True story: A few years ago I got a call from a potential client asking for some help with an event they were working on – an ongoing annual event that they wanted to have a better online face than previous years. I gave them the usual line about my “pick your brain fee” and they agreed to it. A week later I was in their office to chat and brainstorm a bit.
As was another guy they had called for the same reason.
This guy ran a web shop and was definitely “slick.” He had his pitches down pat and I caught myself agreeing with him and even letting him answer questions entirely. He had a team and an impressive list of clients. Dude had his act together for sure. He had a business card and everything. I was just a guy. Also, I’m not very slick. And this was making me very self conscious. His answers were slow and collected, when he spoke the room matched his speech cadence. I bounce around like a hyperactive kid on ice cream cake. This guy was all “The road map we will layout will start with X and lead to Y” and I was all “Oh! And then we can do this! OH! OH!! And then this!! And check this out!!” Then I’d realize what a jerk I sounded like and I’d shut up and the the professionals talk.
Everyone was nice and some great info was bounced around. The meeting ended with the other guy saying he’d have his team draft up a plan of action and would have it over to them this afternoon and they could get started right away. We all shook hands and I went home and went on a bike ride assuming that would be the last time I’d hear from them.
The next day they called and asked me to come in the following week to talk again. I was a little surprised but was happy to g back in. I was even more surprised when at the next meeting the other guy wasn’t invited. They asked me if I could help on the project, I told them my price and they agreed right away. I asked about the other guy?
“Not really what we were looking for”
“Really? He had a pretty slick pitch”
“Sure he did, but we weren’t looking for a slick pitch”
From time to time I find myself think I should be acting or talking or presenting different, more like how some other successful person does it. But when I think back, I’ve never worked with anyone or been involved with any project because I tried to be someone else. In fact, I’d say the times things go wrong is when I get insecure and try to do things how someone else would. When I embrace who I am and what I have to say and what I can do, things generally work really well.
There are lots of people out there trying to be someone else. I’m the only one that’s me.
I have to remind myself of that from time to time.