I’m lucky in that those I work with are genuinely wonderful people. They are those who often find it difficult to talk about themselves, those whom I have to lovingly pry open in conversation, helping to facilitate a discussion about what they excell at, how they help others in order to talk about branding.
This isn’t common “branding talk”. This is something I discovered I needed to do after I left the big gun companies and started working one on one with entrepreneurs and small business owners all over the world.
“So you’re clearly amazing at ______. How can we say that to your particular audience?”
Silence on the other line. “Well, there are so many people who do what I do.”
The conversation no longer about business differentiation, rather about self worth, we change gears. Hand holding, love, nurturing happens. Sighs of relief then, sometimes tears.
“You deserve this.” I say.
Silence. “Yes… I guess I do.”
I hardly ever work with those glutenous for fame or excessive wealth, those willing to do anything to be heard and perceived as “experts” without necesserily being them. This doesn’t surprise me. I’m not interested in those people, and the’yre not interested in me. Avoidance of what you don’t want happens as a side-effect of knowing what you do want, of knowing who you want to work with.
What I do see, though, and can’t help but wonder about, are those who find it necessary to lie (often unbeknownst to themselves) about their level of expertice and exceptionality, confusing those who hire them and giving the rest of the online world a bad rep.
I call these brands and the people behind them “ego brands.” Most often, these folks have little to no experience, jumping into the online entrepreneur pool flashy and loud, ready to “take over the world.” Wrong approach.
Those people will likely never read this article, so it’s for you, humble folk, that I write this, because sometimes it’s hard going, and I know it.
Being Responsible for Your Knowledge
Precisely because I make the assumption that you do not have a false sense of your talents and experience, (that, in fact, you worry that you don’t have enough), I have a short list – something I avoid doing in general – of observations to help you maneuver around the noise and to offer you a supportive high-five so you can have more confidence in your work and thus be able to make a bigger impact.
1. Step back and look at your clients
Have you helped them? Has the impact been clearly noted? Are they grateful? If the answer is “yes,” keep going.
2. Do you feel strange when people pay you good money to do something you find easy?
If you feel a bit squirmy about this in the beginning, I’m going to say: Congratulations.
Now to be clear, I’m not keen on people having abundance issues, no, but when someone doesn’t know their worth or feels odd accepting money for their work, I usually see that as a good sign.
You’re not broken, humble one. You simply understand that you’re a tool – in the most empowering way it can be meant. We are all tools if we allow the world in. Helping others is a privelage.
Obviously you’ll want to understand and accept your own self-worth and learn to accept money for your talents – the global symbol for energetic exchange – and fairly! so that you can have a fruitful life doing what you love. But if in the beginning you feel weird, I say you’re in a good place.
3. Do you want to pay homage to your teachers, coaches and mentors?
Thank you. You are one of the few people who aren’t threatened by sharing your roots and honoring those who taught you.
I come from a massively mixed family, but whose many cultures have always taught one thing: Respect the elders. Without them, you are nothing.
I carry this to this day and honor those who contribute to me. If I see people respecting their lineages, I can easier accept them as honorable people, for without honor, without your word being repsected, you will not succeed in the long run.
We all stand on the backs of giants.
How will this help you survive in the loud ego-brand world?
Being humble does not equate to being a door-mat. Humility is one of those amazing qualities that actually magnetizes people to you because you are simple, non-threatening; you don’t need to be seen as better. You can be humble and confident in your knowledge, a power I attribute to those who can love people while seeing them for what they are.
This may take some time to achieve, but it’s a good place to stand.
Having worked with some “big” folks I’d never name, I can say that what’s appreciated beyond anything else in these relationships is quality over noise. Every time. You will find those who honor you and your talents are far more deserving of your time, joyful to work with. And if necessary, you will find the right person to speak to about your self-worth so you can learn to accept a fair exchange for your work.
Just think bout the brands that inspire you, those you want to work with.
Pause to really think about this.
They can even be large brands. That’s fine. Companies with good values don’t have to remain small and be invisible. That’s the trick here, the place many humble people stumble because they think a large business implies “selling out.”
Understanding, accepting and thriving in your role in the world is in large part accepting and understanding that reciprocity in kind is a cardinal rule of joy. Twee this. (shrunk for cohesiveness)
So ask for what you’re worth and remember that you’re here to give a helping hand. I know you feel best when you do.