Here's a secret. The working title for this post was "In this whole article, I have essentially written up some wonderful advice generously donated to me by my friends. I'm a total thief." And with that in mind, let me tell you why this is fantastic.
At last week's rather amazing event How to Reach More Students in 2016, I was lucky to host a webinar entitled "What Makes You Special is What Makes You Money" with Lindsay from Lindsay does Languages. The webinar was one of the most honest and interesting of the whole show, guiding the audience through the process of finding the intersection between what you love and what will pay for you.
Roadmaps Don't Work
One of the most important aspects of finding your own style and brand in any business, no matter how big or small, is that moment when you realize that following another person's roadmap isn't going to work. You can look at their success and follower numbers and six-figure-income, and work backwards from "how they must have started".
But are they going to tell you how many times they messed up? No! And are you going to feel like an idiot the first time you mess up? Yes!!
Lindsay mentioned that it can be helpful to pay attention to those moments when jealousy gets the better of you and you start looking for faults with people that others look up to. This can be finding that the TED talk speaker you so admire is using "boring slides". Their achievement is belittled in your mind as you try to make yourself feel a little better.
What if you could change your way of thinking and start seeing how the other person's success is an inspiration, but not a blueprint of success? In fact: What if their talents could start being part of your own great business?
Mindset Shift: Eyes On Your Own Paper
Here's a little excerpt from the Savvy Brand Toolkit, the key set of brand building materials that I work with:
When throwing yourself at a market, you’re inevitably going to start looking around. It might start as a search for inspiration, but beware the rabbithole of comparing yourself to others on social media. Here are a few thoughts you may recognize:
What about all those other guys?
They can teach! They can entertain!
They have so many students!
How am I going to outdo the others?
You wonder what you’ve possibly got to offer that could keep up with them, but this is not an attitude that will get you further. As my friend Brenda often says, the mantra to adhere to is > “Eyes on your own paper!”
Return to that idea of brand, of being yourself. Personality is that one skill that none of us can ever fake, and should be at the top of your checklist whenever you sum up the value and goodness you provide.
Funnily enough, one of the people I used to be scared of was Lindsay herself. She makes incredible videos, is funny, dedicated, disciplined. She's even a great online teacher, and every course she makes looks awesome. Has this girl no faults?!
Luckily, I dared myself to reach out to Lindsay. I invited her to come and give an interview on my podcast, and turns out she was as funny and approachable as she was gifted and hard-working. We had a great time, and I found myself listening back to my Lindsay episode and enjoying so much about it that I emailed her and asked if she fancied becoming a co-host. Fast forward a few months and here I am with a strong podcasting partner whose talent has helped make my own show great.
I have learnt that reaching out to those that intimidate me most is a consistent factor of success in my own business. This is why I run events like #Reach2016 with such pleasure, and why I'm always excited to collaborate with people who kind of scare the heck out of me. Every one of the speakers at that event is doing something amazing that I've not accomplished. At #reach2016, I got to connect and find out how they did it. And I also got to put them on a stage and show you how they did it, too. It's pretty blissful, and way better than being in tears every time that Gabby Wallace posts a new picture of beautiful beaches in Brazil.
Reach Out (I'll Be There)
So this is a little call to arms:
Who intimidates you a little bit? What could they use that you provide?
I hope you'll find a way to get a little bit of that goodness they put out and combine it with your own talents. And if you're super brave, post a comment here and tell me who inspires you and what your dream collaboration would be. From Oprah to Dalai Lama, feel free to think big!
If you want to have support when you walk your roadmap to success, you can apply for one of my limited Mentoring slots by booking half an hour to chat.