When you identify something about yourself that’s different, something that tempts you to feel is “not as” (not as good , not the same as others), what do you do with that?
For the past year or so we’ve been talking within the PF team about the concept of defensiveness. It flows out of our desire to serve our clients in the best possible way, and “not being defensive” is something that’s really important to us at PF. That when we are faced with something that doesn’t work, or we didn’t do so well, or that went wrong – we don’t respond with defensiveness but are grateful and thankful and willing to change.
As we’ve explored it, the conversation has begun to change about what is good defensiveness, and what’s not so good.
Being defensive about something you did wrong, or something that’s confusing, is not a good thing. You need to be humble and willing to accept change.
But being defensive about your qualities, your characteristics, who you are as a person and why…that’s different.
Last week I listened to a podcast by Brian Fanzo – his “FomoFanz” podcast is one of the single best ones I’ve listened to because every episode makes me think differently. Makes me see differently.
And this particular one I listened to last week spoke directly to this concept of defensiveness. He tells the story of his unique qualities (some of which he was bullied for or told to stop when young, like talking fast or stuttering when excited or being overly social) and how he’s using those to dive deeper and to ask “how do these things make me stand out? How can I use these as a superpower?”
When you dive deeper, you’re not being defensive (in a bad way) because you are still responding with humility. You’re saying, okay, I see what you’re saying – and instead of avoiding it or walking away or accepting it without question, I’m going to dive deep. I’m going to ask IF this thing is true about me, and if so, WHY it’s true and WHAT that means about me and how I can help the world.
When it comes to marketing, this is critical, because the only way to truly stand out is to be different….and yet we are so tempted to defend, to hide, to fit in with everyone else.
So I’m mulling this over for myself personally, and I encourage you to do the same for your own unique qualities. This podcast started me thinking about the things that make me different, and which I’m tempted to fear about. I’m tempted to think they mean i don’t fit in and therefore people are going to think this or think that or it will have this impact on my business.
Whereas the truth is, these things are what make me myself. What help me stand out. What set me apart from every other creative person or marketer or those who serve accountants or business owner or woman or whatever.
Some of these are…
- Rest. It’s one of the PF pillars because I value quiet and space and encourage it and use it personally and in the business. The temptation is to see this as a negative – I’m not hustling, I’m not wearing myself out, I’m not destroying my health like others. The truth is it helps me to be my most creative, and to encourage other people (my clients, my team, accountants, friends) to do what will enable them to be the most creative.
- Energy & health issues. I got diagnosed with M.E. (also known as chronic fatigue syndrome) over 15 years ago, and I deal with energy and immune system issues more so than most people. The temptation is to think this prevents me from being the best business owner i could be, or be like others, or be able to power through if I get sick like others due. The truth is this has been used in my life to help me be more understanding, more sympathetic, and more patient with people who have health struggles or life struggles of any kind.
- Remote company. PF is entirely virtual in that we don’t have physical offices – I work from a home office in Scotland, and the team works all over the globe from their homes or coffee shops or co-working spaces or whatever they want. The temptation is to feel we’re missing out on opportunities available to in-person businesses and creative agencies. The truth is this helps us to be the most efficient, the most focused, the most profitable for ourselves and our clients.
- Casual clothing. I hate suits, and dressing up, and high heels. I’m not even the biggest fan of makeup. And PF has become a company that wears PF branded tshirts and jeans, and comfy shoes, and branded hoodies. I’ll wear a dress now and then for a speaking engagement. The temptation is to think this reduces the impact we can have, or the level of firms we can work with. The truth is, this becomes a qualifier to identify what potential clients are using as their basis to make a decision about working with us. Are they looking for an agency that has fancy swish offices with lots of glass, and the owner wearing a suit and high heels? Or are they looking for an agency that is comfortable in its own skin and encourages them to do the same?
- Relationships over sales. I default to relationship – even at the cost of a sale. I would rather hold onto relationship with someone, and see them go elsewhere (or come back to us at a later date) than push them to a decision in order to increase sales. The temptation is to think this prevents me and my company from selling as much, being as profitable, growing as fast. The truth is, it gives us the best results in the long term – because we’re not looking for sales in the short run. We’re building relationships and partnerships with our clients to last for years, and to get them the absolute best results which will last for years.
There are more, but that’s my start. What are yours? What is it about you that you’re tempted to feel are shortcomings or failings or hold you back….but actually are strengths and your superpowers?
“Remarkable work is usually accomplished by people who have non typical priorities.” Seth Godin
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