We’re a few weeks into the year, and it’s probably already dawning on you that your business resolutions weren’t worth the paper you wrote them on.
That ambitious colour-coded, super-organised business plan you mapped out? It might just get ignored.
And that word or theme (like ‘growth’, ‘abundance’, ‘spleen’) you picked out for the year? Well the Post-it note you wrote it on is already starting to peel off your monitor.
Your fresh, blank new year page already has a coffee stain on it, along with some weird squashed insect you can’t quite identify.
Part of you knows, deep down inside, that this year will be just like the last, with the same stresses, worries and fluff-ups.
But whatever you do, don’t let on
We’re soloists, and we must emit a constant whiff of success.
Our business teeth must be clean, and our entrepreneurial nostril hair trimmed at all times.
We must plaster a fixed grin on our face, and shriek (slightly too loudly) “I’m okay” to anyone who asks.
The best way to be successful is to act successful, right?
The truth is, most of us tend to show our best selves online.
We flood our Facebook posts with grinning conference selfies.
We splatter our Instagram feed with shots of immaculate desks, frothy coffees and relentlessly inspirational memes.
And our LinkedIn profiles heave with tales of business triumphs.
We all do it, we know we do it, and we know everyone is doing it.
I know that you know, and you know that I know. (And I know that you know I know.)
Why don’t we just say “No”?
Maybe we think that if we act successful for long enough, it will start to become true. That if we talk the talk, we’ll soon be walking the walk.
But instead we stumble through our business life and drag our feet to our desk each morning.
By trying to pretend everything is okay, we’re actually making life more stressful. And suffocating our business in the process.
This fake business joy is punching tiny holes in our mojo bottle, and our energy is leaking out each day.
The reality is that running a solo business isn’t all unicorns and baby rabbits.
Sometimes it’s like being forced to chew through Donald Trump’s armpit hair.
So if you want to make a resolution, resolve to stop pretending.
And if you must have a plan, plan to keep it real.
That word you need to pick? How about “honesty”?
Make a decision let it all hang out
Share your mistakes and fluff-ups, your bad days and embarrassing situations.
That time you accidentally called a client a sh!tgibbon in an email meant for someone else? Share it.
That time you accidentally spent $578 on LinkedIn ads because you forgot to switch them off? Share it.
The thing you built that no-one bought? The conference that rejected your presentation? The fact you let your own website domain expire? Share it all people.
Why? Because those polished perfect pedestal perchers are a pain in the butt. Their constant success drivel doesn’t ring true, and that “Well done, mate” quickly becomes a “Sod off, mate”.
Lay down your trumpet
It’s fine to toot your own horn. But it’s also good to put down your trumpet once in a while.
By peppering your highs with some much-needed woes, it gives your business brand flavour.
Sprinkling a few mistakes over the top of your business gateau makes your content more digestible. It also makes your brand more credible, honest and therefore more trustworthy.
It makes you more human.
And people want to work with and buy from other humans – not glossy omnipotent beings who never mess up.
You don’t have to tell your audience all your sad stories. But letting them peep behind the business curtain once in a while could help rather than hurt your business.
It’s also incredibly relaxing to be truthful. (Trust me, it really is.)
So I encourage you to make 2018 the year of being gloriously flawed. Who’s with me?
Are you planning to keep it real in 2018?