In my recent blog, I focused on the importance of your clients or customers knowing who you are, how you became skilled at what you do, and what gives you the right to position yourself as an expert. They also want to know why you do what you do.

I suggested, sharing your “Foundation story” is valuable but means you risk the other person seeing your frailties, your vulnerability. But what if you can see your history, your painful experiences as the basis for your knowledge, your strength, your gifts?

A lot of readers came back to me with comments such as “If I share painful memories, it will only serve to make me upset.” Several people replied with, “If I share painful experiences, it may trigger a trauma, my PTSD.”

Let me be clear, I’m not suggesting you do anything likely to cause distress or harm to your mental health, particularly an experience that brings with it unresolved PTSD. Indeed, the only things that are important to your market, are those you have worked through sufficiently and what you learned from the experience. It’s not the experience itself, but what you have learned from it that qualifies you to be an expert in your field.

Is your experience relevant to your customers? Swimming the channel in extreme weather as a teenager may not be meaningful to your customer who is a sixty-year-old looking to purchase a new Motor car on the forecourt of your dealership, even if they are impressed by the amazing swim. But it may be very meaningful to an eighteen-year-old considering your self-improvement programme which focuses on the art of developing resilience.

We, all of us, deal with our challenges and painful experiences when we are ready and able to. Above all, we must respect the needs of the individual and where they are at on their journey. Wherever you are on this journey, I salute your courage.