Are You Committed to Being Real?

Welcome to Reality

You’re reading my blog so I think I already know the answer to “are you committed to being real?” is likely YES.  But let’s chat about it today anyway.

Here’s the lesson I’m learning from a humor blogger, spiritual guide, and business book… (maybe it’s knowing what to notice…)

This message from Danielle LaPorte floated through my Facebook stream this morning:

Forget about being impressive and commit to being real.

I love that woman. If you aren’t subscribed to her blog, go check it out now (but come back here and share your thoughts with me, okay?).

This is what I’m feeling right now in my own life and business.

It’s what stood out to me when I read Suzanne Evans’ book (short review).

Through chats with my coach this week, I’ve been reminded that it’s enough to be where I am, share what I know and what I’m learning, and that there’s value in that.

During yesterday’s fun blogging workshop with DJ Paris, he shared that he runs his posts through a couple of filters before he hits publish (is it honest, vulnerable, and funny?).

Here are the two questions I’ve been asking before I hit publish:

1.  Is it worth my audience’s time to read?
2.  Is it complete and helpful?
Complete = does it make sense on it’s own and/or is the idea I want to communicate fully developed?
Helpful = will readers be inspired or empowered after reading it?

Those are the things that matter to me when I blog (or send any email to your inbox).  But I think I need to add a third filter.  Bold, honest reality.

I’m not out to impress you.  I’m just me.  I’m okay with that.

I’ve had weird conversations with names you’d probably recognize where I found out that the “image” didn’t even begin to match the “reality.”

There’s an important place for confidence in your skills, stretching yourself, and being professional in how you communicate–that’s not what I’m referring to here.  I’m also not referring to those who haven’t shared the most amazing, vulnerable parts of themselves and their stories that draw me in and that there’s such beauty in–we each share bits and pieces of our journey when we’re ready.

I mean the outright, deliberate lies.  Misrepresentation of what they care about, the results clients get, the experience they’ve got or other things about their business–not just omitting the full truth (it’s okay to not share everything all the time) but writing a crazy fictional version instead.

Stop it!  Don’t let insecurity or fear drive you to do that.  Ever.  You’re enough and the only one to compare yourself to is the person you were yesterday (that’s a terribly remembered quote from someone better with words than I am).

Shoot to always be real and honest.  Go for your dreams and make amazing things happen, despite whatever challenges or obstacles try to stand in your way.  But be real along the way.

So here’s my promise to you…

I won’t sugar coat it.  I won’t do the rainbows and unicorns thing.

At times I might even be too transparent, but I’d rather share too much reality (and save you from dealing with some of the same problems I’ve created for myself over the years…) than worry about impressing you or projecting something I’m not.  Never perfect, but I am pretty great at what I do and I’ll keep getting better.

Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean I’ll be sharing every detail of my life with you.  Some topics are just off limits, so no need to cover your eyes and ears and run away singing, “la la la la la la.”

You’ll see me make mistakes and work to fix them.  That’s when I learn the most and discover how to keep going and keep growing.

Does sharing that openly mean I’ll lose some readers, be judged by others, and even miss out on some clients?  Yeah.  That’s okay.  They’re a better fit for someone else and someone else can serve them better than I can.

I’ll celebrate my successes and the successes of my clients and friends–probably quietly, but you and I will both know I’m dancing around happy inside.

I’m a (sometimes jaded) dreamer who believes in miracles and the amazingness of life, while accepting that it takes hard work and a lot of uncomfortable moments to build a business that you love.  It’s messy.

You need support and to be surrounded by people who understand and believe in you because some days you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world (and need people to celebrate success with you–and remind you to stay grounded) and other days it feels like you’re on a roller-coaster that’s flown off the tracks and you’re searching for a parachute (and need reminded to hang in there because you rock at what you do and you’ll find a way to make it work).

But it’s 100% worth it to create something that allows you to serve others and make money doing it.

How about you? 

What’s your promise to your readers, subscribers and clients?

What are you striving to create (or allowing to evolve, depending on your perspective) through the content you share with your readers?

Comments

  1. says

    Well….What’s my promise to my readers and subscribers?

    I’ve never thought about it. I will now.

    One thing your post has inspired me to do is to write something tomorrow that I’ve thought about for a long time – but held back. Now, I will do it. (I promise, no one will run away, fingers in ears, yelling “La la la la….”

    I will be tweeting this and posting on my fan page. Excellent read!
    Alana recently posted… Winter Wednesday – Blooms and WinterMy Profile

  2. says

    I love it Michelle – through and through. I’ve blogged about this very topic. Here is a post called “Will the Real You Please Stand Up” in which I address very similar questions:

    – Do people really care about who you are?
    – How far are you willing to go to let people know the real you?

    Here it is in case you want to take a peek. Thanks! http://www.attractyourniche.com/small-business-marketing-strategies/real-you
    Cindy Schulson recently posted… Your Core Message is the Heart of Your BusinessMy Profile

  3. says

    I had to come back for a re-read with this one. Thank you for being open, vulnerable, real and pointing the way for others to do the same. I had to come back, because the assignment that you offer here is too important to move from; I need to do this one. This challenge to commit to being real has really struck a cord with me.

    I promise readers, subscribers and clients that I will stay true to what is true. I have found that as I start this new venture of life coaching, some of the “selling” is a challenge. It seems like promotion, marketing and selling goes against the insights and understandings that have come my way and drive me to coach. I want to find a way to sell without selling out.

    I have no question of the value that I provide for anyone that works with me when I am real. Putting up a false front to impress completely shuts down my ability to be real. It is B.S.! A great coach is far more skilled with asking questions, as opposed to having awe-inspiring answers. I believe in my readers, subscribers and clients. They all have the ability to come up with their own awe-inspiring answers… and even more important- penetrating questions too.

    Thanks for a post from the heart that really hit home with me, Michelle!!!

    • says

      A lot of true coaches struggle around that piece of selling, Donovan. One thing that was a huge mindset shift for me around it is to look at every sales conversation not with the target of a sale, but an opportunity to be of service to help the other person make a decision and transformation through that decision. Two coaches I’ve learned a lot about ethical, serving sales from are Adam Urbanski and Therese Skelly–I’d highly recommend either/both. :)

      Totally get what you’re saying about feeling shut down if you feel like you aren’t being authentic. I can’t pull that off either. I’m who I am, where I’m at, and I want more than anything to be of service to my clients from that place.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Learning to Be GentleMy Profile

  4. says

    Promise 1: Integrity. I try to put my best foot forward-but it will be MY foot. And if the other person doesn’t have integrity, it may wind up….um, never mind ;-) I love this post. What a wonderful world this would be if everyone decided to just be real!

    Promise 2: Uplifting, life changing value. I don’t know anything that will change your life. Only you can change your life. But I can be a support system and share what I know to help you along the way as you make those changes.
    Cynthia recently posted… Midlife Liberation-how can you make a fresh start if you take your garbage with you?My Profile

  5. says

    Funny Michelle, when I saw your topic in my e-mail I remembered Danielle La Porte had mentioned something along the same lines but I couldn’t remember the exact words and lo and behold it was, to some degree, the same phrase that inspired your post.

    When I came online, as unbelievable as it sounds, I was very concerned that people would associate me with negative happenings in the world because I tie my head (some call it rag head). But offline, I’m so darn comfortable with my head wraps. I decided if someone wasn’t going to like or work with me because of my “rag head”, obviously, we’re not a fit for building a friendship or developing a client relationship.

    Yes, Michelle, comparison can rip the joy from one’s greatest achievement.

    My intention is to inspire and motivate my readers/clients to love themselves NOW in-spite of “whatever.” I want to motivate my clients/readers to accept total responsibility for their lives and muster the confidence and courage to make positive changes.
    Adalia John recently posted… 10 Inspirational Martin Luther King Jr Image QuotesMy Profile

    • says

      Danielle is always inspiring and challenging. Her emails/blog posts and tweets really make me think. I love that.

      Best decision you can make – just be you and let things fall where they will. (((hugs))) from someone who’s not at all bothered by your choice of head wraps. It’s beautiful.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Learning to Be GentleMy Profile

  6. says

    Hi,

    Thanks for sharing great article about strive to get more real with my customers. This is very useful information for online review readers. Keep it up such a nice posting like this.

    Regards,
    Sekhar Reddy.

  7. says

    Whether a blog is business motivated or just for fun; morals, ethics and integrity will shine through if the writer is sincere. I think a lot of us know the real deal when we go onto various sites. Some blogs reflect the personality of its owner with a feel good energy while others are cold and unfriendly.
    I simply try to write from the heart with the hope that what I have to say will resonate with the reader. Yes, I want to sell my book and other services, but the ‘products’ aspect is a bonus.

  8. says

    I love what you wrote about “….other days it feels like you’re on a roller-coaster that’s flown off the tracks and you’re searching for a parachute.”

    My most recent blog is “Why does life throw us curve balls?” It’s about the passing of a dear friend (who left this earth too soon). I hesitated about whether or not to post it because it wasn’t about copywriting or marketing. It’s about an event in my life that has left a hole in my heart. I didn’t think others would “relate” to my personal loss. However, I was wrong.

    Once or twice I’ve blogged about life events (like the loss of my dog) and shown a side of me subscribers may not normally see online. The result? Heartfelt comments and compassion.

    So my promise is to be real – write with heart, not hype. Here’s to letting out lights shine.

    Hugs to you my beautiful friend. ~Debra
    Debra Jason recently posted… Why Does Life Throw Us Curve Balls?My Profile

    • says

      Isn’t it lovely how supportive and… just human… connections happen when we share those things? The other day I was part of an interesting discussion about how much is “too much” to share from personal life on a business blog. And from my own perspective, I *am* my business to a large degree and allowing my readers to *see* me in more than a teaching context builds such a different connection with them that it’s worth it for me to just take a deep breath and be personal and vulnerable. It’s still scary, but it’s worth it.

      Beautiful written promise, Debra — “write with heart, not hype…”
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Learning to Be GentleMy Profile

  9. says

    I can see how you are sharing more & more of who you are @Michelle. And, it’s beautiful.
    Glad you like, “write with heart, not hype.” I think it’s my new tag line (and perhaps, mantra). Just noticed a typo in my first comment (hate when that happens) – meant to say “here’s to letting our lights shine.”
    Hugs. ~Debra

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