Polished Enough? – Let Me Never Be That Good
“You really look like you have it all together,” said a woman entrepreneur as she checked out my sponsor booth. I was bummed.
In my early life in corporate I worked countless late nights to make sure I had it all together, my presentations edited just so. I never shed a tear or showed an emotion that wasn’t appropriate, and I gave people what they needed to see to think I was amazing.
Not that it didn’t fall apart from time to time, but I was striving to be one of those people who had it all together.
Above All, Let Me Be Real
Today my goal is to be real, truthful, raw, honest, and highly successful. I completely believe we can be ourselves and make money. Not the polished version of ourselves with the real, good stuff hidden from view, but just us, however we really are, ‘warts and all,’ as they say.
Being in alignment means that the things you do all make sense because they are a reflection of who you are, and everything vibes together. That’s different than looking perfectly put together.
Interview Gone Boring
Awhile back I interviewed someone to share them with my list. I’m usually meticulous about who I share with my list, ensuring that who they are is a great fit or compliment to the point of view you rely on me for. In one case I chose someone because they seemed popular and I didn’t take time to suss them out.
The person sent me a list of questions to ask them, which is customary and helpful for busy people doing interviews. However, I like to talk truth and make interviews interesting and real. I asked several off-script questions during the interview, and the interviewee expertly weaved the conversation back to script without missing a beat. No behind the scenes stories, no vulnerability. Every response carefully put my guest in the light of someone who mastered all problems with ease and grace.
Now, you don’t want to be in breakdown as you share your stories. But you want to share them. No one avoids breakdown. No one. And I, personally, don’t want to work with people who pretend they have.
I was out with a friend the night before writing this article, and we were talking about this topic. She’d been telling about an art exhibit, “The Museum of Broken Relationships,” and she tied it to the point beautifully.
The exhibit was representing those items that are left behind at the end of a relationship – things that you don’t feel right giving away and can’t sell, yet really have no business keeping.
The bulk of the displays are things like old love letters, t-shirts, “the skis I wore when I broke my leg trying to impress her.” My friend herself contributed a stuffed animal her ex brought home from a business trip.
Then she described the displays that were “overarticized.” The actual items were encapsulated in artistic paper-mache frames and collaged into polished works of art.
She described how those pieces left her feeling disconnected, almost cheated of the real story and real emotion of how that break-up went down. She went on to describe how we view raw food as good these days, yet rawness in people we still somehow want to cover up.
I don’t want to sound as if there is no value in crafting a strategy and being intentional about how you present yourself to the world. It’s important. My interviewee makes lots of money by keeping to the script. There is clearly an audience that wants that. But it left me feeling cheated of the good stuff I know was a part of that journey that I could really learn from. How-tos are a dime a dozen. The nuances of how someone did what they did create real learning. And it’s often the stuff we wouldn’t think to share in our polished pitch that is the stuff that forges real connection with clients.
There’s no right and wrong approach here, it’s about what level of polish is in alignment for you. I, personally, leave my ponderings saying, “Lord, let me never be that good.”
People pretend to be happy
So I decided to write today about pretending to be happy. It is the perfect melding of what I’ve been encountering in my strategy sessions with people this week, and video #3 in my Know Your Profit Style series – Accepting Annie. So then I went online to find a quote, as I often do, and all I could find was this:
Ha! How perfect. We live in a culture that idealizes putting on a happy face and denying our emotions so as not to make others uncomfortable. That’s considered “strong.” And that is why Accepting Annie is actually pretty successful and revered in our culture… she motors through. But she is unfulfilled on the inside, and the worst part is she doesn’t know it! She goes around as a one-woman show, crossing things off her to-do list, and essentially missing the point. (Well, watch today’s video…)
I’ve been there. And our self-help aisle isn’t very helpful, because it is easy to reinforce the idea that we should “think positive” when what might really help is to get damn pissed off, or ruffle feathers with our Truth.
So, why is it so important to recognize that people pretend to be happy? Well, first, ask yourself if you’re pretending to be happy so you can deal with what is so. Second, realize that your prospects 9 times out of 10 are going to tell you things are OK, or working. They have accepted that having less than what they really want is OK, and they don’t realize they are settling. Sometimes, our culture considers that the more pain we endure, the better person we are (see said quote) so people actually love up their pain.
So watch the Accepting Annie video and ask yourself – is she happy or is she putting on a happy face?
Is Patty Proven scaring your clients?
Here’s video two in our Profit Styles training series.
It’s Patty Proven in “Video Shoot Gone Bad!”
Enjoy, share, and take the free quiz! Let me know what unfolds.
Do you tend to get caught up in your own head when it comes to running your business? (And probably in other areas, too!) The main driver for this is that you are terrified of having the wrong answers, or putting something out there that is not quite right. You are committed to proving your worth, because you weren’t valued just for being you. This need to be competent, dare I say perfect, has helped you to truly shine in life at times. However, as a business owner it simply doesn’t work. Successful businesses fail more often than they succeed, and they are regularly taking risks to grow. Your commitment to excellence will help you, Patty, but we’ve got to make shifts to put it to work for you!
Aside from getting caught in analysis paralysis, the other big downfall Patty faces is that people have a hard time relating to you or connecting with you. You view clients and resources as scarce, so you tend to see through a filter of competition, and you can repel or overwhelm prospects with all of your facts and information. You are letting your content and knowledge lead the conversation, rather than YOU. A willingness to be vulnerable would go a long way, and you need to find your motivation to go there.
Be sure to “like” Patty Proven’s facebook page and get ready to join the conversation.
Break Up for Profit! Part I
Most of us have had the experience of going through a relationship break-up. And maybe you’ve even had the experience of “breaking up” with a client, or a team member, that wasn’t working out.
But have you ever thought about breaking up with the part of you that attracted those things in the first place?
Sometimes we know we need to release something in our life, and we find a way to muscle through the break up, but we never dig deep enough to break up with the root cause of our problem.
Mastin Kipp said, “To be a successful entrepreneur, you have to break up with your parents.”
I heard this quote and immediately both laughed and wanted to cry, because Mastin voiced something I’d been grappling with, and didn’t want to believe.
It was time to break up with my parents.
Now I’m not saying you can’t see your parents or have a relationship with them and have a successful business. But I am saying you need to sever ties with the view of you they have, and the role you chose to play in your family. I’ve yet to meet a client who didn’t need to walk this path.
I thought I had done it, then realized I needed to move further into alignment.
Some of you will need to give yourselves some serious distance from the “you” your family knew, and for most people this is easier to do with some physical distance between you as well. And for some it means literally no contact. If there is no commitment to growth in the family in which you were raised, or you are in a phase of shaky growth, and your courage could easily falter, these are times to limit contact.
I’ve, personally, been in a phase of new growth with my business and my life this spring (relocated cities, upleveled the specificity of my ideal client, and had my biggest month of sales ever, then traveled around the world – wow).
And I’d been planning a trip to spend a week with my family in July. Because you “should” spend a week with your family every summer, right?
Yet my family (yes I love them, yes my parents did the best they could with the information they had, yes, yes, yours too, I know…) has always vacillated between victim and conflict energy (Circumstance Cindy, meet Patty Proven). And I recognized that with where I am heading and what I want to create in my new life in my new city, I COULDN’T AFFORD to spend a week in that energy. (There was an even greater than normal amount of stress in my family this month.)
I decided I couldn’t afford allowing my own potential for going backward to a place of trying hard to prove I’m not the “Ungrateful Shrew” my mother told me I was growing up.
You see, every time I step further into my power in my business, I have a little conversation in my head that goes something like, “Who are you to expect _____? Maybe I’m asking too much. Who do you think you are? Maybe I’ll just watch, wait and tolerate.”
And cancelling my family trip was the exact type of thing that would elicit the “Ungrateful Shrew” conversation in my mind. You “should” sacrifice for your family, after all. You have to prove you’re not ungrateful at minimum.
So my cycle of proving looks like this:
- Desire something.
- Something happens presenting an opportunity to choose between the higher energy (desire) or shrinking to make someone happy.
- Worry about appearing ungrateful.
- Choose to shrink. Or choose to shine, but then do something else sacrificial, helpful, or overly responsible to make up for it.
- Feel resentful and ungrateful. Decide not to do that again.
- Dwell in my true desire and begin to dream. Repeat cycle.
And here’s the dangerous thing. It happens so quickly that I don’t even notice it happening. It just feels like the way it IS.
And next thing I know I’m wondering why it is taking so long to hit that particular goal. You know, the one that I REALLY want deep down, the one that scares me.
So last week I “broke up with my family” by cancelling my trip and choosing instead to take the week for myself to get settled in my new city.
And the most amazing miracle happened. I stopped taking responsibility for making everyone feel better about themselves and about me. And someone in my family finally took responsibility for themselves in a way I’d been praying for for YEARS. Like, changed their life last week.
Now, I’m not saying I caused that, they did. But I do believe my breaking my cycle of proving made it infinitely more possible as I created a space of more freedom in and around my family.
It also brought a cool new opportunity into my world as well, in line with what I’m committed to accomplishing this year.
So, here is the question, and assignment for this week. What is your hidden cycle of proving? See if you can become present to it between now and next week. If you notice you’re struggling to see it, please join me on the Inner Alignment call Thursday. Click here to register.
Are you a Patty Proven?
You land a speaking gig at an organization filled with your ideal clients – you’re so excited. You spend weeks preparing your slides and your talk. You get up there and share your credentials and give a compelling recounting of your professional journey.
Your presentation is filled with facts, figures, and logic that would make a listener’s head spin – and it does. After the talk, countless people approach you to tell you about how great you did. This builds your self esteem, but nobody buys anything. And you don’t get to really help them beyond that 30 minutes.
And, you’re still broke.
You wonder what on earth you did wrong, and you go back to improving the statistics of your talk. You entertain ideas of a different career. And you’re a little pissed off that people just don’t get it.
Your website is set to launch tomorrow, promoting your new offering.
Of course, it was also set to launch last week. And the week before.
The problem is that each time you go to press publish, you see a Facebook post that catches your eye about some research or something someone else is doing that you wish you had thought of, and you go back and give it a once-over. After all, this is your big splash, and you better do it right!
Last time you posted an article someone emailed you about a typo and it almost gave you a heart attack so one more week to get it perfect won’t hurt!
If either of these sound like you, you might have a default tendency to be a “Patty Proven.”
Patty Proven is the profile that represents the second energy state – conflict.
Patty, at first glance, doesn’t seem conflicted. In fact, she may seem like she’s got it going on – together, calm, and under control.
But look beyond the surface and you’ll see that Patty is steeped in fear and has a deep need to be right, or to prove herself.
At least she is certainly driven to avoid being wrong!
Patty’s pervasive filter in life is “You Lose.”
It may or may not be personal, but she’s got a general belief that there is only so much to go around and she better be good enough to “get hers.” It’s a dog-eat-dog world after all, and Patty needs to make sure she finishes ahead to survive in life.
Her worth is based on what she’s achieved, and she notices “what’s wrong” and tends to overlook “what’s right.”
It’s not her fault! But it is her responsibility! Patty likely grew up in a household in which she was berated for mistakes, or only noticed and seen when she achieved. Her world occurs to her as one big conflict she needs to survive. Through this filter, she’ll often attract competitive people or situations that call for her to be defensive.
Here’s how Patty Proven shows up specifically in areas of business.
- Sales: She will want the prospect to buy for HER reason and isn’t all that interested in the prospect’s reason. She’ll likely do a lot of explaining about the process and features of what she is offering, which can cause the prospect to check out.
- Marketing: Her marketing will likely be done “right” from a technical standpoint, but she won’t necessarily connect with her audience. As with the example in the intro to this article, she will communicate proficiently, and maybe even convincingly, but she won’t be vulnerable enough to forge a true connection. It also might take her awhile to actually get it completed!!
- Point of View: Very factual and with a tone that communicates her need to be right. She’ll also attract clients who are looking for her to prove herself constantly.
- Support: Because she is highly critical of herself and others, she can be difficult to support. She feels unappreciated and unsupported. She has trouble delegating because she struggles to be vulnerable and easily goes on the defense, and triggers defensiveness in her team as well.
- Energy: Put together, impressive, detached, defensive, impatient. (Always on to the next thing!)
If you recognize yourself in Patty, here are my recommendations. 1) Practice being wrong. Even if you know a right answer about something, hold your tongue. Resist the urge to be right, at all costs. Notice how it feels. 2) Practice being vulnerable. Send out something without three rounds of editing. Tell a story in your speech that makes you look bad. Give a compliment for no reason. 3) Stay tuned in to this series as we go up the energy spectrum and look for a “Profit Style” that inspires you to show up differently!
The Profit Styles™
This article is about one of a series of profiles that I’ve coined the “Profit Styles™.” They correspond to the different levels of energy to which we have access as human beings. Our thoughts create our feelings and our feelings generate our actions and our results. Our thoughts can resonate at 7 distinct levels (taken from the Energy Leadership Index™ developed by Bruce D. Schneider, and as outlined in the book Power vs. Force by David R. Hawkins) that dictate how we observe and respond to business and life. Our default tendency literally impacts us at a cellular level, and we gravitate toward people or situations that reflect our prevailing thought process. We all have access to all 7 levels, and by bringing them to conscious awareness, you have the power to shift to a new level at any given time. Our default levels are always the source of our business results. Always.
To inquire about taking the formal Profit Styles Index assessment, please email Support@AlignandProfit.com!