How willing are you to be vulnerable in your business?

Clients come to me for a number of reasons, but I’ve realized that most roads lead back to one issue – they hate to talk about themselves. Their resistance to crafting a pitch or even including their story and photo on a website usually stem from a fear of appearing braggy and self-serving and the notion that, if the work is good enough, it should speak for itself.  While these reasons sound plausible (even noble) enough, they just don’t hold any water.  Think about brands that you love.  They’re the ones with personality, the ones that you’ve gone through a few ups and downs with.  They’re the ones who hold up their hands and move mountains to make things right when they screw up.  They’re human.

And so – inspired by Brené Brown’s fantastic TED talk, The Power of Vulnerability – I’d like us to think about how letting ourselves be truly seen in our business can actually help us connect with our ideal clients.

Brené Brown – The Power of Vulnerability

Now, I can totally relate to the resistance that 99% of us feel about being visible. My natural tendency has always been to hide my vulnerability at all costs because (a) I think it will be perceived as a weakness (b) it will make others uncomfortable (c) it will, almost certainly, make them think less of me and (d) I’m a middle child which, if all else fails, one can blame for anything!  And, while I could legitimately keep playing by these rules, I’d be playing a pretty small game.

So how do we let our vulnerabilities show without compromising our professionalism?  Here are a few thoughts about positive ways to be transparent:

Share your values, your mission, and your vision with your clients

When people relate and connect to what you hold dear, they’re much more likely to work with you.

Know what issues your clients struggle with and share stories that they can relate to

Not sure how much sharing it too much sharing?  Ask yourself the following question: does this information help my ideal clients or add value to their life?  If the answer is ‘no’, keep it to yourself.

Have a professional photo taken that represents your personality

A professional headshot boosts your confidence and elevates your game.  If you’re still resistant, ask yourself this:  would you consider responding to a dating site profile that didn’t have a picture? Your clients are no different.

Write your compelling story

Your story will help potential clients connect and relate to you. Share it on your website, when you speak, and in your marketing message (if you want to know more about what makes for a compelling story, let’s chat).

Come clean when you mess up (and you will, you’re human)

Then do everything within your power to make the situation right.  Your ideal client will respect and trust you all the more for it.

The bottom line is that this is not a free pass to let it all hang out.  Edit yourself (ruthlessly), be positive, and let your beautiful self shine through!