I’ve got a student of mine whom I adore. She’s a talented, highly intelligent and capable business owner whom now no one knows about.
And it’s mostly her choice.
I was at dinner the other night with my mother and brother. My brother was commenting on how well my business was doing and how impressed he was with how quickly things are starting to happen. He also shared concern with all the details of my life that I share: Pictures of my apartment, photos of my dog, my wife, how I talk about all the fears I have and the mistakes I make.
I understand his concern. I’ll admit that I don’t always remember everything that I’ve shared and have from time to time been surprised when people ask me about personal aspects of my life. It makes me wonder how much do I really want to share of both my business and my life with people who I don’t intimately know.
Here’s a truth: I don’t share about myself out of sheer narcissism or a blatant disregard for my own privacy. I do it because I’m much less concerned with the people I meet who have boundary issues, and more about engaging with my tribe.
Part of the reason I started Corporate Renegade was my frustration at the dehumanization between the corporate world and the public it purports to serve. As bigger companies prove through their actions that they care more about their bottom line and less about there customers, I believe an incredible opportunity exists to connect with our audience in a very real way.
And that means sharing (more) of ourselves.
In the “old” days (a gross generalization on my part), most businesses were local. You used to know your butcher, your doctor, your barber. I mean really know them. You knew about their wives, their children. We know personal stories about the people we worked with and it helped to form a community.
Somewhe re along the way we stopped doing all this*. And because of that, business became more impersonal and less connected.
It’s safe to say that as time goes on, we tend to trust the bigger companies less and less. I think many people want a return to older times where we actually know the people we work with.
I’ve written before about why everyone needs to write and how in many ways it’s selfish not to share our gifts. But I would like to go further: If you really want to get clients. If you really want to get your ideal clients (the ones you don’t have to pretend to be anything other than who you really are), you have to give more. You have to share more.
OK. here’s the resistance. I can feel it. You don’t want to share anything real about yourself. You don’t want to scare people off.
And to that, I refer you to page 27 out of my Year One Manifesto.
I believe that when we share more, it helps overcome other people’s natural inclination to distrust and discount anything coming out of our mouths. It lets people see you are a real person with real thoughts, emotions, frailties, and opinions. It lets people connect with you.
And it ABSOLUTELY leads to more business.
I’m not telling you to share everything. Know the line between what you do or don’t want to make public in your life. Have boundaries. But also ask yourself if the things which you hesitate sharing with prospects because you think it’s embarrassing or disturbing may actually be the secret to bringing them in.
So I invite all of you (including my student…you know who you are!) to find the bravery in sharing, and putting faith back in humanity. Let’s see what happens when you give a little more of yourself.
The future of business is in the human element. Will you come join us?
*For a great account of all of this, please check out Gary Vaynerchuk’s new book, The Thank You Economy.
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