This has been a bit of a personal conundrum lately. Basically, I have a small business doing meditation and mindfulness coaching for offices. This does not resound with everyone. Clearly. Many people don’t get it, and only a small portion of the ones who do are willing to pay for it.
So, I’m faced with a choice. Do I water down or change my message to try to attract a wider audience? Or do I stay more true to myself, even if it means pushing certain people away? I’m not sure if this is an obvious choice or not, or if it is, in which way it’s obvious.
The first option has appeal. “I want people to like me!” This fits with our most natural desires for love and belonging. We want to be accepted and celebrated by as many people as possible. The fulfillment of this desire is why celebrities tend to be so strange, I think.
It also sounds good for business. It means attracting more clients, potentially selling more product, basically doing better all around.
Not so. At this point I’m convinced of the opposite. It may be different if you’re selling to the masses (although maybe not: Apple has way more personality than IBM, and their stock reflects it), but especially for small businesses and solopreneurs, being true to oneself is best for business.
Here’s why. When we work for ourselves, we’re constantly selling our business and we’re constantly selling ourselves. We are our business, and the two are relatively inseparable. When people buy our service, they’re buying us, and they’re doing it because they like what they see. They like the potential and hope we’re giving them.
When we water down or alter our message to fit the crowd, we attract people who aren’t quite as good a fit for us. This might be fine once in a while, but if it becomes the norm, we’ll be forced to put on a facade that satisfies clients who are not our ideal clients. These clients will want a business that is not what we strive to offer, that is not truly us.
We take this as reinforcement of how we should be and act. We see that it works to not be fully ourselves, and we compromise even more. We do work that is less and less true to our ideals, and that begins to strain our self-perception and self-awareness. We lose track of who we are and we lose interest in our work.
By staying true to our own selves as much as possible, we attract a (potentially) smaller group, but one that resounds more with our message. We attract our true supporters. Given the opportunity, these followers will become the champions of our work, promoting it to their tribes and friends. Having business we’re excited about will create more business we’re excited about. Vicious cycle averted, virtuous cycle embraced.
The real question is how can we: A) know our true selves, B) project that out into the world, and C) be receptive to accepting positive energy back into ourselves. Meditation and mindfulness are great for working on all three of these things, and that’s basically what this whole blog is about.
Side note: I’ve got a Beginner’s Meditation eGuide coming out in the next couple weeks. Get excited!
Side side note: With all this talk of finding our supporters, if you like these blogs, please share them however you feel comfortable doing so. It means a lot to me!