Marketing 101 – Breathe!
I am working with a marketing coach, trying to figure out why I seem to get clients by chance rather than knowing exactly what I am doing that draws people to me. Our first session together was: How much do you tell potential clients about who you are? Do they know why you coach? Why would they hire you if they don’t resonate with you? Let’s start with your childhood….
That smacked me between the eyes – because while I give examples or talk about certain things while I coach, I do not open the figurative kimono to strangers, and I never have. As a consequence of this assignment, I have been really thinking about who I am, and what might have occurred in my childhood to point me in the direction I have taken throughout my life.
So, who am I? I can tell you this, but are you interested? Perhaps you are curious, and perhaps this will resonate with you. If not, click out now. I’m a firm believer in not being bored with my reading material.
This is an exercise for me – an introspection. It is one piece of the gigantic marketing puzzle, and obviously a growth opportunity for me, personally. So, here we go……
I am drawn to people because I love to help them see their own potential, and experience success. I love to challenge myself, and consequently I look for ways to challenge my clients. I get really excited when I see growth – a new behavior or one that has been modified, a learned skill, or confidence in stepping into the power of who they are. This is what feeds me and keeps me going. One of my mantras has been “Learn something new every day. If you stop, it’s time to give up and bite the dust.” Another favorite is “Your parents made you who you are, it’s your fault if you stay that way.”
I rarely have fewer than five books I’m reading at the same time, on different subjects. And, somehow I keep bringing them back to my belief that everything and everyone are connected. I “know” that things happen for a reason, that we are attracted to a particular topic or piece of knowledge because we will need it at some point. This is one of the reasons you will see a rather eclectic array of postings in my blogs.
Where did this come from? I watched and listened attentively to my mother as I grew up. She felt that she and my father were both the “black sheep” of the family because they were not “professionals” (nurse, pharmacist, government official, writer/painter, corporate officer) and didn’t make a lot of money. Mom was a homemaker for the majority of her marriage to Dad, and for some reason she was ashamed of that. She also conferred that same status to her offspring. I set out at a very young age determined to prove to the world that this was not true. This determination grew quickly into a love of learning, and helping others to step into their own power.
One of my earliest memories is of a time my Dad sent me to my room and told me that I couldn’t come out until he told me I could. Unfortunately, he forgot that he had sent me to my room, and went back to work. I sat there, on my bed, for several hours until he came home for the day. It made a significant impression on my very young brain. Later in my childhood, I experienced a great deal of bullying from a number of boys in my classes. Name calling quickly escalated to physical violence. One spring day, I was walking home from school and the brothers that lived across the street from the school followed me to a vacant lot a block from school surrounded on two sides by busy streets. They proceeded to knock me down, sit on top of me, and beat me up. Quite a few cars drove past filled with adults that kept right on going – no one stopped to help me.
What comes from these experiences is a deep conviction that we are ALL important in the grander scheme of things, no matter what age we are, gender, race, creed, color, sexual orientation, or gender identity. No one deserves to be bullied, put down, victimized or deprived of the rights with which we were all born. I remember arguing with my father in 1962/63 about civil rights, interracial marriage, the right to love who we love – I was 10.
I have also been blessed with a gay child who is also legally blind. He has stretched my faith in ways beyond your imagination and brought wonderful, thoughtful and loving people into my life – and some I had to struggle to care for. My faith in the unity of mankind has only grown stronger as I grow older, and it shows up in every area of my life.
I also know in my soul of souls that we are all connected, we are part of something larger, and each one of us is only a piece of the greater story. Some people call it the collective unconscious and some call it spirit. Whatever you call it, I believe we are all responsible for adhering to the Golden Rule, and I love the form Karen Armstrong uses “Do not do to others what you would not have them do to you.” If you have followed me for long, you will see that I will admonish those who are not inclusive of others – whether it be race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, a disability, wealth, intelligence, beauty, age, politics, values — I could go on, but you get the picture. No one is a second-class citizen, and no one should be treated in that fashion. I believe there is a purpose to our lives – we are each meant to be a leader in some way. It can be in teaching others the joy of the moment, the realization that each of us has the power to be the best at who we are intrinsically, and to be humble at the same time as we rest in our self-worth. The roles that come to mind – mother, father, homemaker, waitress, garbage man, janitor, CEO, manager, minister, teacher, bookkeeper, analyst…. Every one of us can be a leader in our chosen roles.
My mission in life is to:
Inspire, encourage and support enlightened leadership, and create a sense of connectedness with everyone I meet.
You can see that I also love to think; I love to exercise that mental muscle we call a brain – and I like to challenge it in changing behavior and the way we think. I am a problem solver, which perhaps is why I worked in Information Technology, Process Management and Strategic Planning for almost 30 years. I love puzzles, mysteries, and ancient religions. I am introspective, posing questions and trying out possibilities in my mind until one clicks within the big picture I am assembling ALL the time. I need this time alone in order to function well. I will often tell my clients and friends, “I’ve put my ideas and dreams in, now I need to noodle it around in order to achieve clarity.” I don’t make decisions quickly, because I am looking for potential. But when I do make a decision, I know it is the right one for me.
I love an adventure, but yet I am cautious. Excellence, not average, is my measurement. If I am going to expend effort on something, I want my landing to be on the side of superb. It takes just as much effort to get to slightly above average as it does to get to excellence, and it is much more fun! And, I want life to be fun….
My mom and dad got divorced when I was 24, and had just had my first child. I had decided to stay at home with her, at least for a while, and live the “traditional” life. Mom hadn’t ever worked for a living – she taught piano, and worked part-time as a bookkeeper for an auto dealership for about a year – and because of that, she was fearful of her ability to support herself. She had also had a major heart attack at the age of 43, and was not particularly well, so health insurance and an ability to work were an issue. I vowed at that time that I would NEVER rely on any man to support me or my family, and I would NEVER become a burden to my children. This, along with my belief that we are all important, that none of us are second-class citizens if we are living from our strengths, that excellence is what we reach for in everything we do, became the foundation of my adult life – and it has always worked well for me. I went back to work when my daughter was 13 months old, and I haven’t stopped since. I have been extremely successful by anyone’s standards – and in the process have lived into mine.
I am fascinated by people’s strengths and love exploring, nurturing, refining and stretching them toward excellence (including myself in that equation). I have little use for people who want me to develop my weaknesses – I don’t want to spend my entire life whining about what I lack – I want to capitalize on the gifts I have been given. It’s more fun, it’s more productive, and it is also more demanding. This is why I rebel at traditional performance management (95% of the time spent with employees is talking about what they need to improve, and not on what they did well), and putting people in jobs they don’t have the strengths for. Not that I don’t believe we can improve on our weaknesses – I do. I just think we are better served in capitalizing on our strengths – and I like to hang out with people who want to do the same.
Remember I shared with you that I love puzzles, mysteries and ancient religions? People have told me throughout my life that they are amazed at what I keep in my head, and my flexibility in being willing to step away from a project or something that is not serving my purposes any longer. I am ALWAYS looking for the perfect pattern, and because of that I am comfortable with change. I love to jump in and sort things out, look for new possibilities and look for better partnerships. I believe “there just might be a better way for us to get this done.”
Things showed up in a big way in my life about ten years ago. The company I worked for, for a very long time, liked to move people around to different areas of the company, especially as they were promoted up through the ranks – testing their strengths AND their weaknesses. Because of my love for puzzles and possibilities, I was very good in my roles within IT and strategic planning. I challenged my staff to utilize their strengths, and we accomplished some amazing things. When I was moved fully into operations, and away from the creative aspects of my previous roles, and inundated with details, quality assurance, unhappy agents, and politics, etc., I was being asked to live in my weaknesses. I am a big picture person, with a penchant for detail – not the other way around. I don’t play politics – I value honesty and forthrightness more highly than that. My job was no longer fun. And it showed. Moving out of that particular corporate environment, and into coaching was the best thing I ever did. Now, I have an opportunity to live who I am. What a terrific lesson to learn!
Life, for me, has become an adventure – not unlike a detective novel, approached with caution, but one with which I am both challenged and delighted.
The only thing I need to remember now is to breathe and what my grandmother told me years ago, “Life doesn’t have to be so hard! Live your values, work with the strengths and gifts you have been blessed with, and have FUN! “
Thanks for taking the time to read all the way through this. Can you do me a favor now? Are these the types of things you want to know about the person you are hiring as your coach? What else do you want to know? What of this is relevant, and what isn’t? What resonates with you, and what doesn’t? Why do you follow me, and well, why would you opt out? What would convince you to hire me to help you with personal growth and leadership, and what wouldn’t?
I promise to share what I find out with all of you coaches who are struggling with the same questions.
Step one in Marketing 101 – now to noodle this a while, explore, listen to feedback, nurture and stretch myself. And to….
Georgia Feiste, President of Collaborative Transitions Coaching, Inc., located in Lincoln, NE, is a personal growth and leadership coach, writer, and workshop facilitator. She is also a Usui Reiki Master and EFT practitioner. Her passion is success grounded in purpose and passion, standards of integrity and priorities in life. You can also find Georgia on her website, Collaborative Transitions, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Georgia may also be reached at (402) 304-1902 if you wish to schedule a 30 minute complementary consultation.