It’s ridiculous when someone says they’re “#1” in their field.
“Oh really, by whose standards?” I wonder.
The more we puff our chest, the more imposter syndrome strikes.
The need to prove our worth is part of the fixed mindset (ala Carol Dweck) — when our ego is attached to a fixed identity that we should always be excellent, and one of the best. It sometimes makes us feel like a fraud, because nobody is perfect. We feel pain (or avoidance) whenever we don’t live up to that shining standard.
Instead, what if we simply share what is actually working now?
What if, rather than trying to prove anything, we simply demonstrate the kind of work we’re already doing right now, with ourselves and with our clients?
What if we commit to a growth mindset — the belief that we can always become better with practice — and publicly share how we are practicing, as we move along our journey of development? What if we share about why we care about the journey, and invite others to grow with us?
When I do this, my marketing becomes more authentic, because it’s based on actual experience rather than “fake it till you make it” kind of puffery.
I don’t have to project a superior image:
“I’m so great, you’d be lucky to work with me!”
… but rather, we can dive into a heart of connection and service:
“Here’s why I care. I’m in the work daily. I love working with people like you.”
This is how I create content.
This mindset shift relates not only to how we sell, but also to our posture around content creation.
Are we talking as if we carry the absolute Truth about our field? That posture suggests that we have to defend ourselves against contrasting opinions. Are we projecting a belief that we know what’s best for everyone?
An alternative way is to be in the attitude that I am simply sharing what is true for me now:
Yet, what if you need to sell an idea or product?
Again, the need to prove ourselves as superior in knowledge can get us into trouble: inauthenticity and desperation.
If we’re trying hard to sell something, we’re probably trying too hard.
If you already have someone’s trust, then you can be confident to speak authentically and be in service to that person. No energy of “selling” is needed. Instead, you’re liberated to focus on genuine expression, as well as your caring for that person.
How to build trust? When you create content consistently, you naturally build confidence — other people’s trust in you, and more importantly, your trust in yourself.
When you learn to distribute content effectively, your audience experiences your presence as being reliable and therefore, more trustworthy. You’ll be top-of-mind for them on the topics that you write/speak about.
Therefore, there’s no need to “sell” or puff up our chest: “I’m authoritative! I’m number one in my field!”
Instead, there’s a natural yet humble confidence, and a caring invitation:
“This idea / product has been useful to my clients… and given that you’re having XYZ problem, I think it’ll be useful to you as well… especially if you already tried ABC. Why not give this idea / product a try and see if it helps? I will be here to answer any questions.”
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George Kao is a Marketing Coach for small business owners, especially solopreneurs such as Coaches and Mentors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.
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