Today's challenged rubbed me the wrong way when initially saw the prompt.
"Fill in the blank: I sell myself______"
Ex. ..short because I lack confidence.
....for pennies on the dollar because my prices are too low.
The list could go on. I get, at least I think I get, the point. It is a challenge on self worth and value. A provocative look at how business owners view themselves, their time, and their product or service.
I took issue with the word choice. My initial reaction was am emphatic. "I sell myself for no one. Period."
After calming down, I realize that my reaction to this prompt is the same reaction some of my coaching clients feel about my approach to communication skills. I strongly believe that we can and should adjust our communication styles to our audience. The first line of resistance usually comes in the form of
"I am not changing for anybody. This is me. Like it or leave it".
This is a self defense response that has hit nerve. In my workshops, I refer to them as "Emoti-bombs" (pronounced like emoticon). These are internal emotional explosions that occur in all of us when a deeply held belief or fear is challenged.
For me, human traffikking is a social issue that I feel strongly about. The issue affects men, women, and children all over the world. It is a cancer on society that threatens my deeply held belief that people deserve respect simply because they exist, not for what they can or can not do for you.
When I read the prompt challenge this morning, my emoti-bomb went off. I began thinking about selling people. Pimps and traffickers selling little girls and boys to the highest bidder. Yeah, I know too deep for a business prompt right?!?! But this is the nature of emoti-bombs. Once they go off you all of your thoughts filter through them and you can not get beyond your emotion.
Everyone's explosion looks different. It may be outwardly expressed. If may not. The verdict in the George Zimmerman trial set off emoti-bombs all across this country. Depending on your stance on the topic, you may not be able to "hear" any other reasoning that goes against yours. Why? Not because you personally knew the Martin family or the Zimmerman family.
But because the trial brought you face to to face with beliefs you hold deeply.
Be it racism in America, the validity of the justice system, or your fear that one day, your son, daughter, nephew, niece could be either killed or accused of killing. No matter what the trigger, our emoti-bomb literally cloud our judgement.
So how do we recover from our "emoti-bombs"?
- Acknowledge them. It is ok to admit you are upset, annoyed, livid, hurt...whatever the emotion is. This blog starts with me admitting I was offended by the word choice in the prompt today.
- Identify them. Why are you upset? Try to put a finger on the issue that is really frightening you. For me I linked the word choices to human trafficking and the heartache it causes.
- Seek higher ground. You can't see for the cloud. So seek to get a perspective that gets you high enough to get clarity. I had to think very hard about why I couldn't come with a 600 word answer to the prompt. I needed to step away and find perspective. I decided to use this as a showcase of one of my coaching techniques.
- Remember your responsibility. You only have control over a few things in life. Take responsibility for your actions. For me the goal of this challenge is talk about the worth and value I have in my business. I could either not answer the prompt because I was offended or find a way to answer the prompt.
Having coached myself the way I would coach clients who have had an emotional explosion, I can see my task more clearly to answer the question. I know the organizers of this post weren't trying to offend. Offense is like a coat, you choose whether to put it on or take it off. I picked up the offense and I now I choose to put it down to answer the question.
As I am revamping my business I realized that I am selling myself short not because I am not confident in my services, but because I am too sensitive to the needs of my target audience. Small businesses with even smaller budgets can't afford the big names training programs or coaching services. But they still need and deserve them nonetheless. I want to help to help small business get a competitive advantage by having a culture that rivals their rivals. I also want to be well compensated for my work. Even though I know my price structure is fair, even a little below market value by industry standards, I still wonder if it is fair to small business owners.
In this blog, I share my heart with you and show some of the why behind my business, in an attempt to build your trust. In posts like this, where I take the prompt and show you how everyday situations can cause interpersonal conflict and what you can do about, I hope you see the value in paying for my service.
I try to make my business case as tangible as possible but in all honesty, people call me for clean up and damage control. Not for prevention. Of course, it doesn't matter to me when you call me. Just call me!
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