When Business Gets Personal

One of my marketing heroes, Chris Brogan, has announced that mental health in the workplace is going to be a focus for him and his company moving forward. I applaud him for this effort because not only are more conversations about mental health needed in our society, but mental health is one of the leading factors of job loss and time loss.

Another hero of mine, Andrew Gurza, started a hashtag on Twitter that I just adore. #DisabledPeopleAreHot debuted a couple of weeks ago and has now been featured on the BBC, the CBC, the Washington Post, and other major media outlets. It’s all about how disabled people can be sexy and attractive and well, hot. How we can have the same drives and desires and “doing it” as anybody else. Why? Because we really ARE like anybody else. We just end to come with accessories.

And then there’s Bryan Kramer, who said we need to be thinking H2H – human to human – and not so much B2C or B2B or business at all. For doing that, he’s a hero, too.

Our world seems a harsh, cruel place most of the time. We see tragedies unfold in real time thanks to 24/7 news outlets. Our political atmosphere is charged with division and derision. We see corruption and heartbreak, natural disasters and man-made catastrophes, and it seems that you get snarled at more than smiled at most days.

Is it any wonder we want to make positive connections? Is there any doubt as to why we crave happy human interactions? So many people in today’s world feel marginalized, invisible, unloved.

And yet, we still have businesses that don’t want to come down from their ivory towers and touch the unwashed masses at their feet. They prefer to stay up above, as if their attitude of superiority makes them somehow less human than the rest of us.

I call BS. We WANT you to be human. We want you to treat US as humans. Come down from your lofty perches and join the party. Don’t be so afraid of letting us see your bad hair days, your off moments, the times when things just don’t. go. as. planned.

You see, we want to relate. To feel as though we are a member of the family, not just another number or name or piece of your bottom line. We need to feel as though we belong with you and you with us. We aren’t your customers or clients anymore. We are your business PARTNERS in this together with you. You can’t make it without us, and we can’t make it without you.

We aren’t perfect, in fact we are far from it. We have issues and problems and we make mistakes and we sometimes even fail. We come to you for your service or product because we have a need. Something we can’t do on our own. Far from perfect, yet close enough to you and your business so as to be a partner. Together, remember? We need you. You need us. Put er there, partner….

Partners aren’t perfect. Partners are people. Right here in the trenches with us. So show us your foibles and follies. Show us your failures and falls. Show us, too, your celebrations. Those moments when everything goes right. Or when some little thing makes a mighty big difference. Help us help you make a difference by getting to know your causes. Your needs. Your dreams and desires. Let us in. There’s no need for the “man behind the curtain” anymore, Wizard.

Personalizing your business is good for your business. You can form relationships with your customers and clients. You can stand out from the crowd. You can even get to be heroic and use your business for the good of all. But you have to let go of the idea that you are just a faceless bit of cold, unfeeling perfection hiding behind the curtain of “professionalism”.

Let your business get personal. Be a hero. Be a human. You have nothing to lose, and an entire planet of people to gain.

Musings, Mutterings, and Murdering Mayhem

It’s that time f the week again. Time to write another blog post. Time to get behind the keyboard and either entertain, enlighten, educate, or engage you, the reader, with another dose of content. And yet….

I don’t really want to. I’ve tried three times to pull blog posts off the old content editorial calendar and have failed. The cursor has been sitting there, mockingly blinking at me, for several hours. Time is running out. The pressure is mounting. The words, however, won’t flow.

Maybe it’s the poor night’s sleep I got last night, or the sinus headache I woke up with. Maybe it’s the fact that my son is home sick with the flu. Maybe it’s because I’ve simply got WAY too many things on my mind to focus on just one. Maybe it’s the fact that subconsciously, I’d rather NOT write about any one of those 20 odd topics on my calendar. Or, more likely, it’s all of the above, and then some.

I’m taking a chip off the block of Charles Bukowski, who said that writing about writer’s block is better than not writing at all. For the moment, anyway, it’s working. Goodness knows none of my usual tricks worked. I’ve already tried:

  • reading
  • taking a walk
  • putting on my “writing tunes” playlist
  • play a game (I really like Einstein’s Riddles)
  • brainstorming ideas

And all to no avail. So, here we are, trying our best to produce something someone might get some use or knowledge from. Bear with me, as I unload my brain with some musings, a few mutterings, and maybe clear some of this middling mayhem from my mind so I can get back to doing what I do best – putting ideas into words and actions that make a difference.

Random Musings

  • Business seems to be enjoying an age of extremes. You are urged to hustle and grind – chastised if you aren’t working weekends and nights and holidays and existing on 4 hours of sleep a nights. OR you are lectured on balance – working to live, not living to work, having a business to maintain a lifestyle, not having business be your lifestyle. The “follow your passion” crowd keeps clanging on, while the “purposeful pursuit” people haven’t lost any ground, either. And then there’s the folks ramming full steam ahead with the latest tech and tactics. Meanwhile, there are those sermonizing on how all business woes would disappear with a return to “the good old ways” of fewer habiliments and more humans interacting.
  • Are there really any “necessities” when it comes to doing business? I know of local firms with no website or social media at all who are nearly run ragged with clients and customers. I know online firms with websites so poorly written and constructed you have to wonder how they attract any customers at all. And then you have those who do everything “right” and struggle to make a go of it. So, what IS really needed to succeed in business right now?
  • I belong to many groups in the world, both online and off. Women in business. Moms. Writers. Artists. Disabled. And combinations of all of those. How do I give back to all of those communities? Do my best for them, as I try to do my best to be one of them, and to represent them in my work and life? I realize that none of us are simple, unfaceted beings. We are all complex and difficult to define. It’s more difficult, however, when one or more of your “populations” are considered minorities, misunderstood, even often maligned. You want to do more, be more.

Mutterings

  • I’m more than a bit tired of newroo gurus with a weekend seminar or an online course under their belts passing themselves off as experts. They take a course, rehash the content, regurgitate it as their own course, and voila! Instant guru! It cheapens the industry, cheapens the real experts who have been diluted and ripped off, and cheapens the efforts of those who have fallen for their scams, believing they were doing something good for themselves.
  • The world seems to relish in ugliness right now. Divisiveness. Bigotry. Dismissiveness. Rudeness. Anger. I’m usually a peaceful, nice, polite, happy sort of person. Don’t bring your ugliness into my business. If you are wanting to use “ugly” in your marketing or advertising, go elsewhere. Please. I don’t want to help you peddle it, perpetuate it, or propagate it. My self esteem and soul of souls won’t let me.
  • So you found someone who will do what I do cheaper than I do it? Good. I’ve got clients who pay more than you are willing to pay, and gladly. Just remember, you get what you pay for….

Where to Go From Here

It seems that I’ve run out of things to chatter on about. I’m still not motivated to write on any of those editorial calendar topics. They can wait till another day. For now, the blinking cursor has been defeated and the mind a bit clear of the “stuff” blocking it. What can be learned from this?

1.) Even pros have “off” days when getting thoughts in order is harder than normal. Don’t beat yourself up when it happens to you.
2.) Letting people “in” is never a bad thing. It isn’t unprofessional or immature. We’re all humans. Let’s be kind and compassionate and caring for one another. The world will not fall apart if you drop the mask and be real. It’s a bit scary, but it’s also rewarding.
3.) Sometimes, plans fail. Things don’t go as they should. And yet….you can still salvage something out the ashes.
4.) Bad days can hide beauty, after all.

Till next time, Blooms. Wishing you days of warm sunshine, with just enough rain to feed your soul and make your leaves glisten.