The Key to Presenting Yourself as a Trusted Advisor: Your Personal Origin Story

When you introduce yourself, is your story stale, boring and uninspiring?

Or, does it establish credibility and empathy while demonstrating your passion for what you do?

A personal origin story is a powerful tool for making impressive first impressions.

Personal Origin Stories:

  • Help you stand out

  • Establish you as a trusted advisor or guide

  • Promote your company without sounding “salesy”

Along with providing relevant background information, personal origin stories are meant to quickly demonstrate credibility, express passion, and build trust.  

You can develop and hone a series of origin stories for yourself (and your organization). Once you have a basic storyline, experiment with shorter and longer lengths to fit your situation.

The Personal Origin Story Framework

Part 1: An Ordinary World – What were you doing?

  • Briefly illustrate what your world was like.

  • Establish credibility – include a few details that give you credibility in relation to what you’re currently doing or how you’d like to position yourself.

  • Humblebrag – show humility and demonstrate service.

Part 2: Something Extraordinary Happens – What did you realize?

  • What did you decide? Did you encounter a conflict in your ordinary world? What did you realize or decide as a result?

  • Show passion and commitment – talk about what you realized and how it shifted your world.

Part 3: A New World Emerges – What do you now do?

  • Describe what your new world looks like.

  • Why is that so cool or meaningful? What impact do you get to have?

  • Why is your role a privilege? Gently promote your company and the work you do.

Example: My Personal Origin Story

When I began my career 13 years ago, I helped companies like Huron Healthcare, Aramark and Nuance Communications create “vision-driven” brands. I worked closely with business leaders to crystallize their purpose, vision, and values, and then turn that work into a brand strategy to share with the world.

Part of my work included launching the new brand internally to the employees of these companies. Time after time, I struggled to help the companies truly live and embody their new brand.

When I started working at Habits at Work in 2014, I realized the missing piece of the puzzle was translating the purpose, vision, and values of these companies into clear, repeatable habits. Because, over time, these habits would have the potential to shift the culture and bring a new brand to life.

Now, as the Head of Product at Habits at Work, I get to help companies like Google, Pinterest, CompTIA, and Microsoft learn, practice and embody the conversation skills and high-impact habits that move business forward.

Let’s take a look at how my personal origin story follows the 3-part structure:

Take Action

  • Create your own personal origin story (keep it to 2-3 minutes long).

  • Practice delivering your story with a friend or colleague and get their feedback.

  • Practice by recording yourself on your phone and evaluating your performance.

  • Evaluate: Is your story concise? Does it establish credibility and empathy? Does it show your passion for the work you get to do? Did you use it to gently promote your company?

  • Once you have the “long” version, work to condense it down. Can you make it 3 sentences long? How about 140 characters?

  • Take it out for a test drive at your next meeting or networking event and tweak it over time.

  • If you’re feeling fancy, email me your story at and I’ll give you feedback!

Breean Elyse Miller

Chief Brand & Product Officer, Co-founder

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