The late great comedian Joan Rivers once said “I succeeded by saying what everyone else is thinking.” As a small business growth coach, I have to ask…what if you could succeed by saying what everyone else is thinking about your industry and your clients?
What You Can Learn From Joan
If you were to dare to step into your own thoughts as publicly as Joan did in marketing your own business, what would you do differently?
This is a passionate topic for me because every day I see successful, smart and wonderful business women hide themselves behind stock imagery, silence and generic thoughts. Their businesses are suffering for it.
Tell Your Stories of Shame
Joan Rivers was even authentic when she was inauthentic (“I wish I had a twin, so I could know what I’d look like without plastic surgery.”)
A former client and now good friend was telling me the story of how she got fired by a crazy boss who reprimanded her for having a stapler on her desk in a ‘clean-desk policy’ office. Imagine how much more relevant her work as a Standards expert would be if she related that story in her blogs or keynotes?
What makes you think you’re the only one who has suffered shame, humiliation and learned from your mistakes? Why not expose your truth so you can connect deeper with and help more people?
Ok, I don’t mean SHOW yourself inappropriately but people want to see your picture. They want at the minimum to see your profile picture. Then use your About page or your social media posts or your newsletter to show them your life. I frequently show pictures of my family and my clients and the events I go to.
Show your values. Tell your clients and community what your deeply held beliefs are. People I have never met approach me like friends at networking events and tell me they follow my work and life. I find that the highest open rates and click rates on my newsletters are when they contain personal stories. I even had a stranger (who was on my mailing list) give me bedwetting tips for my 4-year-old because he’d read my story about it. Wow!
Be Afraid But Do It Anyway
Joan said “I’ve learned: When you get older, who cares? I don’t mince words, I don’t hold back. What are you gonna do to me? Fire me? It’s been done. Threaten to commit suicide? Done. Take away my show? Done! Not invite to me to the Vanity Fair party? I’ve never been invited! If I ever saw the invitation, I’d use it as toilet paper.”
The true sign of courage they say, is not when you do something brave and you’re not afraid but it’s when you’re peeing your pants and do it anyway. Each time I invest in even more expensive levels of coaching, each time I travel internationally to do a trade show, each time I speak in front of a new crowd of people, I leave my comfort at home. I have embraced being afraid and doing it anyway.
Everyday when I speak to unsuccessful entrepreneurs, they are so keenly aware that what’s stopping their success are their fears. It’s when they let those fears stop them from doing what needs to be done that they get into trouble.
Joan wasn’t afraid of anything. I personally will miss this gutsy lady. Anyone who bravely stands up to criticism and keeps on going earns my undying respect.