Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Who Are You? Is More Than Just a Who Song

Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?
Who are you? 
Who, who, who, who?

Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?
Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?

I know there's a place you walked
Where love falls from the trees
My heart is like a broken cup
I only feel right on my knees

I spit out like a sewer hole
Yet still receive your kiss
How can I measure up to anyone now
After such a love as this?

My boyfriend is a HUGE Who fan. Of course, one of their signature songs is "Who Are You?" and I've heard it more than a few times since we started dating a year ago.
 More recently, my clients Steve and Robin, who are completing their first book, Find-Fulfill-Flourish, have begun investigating the importance of answering this question.

But what does it have to do with your business, this little matter of Who Are You? Everything, I would wager, but not in the way that you may think.

Attend almost any networking event, and invariably, the first question someone will ask you is, "What do you do?" If, as David Hepburn suggests, you change that up to instead ask, "Who are you," people will nearly always answer by telling you what they do. Or giving you the laundry list of their identities and titles: wife, mother, co-owner of a business, author, speaker, cancer survivor, activist, student. But does any of these actually answer the question of who you are, fundamentally?

According to Steve the author, "Who you are is a composite of your beliefs, intentions, behavior, and impact." Who you are dictates the type of business you choose, how you do business, with whom you do business, how much passion you have for your business, and ultimately, how successful you will be at your business.

In considering my own answer to this question, I've arrived at a few self-descriptions: passionate communicator, creative thinker, and champion of people and their dreams/ideas. Are there other people who could/would describe themselves the same way? Perhaps. But no one does business like I do business because no one is who I am.

Our uniqueness is such an asset in our businesses, but it seems underutilized by most. When we strategize about prospecting or marketing, we're usually comparing ourselves to others who do what we do - focusing on what we do better, rather than what we do differently. Virtually everything we learn teaches us to follow the same models others have used for success. Granted, if it works, keep doing it - but know that whatever the IT is, it will only work for so long. Then, something new will inevitably come along to replace it.

Who are you in your business?
What makes you distinct?
What makes you attractive?
What makes people want to do business with you?
What makes people willing to pay you more than others for the privilege of working with you?

Here's a big reminder: If what you're DOING, doesn't support who you ARE, it might be time to consider doing something else. By now, you've probably seen or read about the Jet Blue flight attendant who had the career-ending meltdown. Sure, he's famous now - but I can't imagine many of us wanting to end our careers with the frustration that lead to that kind of fanfare.

It's a two-way street: your business supports who you are, and you support what your business is. If you find any conflict between the two, look for ways to bring them into alignment. You'll be happier - and you'll attract a better caliber of clients.

This is Day 22 in the 60-Day Content Challenge. See you tomorrow for the next post!

Sign up today for Laura's next workshop, Want to Charge More? Start Writing! Or e-mail your marketing questions to Laura.

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