About a year and a half ago I hosted a Q&A session on personal branding. I want to share a story with you from that Q&A that I think about often.

A woman in the audience raised her hand and introduced herself as a lawyer from Manhattan. Then she bravely shared that she feared she would always be branded as “the foreigner,” due to her accent. 

I probed a bit and she shared that she immigrated to the U.S. from India, passed the New York State bar exam, and now practices corporate law. Clearly, it was time for her to take control of her narrative.

image by Marco_Bonfanti via Canva - image shows a turquoise typewriter with a white sheet of paper. The words "This is my story." have been added - controlling your narrative - Talk About Talk

I’ll never forget the look on her face when I said, “STOP saying ‘foreigner.’ You’re a corporate lawyer with a global perspective.”

I’ll never forget her smile.

This is just one example of how we can control our narrative. And that’s exactly what we’re going to Talk About this week!

3 things to Talk About this week:

1. What does it mean to control your narrative?
2. Six Self-Narrative Strategies
3. Boosting your confidence when the stakes are high

1️⃣ What does it mean to control your narrative?

When it comes to your narrative, you can LET it happen or you can MAKE it happen.

I say make it happen.

Your narrative is closely tied to your personal brand whether you’re a young manager seeking to make a strong impression or a seasoned executive looking to refine your image. Your narrative can impact your career trajectory

Controlling your narrative is NOT about being manipulative or deceptive. 

quote by Andrea Wojnicki of Talk About Talk - "Controlling your narrative is about identifying a theme that is authentic and true to you, that you want to emphasize. Then putting the words around that. Articulating it. And then consistently communicating or reinforcing that theme through your words and behaviours."

Controlling your narrative is about three things:

1. Identifying a theme you want to emphasize. The key is that you emphasize something authentic and true to you.

2. Articulating the theme. Putting words around it. In other words, the literal narrative. 

3. Consistently communicating and reinforcing the theme through your actions and words.

2️⃣ Six Self-Narrative Strategies

Among the benefits of controlling your narrative is that it can help you to demonstrate leadership.

image by miriam-doerr via Canva - image shows building blocks with female and male icons to illustrate concept of women in leadership - control your narrative - Talk About Talk

Recently I read a Harvard Business School paper where the researchers identified six self-narrative strategies that high-achieving women used to explain and justify their success:

  1. Success through competence, or skills, however they acquired them.

  2. Success through endurance or resilience.

  3. Success through maneuvers or being a strategic and analytical thinker.

  4. Success through their social network or relationships.

  5. Success through serendipity – or good luck.

  6. Success through warrior-like action – or being a courageous fighter.

So… which of these six narratives describes your “path to leadership” thus far?

Your narrative is a story worth telling.  But before you do so, consider how you can share it in a way that is authentic and compelling.

3️⃣ Boosting your confidence when the stakes are high

One of the biggest benefits of strategically managing your personal brand and your narrative is a boost in confidence.

But what about when you find yourself in a high-stakes situation and feel that sudden shot of adrenaline?

Andrea Wojnicki article for Inc. magazine - Boost Your Confidence With These 3 Research-Backed Self-Talk Strategies
Here’s what I tell my clients:
  • First of all, this feeling is extremely common before a big presentation, sales pitch, interview, or similar situation, even for the most experienced leaders among us. 
  • Then, we get into various mindsets and tactics that work for different people.  
Three of these strategies are listed in my recent Inc. article. Let me know what you think!

More on “Controlling Your Narrative” in this week’s podcast episode #143.  I’m really proud of this episode and I hope it will inspire you to upgrade our narrative.


You can listen on Apple, Spotify, Youtube, or wherever you listen to podcasts.  In fact, if you cannot find Talk About Talk, please let me know.


Have a great week
Talk soon,