A few years back, I had a business coach who said many amazing things. One of them was ABM, always be marketing. His take was the world can benefit from what our life has to offer, and we owe it to ourselves and others to put it out in the universe.
I don’t know about you but having the confidence to comfortably share our work and our worth is not something inherent to many of us. As artists especially, we are constantly asked to audition and show our skills. Whether we get hired is another story. Without a solid sense of self and a true understanding of one’s mission, the rejection can become disheartening. Especially in this social media culture of constant comparison, it can get overwhelming trying to be a ‘self-promoter.’
Let’s take a minute and reframe this idea. Strictly speaking, if we don’t share what we offer to the world no one is going to know. The bigger question is where does the discomfort in talking about ourselves come from? I don’t mean in a selfish or grandiose way but inappropriate environments for building engagement and potential clients.
Especially as women if we are too bold, confident, or assertive it is taken as overbearing. It’s a stigma that has yet to change.
With age and experience does come a sense of simply not caring what other people think. Here’s the deal, the people who understand our mission and intention will be supportive. The people who take offense or laugh it off, well, they simply don’t get it so why bother expending energy with people and situations that won’t lead anywhere?
The next question is how to gain the wisdom to know where and when to share our work?
This resurfaced for me this past week. I took my first group fitness class since the lockdown. It was in a local boutique fitness facility near my home in Florida. My first outreach was wearing my company-branded t-shirt. Sure enough, a lovely woman commented and asked me ‘what kind of dance do I do?’ The T-shirt reads ‘Dance Because You Can’ on the back. We struck up a quick chat on the way into the class.
I was wearing shorts and the teacher just looked at my leg with a blank, uncomfortable stare. I winked and assured him I would modify as necessary. Fortunately, he let me do my thing without pause. It was so amazing to be back in a fitness studio.
Since it was my first time, so the teacher thanked me and commented on how well I did. It was one of those all too frequent moments when people just don’t know what to say about my leg, He clearly wanted to ask but hesitated with a shrug. I often must direct the obvious conversation.
I thanked him and simply said: ‘Yes, I was crushed by a bus but it’s all good now.’ He said WOW and I walked out of the room. I took a card out of my bag and proceeded to give it to him. I simply said, ‘I wrote a book I think you would appreciate.’ I gave him the card with my information and a link to my book. He said cook thanks, I will be sure to check it out. I turned on my heel and walked away.
The woman who stopped me on the way in had struck up a conversation on the way out. I complimented her glasses which were very cool. (I try to always compliment people. Spreading hope is a lot simpler than we think). As we chatted and she asked me about dance and fitness and how good it was to be back in a group I also gave her a card with my book info. She replied that she would also check out the book. We shared a gracious nice to meet you and I went on about my Saturday.
It occurred to me that sharing my work has become a learned and natural conversation for which I am unapologetic. What those two people will do is out of my hands, however, I took a forward action.
I have become confident and focused enough to have both the wisdom and capacity to make use of any opportunity that is presented.
If you are building a business, an artist, or are just on a mission I am giving you full permission to share your work and your worth wherever and whenever it feels right. It may seem uncomfortable or cocky at first, but I think if you can fine-tune the conversation and just practice on strangers it will become increasingly natural.
If we are not able to share who we are and what we do, then how can we expect anyone else to do the work for us? Energetically it’s about belief in our own lives and our mission to create value in the world. Each of us has our unique process.
My unsolicited advice: share far and wide. We need you in the world more than ever now and there’s plenty of money and space for everyone.
Remember you are winning!