“Authentic Marketing,” Part 5: A Personal Share | Steve's Quest: The Animated Musical Web Series

“Authentic Marketing,” Part 5: A Personal Share

“I teach people how to use mindfulness practices, like meditation and yoga, to focus while they work.  I help them bring these practices into their in-the-moment experience of working — to go beyond just using them on the yoga mat or the meditation cushion.”

This is a correct description of what I do.  Unfortunately, it also tends to make people’s eyes roll and/or glaze over.

I know this all too well, because I delivered this “elevator pitch” many times.  What’s more, for many months, I kept describing what I do in this way, even though I knew it was boring and confusing people.

Why did I keep saying this to people, despite its obvious soporific effect?  The answer is that lots of resistance came up inside when I thought about changing it.  Because I found the resistance uncomfortable, I left my pitch unchanged so I wouldn’t have to feel it.

Welcoming My Resistance

I finally started getting traction around this issue when I decided to re-read my book and take my own medicine.  Rather than fleeing from the resistance, I chose to sit with it.  I got intimately familiar with its contours — where I felt it in my body, whether it manifested as a tingling, pulsing, tension, or something else, and so on.

As I’ve experienced so many times, putting my full attention on the tightness in my body actually dissolved it.  My solar plexus, where the most tension was, relaxed, and I sighed with relief.  And, as usual, with that relaxation came helpful insight.  What I saw was that I was clinging to this dull description of my services because, in my mind, it made me sound intelligent and unique.

After all, even if people didn’t buy my book or take my workshop, at least they wouldn’t see me as just another rah-rah jump-up-and-down-to-”Simply-The-Best” motivational speaker.  At least they’d know I don’t spout self-help cliches like “take action!  Think happy thoughts!  Like attracts like!”  You see, I use sophisticated words like “mindfulness,” and that makes me different!

In other words, I recognized through self-exploration that I was afraid of looking average — and, most importantly, that I was allowing that fear to control my business decisions.  I was letting concerns about my image get in the way of actually delivering value to people.

Allowing My Averageness

Getting conscious of this fear also helped to liberate me from it.  After all, I realized, what’s really going to happen if someone sees me as average?  Will I disintegrate or spontaneously combust or something?  Probably not.

What’s more, I recognized that, no matter what I accomplish, there are many ways in which I’m forever doomed to be average.  Studies have shown, for example, that I share approximately 99.999999% of my DNA not only with you, Dear Readers, but also with orangutans and mandrills.  Why go to such lengths to conceal my built-in averageness?

Armed with this new awareness, I came up with a much more clear and concise summary of what I do.  It goes a little something like this:

“I help people get focused and motivated at work.”

I’ve noticed that this produces a lot less nodding off, and a lot more purchasing of my stuff, among potential customers.

What about you, Dear Reader?  How are you letting image-consciousness get in the way of giving your gifts to the world?

19 thoughts on
“Authentic Marketing,” Part 5: A Personal Share

  1. Sara

    Chris — This has to be one of my favorite posts you’ve written. There’s so much humor in this one. I laughed (and identified) with much of what you said. I guess none of us want to be average, but most of us are. Still, I don’t believe it makes us any less significant or helpful than the “guru” motivational speaker.

    I find that the simple message often sticks better than the more complicated one. Then again, I am getting to the point in my life where forgetfulness plays a big role and so, keeping it simple helps me alot:~)

    I absolutely love your new line, “I help people get focused and motivated at work.” I didn’t even have to scroll up to check your post before I wrote the line. See, it’s staying in my memory:~)

  2. Robin Easton

    Dear Chris this just touched me to my core, especially the part about fearing being average. That is soooooooo endearing, real. I adore your blunt honesty, which is extremely witty and so very human, something we all fear. It makes you available or assessable to others. And heaven forbid should be average. LOL!! :)

    When I read: “At least they’d know I don’t spout self-help cliches like “take action! Think happy thoughts! Like attracts like!” I thought, I have always seen you quite the opposite of cliches. I see this as one of your strengths, that you DON’T spout cliches. You allow for a broader exploration that may not always have a neat tidy package. I strongly relate to that.

    I just love that part about your fear of appearing average. But aren’t we all?!! :) And in the same token, aren’t we all highly unique, ESPECIALLY when we let go and just be ourselves…even if it is seemingly average. My experience is that people relate almost more to someone who they feel is like them, is real like them, has real life issues, human failings, hopes and dreams, concerns and fears. And honestly, I have never met an average person, only people who “think” they are average.

    I feel that this whole talk about appearing average would make a kick ass speech. I think you would hold an audience captivated talking about this. Why I say this is not only do I sense you are an excellent speaker (something I just feel in your writing), but I have touched on this average thing when speaking and I remember the first time I did mention it I saw people start to really relax and yet lean forward and take notice or pay attention.

    I love the way you ground us, back to what is real and warmly funny, and honest. Thank you SO much dear Chris. Also, I will get back to you re: your note. I am honored!!! Running way behind. Hugs, Robin :)

  3. Evan

    State the benefits, as they say. The customers don’t care about what we do – they care about the benefits to them.

    I like that process for getting through the resistance.

  4. Evita

    Hi Chris

    Oh those elevator speeches… I read all about this from Steve Pavlina and many others about how it is “supposed” to be done. And in the end, I too either confused people, or more often than that and even worse, I just clammed up and didn’t say almost anything about myself properly.

    Do you think my inner being was trying to tell me something ;)? Oh yeah!

    So today, I don’t have it all figured out. What I have found for me that I have to liberate myself from, is not being afraid of being average, but afraid of sounding like I have some special advantage over someone else. This clams me up all the time, and I have seriously realized that with this way of thinking I might as well not even consider working for myself or having a personal business.

    I believe we are all one, and I live out of my heart as much as I can and all, but at the same time I also have to be able to share/sell myself properly if I am going to be of help to more people.

    So learning and growing continues :)

  5. Chris - Post author

    Hi Sara — thanks, I’m glad you seem to have enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it. It struck me when I was reading your comment that it’s only when we’re willing to let ourselves be “average” that we can actually feel okay giving the gifts to others that make us truly unique.

  6. Chris - Post author

    Hi Robin — thanks, I felt warm when you said I show up as available in this post — that’s something I aspire to be as much as possible. That’s funny, I was just thinking about what you point out — that when we let go of the fear of being average, that’s when our uniqueness will shine through — otherwise, the fear that we’re going to look average will have us hold back and be invisible. And then the paradox is that we don’t stand out the way we want to! Human beings are such a bundle of interesting paradoxes, I think.

  7. Chris - Post author

    Hi Evan — it’s probably true that potential customers prefer to hear about benefits rather than techniques — and, in my experience, it can also create anxiety and holding back if I go into a conversation thinking “this person doesn’t care what I do.” Sometimes I think the benefits are more something I convey with my way of being than what I specifically talk about.

  8. Chris - Post author

    Hi Evita — yes, I can definitely relate to what you say about “trying to make it look a certain way” — whether in the context of marketing or elsewhere. When our minds are on creating the right image, I think, we can’t fully be with the person we’re trying to talk to. My sense about you is that, when you can trust that you’re going to convey what you have to offer, so much compassion and curiosity about the other person naturally radiates from you.

  9. Hilary

    Hi Chris .. it’s interesting your phrase ‘focus while they work’ .. my mother’s healing massage therapist .. says she ‘settles and then focuses’ for the time she spends with my mother – I’ve always remembered that & thought .. it’s something I need to absorb into my life. It’s that elimination of the thoughts out of our mind, clearing our mind .. so that it is empty to be with that one thing to focus on ..

    What you say about people ‘receiving’ messages .. I can understand .. as it’s only really being around blogging friends here .. that I understand words like mindfulness .. and synchroncity … and manifest .. are ones I can obviously think of .. your revised summary is good too .. but I’m glad I’m learning new terms and broadening my learning.

    Years ago and I mean years ago .. I got ‘hauled over the coals’ by a great friend .. whom I certainly consider hugely intelligent! & who is 20 years younger .. when she announced to our friends .. just listen to the words this girl uses!! We all laughed .. I just speak .. but I’ve always remembered that .. and actually tend to qualify things now when I talk to people .. if I’m using words, that I suspect others won’t necessarily understand. It’s interesting ..

    Thanks for this Chris .. it’s good to learn to focus ..a need we should all develop .. have a great Friday and weekend .. Hilary

  10. Chris - Post author

    Hi Hilary — yes, I think massage therapy is a good analogy to the kind of focus I’m talking about — I know people who do massage are most effective when they have all of their attention grounded in what they’re doing, and I know from talking to some people that they get “into the zone” when they’re 100% focused on the sensations in their hands. It’s always inspiring to me how much you love to learn and share what you know!

  11. Wilma Ham

    Haha Chris, you certainly do not appear average to me today, I enjoyed reading your post :).
    Oh in the end we are all related to Mrs Bucket one way or another, aren’t we? It is good to know we are amongst friends so we can all say the emperor hasn’t got any clothes on. I always find it very freeing when people do average, at least I can use words I can pronounce and say what I feel and see. xox Wilma

  12. Hilary

    Hi Chris .. thanks for your comment .. it’s good to be able to pass thoughts out to ‘open receptive friends’ … Thank you particularly for your last sentence – appreciated .. I do love learning – never thought I’d say that!! Have a great weekend .. Hilary

  13. Chris - Post author

    Hi Wilma — I don’t know who Mrs. Bucket is, but I assume that she’s human and thus that we are virtually genetically identical primates. :) Yes, I can get how that’s freeing — not to need to speak in complex terms or about anything particularly profound. I used to make a lot more effort to do both of those things, and when I dropped the need to have that image relating with people became so much easier.

  14. Davina

    Hi Chris.
    Oh… Mrs. Bucket… :-) She’s a character in a British comedy called Keeping Up Appearances. An absolutely hilarious show; this women goes to great lengths to appear socially superior and way more than average. If you get it in your program list and you like this type of show, I recommend it.

    As for being average; we sure do a number on ourselves. I secretly wonder if you are more afraid of standing out! :-) Chris, I love how you take yourself through these processes and are always looking to learn more about yourself. Average? Hmmm… lol.

  15. Stacey Shipman

    I love this. I do a lot of networking, even wrote a book about it, and that damn elevator pitch always gets me and many of those around me. I love how you got to yours and what it turned into. Short, clear and succinct!

  16. Chris - Post author

    Hi Davina — that’s interesting, I’ve actually thought before about whether I’m afraid of standing out, like you say, or taking up too much space. There is this little twinge that comes up in my solar plexus before I’m about to make an e-mail announcement or make a business phone call, like, do I really want to shove myself into this person’s life in the way I’m about to do? These days I feel like, even if that sensation is not going to stop coming up, at least I have the capacity to choose to hit “Send” in the face of it. :)

  17. Chris - Post author

    Hi Stacey — oh, that’s right, you’re the president of a networking group, so I imagine you go through the agony and the ecstasy I’m talking about all the time!

  18. Mark

    Chris,
    I love your new description of what you do. Concise to the point and compelling! Excellent. Thank-you for sharing your process of how you overcame your clinging on to the comfortable that no longer worked. Very will done! There is nothing to fear and most often the biggest thing that is in our way is our self.

  19. Chris - Post author

    Hi Mark — I’m glad you like the new description — it’s nice to learn that my journey of self-discovery around it wasn’t in vain. :) Yes, it’s funny how something that doesn’t work can get so comfortable that doing something that works becomes the chore.

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