Networking Tips

Curing the “Hustle” of Image Management

Submitted by Virginia Green, PhD, MBA – Member, BNI Pipeline, Redondo Beach, CA for 13 years

Entrepreneurs like us have a lot at stake when it comes to image management. After all, we are our brand. We own all our successes and failures, homeruns and errors, lucky breaks and big mistakes. Entrepreneurs have no place to hide, except maybe behind our own stoic smiles, saying, “everything’s fine.” Never let them see you sweat.

Only trouble is, all that image protecting might be costing you your mental health. It means we are not asking for help when we need it. It means we are over-promising, and having trouble delivering. It means we don’t own up to and take responsibility for our mistakes, so we think we’re the only ones to make them.

It’s lonely and scary sometimes, and people we know, like, and trust get to participate in our real life, not the way we wish it were. Brené Brown, in her best-selling book, Rising Strong, calls the gap between who we totally want to be perceived as (knowledgeable, confident, reliable) and who we never want to be perceived as (disorganized, unprofessional, boring) “the hustle.”

And “the hustle” can show up every week when we think about our BNI Profitable Introduction. 

Say it’s 5:30 Thursday morning and your alarm goes off, and you groan like you do every BNI wake- up call morning. Then you remember that the day before, your best employee quit and, worse, is threatening to sue. So, one version of you is “I’m the overworked boss who can’t manage my own workers, much less a big job I got through a BNI referral. I’m such a loser, I might as well give up now before anyone else finds out.”
 Wow, that would be a great Profitable Introduction…

Or, here’s another version: “This time last year I didn’t have enough business to hire a great employee. How awesome that I have grown that much this year that I have not one, but two employees. And, this challenge has come up for me because I am putting myself out there, being brave, and taking risks, and showing up no matter what.”
Better, right? And TRUE. This isn’t fake news, this is real. You don’t have to pretend anything or be someone you are not. In fact, you are being more genuine than ever. This is mental health. 

And the three ways to cure “the hustle?” 

1. Visibility — all I have to do on those tough mornings is show up.

2. Credibility — the more authentic I am about what I can and cannot deliver, the more credible I am, the more trustworthy.

3. Profitability — financially, sure, but also in my ability to weather the storm and know that my next BNI meeting with its open arms is at most a week, or a 1-2-1, or a training away.

Heard that before? Yes, BNI shows us how to be real, over and over again, every week, with people we know, like and trust. It’s courageous to be vulnerable, and no one gets this better than our colleagues in BNI. We’re in this together, and we know that “Givers Gain.”

Virginia C. Green, PhD, Certified Daring Way Facilitator (based on the research of Brené Brown)
 
Stillwater Family Therapy Group, Inc.
2312 Artesia, Suite 1 
Redondo Beach, CA 90278
(310)378-2520 
www.stillwaterfamilytherapy.co…

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