Being the people person that I am I have always understood the language of relationships much better than I ever understood the language of business. In fact when I was dating in my twenties I met a few men who worked in the business field and no matter how hard I tried I could not understand what they actually ‘did’ for a living when they spoke about their job or profession. I often sheepishly requested that they share with me what they did for a living in, what I called, a ‘people’ analogy. Because it is in the language of relationships and relating to others that I make sense of my world.
So when it comes to me thinking about how to market my business, I often get all tumbled into knots. I used to think this was because I did not know how to market myself or that I did not know or understand very much about business. It was because of this thought that I hired a business coach to help me learn how to run my business. I gained a lot from that experience and learned that running and marketing a business is actually very much all about building relationships.
That was reassuring to learn (although it was already something I had known in my gut.) However, I still find myself fumbling when it comes to ‘marketing’ and ‘running’ a business. But what I get all fumbled about is not that I do not know how to do these things. Rather, what gets me stuck is trying to force myself to think like a ‘business’ person, when in actuality, I view myself as a ‘relationship’ person. Forcing myself to think like a ‘business’ person always gets me stuck and thinking about all the things I should be doing as a business person. I ask myself questions like: What would a good business person do? How should I be marketing myself? Am I doing what I am supposed to be doing? Is this right? Questions like these always leave me feeling stuck, overwhelmed, and inadequate. Needless to say, I do not get very far in running my business when I think this way.
So instead of thinking like the ‘business’ person I think I should be, I think like the relationship person that I already am. Instead of thinking about ‘how to market myself’ I think about all the ways I can ‘share my voice and my message.’ Thinking about my business in this way, which is more authentic to who I am allows me to listen to my own voice and think about all the things I already know how to do, and do well. Approaching my business in this way opens me up and allows my creative juices to flow. I feel excited and driven when I think about sharing what I am passionate about. ‘Marketing’ stops feeling like a chore I feel that I have to do, and instead comes naturally and easily. I just share what I know: my voice and my message. The only thing I have to make sure of is that I am committed and being consistent in all that I am doing and sharing. And I remind myself that this same rule applies to relationships. Because, for me, it’s more than a business; it’s personal.