“OK, so today I’m going to ask you to sing.”
^^Said the branding coach on our weekly group coaching call.
We’d been in the program a few weeks at this point. We knew a lot about one another’s businesses and we’d watched each other’s brand designs evolve.
We’d shared our big WHYs, our passions, and what lights us up.
But sing? There was no way in a million years we’d feel comfortable doing that… right?
The Method Behind the Madness
You might be wondering why a branding coach was asking us to sing in the first place. Well, it was a pretty genius move.
We were heading into crafting our brand stories. The reason we do the work we do.
The coach knew these stories are often very personal. They often bring up big feelings and a heckuva lot of vulnerability. Her strategy was to help us embrace vulnerability in a different form before diving into the work of writing.
She only asked us to sing one phrase. From a song we all knew because it was on the inspiration playlist she’d made for us.
And what sealed the deal?
She went first.
Here’s the thing, most of us would probably rather do a lot of things than sing. (Run a mile, get a face tattoo, eat our weight in fava beans, just to name a few.) But ALL of us would love to feel SAFE enough to be able to sing.
To be able to open up and try something that makes us vulnerable. It’s not dangerous. It just makes us feel like we’re a little exposed. A little less than perfectly polished.
But that openness and honesty is exactly what breeds connection.
In the work you do, you want your clients to feel comfortable enough to “sing.” (Not literally in most cases. Unless you’re a voice coach. Or the genius branding coach I worked with.)
You want them to feel like they can let down their guard. That’s when they’ll be truly open to transformation. To letting go of whatever they’ve done in the past that hasn’t worked. And to trying new things and potentially not be really great at them — yet.
This comes up in my work as a writing coach all the time!
I need to make my clients feel comfortable enough to get feedback on their business content and copy or on a chapter of their book. To let me read their heartfelt first draft and tell them how they can improve it.
That requires trust up the wazoo!
The clients I work with who see the biggest results are those who are completely open to examining their writing process and being honest about what isn’t working. Who are willing to share with me their biggest doubts and the meanest things their Writing Gremlins say to them.
They trust me enough to help them grow as writers — and therefore as business owners and humans.
And they do it because I model that it’s OK to be vulnerable.
Show Others How to Embrace Vulnerability
I’m not encouraging you to use your clients’ time to share your own story or talk about your own experience. Sometimes we share snippets when we know it will help, but coaching calls are not about the coach.
Instead, embrace vulnerability in your website copy, in your social media content, in your blog posts, and in your subscriber emails.
Yup, to be the leader and show that it’s safe, you’ve got to go first — before your clients even become your clients.
I know I’m hitting the vulnerability sweet spot when people DM me on Instagram or hit reply to my weekly emails and tell me they want to work with me because what I said resonated in a deep way. They’ve never even seen a sales page. They’ve just seen me show up honestly and openly. They know that I get them and that I care really, really deeply. (If you want to learn how to connect in this deep way with your ideal clients, I can show you exactly how to do it.)
If you want your clients to be vulnerable enough to go on the journey of coaching with you, you need to be vulnerable in your marketing content.
Not sure where to get started?
First, go read/listen to Brene Brown talk about the difference between true vulnerability and TMI oversharing in her book Daring Greatly. (Or check out this great blog post that sums up the key ideas.)
Then, start with anything from this list:
- Tell a story that means something to you
- Share your big WHY
- Talk about your passion for what you do
- Share your special approach
- Talk about your gifts — yup, owning your own awesomeness in an authentic way is HUGELY vulnerable
- Tell a story about something you learned or overcame
- Talk about how you deal with perfectionism or procrastination or imposter syndrome and be a model for others
When you open up and share your true self, you make it OK for your audience to do the same.
Share Your Story
Sharing your story is an especially powerful way of embracing vulnerability and creating connection. You can share how you got to where you are and help to bust the myths that some people are just born successful.
You can share your challenges and what you learned. Your failure and frustration and fear, as well as your resilience and radiance.
Do you realize what a badass you look like when people see how you react to setbacks? How you overcome obstacles? That’s where the gold is! In how you choose to show up despite what’s happened to you.
Your story provides hope. You got to the other side of a big challenge and lived to tell the tale. That means others can do it, too.
Bonus: When you share your story you have the opportunity to…
- share your background, experience, and expertise
- explain your special sauce and your unique approach
- show the impact of the work you do
- connect emotionally with your audience (Super important since 95% of purchases are made unconsciously, and emotions are the messengers sent to the conscious brain to tell it to hit the “Buy” button.)
So go ahead. Embrace vulnerability. Be the first one to sing. It will help you show up more authentically and connect more deeply.
A Happy Ending
Did everyone sing? Yes. We all sang. And we all cheered for each other as well.
Later, when it was time to craft our brand stories, each person shared straight from the heart. I was incredibly moved by the honest stories that were shared. These stories helped me connect to my fellow students in a whole new way.
Feeling safe to sing made us feel safe to tell the stories that we knew were our big WHY stories, but that maybe didn’t fit the mold of a glossy web page where someone with perfect teeth tells you how she always knew she was destined to do what she does, and how her path there went from point A to point B as smoothly as a bullet train.
These were the stories that showed people who we really are, why we care so freaking much, and why we’re committed to transforming lives with our businesses.
Thos are the kinds of stories your audience wants to hear from you.
Loving this idea but not sure how to get started?
Let’s talk. I can help you connect the dots and tell a story that will showcase your passion and skill and make your ideal clients feel deeply connected to you. Schedule your free, no-obligation discovery call here.