Let’s face it – no body is perfect – but when we are small business owners, sometimes we pretend to be. But we all have quirks that make us unique, problems that tangle into our lives, and issues we wish we didn’t have to deal with, and flaws that we’d rather pretend don’t exist. But when approached at networking gatherings, and asked the question “So, how is business?” – do any of us ever disclose when we are having a down turn, or struggling? Maybe. But most times we answer “Business is great!” or “I’ve been busy!”
While I am not advocating being a negative nelly while networking or attempting to attract new business -sometimes being humble or even a bit self-deprecating can go a long way. Why? Because disclosure that you aren’t perfect makes you human, and being human makes you relatable – and people buy when they know, like and trust you.
There is a fine line – you don’t want to disclose so much that you lose credibility or trust, but enough so you can meet your audience where they are. When sharing, always keep your audience in mind. Will they relate to your flaws? Will they appreciate how you manage, create success and grow despite your short-comings? Will they want to learn more about you because you shared? Will they feel inspired, motivated or encouraged as a result of your sharing? Can your mistakes, quirks and flaws become a learning experience for your audience?
The other side of admitting weaknesses, is it can strengthen you both personally and professionally. Professionally, coming clean and opening the door to your cluttered closets shows your tribe that you can admit fault, and you can demonstrate ownership and personal responsibility – both trustworthy qualities in leaders and Trail Blazers.
You are also giving permission to others in your life to reach out to you with their fears, flaws and weaknesses, and that can open up the potential for you to guide them, help them, and strengthen them as well. You can be a source of inspiration to show someone that despite having a lisp you can go on to be Mayor of New York City, and one of the highest paid public speakers like Rudy Giuliani, or overcome a childhood of abuse and incest and become one of the highest paid women on television like Oprah Winfrey, or your first business failed but despite those odds, you went on to become the richest man in America like Bill Gates.
Flaws are fabulous! Let them be guide posts in your life – markers that show you where you have been, and beacons of strength and inspiration to others who are following the trails you are blazing. So the next time someone asks you “how’s business”…. share your self, don’t spare yourself.
Until then, Hit the Heights
Your Guide ~ Priscilla