Hear the Music But Play Your Tune

At this point I think it’s fair to say that it would take strange or extreme circumstances for anyone to not have been impacted by the pandemic. Every single person, to varying degree, has been squeezed out of our comfort zones – mentally, emotionally, physically, financially.

Our structures and routines are different. And so is our relationship to life as a whole.

And yet, especially now, there’s a need to keep working, and generating an income – to make a literal “living.”

But there’s a paradox taking root, that can be felt across many industries – and likely in this community. Yes, the need is there – and growing. But how to we make asks of people – potential clients and customers – without seeming to be tone deaf to the current music that’s playing?

Show of hands… who else here knows they need to generate new business – perhaps even more than they ever have – but at the same time is uncomfortable, if not outright afraid, to market themselves because of a perceived appearance of being insensitive?

Right, thanks for the courage and for being honest. And I get it – me too.

But here’s the thing… what’s likely happening with these feelings is the automatic inclination to put the focus and attention on ourselves. To assume that in some way we are prioritizing our needs in front of the needs of others. And that by speaking up and reaching out to make an ask, we are somehow being selfish.

Through the lens of limitation and scarcity, this is understandable. And given the current climate, and the many stories of suffering, it makes all the sense in the world.

But I invite us all to realize that it’s not a matter of either we get our needs met, or the other person does. Because business is not about taking. It’s about trading!

Yes, if we are on the selling side, we end up receiving compensation. But the client or customer – the buyer – is receiving something too. The value of our services and products!

So rather than an “either/or” dynamic, consider that it’s actually one of “both/and.” Both you *and* the buyer are actually receiving.

And with a bit of a wink, consider that it’s even a bit arrogant of us to assume that we could make someone do something they didn’t want anyway. So yes, there is a difference between providing an offer and being a pushy salesperson. But our natural pull is to avoid that.

So rather than step farther back, I invite us to lean in. Lean in to the value we provide. Get clear about the elements of your product or service that are still needed so you can present them from a place of providing rather than a context of taking.

Again, we are trading with those who want and need to trade. And if there’s an opportunity for added generosity at this time – a different level of service or pricing, we can always bring that to the table.

So yes, hear the music. But don’t be afraid to play your tune. In fact, expressing ourselves from a place of value and service is very much needed.

And maybe it’s human first, provider second. But letting the world know what we provide needs no shame. Everyone has needs. And learning what’s available allows for a menu of options for them to be met.

Thanks for having the level of care and sensitivity for this to be a concern. And for the faith, courage, and leadership to continue to practice sharing yourself in the world.

Here’s to making a difference, to sharing our hearts and our brilliance, and being of service for our families, our clients and customers, and this community.

I’m grateful for who we are and all that we do.

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