Hey, have you ever shared something personal about yourself to, like, thousands of your potential clients?
I think most women would shy away from that, right?
But a few years ago I did, and it was the best decision I ever made.
About three years ago, just after I married my wife Emily, I wrote a newsletter and included a photo from our wedding.
When I showed it to Emily before I sent it out, she asked, “Are you sure you want to tell everyone that you’re a lesbian?”
Inside, I knew it was the right decision. After all, I work very closely with my clients and students, and if they don’t like who I really am, then we probably shouldn’t be working together in the first place.
Since then, I’ve been really open about who I am. And for all this time, I thought I was doing it for me. But I didn’t realize that it might touch other people too.
Then I got this email from a woman in my SIGNED program.
I wanted to share why I picked you 🙂 When we first met I was explaining that I’d gotten lots of messages on LinkedIn. I read through and yours really resonated with me.
The reason is, because of my daughter. She is 22 and hates the word “gay,” she hates the word “bi,” and describes herself as being more open on the sexuality spectrum than others. She and I are very close and I love being part of her journey as she figures out who she is, who she loves, who she prefers.
I was drawn to you because I love the way you put the word “lesbian” out there, you are open about your wife. It’s so authentic, so real … and I have such respect for the self reflection I know you have been through to put all that out there. It’s real, it’s gritty and it’s wonderful. Thank you!
Being alongside my daughter as she has had to dig deeper than many others to find the courage to be real, has made me so appreciative of women (and men) who are brave enough to be authentic and who pave the way for others to do the same.
Being myself was why she chose me.
I don’t want to say something as uninspired as, “being yourself is a good business decision,” because it goes way beyond that.
When you run a business where YOU are the product, being able to be who you truly are extends well beyond dollars.
YOU will show up better for your clients.
If I had to hide the fact that I have a wife, then I’d essentially be going back in the closet. And ask anyone who’s been there: when you hide parts of yourself, you hold back in other ways. In the type of business you’re running, it requires YOU, and when you can bring all of yourself, you will get better results for your clients.
You will ATTRACT the people you want to work with, and REPEL the ones you don’t.
Not surprisingly, I don’t get a lot of inquiries from clients who think being gay is a sin. (And I am 100% OK with that!) I DO, however, attract clients who are open-minded, progressive, warm, intellectually curious, big thinkers, and lifelong learners – which is exactly who I want to work with. Why? Because that’s what I put out there. When you show up as who you are, you attract your people.
You invite TRUST.
When you can show up as your full self, you inspire the confidence that you’re comfortable with who you are, and you know what you’re doing. And that confidence and capability? Those are the ingredients of trust. And people want to work with people they can trust.
I realize that if you’re reading this, you might not have this Big Life Thing to announce. But you don’t have to – you can show who you are in a hundred small ways.
Since I wrote that email, I’ve written about what my lifelong love of The Beastie Boys taught me about starting over, what getting into triathlon taught me about perseverance, and how I’ve had to overcome my “ghosts of corporate past” in order to fully step up as a business owner. It doesn’t take a huge admission to show up as yourself.
So HOW do you start being fully yourself in your business?
You do it with your words. Talk about life beyond your work or your credentials. Let people see the real you.
And let go of the marketing speak – say things like YOU would really say them. In your marketing, on your site, in your emails… just be yourself.
I promise you that every day in your business will feel better. And you will start to attract the people you really want.
Happy Pride month!