There’s a quote I absolutely love by well known marketing strategist Beth A Grant where she says “No amount of marketing is ever going to make up for being out of alignment on the inside.” If you’re not getting consistent results in your life, this may very well be the case. You are not in sync with WHO YOU ARE. This is true especially in the profession of sales but it is present in businesses of one or one hundred as well.
There is a lot of information out there about what to do and how to do it, but you need to match that to who you are or else you’re going to feel like a fake doing what you’re doing and customers are going to sense that too!
Many years ago, when I was selling printing services I had a meeting with a PR person in a large insurance company. In preparation for the meeting I had gone over how to deal with objections and isolate the REAL objection in order to address it and then close the sale. The morning of the meeting, I sat in this executive’s corner office, confident with my script memorized and success all but guaranteed. The sale never happened. When I mouthed the words that I had rehearsed I felt as if a stranger had taken over my body. This wasn’t me. At the time I had no idea why what I was doing wasn’t working.
Recently I was having a discussion with a prospective client about conducting some sales training and encountered the same thinking that I’d had about my own sales career – that all you had to do was learn the scripts, the techniques, act like an extrovert and have the gift of gab.
Now don’t get sidetracked because I’m using sales examples. Everywhere in business we seem to think that we can slice our performance into professional and personal and that once we keep the two separate and apart we will manage just fine. As author Jon Kabat-Zinn says in his book of the same name “Guess what? Wherever you go there you are.” Whether at work or at home – YOU are the constant. I’m not talking about ignoring office etiquette and letting the party animal in you free but I’m talking about keeping parts of yourself under wraps because YOU’VE decided that this is not “acceptable” by some social norm. This, my friend, is the root of your problems.
In a blog post titled ‘Five Ways to Be Yourself in Your Business and Get Results’ Beth talks about her own self-betrayal “Like the way I hid my funny side in my business, afraid it wasn’t “appropriate” to mesh my comedy writing and performance with mentoring people. Or the way I was afraid when I was a spiritual mentor that people would find out I enjoy drinking wine. I made decisions in my business that made me contract inside because they were what I thought people wanted from me.”
Lee Milteer, bestselling author and speaker described her own experience this way. “After a number of years as a human potential speaker and author I began to feel the burnout of constant travelling and speaking. I was losing the passion for my work. This troubled me deeply since I believed it was my soul’s purpose to share information with people, which would allow them to tap into their own potential and talents. I went to one of my own spiritual teachers for a counselling session. She listened to me describe my dismay at not feeling connected to my career or happy with my life. Then this teacher said something that changed my life forever. She said, “You are a deeply spiritual woman and you have devoted over 20 years of your life to understanding universal spiritual truths. I have noticed that you live by day as a businesswoman in the mainstream world. You have created success in your field as well as being well respected. In your private life you seem to be more interested in spiritual growth. I think part of your disillusionment with your career at this point is that your life is divided into two parts. Maybe it’s time you merged. Marry your true spiritual passion with your profession. This is where you will find true happiness. Establish a new integrity between your personal and professional self.” After this meeting I felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off me. I could give myself permission to express my spiritual beliefs in my professional life. I didn’t have to convince anyone to do anything. What I had to do was live from a set of beliefs that honoured me.”
For the sales professional, betraying yourself results in doing things that make you uncomfortable eventually escalating into a position of neediness because with little or no results you get anxious and desperate.
For the independent consultant you will experience short bursts of “feast” and long spells of “famine” No amount of marketing, no blueprints that you follow, seem to bring any results.
As a leader the people problems that you will experience will seem enormous and overwhelming and the truth is that although you can get things done through forcing your own authority on others – doing this consistently leaves you feeling most times burnt out, depleted and powerless.
Two of my favourite tips from Beth’s five for aligning who you are with the business you’re in are:
1) As you consider various ideas and choices in your business, notice how you feel inside. Does pursuing the idea feel light and fun? Or does it make you crunch up inside, or feel heavy?
Light means yes, heavy means no. It’s as easy as red light, green light. If you came up to an intersection and the light was red, would you put your foot on the gas? Or if it was green, would you slam on your brakes? Of course not. By choosing ideas, mentors and purchases that feel light inside, you will choose a path that is aligned with your real self, and save yourself countless hours of frustration as you try to make something work that you knew didn’t feel right in the first place.
2) Stop wanting other people to tell you what to do. While you may need someone to guide you, no one can ever possibly know what is best for you more than you can.
I think that it is possible to be yourself and succeed if you would only honor yourself and your integrity. Always honor your intuition and your desires. And stop turning your power over to other people!