Since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, people have lost personal connections and engagement. But, unfortunately, it’s made us crave them even more. Subliminally, we crave emotional stories. We're hard-wired to listen to them.
Instead, we’ve had to deal with both personal and professional challenges. Like being trapped in an old-fashioned telephone booth, we were isolated. We could see outside the booth, but not touch.
It hasn’t been easy. However, how you’ve dealt with those adversities can help your ideal audience connect with you.
In large part, it’s the pandemic that has shifted us from the Information Age to the Age of Storytelling. The change may feel awkward, but it’s what your ideal customers want.
I’d heard the words “dealing with aging parent issues,” but my Mom seemed to be doing great. At 97, she appeared to be going strong and lived with my youngest sister, Gena, born with cerebral palsy. They had looked out for each other for over 30 years following my Dad's passing from a heart attack.
Mom insisted she would stay in her own home and die there. But in 2020, things seemed to change.
Pandemic side-effects took over:
Each took its toll on her.
Multiple trips to an ER and 2021 didn’t seem much better.
I remember the last call.
My sister Gena’s voice was edged with panic. “Mom is stuck on the toilet.”
“Is she okay?” I interjected, remembering she had just gotten home from rehab after a previous fall.
“She seems to be. But she can’t get back up, and she’s been sitting there for hours. I keep asking her, but she won’t let me do anything. She gets angry every time I ask her to let me call 911 to get help...”
“Okay, you did right to call me. We’ve been through this before.”
“I know.” Stress made Gena’s words stumble.
“This time, we’re not going to argue. Mom isn’t thinking clearly, and I’ll bet she’s embarrassed. You need to hang up, go into your room, and then call 911. Don’t ask her. Just do it. It’s for her own good."
“Okay.” Her voice didn’t sound very confident. “I’ll do it.”
The EMTs called after the rescue. “She thinks we should take her to be checked out, and we agree with that.”
If you’re 96 and have a problem, they first want to do a raft of tests to ensure you haven’t had a heart attack, stroke… or broken anything.
It was three days later before they decided she could be released. In those three days, she had weakened just laying in bed.
I got a call from the hospital doctor, “Your mom is going to continue to have issues. Her systems are starting to fail. You need to put her in an Assisted Living facility where someone is right there 24/7.”
“She isn’t going to go along with that,” I replied. “Let’s move her to the rehab facility close to her house and do an evaluation… maybe we can convince her.”
I knew I was stalling, but I needed time to get it sorted out.
Dealing with aging parent issues took over my life. Gena’s needs complicated the situation. Stress had taken its toll, and she was near an emotional breakdown.
So care for a parent times two.
My sister was willing and excited to have the help she and Mom both needed.
Mom came at it with a scowl, fear, and reluctance. She didn’t like the decision taken out of her hands — even though she had agreed with her doctor it was best. She hated that we wouldn’t let her go back home, pack her things, and be in charge.
Unfortunately, her physical weakness and stubbornness ultimately forced us to make the decisions and do it for her.
I got them both moved, settled, and watched them start to thrive.
Then Mom’s health suddenly started to decline, and in two months, she passed quietly with her family at her side. I found a journal where she noted Gena was happy, cared for, and safe. That seems to have been the magic key that allowed her to let go.
As a copywriter, I’ve helped people tell stories they found too difficult to share on their own. So I know that telling your own emotional stories can be a challenge.
But when you tell a story, people subconsciously tie it into their own experiences. It’s not your mom; it becomes their mom. Your challenge becomes their challenge, and your victory theirs too.
Well told, they engage with it… and with you.
It can be a personal story, the story behind your brand, or the story of your vision or mission. They all serve similar purposes. But, first, they help people connect with you.
You can let those stories do the heavy lifting for you. Done right, you’ll never have to feel you are bragging about your accomplishments. Instead, you reveal what you’ve done in the context of the story.
You and your brand become the little guy they can cheer for. You represent David facing Goliath. Their defenses relax, and they want to know more about you. They even want to help you.
If you have trouble finding or telling your stories, I can help you with that. Telling a story can make you feel vulnerable. But that’s what makes you authentic to your reader. It’s what they want and why they will connect and engage with you.
Message me [email protected] or connect with me on social media if your emotional stories need telling. Let’s identify your best client avatar and their emotional triggers and then find the best story to connect and engage them. More sales, web traffic, and $$ in the bank. Yes, I do that.
This article is the fifth in a series of business-building articles starting with your USP. You can read all of them here.
Judith Culp Pearson receives three top honors
at the annual Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals in
Ft. Worth, Texas - October 7-9, 2023