Most, if not all, of us have at some point or another known the feeling of rationally knowing something, but then at some point having it really hit home. Get it. Understand it fully and take it to heart. This happened to me in the past few days. Despite constantly reminding my clients and you, my dear reader, to be brave, to be different, to stand out from the crowd, encourage you to matter and mean something to someone, I realised that I myself have been hiding. I have been hiding a part of me as it if were the most terrible secret…
We get so preoccupied with giving the customer what they want that we forget to show our inner selves. We stop being people and start being just a business. A business without a face, formal and professional. We are told that we must meet our customer’s needs, the customer is always right, and that we need to listen to the customer and give them what they want. Which is all true … but as soon as this means sacrificing being ourselves, being the people and the business we really are, and start trying to be something else, we are paying too dearly for their custom. And professionalism does not mean we should not be human.
It is extremely hard to attract people when you are trying to be something you are not. On the other hand, if you are true to yourself, you attract the right people for you – remember, the right people, that narrow target group :)
One of my best clients is Herdis Pala, who is an executive coach and speaker. She works with people so that they can become the best they can be. When she first came to me and we were working on what she wanted her brand to be, she talked a lot about a book called A Peacock in the Land of Penguins. The book “speaks to the spirit in each of us that yearns to fly high and free” and was instrumental in her decision to do what she now does. Herdis is a very strong woman who knows what she wants and works hard, pushing others to succeed and building them up, but even she hesitated to use the peacock in her logo. Even she hesitated to spread her feathers and be who she is – the best she can be. She hesitated to use strong colors, she hesitated to go for it, she hesitated to be a peacock. So I pushed, and pushed and pushed her … and today I love seeing her spread her feathers and helping others do the same. (You can find out more about her at herdispala.com).
Why am I talking about Herdis Pala? – because I do exactly the same – and so many of us do. It is hard to practice what you preach. It is hard to spread your wings.
After I completed my MBA in strategic marketing I hid what I had done before that. Why? Because I was afraid that the business world would not find me credible. The things is, I have a BA Hons in Performing Arts – musical theater to be precise – and when I was not working in the theater I worked as an executive assistant. I found it very hard to stand up and tell it like it is, yet my previous education and experience are invaluable in what I do today, and my strongest differentiation. I have an education in marketing and I am a marketing nerd and therefore constantly learning more – in my experience someone without a degree but with passion for something tends to know a lot more about it than the one with loads of degrees and no spark. (Even Google has admitted that they used to place too much emphasis on academic achievement and have changed their recruitment policies to take academics a lot less into account than before – mind you, I firmly believe in education). What I do have that other marketing nerds don’t, because of my unusual background, are talents and experience that the acting and singing have given me, things like a creative mind, thinking out of the box, public speaking and motivation – which I absolutely love, by the way – and I am constantly finding more and more things, even technical things to do with acting, that I can apply directly to marketing.
I have been in “the marketing biz”since the beginning of the century – so for quite a while now – and believe I have shown that I know a bit about it. Today I am ready to stand up and say “I am Thoranna, I was an actress, am a singer, and I AM a marketing nerd!” – today I am going to spread my feathers and be a peacock – and those that don’t feel it aren’t my peeps anyway :)
Who Are You? What have you been hiding? What is your thing? Are you going to spread out your peacock feathers?! ;)