A lot of times, I tell myself that my worth is limited to the advice I give, the data I collect and share, or even my list of certifications…
I don’t mean to downplay any of these—they are all important aspects of delivering value to a client. I acknowledge that I am a walking combination of experiences and insights and that sharing these can be helpful. Even having a methodology gives me a structure in which to hold the information I take in. However, while certifications can boost my confidence, none of these things alone point to the full value I represent, and may have little to do with why people choose to work with me.
I’m working on believing that I am valuable simply as me.
If you stripped me of all my learned knowledge and said, “change a person’s life today” I could still do it, and it would be easy.
Imagine that—I would be like a child again, and all I would care to do is share the the brightness of my eyes, the depth of my warm smile, and my innocent willingness to be completely present.
These simple human qualities can have such an impact on others.
When it comes to getting hired and what matters most, let me give you an example. I like to get massages. Personally, I don’t really care where the person has studied or what style they are using. What I want is to feel good during and afterwards.
I end up choosing my massage therapists based on their presence, not on their skills alone. I’m guessing that the ones who I feel most comfortable around are those who are most comfortable with themselves, and it’s contagious. When they are genuine, I feel invited to be genuine. To genuinely surrender to the massage.
Those are the kinds of people I like to work with—people I trust because they are just being themselves.
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We live in a world of information overload. You may be reading this article as part of a habit you’ve acquired—taking in articles and videos and stories online.
Unfortunately, while much of this information may have the short-term affect of meeting a need to be fascinated, entertained or even inspired, most of the information will probably be wasted on you.
By “waste” I mean that you won’t do anything with it because it will be a passing fancy. The information will come in and out of your awareness, though a part of you will want to retain it all—at least the stuff you deem worthy.
So what’s the purpose of taking all that in?
Our culture has a tendency to relegate knowledge to a royal status at the expense of other priorities. We believe that if we only knew this or that, we could have something to chew on, something to chit-chat about with others, and possibly be seen as more valuable for being a resource of “interesting stuff.”
When I recall the most important moments of each day, it’s not a flurry of the data I have processed. Most often, the moments that matter most to me are rich with connection, felt alone or with another person.
The value of these interactions has nothing to do with the information that might have been passed by or through me like a social media frenzy. What matters to me is the magical co-existence where even words become secondary, at most. The words instead become vehicles for one person to share their presence with another person. Often, it’s the silence between the words, even the laughter or the tears, that are most golden.
Sure—my mind loves words and so does my heart. However, I find that words (or knowledge)are used at times as a barrier to true connection rather than a conductor of it. If all I share with you is my knowledge and you reject it, you’re really just rejecting the exterior stuff, so it’s safer—the real me has not been rejected.
On the flip-side, what really lights me up is people being themselves, letting others see them and be impacted by their presence just simply by having entered a room. This requires vulnerability because some people may not accept who we are and how we share ourselves. We risk the rejection of our true selves, and this can feel a lot more threatening.
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This is what separates good consultants from great ones. We all have access to similar information—compiling it in innovative ways is helpful, but that’s still not the distinguishing factor here.
Consultants stand out when they allow themselves to be,… well,… themselves. It’s their style, their being real. Not as an act, but simply because they trust they are valuable enough as they are.
The notion of branding yourself as a consultant is a matter of aligning who you are with the messages you put out in the world. In alignment, you can have a powerful brand that practices what it preaches. Out of alignment, you lose trust in the marketplace. So it’s actually easier to be honest and it’s more powerful and effective to put “the real you” out in the forefront when it comes to sharing what you offer—both in conversation and in writing.
At Soulful Brand, we have clients who come to us because they want more powerful messaging for their self-promotion efforts. A lot of them start out feeling uneasy about presenting themselves because the internal clarity isn’t there yet.
Over and over, they are surprised because they thought we would be feeding them some lines to chew on and use, as if we pulled them out of thin air.
Really, all we’re doing is highlighting the core of who they are already—asking questions to bring out the person who’s there underneath with all their care for people, all their wisdom gleaned from challenging experiences, and the unique presence they’ve been carrying inside them all of their lives.
Ironically, that’s where all the most authentic marketing messages come from. Not from us as consultants, but from our clients very mouths when they are being real human beings.
Our job, as we see it, is to create a space where they have access to their true selves and keep diving in to discover and capture the nuances of uniqueness that have been muddied over for a few years.
Who doesn’t need a little polishing off now and then?
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If you’ve been relying on information to feed your boredom and give you a shot of data as if it were a boosting snack, start noticing your pattern.
What do you do with it then? Does this affect the way you relate to people, like potential clients?
Does the knowledge go in with a rush and out with a flush? Are you converting those nutrients into something your body can assimilate? Are you trying to hold too much? Are you passing by the chance to fully digest all that you take in, including the essence of the people you are relating to?
And when you share your knowledge, are you over-feeding people or are you giving them tasty morsels and giving them a chance to digest?
When you next find yourself in the impulse of checking your email (I limit mine to checking twice a day now) or your social media tubes, ask yourself, “for the sake of what?”
Put aside this article now and before you go onto the next thing:
- Take a breath.
- Choose what your body needs, not what your mind wants (maybe a short walk?).
- Take time to digest what you have just read.
Remember, regardless of what you know, you are enough as you are.
Your potential clients want to meet the real you, underneath all that acquired knowledge. In fact, they are hoping you show up right now.