Personal growth and self-development often go hand in hand with improving your financial success rates, and there is one enormous roadblock that holds many great entrepreneurs back from achieving their business potential.
The relationship between who you actually are, the “you” that you believe you are, and the “you” that the rest of the world sees. These are all extremely different versions of “you”, and my advice is to bring them all together into a single entity. Unsurprisingly, this can be easier said than done, but it is imperative that you first make a solemn vow to stop pretending.
Entrepreneurs who imitate others, who act more experienced than they actually are, who exaggerate or who play down their strengths or weaknesses are creating a situation that will likely result in disappointment, distrust and disengagement from their clients.
I have put together 15 steps, split into two sections, which I hope will lead you closer to unifying the relationship between those three “yous”.
How do you find out who you really are?
- Love yourself for who you are and honour both your greatness and your uniqueness. No one is as good at being “you” as you are, and you will find liberation in accepting your own singular brand of genius.
- Forgive yourself for your errors and the mistakes you have made, because no one who has ever succeeded wildly has avoided failing wildly. We are all perfectly imperfect and the scale of our financial success is always relative to our risks, challenges and failures, so use this knowledge to find a deeper level of personal growth. Quite often the mistakes you made – including those that involved letting someone down – serve to teach both you and those involved valuable lessons.
- Accept that you are not broken. If you spend your life believing that you are so riddled with problems that you need to be fixed, you are never going to feel worthy, you’re never going to feel that the services and values that you offer are worth the money you should be charging, and you are never going to find true personal growth – and that would be a terrible waste.
- Recognise your strengths and weaknesses, and do not exaggerate or underplay them. It’s a tight balance – resisting being too humble or over-confident – because while you want potential clients to have the faith that you can fulfil everything you say you can, you don’t want to make claims that you cannot live up to. In your marketing, it is healthy and worthwhile to admit some of your weaknesses by packaging them as a strength.
- Trust your intuition, because many people know more than they give themselves credit for. We have all had a unique set of experiences that offer you a unique perspective on the world – therefore, you probably already know the right kinds of clients, and you know when you are trying to impress or downplaying your abilities.
- Clarify your vision and the legacy you want to leave, as this allows you to better make business decisions that will take you closer towards your most important goals. When you have a vision in mind and a fitting strategy in place, you are in a much better position to attract and repel the right opportunities for you.
- Accept feedback but place it alongside your intuition. Believing in your own unique vision and the problems you want to solve must stand up to the criticism and praise from your market, staff and clients, so follow your instincts but balance them alongside exterior viewpoints.
How do you show the world who you really are?
- Insist upon remaining credible, as it will follow you and define your position within the market by forming your reputation. Even before you have built much credibility, there will always be people who you can help who haven’t yet started within your niche. You can also use skills you have gained through previous niches to fit into your current niche.
- Neither oversell or undersell – offer packages and prices that represent the genuine value you can offer.
- Trust that the right people will find you when you show people who you really are. This takes faith, trust and hope, but there are 7 billion people in this world and we live in an online world, which means you have a near-certainty that your ideal market is somewhere to be found.
- Embrace your vulnerability, and even make fun of it. Self-deprecation is a trait shared by the best comedians and the best public speakers in the world. Don’t overdo it (see point 2), but when an entrepreneur is self-deprecating it can invite others to bond with them, to offer feedback and share rapport. People realise that a person who is self-deprecating does not take themselves too seriously, people are put at ease, and they are likely to realise that you are honest.
- Admit your mistakes and claim your victories, because this leads to the total acceptance of both. Everyone screws up once in a while; it is unavoidable, so why beat yourself up for it? As for your triumphs; they are what you are aiming for, so make sure that you enjoy them when they happen!
- Recognise your boundaries concerning when to say “yes” and when to say “no”. If you have to turn down an opportunity, turn it down politely but allow for the possibility of returning to it the proposition at a later date. It may not be right for you now, but in a year’s time, perhaps it will be.
- Don’t repress or over-express your emotions, especially publicly, and find a balance between the two. 11 years ago, I had a habit of repressing my feelings and behaving it a very passive/aggressive manner, but then letting them all out by smashing up a computer or some of my pieces of art. I dread to think what would have happened on stressful days if social media had been as huge a part of life as it is today.
- Know for a fact that you are a unique, beautiful individual who carries your own personal brand of genius everywhere you go. Others can learn from your life story, so convert it into a well-crafted, well-realised marketing message and spread it through the world.
If you would like to read more about being financially successful via personal growth and development, you can find my bestselling book Life Leverage here