Today I’d like to introduce you to my friend Carole Sevilla Brown. When I met Carole, she was hiding. Not figuratively, either. Really hiding.
Carole spent four years in hiding.
She had great reasons to hide. Six years ago, she was driving home from work and was stopped at a light. Her pickup truck was plowed into by the car behind her. She broke her neck.
Since then, she lives with pain every single day of her life. The pain gets so bad she has a difficult time holding her head up after a few hours.
After the accident happened, she was unable to work. She didn’t leave the house much. She didn’t want people to see the effects the pain had on her physically. Who could blame her?
When I met Carole online, I didn’t know this back story. We took a course together and I knew her as the person in the forum who was helpful, knowledgeable … and had an avatar that showed her with her back turned toward the camera.
Carole’s case might be an extreme example. But who hasn’t felt like hiding at one time or another?
And yet, we’re living in a time when the ability to feel comfortable sharing unscripted, “real” messages about our brand’s personality — and ourselves — allows us to make a connection with prospective customers like never before. But in order to make this connection, you have to allow yourself to be seen.
People want to do business with people, not faceless companies.
“Courage — the original definition of courage when it first came into the English language — is from the Latin word cor, meaning heart. The original definition was to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart…”–Brené Brown
About six months after I got to know her online, Carole and I decided to meet in person. We live about an hour apart, so — to me — it seemed like the most natural thing in the world to get together. I didn’t realize what a momentous occasion this was for Carole.
Something amazing had happened since I first met her.
Carole found that in the safety of the forums she belonged to, she was able to work through some of the blocks that were holding her back. She found herself ready to stop hiding. She had decided to embrace her vulnerability. She realized it was necessary to have the courage to be imperfect if she was going to move forward, so she left her house and moved out into the world.
All of this internal change was reflected in Carole’s business, too.
Because of her accident, she could no longer do the work she had done for 20 years — general contracting and landscape design. It didn’t take her long to find another passion to devote her time to: wildlife gardening.
Her EcosystemGardening.com website was very plain, and she wasn’t doing much to promote this new area of interest. She had the drive, but her need to hide was holding her back.
Here’s what happened on the inside: She believed she was worthy. She worked through the internal blocks. And guess what happened?
Her business blossomed.
She worked with me to create a new website header. Her brand personality started to shine through.
She started a second blog: a group blog … and then another! Imagine that: the introvert was coordinating a big group of writers, all writing about the topic she was passionate about.
Then, the inevitable occured.
Because she had positioned herself as an authority in her field, she was asked to speak. This brought up all her old fears. But the confidence she’d gained in the past year helped her get over her nerves. She went to that first speaking engagement, and today she travels around the country to speak about her passion on a regular basis.
Now Carole’s making a difference in the world in her area of expertise. Her website, her group blogs and her speaking engagements all support the book she’s writing on her topic. Her hiding days are over, once and for all.
Do you feel like your business is in hiding?
Are you struggling to find your authentic voice? Your brand personality?
Do you resist doing everyday marketing tasks because they make you uncomfortable?
In a couple of weeks, [EDIT: the program is now closed.] I’ll be opening the doors to an eight-week program designed specifically to help you get your business branding looking great and help you to feel confident promoting it. I’m working with the amazing Susan Johnstone, of TheHeartsVoice.com, who I’ll introduce you to next week.
We’ll start by eliminating any discomfort you might feel around promoting your business and being “visible” in your marketing. We’ll work through how to make your brand — both the visual brand and the message you communicate — a true reflection of your products and services that will resonate with your target market.
You’ll end up with a brand you can’t wait to show the world.