Have you noticed the “mindset messages” aimed at us expert entrepreneurs lately? Mindset, as in how your thinking affects your business, and expert entrepreneurs, as in those of us who help others with how-to information in a specific niche market.
I’m going to preface my comments by stating that I’m a firm believer in the power of our thoughts – the ability that each of us holds to shape our own destiny by shifting our mindset. However, there is a specific mindset strategy being promoted these days that is frequently misunderstood and misused – and it can chip away at your integrity in a flash.
It’s the “act as if” strategy – an exercise that helps to put your mind in a state of abundance so that you attract – and notice – the possibilities before you. Basically, you act as if you already have the finances that you desire, the home that you want, the success that you wish to reach in your business, etc. The idea is that as you practice the “act as if” exercise you’ll move closer towards achieving these things that you desire, because you’ve put yourself in the right mindset.
That’s an abbreviated explanation, of course. You can google “act as if exercises” to know more details.
Here’s where the integrity issue comes in.
There are countless entrepreneurs today – I’m fairly certain you know some – who have stretched the exercise into real life. They pretend to have more clients that they actually have, more money than they actually make and more materials possessions than they actually posses. And that’s when a helpful exercise turns into an integrity stealer. (Renting or borrowing an expensive car to use in marketing photos or videos (implying it’s yours) has become very popular – seriously?)
Here’s the thing. Integrity is precious, and you should be protecting yours at all costs. Once it’s been compromised – once people perceive you as a fake – there’s no turning back. So there’s an important something that you might use to balance “acting as if”. It’s called “celebrating what is” and, as an expert entrepreneur, it can be a powerful practice of integrity in your business.
Here are a few specific ways that you might practice celebrating what is:
- Be transparent: Allow clients to see your flaws. Purposefully point out some imperfections or, better yet, have a good laugh over them! That doesn’t mean that you should go overboard by revealing every skeleton in your closet, but it does mean that when you are appropriately “real”, people will feel your humanity, and be drawn to it,
- Share your mistakes. Pretending that entrepreneurship has been a stroll in the park for you won’t attract customers. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Share your mistakes – and (very importantly) how you learned from them – and potential clients will identify with you. Plus, when you share specifics about how you overcame obstacles, that’s a powerful marketing message!
- Let go of envy. Acting as if you’re further along in your practice that you really are usually stems from plain old ugly envy. Look, we’ve all experienced that feeling from time to time. The key is to counteract it immediately by purposefully letting go of it. Shift your negative thoughts to kindness, imagine it dissipating in your mind, or just take a moment to breathe and get present.
- Walk your talk. It’s as simple as that. Do what you say you’re going to do. It’s easy to get caught up in what you’re seeing other entrepreneurs doing – even if it’s against your better judgment. (I know this one first hand!). So a simple question you might ask yourself from time to time is, “What would my mom say?” For many of us, that little reality check is all it takes.
That fact is, your clients and potential clients are already on alert for the phony baloney stuff. Most are proceeding with caution before they invest in products and programs because all of us have been bamboozled (such a great word) at one time or another, right? What a terrible feeling! So when the people in your niche market find someone like you, someone who shows up with integrity in her business – who doesn’t pretend to be something she isn’t – they breath a sigh of relief. And they become your loyal clients and customers. The kind that money can’t possibly buy.
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