Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Cost of Fear (for women)

I came across the following, thought-provoking article by Denise Michaels, author of "Testosterone-Free Marketing".

Fear can be incredibly expensive.

Over the last five years I've mentored a lot of women in marketing in their businesses and I've discovered that fear is very often a much more important hurdle to be overcome than deciding on a marketing strategy. Fear takes up more time than deciding what you're going to say on your website or when sitting across from a customer. If you don't overcome fear your strategy really doesn't even matter.

Fear causes women to hold back from being as fabulous as they can be. It rips them off and allows others to step out right in front of her and take all the goodies that her business could have to offer - but doesn't because she's trying to satisfy the mythical "they."

Fear means that she won't tell others about who she is and what she offers with confidence, passion and gusto. Fear means that she will say, "Oh, I couldn't possibly do THAT! People might think that I'm being pushy or I'm being too 'out there.'"

Fear stops us from going for what we want. It waters women down to milquetoast and keeps us in the bondage of living a boring life without the financial gain you deserve. Fear causes us to make excuses like, "I didn't REALLY want that." And, "I'd rather be happy than rich." As if the two are mutually exclusive. Duh! (smile)

Fear keeps us wearing beige, black and gray rather than hot pink, bright yellow or tangerine orange. Fear says, "I don't want to reach out until I have ALL my ducks in a row." Fear also says, "I don't want to put myself out there until I know everything humanly possible about my product and I can answer every question that anyone might ask." Fear keeps us dressing like a girl or a boring banker instead of a brilliant, creative and savvy woman.

Ladies, I've had some time to think and think some more the last couple weeks as I've been recovering from surgery (finally got my laptop back today too after nine days without it). I've been resting, watching TV, sitting on my porch with a cup of tea, feeling the summer breeze in my hair and just thinking.

It seems to me that the women who succeed and really make it in the the world of business are the ones who aren't afraid to be out there and fabulous and wonderful and while they may not SAY that they are - they show everyone by their actions that they are.

Think Madonna.
Think Jennifer Lopez.
Think Martha Stewart.
Think Kimora Lee Simmons.
Think Suzanne Somers.

Madonna started it by embracing the idea of being a fabulous brand. One that's constantly re-inventing itself but still true to herself and yet she expresses a piece of us that many women would like to be but they don't quite have the nerve to be. Like her or hate her - she still makes waves after two and a half decades.

Jennifer Lopez is a triple threat - a dancer, singer and actress. As well as a new mogul in fashion, fragrance, sunglasses and I'm sure that there will be more to come. Yeah she wore a dress cut below her navel to the Grammys and she's got the business acumen to be a force to be reckoned with.

Martha Stewart has an empire in publishing, the Internet and on TV. She redefined what it means to do homemaker things making them glamorous and lovely. Even after a prison stint almost two years ago she's come back stronger than ever.

Kimora Lee Simmons was modelling for Karl Lagerfeld of Chanel in Paris at the gentle ago of 13. Now in her 30s she commands a fashion business called "Baby Phat" that's urban, hip and accessible to millions while helping women aspire to a lifestyle they may have never imagined. She happily admits she's a diva AND takes no guff in her business.

Suzanne Somers may seems like a has been in the world of TV acting but she's authored 14 best-selling books, she has a business that does $100 million a year in sales of clothes, jewelry, food, skin care and exercise stuff. She's been married to the same man for 30+ years and has a wonderful family life and grandkids at 58.

Can you find something to admire in any one of these women? Or maybe there's another woman in the world of business that you admire. I'll tell you something that they do have in common. They're not running around like chickens with their heads cut off trying desperately to please everybody and homogenize their marketing message so that everyone loves them. They are who they are and oh well, maybe the rest just aren't their ideal customers. No big deal. Can't please everyone.

How much has fear cost you since you started your business?

What would it take for you to embrace the idea of being fabulous? What would it take for you to be a diva - not in the b*tchy sense purely for the sake of being difficult, but in the good sense of getting what you want so that you can help others more? What would it take - and what would your life be like if you played full out to win?

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