Before you rent out ‘Wall Street‘ and pump yourself up to take on the world, take a moment to recognize that simply being you increases your chance of succeeding.
That’s right! You are unique. Your personality, your smarts, who you know, what you’re passionate about – this all adds to why you are the awesome person you are, and why with those basic elements alone, you have an edge on everyone else.
You are your business.
What you stand for, your behaviour and what you project are what you’re selling, and no one has mastered how to sell the same product as you, because only you have the right ingredients.
I have had a number of emails in the last few weeks as filmmakers across the country flock to crowd sourcing sites to raise funds for their films. Along with being asked for advice (thanks to a small online film fundraiser I ran in 2010), I’ve also been asked if I could tweet and Facebook their fundraising site and encourage people to donate.
There’s nothing wrong with asking this of me – nothing whatsoever. However, I know that posting someone’s fundraising efforts on my Facebook wall will do little to help their cause. It’ll add to the online awareness of your film – sure. But my friends aren’t about to give a stranger money. Why?
People donate to causes and organisations that they connect with. There needs to be a story or an emotional understanding associated with the fundraiser, before we reach into our pockets. This is why you, as the ‘seller’ are the only person that can drive attention and assistance to your appeal.
I can’t give you a factual explanation as to why my fundraising efforts for my film ‘Something Fishy‘ were successful (it may have helped that we weren’t asking for millions).
One fact I can relay is that out of the 52 that donated only 2 of those 52 people hadn’t met me in real life.
This proved to me that the primary people interested in investing in your project are people you actually know. You are the first port of call – you are essentially who they’re donating to – not your film/start-up/product – YOU!
How you present yourself and communicate what you stand for in ‘real life’ is the most accurate version of who you are and the most effective way to engage with people.
We all have that one friend who is always smiling. We love hanging out with them because they make everything enjoyable. We associate positive experiences with them.
I like to call the exchanges you have with people “Emotional Experiences”.
When you meet someone for the first time they conjure an emotional reaction, sometimes good, sometimes bad, and from then on you connect your idea of them with that initial feeling.
What a person represents can change over a range of encounters but much like falling in love, some people simply have you at Hello! This kind of chemistry and positive Emotional Experience can only be achieved by being genuine and open. Yes. You must be you.
How can you be you if you’re busy feeling like you isn’t enough?!
I’ve heard plenty of people confess they pretend to be their idol when they’re at an important meeting or audition. I think this concept works – temporarily. Walking around pretending you are Cate Blanchett or Jack Dorsey will soon become tiring and people will recognise that you’re faking it. People want to trust you, not be weary of your motivations.
Instead of pasting up a range of post-it notes in your car and in your house to remind you to ‘Believe in yourself’, maybe try manipulating your physicality?
Conjure up confidence with a few physical modifications…. I’m not talking about Plastic Surgery! I’m talking poses. The way you stand – sit – the whole bit.
Your physicality tells a story on its own and Bad Posture and awkward physical habits send out the signal that says you don’t even buy you! So why would anyone else want to?!
This great study featured on the Harvard Business School site by Julia Hanna: ‘Power Posing: Fake it until you make it’ proves that sometimes we need to walk the walk so that we can talk the talk and somehow, our body gets tricked into believing we are the business.
If you still need the post-it notes to remind you that you’re worthwhile – keep them up. I like to think that those that are really worthwhile have also felt worthless.
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”
Go out and embrace who you are this week and know that you are enough. Warts and all. Fears and insecurities. They exist because they shape you and keep you being an original product worth purchasing. I’d buy it.