Have you noticed how successful people have a knack for making their life look less bumpy than yours? They glide across everyday challenges, unfazed by the dramas that conspire to frustrate your progress. If your dream is to make a good living doing your own thing, this lightness of touch can seem both attractive and unattainable. It’s easy to become discouraged.
It’s not like in the movies
Would that we could live in the unreality of the silver screen. There’s a lot less friction. In ‘Braveheart’ for example, Mel Gibson manages to deliver the mother of all pre-match team talks to thousands of very angry, very blue Scots. Not a “pardon” or “sorry we didn’t quite catch that at the back” to be heard.
Russell Crowe ‘projected’ equally impressively in Gladiator and now, Daenerys, people’s favourite G.O.T. Dragon Queen, inspires an entire city from the top of a pyramid. Look, no microphone! Meanwhile, in the real world, I struggle to hear from the other end of a table for 6 in a busy restaurant.
Got a TARDIS?
Likewise, travel and parking is never a problem. Exhibit 1. a typical episode of The Good Wife. The love-hate-love law partners slide effortlessly between office, court, office, home, court, restaurant, lover’s home, office - like Time Lords. No sweating on a parking spot. No cursing cancelled trains, planes and meetings. Back on my planet earth, I’ve recently wrestled with an incontinent cat, digital castration and had to interrupt a client call to help my daughter remove a very large spider from her very small car. Sound familiar.
Keeping it real
The point? We’ve all got our own dramas. A massive part of the challenge of creating our successful future is to function in our reality - to succeed in spite of these petty (and not-so-petty) irritations. It’s every bit as important as sorting our message or sales pitch. The secret is to embrace and share the drama rather than pretend it doesn’t exist. Let me explain.
Drop the facade
The good news is that we can drop the act. In fact, we can even improve our appeal by acknowledging that we live in a real world full of distractions, fears and unvoiced priorities (like getting to our kid’s swimming carnival). There has been a shift. We no longer need to pretend that we have all of our shit together or that we are something we’re not.
Small is cool
Time was when businesses would only do business with established suppliers with their own city offices. Now, most companies understand that some of the best minds are working on their own or as part of small collaborative ventures. Their ‘offices’ may be the local coffee shop or a converted garage. And that’s OK.
Embracing our truth is powerful
One of my colleagues, Christina Guidotti, is a master of empathy. The first thing she does in a workshop is to share her story. She talks about her family, her aspirations, mistakes she has made along the way and what she has learned from them. Then she asks the students to do the same. It doesn’t feel very 'business-like', but it’s stunningly effective. Posturing evaporates. Platitudes crumble. Real problems quickly surface and we get to work on solving them. Being vulnerable, personal and authentic is in fact very smart business.
The people who matter don’t mind
Of course there are still many customers who will only buy ‘old-school’. That’s fine. They’ll never work with you. There are more than enough who ‘get’ that your ability to solve their problems is far more important than your postcode. They value your expertise, productivity, agility, speed and ‘Get Shit Done’ mentality more than the formalities of a business charade that is well past its sell-by date.
That’s great news. To succeed we no longer need to be micro-versions of established businesses or some impossibly perfect version of ourselves. We can be well-rewarded and still get to do the important things in our world. And if we’re a little ragged around the edges occasionally – who really cares?
Work with Mark
Since 2010 Mark Hodgson has been successfully helping executives, coaches and consultants to build confidence, gain clarity in their message and position themselves as influential thought leaders who people want to work with.
He is the author of Time To Shine - Adapting who you are and what you know to succeed i... and a leading thinker and speaker on adapting our personal leadership to succeed in a volatile world. To book Mark as a speaker for your next event contact himhere.
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