After a particularly grueling work out at my new gym, which lives by the mantra that you need to get to the point of failure at each workout station so your muscles grow faster (the science stacks up but it is challenging!), I decided to treat myself and pop into a new café for a coffee.
It had a trendy inner city feel, exposed brick, wooden floors and beams and very hip staff. “Nothing special here” I thought as I placed my order with the barista.
As the young woman took my order she handed me a lego creation, built to represent the number three. Totally unexpected and so not in keeping with the décor.
Suddenly my attitude towards the café and staff shifted. Through the whimsical lego shape, I saw that the place had some humour, personality and a sense of fun!
And yes, the coffee was fab!
Back in the café today, this time I receive number 21, I reflect on this quirk and how it allows the personality of the brand really shine through. During a business coaching session with a client this week, we were discussing how she could let her true self and voice come through in her business. After 15 years in corporate, she had mastered communicating through her corporate filter, and of course this served her well then.
But now, growing her new business, she realised that it was time to drop the armour and let her true personality and voice come to life. There was no need to hide it away any longer.
In many service businesses, as her was, potential clients buy into you. You are the brand. What you write, how you are in meetings, on social media, how you compose emails. People will connect with the ‘you’ they experience through all these interactions.
Take a moment to reflect. Are you really being you, or are you still operating through your corporate armour filter?
A simple way to assess this is to compare how you chat with friends and family versus clients and business associates. Is there any difference, or are you totally authentic in each situation, and therefore would your friends recognise you and your voice when they interacted with you for business?
If you have been in a corporate job for many years, your corporate armour will have become welded on, and I have no doubt it has served you well. Chances are, if you have felt dissonance with the corporate culture and who you are, it’s time for the corporate armour to come off. This may happen instantly, or maybe it will be more of a gradual shift for you – timing will be an individual experience.
An easy way to start chipping away at the armour is to think about what your lego surprise would be……what could you start to do now, that would really represent your true personality, and inject some light and fun into your brand, and business?
Let me have your ideas below, I’d love to have them shared here!