Principle #3: The more you try to conform to what you think people want to hear the less impact you’ll have.
The problem with most marketing training is that it teaches us to try to get into the heads of our potential clients and tell them we’ll give them what we think they want.
And while there is absolutely, absolutely a place to know and understand and name what our people want, if you aren’t first grounded in what you are here to say, it’s a slippery slope.
The moment we start to slip away from what we are here to say, from what we know to be true, and start to alter our message to be palatable or hooky or marketable, we start to give away our power.
It’s as if we are saying, without realizing it, “who you think I am is better than who I actually am.”
It’s as if we are affirming, “I’ll be who you want me to be so you like me, and if somewhere down the road I can show up as I really am, great.”
Let people know who you are right now.
Don’t play mind games with yourself thinking “people want this thing, not what I do.” Or “maybe if I say my work is about x, more people will raise their hands, say yes, and pay me.”
I want you to be paid.
But I want you to be paid to be you, in your full glory.
I want you to be paid for doing that thing you do. Which people won’t know about or understand if you bend yourself into a pretzel trying to sound like what you think they want you to be.
By trying to force your square ped into their round hole.
I get it.
It’s a primal human thing to want to be seen, to want to be liked, to want to be valued.
But the moment we get that at the expense of the expression of who we are, we are lost.
There is a wonderful poem by David Wagoner called Lost. It begins:
Stand still. The trees ahead and the bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger, Must ask permission to know it and be known.
Wherever you are is called Here.
Stand still in the fullness of who you are. Say the things that are dying to come through you. Speak what you know is true that resonates with every fiber of your being.
That’s your source of power.
Once you are rooted in that, you can meet your people where they are. You can speak their language and then invite them into your world.
But if you start there, you will be lost.