So, there’s this thing called professionalism.
And occasionally, because of my sassiness and intermittent irreverence on this blog when I reveal embarrassing facts about myself, I’m accused of violating said professionalism.
Somebody got pissed off because I used a cuss word in a headline.
Somebody got pissed off because I shared a photo in a tweet of how my friend wrote my name in an address line because I was proud of her sassiness. (Warning: that one may be NSFW if your boss is a stick in the mud.)
But if I ran my business in fear that I might piss people off, I honestly wouldn’t be writing, doing, or producing anything that’s the least bit interesting.
I wouldn’t have written my last post about how hot beverages affect our brains, because my (and science’s) claim that we as humans aren’t 100% driven by rational data would infuriate that guy.
I wouldn’t be recording my YouTube videos because I wouldn’t want to be “found out” by the people whose websites I featured and scolded by them because, WTF, how dare I use their publicly available information?!?!
(For the record, that hasn’t happened yet.)
And I wouldn’t use cuss words ever because heaven forbid my sweet little grandma found out.
But the thing is…. fuck those people. (Except for grandma. I love her.)
I don’t run my business for them, and they’re certainly never going to be the ones buying from me.
But for the people I do run my business for?
For those small business owners and online entrepreneurs who do buy from me?
Me unabashedly putting my personality out there makes them feel confident and unashamed in doing exactly the same thing.
And, I hate to tell all of you logical, numbers-driven people this, but science itself tells us that we looooove and are drawn to strong personalities.
So long as their views align with ours, of course. (And we all secretly love swearing, too!)
Take Mr. T for example. You either love, love, love him or you hate, hate, hate him. And he doesn’t give a flying flip about those of us in the second group. He doesn’t waste his time pandering to us, and it only makes his base of loyal followers even more loyal.
And I can’t believe I just drew out a business lesson from someone whose message I despise so deeply, but there it is.
But whether you’re on the love/hate side of any message or anyone’s strong personality, here’s the reason why:
As humans, we have this tendency to try to avoid rejection.
And while we know we shouldn’t care whether or not someone likes us, rejection travels along the same pathways in the brain that actual, physical pain does. (So much so that taking a dose of Tylenol can actually ease whatever social woe you’re feeling at the moment. <- Not that I’m suggesting this.)
From an evolutionary standpoint, we aren’t made to survive alone. We literally need another person there with us so we can keep humanity going. ifyouknowhatimean
But, we still get ticked off when people say things we don’t agree with. Our ego knows that WE are right, goshdarnit, and those others just need to shut up.
But because of our need for acceptance and desire to avoid rejection, we don’t always speak up.
So when someone comes along and is saying exactly what we’re already thinking?
We listen to them and we LOVE them.
By listening to or reading them speak up, we do so vicariously, so we fulfill our need to speak up without risking our own personal rejection.
So hell yes I’m going to keep sharing embarrassing stories about myself on Twitter and using sassy language.
Because I love empowering people to speak up and be fully themselves in life and in business. I genuinely believe the world needs more of that.
And the people who agree with me?
They find me and they stick around. Because we are each others’ people and we belong together… even if the most “togetherness” we can share at the moment is an email message sent across the globe.
And… in case you haven’t made this deduction yet…. you should absolutely be doing this in your business too.
If you’re shy by nature, do not make yourself uncomfortable by sharing embarrassing stories.
If you don’t cuss like a sailor in real life, then don’t do it on your blog either.
You don’t have to pretend to be like someone else to be fully and absolutely yourself. But you do need to make a stand for something.
So for the love of God, chamomile tea, baby pigs, and everything else that is holy, do not let the myth of professionalism stop you from doing & saying what you really want. Be true to the truth that’s sitting in your bones.
Because when you step out and do that?
Your people will find you, and they will love you.