Do you talk yourself down? Have you forgotten what’s special about you? Here’s how my Grandma taught me to help people reimagine themselves.
When I was child, I thought I was my grandmother’s favoured granddaughter. In our time together I felt utterly cherished. She hung on my every word and told me how beautiful I was. I was certain I was her chosen one.
- I was the eldest of all the grandchildren, including eight granddaughters.
- I was the daughter of her only daughter.
- I always did what I was told.
Of course I was special. Who could come close to this?
The older I got, the harder it became to protect that cherished feeling and self-belief. I developed a ‘do-yourself-down attitude’, one common to many business owners. It’s a weird dichotomy, one where the fear we’ve developed of standing out sits alongside a fear of not being noticed. So we:
- Want to be heard, but never raise our voices.
- Want to feel unarmoured and authentic, but put on our masks for every meeting.
When I was twenty-one, I attended a lunch with my Grandmother and four of my female cousins. They had grown up in a different city to where Grandma lived. I was incredibly surprised as she spoke to each of them. She asked after their friends, able to name them. She knew their teachers’ names, as she did mine. She knew what sports they all played.
I was old enough to check my reaction and acknowledge what was evident. She made every one of my cousins feel as wonderful as she did me. They were all special to her, each and every one, (down to their ‘tummy tum tum’ as she would playfully sing when she towelled us dry as children). She cherished each of us equally.
It was eye-opening! And it’s something I took with me into business.
As a publicist, I spend a lot of time finding out what’s unique about my clients and their businesses. And as I reflect back to them what I’m noticing, they begin to feel different, receiving and reflecting my acknowledgement and admiration.
Discovering what is truly unique about them is what I call their ‘-ness’; their ‘Mandy-ness’, ‘John-ness’, ‘Katie-ness’.
When people don’t know or remember their ‘ness’, I tell them to ask friends, “What do I rock at?” or clients, “Where do I shine?” This allows people to reimagine themselves more truthfully, improve their self-image and remember they are absolutely unique.
In business, ignore your ‘ness’ at your peril
We must be bold enough to be noticed, loud enough to be heard and real enough for people to connect with. Let’s begin by having the courage to know who we are first, understand our highest value, then offer ourselves to the world. Let’s be proud and cherish ourselves, just as my grandmother did for me.
How are you and your business unique and special? How do you stand out from the crowd?