• Bob Ewing

On Building Your Origin Story


People crave origin stories.

From ancient to modern, from superheroes to real-life heroes and more, we have a fundamental desire to know the backstory: how did it all come to be?

Origin stories bring people to life. They help audiences to care and connect. They get us hooked, wanting more.

Every public speaker benefits from having a well crafted origin story that is internalized. It can be delivered at a moment's notice, adapted to fit any audience and context.


Craft a three-minute speech that shares your origin story.

Be as creative as you’d like. The questions below may help you get started. Test your story often, incorporating feedback from yourself and others.

Origin stories vary in structure. Some focus on one pivotal moment. Others connect a few different chapters from life.


  • Why is it you do the work you do?

  • How did you get from your childhood hometown to where you are today?

  • What was the pivotal moment that set you on your career path? Did you have an epiphany -- or a mentor, book, idea or thinker -- that inspired your worldview or your career?

  • What dragons did you have to slay to find your success?

  • What is it that lights your inner fire? How did it first get lit?

Focus on authenticity. Pull back the curtain and let us see who you really are.


  • Begin bold and confident.

  • Share stories. Give them morals. Have the morals sound like proverbs.

  • Relive your stories as you tell them. Make your audience feel like they are there with you.

  • Bring moments to life with vivid detail.

  • Consider an analogy, tailored to your audience.

  • Delivery fundamentals: Smile, eye contact, and enthusiasm.

  • Solid posture. Be mindful not to swivel, slouch, or sway.

  • Punch & pause for the best stuff. Watch out for fillers & qualifiers.

  • Let your personality shine. For the love of all that is holy, don’t read a script.

  • Have a clear, confident ending.

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