Honor the Ask
so why the hell isn’t the world beating a path to your door?
Most of us are terrified to talk about what it is we do. That’s just fact. But why is it so terrifying?
Because we’re indoctrinated. Don’t brag. Don’t show off. Don’t stand out. Don’t speak without raising a hand and getting permission first.
But of course the opposite is no better–those bastards who never shut up about themselves who scream at the top of their lungs about how fan-freaking-tastic they are at everything all because they’re desperate to be known, to be seen, to be heard. Oozing naked need for approval.
There’s an in-between, though, honest. It’s in your words. Knowing them. Earning them. Using them.
* My assistant thought I was avoiding a certain swear word (that I’ve never been known to shy away from before) but actually, I said what I meant: “Frog that.” To “frog” in knitting is to rip out many (many) rows of your work. It’s sometimes necessary when you’ve gotten off course. In this case, I mean: let’s unravel that belief that you either: a) have to be quiet and invisible; or b) must shout to get attention.
Use Your Words.
If you’re waiting for the world to show up and see how amazing you are, you’re dreaming away the business that could be yours. If you’re pounding your chest and screaming for attention, you’re the fire-breathing dragon no one will want to approach. Neither approach gets you any closer to the happy ending promised by the fairy tales.
It’s time to wake up to the truth: there’s only one champion for your business. You. There’s only one knight to slay the dragon at your doorstep. You. Only one hero to quell the cravings that keep you up at night. You. You. You.
There’s one deeply authentic, powerful way to bask in the success that is meant to be yours: Honor the ask. The moment when it becomes clear you have something magnificent yet fragile to offer the person you’re talking to.
Honoring the ask requires knowing yourself deeply and truly and being able to illuminate who you are and how you can help in a clear, compelling way.
That requires you to Use Your Words. But first you must find them. And that quest–to find and Use Your Words–has burnt to a crisp many a savvy business person before you. Because, on your own, it’s easy to lose your way. To get tangled in the brambles of “Oooh! Pretty! Look at all these shiny words!” and “But my competitors are saying it this way–shouldn’t I say it this way too?”
With a guide, it’s more straightforward. By asking you questions, by teasing out what you already know, by getting deep and clear and truthful, I can help you find your words. I can show you how to Use Your Words.
May I show you the way?
Jessica was quick to learn my voice and the language of my audience. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Jessica to anyone—her strategic approach, business savvy, commitment to my success and professionalism are all top notch. I’m delighted I found her eight years ago, and am delighted to have her as a member of my marketing team today.
Sara Holtz, Founder and Principal of ClientFocus and author of Bringin’ in the Rain: A Women Lawyer’s Guide to Business Development
The Use Your Words Package
To apply for a slot, answer these questions.
- Who are you?
- What do you do?
- What’s your favorite result you’ve gotten for a client? (Go ahead, brag! Tell me the story.)
- What else do you love to do?
- Why is your work important? To you? To others?
Send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org and you’ll hear back from me personally (so it may be a few days–I read all of these emails myself).
First, you’ll complete a questionnaire designed to get us both thinking about what you love, what you do and who you are. Then, you’ll follow a checklist to gather supplies for our time together. Next, we meet by video Skype for about an hour talking about what you’ve gathered, your questionnaire, and your story (who you are, who you help, and why that matters so damn much).
I’ll ask you deep, thoughtful questions designed to get to the very core of what you do and the value you offer. Clients leave this conversation feeling fully heard, and consistently enjoy this talk. (Though it’s normal to arrive nervous… This can feel really out-of-the-ordinary at first.)
After our video Skype, I spend my time with all that we’ve discussed. I let it percolate and figure out my next batch of questions. Next, we go over this round of questions either by email, phone, or video Skype (your choice).
Once we’ve had these two discussions, I comb through everything we’ve discussed, the materials you’ve sent, and all of my notes one more time. I filter through it, looking for the core message in everything we’ve gone through. I find your core story and your words. Because I’m a deeply intuitive listener, I’ll have heard things you didn’t come right out and say. I’ll put it together into a Lexicon for you. This is a private collection of your words, your conversational touchpoints, your gifts all written up in a way that you can refer to it again and again.
Previous clients have referred to their Lexicon as “coming home” and said things like “I don’t know how you knew this about me–I didn’t even know this about me–but it’s all so true.”
Then, after I’ve delivered your Lexicon, we’ll meet a second time by video Skype (for another hour or so) so we can discuss your questions about what’s next and what this means. Usually, your Lexicon will be mostly self-explanatory, but I want to make sure you know exactly how to get started using it. This is also the time when we’ll make refinements–often clients find they come to this second session so much clearer thanks to our first chat that they do have some tweaks to their Lexicon.
At the end of our time together, you’ll receive a frameable piece of art that relates to your words so you can hang it in your office as a reminder to Use Your Words. (Sometimes this artwork is an illustrated quote that came up in our conversation, sometimes it’s a phrase that applies to your work, sometimes it’s a list… it’s fully shaped by our conversation.) You’ll keep this piece of art where you can see it as you talk with potential clients, write sales copy, even as you poke around on Twitter or Facebook to make new connections for your business. You’ll find it’s a deeply resonant look at what makes your business (and you!) so spectacular, but what’s more, it’s really useful.
Dorie Rosenband, Managing Partner, &Wealth
The experience is easy, joyful, playful. I promise not to make you cry or frustrate you unnecessarily. I’m easy to talk to, and you’ll find yourself opening up in a way you might not usually. I’m the girl perfect strangers start telling their stories to, and if you’re on this page, if you’ve resonated with what I’ve written, I know you’ll be at ease with me as well.
Is this for people just starting out? Yeppers. The ability to Use Your Words is always valuable–whether you’re just getting started (or just starting something new) or you’ve been around the block a time or two. This is the process I use myself every 4 months or so to bring crystal clarity to my own business.
Is this for people who’ve been in business awhile? Indeed. (And read the answer above.)
What if I have no idea what I’m doing? You need to have *some* ideas. I’ll help you focus, narrow things down, and get really clear, but I’m not going to throw out ideas and say, “Would you like to be an elephant trainer? What about being a construction worker?” These sessions are about clarity, not about generating one million ideas in an hour.
Will you make this work for me? Heh. You already know the answer to this one. I’m not a miracle worker, darling. You need to *want* clarity. You need to be ready to do the work. (And it *will* be work.) But, when you join me for this session, you’ll know how to stop sounding like everyone else out there, and how to play up your most gorgeous features.
What if I have a partner? Sign up for the two Use Your Words package–we’ll use both at the same time. It’s important that I speak to both you and your partner separately, so you’ll need two packages. Also, make sure to mention this upfront because you’ll get a different questionnaire (designed to reflect both the intersections and the divergences of your partnership).
What if I do eleven million different things? If you’re a scanner, multi-passionate entrepreneur, or just someone juggling multiple businesses or interests, you’ll definitely benefit from the Use Your Words package. We’ll focus just on one interest/business and get you really, really clear. Then, you’ll be able to apply the same process again and again to gain clarity for your other businesses. (Or purchase multiple packages and we’ll focus on multiple businesses.)
Can I get two Use Your Words packages and give one to a friend? Nope. The reason for the huge discount is that by the time your second session rolls around, we’ll have already worked together and laid the groundwork. But you can purchase someone else their very own package, if you’d like.
P.S. Got other questions? Email me and I’ll be happy to answer ‘em. I admire you for wanting to make sure this is what you need before signing up. And know that whatever you ask, whatever we discuss, and whatever you decide, we’ll totally still be friends. Honest.
P.P.S. It’s sooooo past time to stop using your fists–trying to muscle your way through this, trying to force your people to “get” you, trying to connive them into “Knowing, Liking, and Trusting” you. Using YOUR words is about a million times easier. It’s time to stop screaming at the top of your lungs. May I help you make this easier?