Thursday, April 9, 2009

Work of Art or a Piece of Work?

Last week-end I met the poster-child for the Feminine Entrepreneurial Model of Business. She's a brilliant software engineer who loves quilting. No longer a quilter on the side, she has become the owner of a web-based art boutique that sells high-end textile art. Incredibly cool.

Or, there was also the family therapist who's also a musician, who now has a thriving coaching practice. Or the nurse who's establishing a national organization for her specialty in the medical world. Or the banker who decided to move to a part of the country where she felt she could experience authentic community more fully.

It was an incredible eye-opening experience.

It's a total refusal to accept the inevitability of the compartmentalization process we often go through to fit in, to get the job, or get accepted by some group or institution that doesn't really take the time to get to know us. As one friend put it, she looks good on paper, but she doesn't want to accept life in the cookie-cutter career, or any predestined life in a cubicle.

To communicate well, you need to know who you are, even those parts of you that don't fit your current job description. Trying to shrink yourself to fit in everyone else's expectations of you doesn't work for long; eventually you pop out of the mold, or overflow, or part of you breaks down.

You probably realize that many people in this dilemma, true to self or to the organization, avoid even thinking about it by keeping themselves VERY busy.

The next time you prepare a presentation for a group, think about sharing a part of you that people don't know exists. You can probably think of a way to relate that to your business message, and make that message more effective and attractive in the process.