"Not many employee manuals instruct you to: be strategic with your dreams. Leverage your contradictions. Say no to resentment and yes to inspiration." - Danielle LaPorte in The Fire Starter Sessions I'm full of contradictions, as everyone is. I'm introverted and reserved, but am usually a leader in small group situations. I'm pretty conservative but have 5 tattoos (that often surprises people!).
I really connect with the above quote from Danielle LaPorte. I came across a similar notion while listening to a Lively Show podcast with This Epic Life founder Kristoffer Carter, where he talks about integrating all aspects of your life. You can use your hobbies to enrich your day job. His example is using music to liven up a speech at a work retreat. Maybe you’re an artist or photographer in your free time, but an accountant during the day. Instead of feeling like you can’t express yourself fully at work, what if you offered to photograph a work event or painted a mural for the office? Chances are, people will respect your ability and you never know what other opportunities may open up for you.
While “being yourself” and embracing your quirks could help in a lot of career settings, as mentioned above, it's especially important for entrepreneurs. Your contradictions, passions and quirks will set you apart. Your love for running but also creating decadent cakes could be exactly what helps you connect with potential clients who like to balance fitness with indulgence. People want to work with real people and they want to make real connections.
That's one reason I love working with other entrepreneurs. There's a rise in people starting their own businesses, and they gain loyal followings based on not only their amazing work, but their unique personalities. That's wonderful and inspiring. Their passion shows through in their work, and they're not tethered down by hiding behind a corporate identity.
"Finding yourself" is about understanding your energy flow, recognizing your unique strengths, embracing your passions and not feeling guilty about anything that makes you stand out. For example, I'm very introverted, so I know that I need to have plenty of alone time to recharge. I know that I can do well in group settings, but I tend to do better with behind-the-scenes and written communication. So, knowing that, I’ve found that blogging and working online are a good outlet for my work. Through this, I've found a way to combine my passions for health + wellness, writing, psychology and marketing.
How can you use your personality traits to get more business?
Let's do an exercise to find out. We'll make lists because it's one of my favorite things to do.
1. Make a list of your best qualities, unique characteristics and deep passions.
Are you funny? Are you an open book? Great at encouraging others? Maybe you communicate better through visuals, are passionate about helping animals, have a knack for organization or are fluent in 4 languages. It can really be anything that sets you apart or that people tend to love about you.
2. Make a list of what you want to sell.
Services like graphic design or health coaching? Products like ebooks or raw desserts?
3. How can you put these together?
+are a life coach who tells it like it is. Your clients reach their goals because you don't let them lie to you or themselves.
+are a sassy web designer. You draw in new clients because they love your edgy blog and cutting-edge designs.
+are a conscientious, detail-oriented copywriter, so you work very well with business-to-business technical writing.
If you're struggling to come up with ideas from the exercise above, start with a few personality tests.
What makes your stand out? What contradictions make you unique?