"The universe is made of stories, not of atoms" ~ Muriel Rukeyser On January 5, 2007, I was sitting out on my lanai looking out at the lake and golf course in Ft. Myers, Florida. I was officially and unexpectedly in between careers and jobs, living in a town where I literally knew one person. I had made a voluntary career transition in August 2006 and decided to embark on yet another adventure in my life--one that did not turn out the way I had anticipated. I was stunned, uncertain and yet strangely excited. The question came into my head, "What do you really want to do, not what do you have to do?" I really wanted to start my own company using all of my gifts, talents, passion and expertise to help others and do what I do best: teach, guide and train. On February 4, 2007, I launched Train with Shane. I just celebrated 4 years in business. That defining moment on the lanai led me on the most exciting, nerve-racking and challenging ride of my life. My storyline? "Deborah Shane is a tenacious 'career revivalista' who has transitioned through several careers. She has transformed herself from a rockin' singer, published songwriter, teacher and award-winning radio sales professional to a gutsy author, entrepreneur, speaker, radio host and expert." We know that stories are the most powerful way for people to connect with each other. We all love stories because we all have them and can relate to them. The plot, the characters, the setting, the conflict, the resolution, the moral is the oldest from of telling and sharing experience, wisdom and history that we have. Today, storytelling is one of the most effective approaches to use in brand recognition and development. Telling a story to drive home a theme or point is so powerful and lasting that it can cut through all the noise and clutter to grab someone's attention very quickly. Consider: The courage and perseverance of Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind adventurer to summit all seven of the planet's highest mountain peaks. The innovation and vision of Ray Kroc of McDonald's to revolutionize fast food. Sara Blakely getting over her fear of sales to make Spanx the success it is today. There are thousands of these stories that come out of the lives of real people that drive home the lesson, principle and moment of clarity that come when we take that leap of faith to do what we are driven to do. Here are 3 ways you can build a story and your brand connection with people at the same time: 1. Identify your life\u00a0shapers and turning points. We all have specific moments in our lives when things shifted and changed--moments that shaped our ideas and were turning points in our lives. Think about five of those moments in your life and what lesson came out of each that makes you who you are today. Use that to craft a story. 2. Think of random situations or occurrences you were involved in or witnessed that greatly moved you and why. Craft a story around what you saw, thought, felt or learned. 3. Talk about things, issues, causes that you are passionate about and why. We all have charities, causes and things that we want to be a part of and align ourselves with. Craft a story around how these led you to do something. What's your story? Find it, tell it, share it and celebrate it.