They tell us that the only way to market is to act ‘plus.’ To sound like infomercials using aggressive confidence. ‘Fake it till you make it’ and pretend you’re better than a planet full of competitors. Pretend you’ve got all the solutions,100% guaranteed.
Anyone with a conscience feels icky doing this. Imposter syndrome guilt rises because something deep inside says, “There must be another way.”
Then, the pendulum swings from plus to minus, and we collapse into self-doubt or do nothing. Our social media feeds go quiet. Websites stand empty, and we disappear from the world.
Wisdom says we don’t have to play egoic plus-minus games. We don’t have to act small or big. We don’t have to try too hard or try too little. We can be equal to.
Compare these two conversation starters between a coach and a potential client:
Coach: “I know exactly what you need. Using proven scientific strategies, I help people triple their income in less than two months. Would you like to triple your income? Book a call with me today.
We’ve all become allergic to this tone. Rightly so. We know it’s not honest. Compare it to this next approach.
Coach: “I’m not sure yet, but I think I might possibly be able to help you. What I suggest is we explore having a quick conversation so I can get an idea of where you are and where you want to be. We could look at a strategy that I have in mind to check if I can really help you. How does that sound?”
Can you feel the difference? It’s honest. The truth is we don’t know if we can help someone. The truth is it’s a possibility. This is an equal-to approach—equal to getting a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ from a potential client. Not positioning as bigger than and not minimizing as smaller than.
Nature gives abundantly. One apple contains half a dozen seeds. Not all seeds will grow. Nature lives in the generosity of potential. Imagine having natural, honest human conversations with people to plant seeds of possibilities.
Isn’t that a wonderful way to do business? We think so.
Are you trying to be plus, minus, or something radically different that challenges your biology?
Plus means posturing as bigger than, acting superior, masking, trying too hard, exaggerating, dominating, impressing, controlling.
Minus means posturing as smaller than, holding yourself back, minimizing, acting inferior, trying too little, hiding, procrastinating, withdrawing, and avoiding.
In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight. How often do we play the song of plus and minus, and how much does it cost us? It hurts. It feels unnatural.
We’re up against our biology. Our survival programming hardwired into our cells says that when facing challenges, we must act plus or minus to survive. But what if I said there was a different way? Transcending primal survival instinct, that helps us to survive and grow our coaching brands with wisdom.
There is a different way to coach, lead, and guide. But it means overriding our biological fear and resistance. To do something radical. To be guided by wisdom. To be equal to.
If you’re like me, you were taught as a child not to brag. Look at that egotistical person. We were taught to spot plus, acting bigger than. No one told us that acting minus was also from the ego.
Look at nature.
Does an apple tree act smaller than to appear polite, to be liked, or to avoid being judged? Does an apple tree act bigger than to get its way, to be admired, and to avoid the pain of being seen as less?
No. An apple tree says, “I am this,” and stands visible in service to life.
When you read those words, what landed? What change happened?
We can’t build bridges of true transformation when we coach, guide, and lead from a plus place. Bridges can only happen between equal positions.