It has to be you.
I’d like you to consider that sentence from 3 different perspectives.
First, if you’re going to be successful as a service provider, you have to be comfortable in your professional skin, so to speak.
It has to be you in the sense that the work has to fit you. It has to play to your strengths and you have to like doing what’s required of you. It may seem obvious, but you can’t hate your job. You can’t even feel lukewarm about it … for lots of reasons, both personal and professional.
But there’s one reason that stands out for me. If you don’t love, or at least enjoy, what you do, how in the world do you expect to successfully market your services? It’d be a charade.
“I don’t like what I do and I’m not really comfortable doing it, but hire me anyway.”
Not exactly a winning sales pitch. And while no one would actually ever say that out loud, their non-verbals almost certainly do, and their behavior probably does. They likely don’t seek out new connections with any real energy. They may not follow-up as quickly as they should, etc.
To mix metaphors, you can’t be a square peg trying to fit into a round hole or you’ll spend your whole career swimming upstream … and that’s awfully hard. There’s no joy in that.
It’s why you see so many people who’ve spent a small fortune and years of their lives becoming doctors, lawyers, accountants, engineers, etc. just walk away and say it’s not worth it.
The second sense in which it has to be you is that you have to fully embrace what you’re doing. You can’t have one foot in and one foot out emotionally. The work you do has to define you in a certain sense.
Look, no matter who you are, whenever you start to perform a function, you’re essentially imitating what you’ve seen others doing. You’re “playing” the role. That’s the “fake it till you make it or fake it till you become it” phase. I get that. It’s unavoidable.
But in time, as you become more experienced, skilled, and comfortable, you “take” the role. You identify with it and identify yourself as it. “I’m a lawyer.”
But there’s another level beyond simply being competent and comfortable, and identifying yourself with a particular role. And that’s when that role or that job provides meaning to your life, when it fires you up, when it gives you psychic rewards.
When what you do is almost indistinguishable from who you are and you often find yourself “in the zone” or “in the flow” … losing yourself in the work you’re doing … that’s when you know you’ve become that thing you wanted to be and trained so long and hard to be.
And finally, it has to be you in the sense that you’re so good and the benefits you provide to your people are so clear and compelling that they just have to have you and only you.
You’re so attractive as a service provider that when it comes to choosing who they want to work with … “It has to be YOU.”
The bottom line here is that what you do has to fit who you are in order for your gifts as a person to find their fullest expression and for you to ever become extremely attractive to potential clients, patients, or customers.
When we try to force a fit, whether it be for money, in response to family expectations, or to achieve a certain status, it doesn’t work. If the work we do doesn’t light us up, it’s going to be hard, if not impossible, to thrive, either personally or financially.
The good news is that when the fit is good … when it IS you … you can be a godsend … even a hero … to a lot of people.
And there’s no reward in life much better than that.