your story— as you slowly believe that you are already the person you want to become, your mind starts to align your willpower.
Your willpower then aligns your body.
Your body aligns your actions.
Your actions then turns into results.
Question is, how will you write you story?