Everyone had and is having their own unique experience as it pertains to COVID. For me in particular, I had spent nearly a year in my house with my wife and two boys. We decided to keep them home from school. To put it mildly, it was tough. However, I think I’m definitely a better man for it. And we’re definitely a better family for it. I don’t particularly want to dwell on the disease itself, nor politics, nor any belief structure, but rather something interesting I did during this time. One thing I knew I wanted to do was to help people. I wasn’t quite sure how but I just knew I wanted to help people. Given I had built up a pretty strong reputation on Linkedin, I saw how popular coaching had become during this time. It made sense. Tons of people were out of work and entrepreneurial endeavors were skyrocketing. But the one thing I noticed was that most of the coaches I had been observing absolutely sucked. I saw a major gap. Too many professing their ability to help people and not enough with the actual skills or experience to do so. Put it this way, SAYING you’re a coach doesn’t make you one. Was I a coach? Honestly? No. But I knew I had the tools to teach people to make critical changes in their lives.
So I figured I’d give coaching a shot. Why not be the guy that actually walks the walk that he’s talking? Here I am working just a few hours a day, living a life I want, and so many people out there are desperate to do the same. It’s my obligation to show them, right? Well, I don’t think it worked out quite as saintly as that but if there was one contribution I made to society during a one year stretch, it was the 10 or so clients whose lives I managed to affect in what I think was a very positive and constructive way. The basic principle of my teachings were always “the more you lean into you, the better off you’re going to be.” And if there’s one story I remember above all others that exemplifies this philosophy, it’s the Grateful Dead Insurance guy.
The Grateful Dead insurance guy
I once had a client who works in the insurance industry. His job is to sell technology products to insurance companies. When he first came to me he was producing content on Linkedin but getting no leads or results from his efforts. His videos were dull. His content was boring and absolutely nothing stood out about it. But after getting to know him I discovered quickly that he liked to wear snow hats, Grateful Dead shirts, and has an incredibly unique voice (like Charlie Day in Always Sunny in Philadelphia). The moment I started talking to him I was excited. I knew we had something special here. I encouraged him to start making videos from his kitchen just wearing his regular clothes and talking about whatever he wanted. Completely raw, unedited, and just “going for it.” From a branding perspective, no one’s ever seen the “Grateful Dead insurance guy” before. Within days he was getting more comfortable in front of the camera. In fact he got a little too comfortable. In one video the guy had his shirt off (luckily he didn’t get in trouble). The guy hit 50% of his yearly sales quota in the first quarter of 2021. When he contacted me to let me know I said, “and all for just being yourself.”
In this particular example, rather than run away from who he was, I encouraged my client to do the exact opposite. Who says you have to wear a suit to talk insurance? Who says insurance has to be associated with boring insurance seminars? Who says you can curse when you speak about insurance? Who says it even needs to be about insurance? Sure, maybe the subject of insurance isn’t sexy but isn’t it OK to present it in a sexy way? It was never about insurance, and it never will be. It’s about showing the world who YOU are. The insurance stuff just happens to come with all of that. We found a way to package HIM alongside his profession and within months he had more sales calls than he knew what to do with. Sure there are probably tons of people that didn’t approve of his videos, but were those the people he wanted as clients? Hell no. As much as his videos attracted the right clients, it also repelled the people he didn’t want to work with. A win-win as far as I’m concerned.
And it’s not just about how your present yourself either when it comes to success from being yourself. It’s everything. The more you lean into who you are and what you want, the better results you’ll have. Let me show you what I mean:
How I’ve leaned into myself more and more
When you’re young, you think you have to fit into whatever situation you’re placed in for the best success. I wore the suit. I commuted on the train. I made the cold calls for 8 hours. But that got old really really fast. Having bosses got old really really fast. The more I listened to myself and recognized what I didn’t want, the closer I got to living the life I did want. But it didn’t just pertain to the office and my career.
- I never liked shopping – So what did I do? Made a deal with my wife that I’d never go grocery shopping again. And she was on board. Boom.
- I don’t want to maintain my pool – So what did I do? Hired a pool guy to do it. The price was worth me not having to do it. Boom.
- I don’t ever want to own or run a building but I love real estate – So what did I do? I bought into REITs and invest in Fundrise which buys apartment buildings that you can be part owner in. Boom.
- I hate going to the gym when it’s crowded – I now go at 10am everyday. Boom.
The examples are endless. The more you can lean into you, life starts getting easier and easier, not to mention more meaningful and fun.
It doesn’t matter what you do
I guarantee you that if you told me what you do for a living I could figure out a way to make you more successful leaning more into who you are. Just because you work in a law firm doesn’t mean you have to be “lawyer-like.” I guarantee you there’s a niche and place for every type of personality and quirk. The key is aligning yourself to the right situation. Put it this way. If you work in a law firm that expects a certain type of personality and appearance, and that’s just not you? I’m not telling you to quit your job, but I am telling you that you need to do everything possible to see if they can accommodate you. If they cannot? Then yeah, maybe it is in fact time to jump ship. It’s extremely important for us not to apologize for who we are. It’s equally as important to lean into who we are even more. You’re going to repel a ton of people. But that’s completely OK because they’re not people you wanted to align yourself with in the first place.
How true are you being to yourself?
I can’t answer this one, only you can. But are you being “you” in all the different kinds of scenarios in your life? Are you really in a career you’re comfortable with? If you are, are you free to be you in said career? Are you truly hanging out with the people you want to? Living in the place you want to live? Are you listening to yourself or are you taking commands from others? Like I said, I cannot make this assessment. Only you can. But if you find yourself distancing away from what you know to be the way you want to live, then it might be time to take a look at yourself and take steps towards change.