Making connections with clients and colleagues is and ongoing part of building a successful business. Have you ever had the experience of working with someone who seemed perfect – nothing seemed to ruffle their feathers or get in their way? They’ve got that perfect ‘shiny exterior’ and yet you can’t seem to really get to know them? They seem somehow insincere and never quite reachable, never vulnerable. They’re willing to talk about your vulnerabilities, even offer advice, but they don’t open up about theirs. Frustrating? At best. Crazy-making at the worst.
Everyone over the age of fifteen (maybe ten, but just to be fair!) knows that life is full of challenges. We can’t control many of the situations we encounter in life, even though we can control how we respond to them – and that response shapes and informs who we are and how we show up in the world, makes us who we are.
Truthfully, though, our biggest learning often comes out of our ‘worst’ mistakes – regardless of how we handle those situations in the moment. And, we’ve all been through tough times – some big, some small, some life changing. What has impact is different for all of us, but that common vulnerability is what makes us human, it’s where our compassion is born and it’s where it lives and develops.
When we share that vulnerability is when we become multi-dimensional and real – to everyone in our lives – clients and colleagues included. I’m not suggesting that you open up at every opportunity or that you tell your deepest secrets or greatest fears. I am suggesting that you be real and don’t always strive to only show the ‘perfect’ and polished sides of your self.
Notice the word message contains the word ‘mess’. Sometimes if you let your mess come through in your message, you become an example for people, an inspiration and most of all you become real. No one wants to follow someone they can’t relate to or connect with. People connect with you when they know you can really relate to their pain and their experience, not because you studied it in school, or attended the workshop, but because you’ve been there and you know what it feels like to feel scared, or desperate, or hopeless or even just plain challenged in life!
If you’re working as a transformational entrepreneur, a coach, a healer – it helps your clients to understand you’ve been there, you’ve overcome odds to do what you do today and that by revealing your mess and seeing and understanding the lessons in those messy situations, you are a fully realized human being, someone solid, someone worth working with.
Think of the people you admire who’ve faced adversity, come out the other side and are role models for picking oneself up and getting the job done, whatever the job is. Their stories are more powerful because of what they’ve overcome in life to achieve and be where they are today. We champion the people whose stories we know and we’re skeptical of those who seem to just get there with no struggle. Be real, be authentic, don’t be afraid to use your experience as an example for others. You just may be surprised how that willingness to be open shows up in your bank account!