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Now that my testimony is written and has been viewed by a couple people (who gave it great feedback by the way), I'm struggling with the thoughts that maybe I shouldn't go through with this now. Just because I went from living a life where I was a healthy dose of chaos in a box to getting straighten out and now living a pretty good life doesn't mean that I have the right to share this and think I can help others.

My other hang up is that I know some people really won't like what I say because I did have a pretty significant negative event in my past when I was only 20 (I'm 41 now). But, I don't know if I'm worried about nothing, because the few people that know about this incident don't seem to really be that judgmental about it and don't change their opinion of me because of it even though I see it as the huge thing it is.

This is where I've always got stuck in the past and the reason I'm not further along than I am now. I really don't know if I want to publicly share the details of my past, but I'm afraid that if I'm not transparent then someone will find out anyway, share it and it'll ruin whatever I've built. 

Maybe I'm just overthinking it. 

Thanks.

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Your audience will always respond better to you if they know you better.  They are asking why should I believe this person.  However, you control what they know and don't know about you.

Are there ways you can share what you have been through without sharing the darkest details?

You can always change names and I recommend it.  I shared about a friend of my that was assaulted and used their real name.  I had a wise friend tell me that was not a good idea.  So, I changed the name and still tell the story.  

Share what you learned and how it will benefit them, but you don't have to sharing everything just what is important for your audience to connect with you and trust you.

"WHO" was involved isn't so much the concern. The only names listed in this are my daughter's mother and my current wife. It's what I did that has me rattled more than anything. I know that the people that need to hear my message WILL hear it and not judge. I'm sure I'm just overthinking this and making it to be way bigger in my head than it will be. 

Thanks for your words of support Bryan.

Chris, I haven't ready your testimony. What you've learned from your experience will inform your writing. You don't have to spell everything out for that to happen. A story told in humility can help people know you better and earn trust. I agree with Bryan, you control how much you share and when. I just started reading "The Courage to Write, How Writers Transcend Fear." It looks like it is going to be good in addressing the fears we have in writing. 

Sounds lke

Not sure what happened with my reply here, but thanks Debbie, sounds like a great book.

Chris...thank you for putting this out there. So good!!!

We all struggle with this. Bryan and Debbie are giving you great advice.

Here's one thought. I share a powerful story in a book I wrote, as well as in presentations I give. I share about a mistake that I made that almost got me suspended from school (it should have gotten me suspended). I give a lot of build up regarding all the mistakes I was making up until that point, but when it comes to the specific event, I say/write this:

"I made a major mistake. The details aren't necessary, just know it was major and I knew, at that moment, all the people who believed in me were disappointed in me" and I go on to list all these people.

Basically, I let people know I was really making bad mistakes...was sinning...but I leave the "big stuff" up to their imagination. I do this for two reasons. First, because I want to keep my mistake confidential as to not hurt other people. And two, because I want people to put themselves in the story. They've made mistakes, so they can put their own mistake into my story. 

Does this help?

Dude!! That's perfect! I never really thought about leaving it like that. I just assumed that in order to do this I'd have to spill everything out on the page. So, Yes, this absolutely helps!! Thank you.

Excellent advice...I will be "adopting" this strategy...!!!

Chris,

If your story helps just one person, that is enough. 

Great advice here. Whatever you decide, just use the courage your found to write this post, to move forward with your testimony. Each time you step out of your comfort zone it will get easier. 

Not sure what happened in your past, but it reminded me of this podcast I listened to recently. http://startupcamp.com/podcast/go-hurt-ineffective-healed-unstoppab... Maybe it will be helpful. 

Keep at it! You're making progress. 

Thanks Holly, I'll check it out

Looks like you have gotten some great advice Chris!!!! 

Do you feel like the obstacles are as big as they were when you posted it? If so, what is in the way today? 

Sharing our most embarrassing, weakest moments are what makes us related. I will say however that I never share a story with an audience unless I have processed through it so maybe processing through it with close folks if you haven't done so already would be helpful. Brene Brown has a great book, Daring Greatly that you might enjoy. 

After getting a little more feedback, especially from someone I thought would really dislike me after reading my testimony who proved me wrong and doesn't, I'm getting more comfortable with it. 

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