Your clients are superheroes. They just don’t know it, yet…
Let me tell you 3 stories to help you snap them out of the story they are living in. Oh – and if you pay attention – I’ll snap you out of yours, too!
- The blind computer programmer
- The housewife who was a secret CEO
- The low achieving nuclear submarine commander
1. The blind computer programmer
Parham was born in Tehran, Iran. He was completely blind from birth. He’s a computer programmer by career, currently a team leader and back-end developer at a big internet travel company. He is transitioning into coaching, so he emailed me to see if we could chat about Project Kairos.
We got on a call and I asked him – what seemed like the obvious question – How do you program computers when you are blind?!
But I had done my homework. I’d read his blog, his bio and every interview I could find about him online. Here’s a section from Parham’s bio. I have bolded two lines for a reason:
Throughout my life, just like anyone else, I have overcome adversity. I could go on and on about my achievements and the pain I went through. About how I studied despite having no study books. About how I got high-paying jobs despite being surrounded by my family who kept telling me no one will ever hire a blind person. About how I learned to stand up for myself and marry the woman I love despite disapproval from my parents. About how I became so good that my company hired me as an expat and sponsored me to move to the Netherlands.
I could boast, but the reality is, I never had someone who truly believed in my potential, so I didn’t believe in myself either.
The result was that I achieved more and more, but not because of having an impact, growing, or realizing my potential.
I only did it to prove everyone else wrong. “Maybe, if they believe that I was worthy,” I thought, “ I myself would also believe it, too.”
There are only 2 questions your clients care about when they talk to you.
- Do you get me?
- Can you help me?
I knew I got Parham because I’ve struggled with trying to prove myself for so much of my life.
And I knew I could help Parham because all I do is help powerful people remember how powerful they are. And here was a man taking his extraordinary accomplishments for granted.
We talked for 30 minutes. He shared his story. I let him know that I got him. And I told him how I could help him.
I am proud to tell you that Parham is now a client.
And we’ll be recording a podcast episode soon, where I help him draw out his story in a way that will help him create clients for the rest of his life.
2. The housewife who was a secret CEO
A few weeks ago, I received an email asking for help. The woman who emailed me didn’t know how to express what she does as a coach. She was comparing herself with executive coaches and career coaches – and coming up less than. So I took some of the words that she wrote to me and re-framed them.
Here’s what I sent back to her:
What most people don’t know about me is that I’ve been a CEO, a CFO, a Director of Purchasing, a Chef, a chauffeur, a nurse, a director of administration and a high level executive assistant. I’ve had all these roles concurrently. For 3 separate businesses.
The reason most people don’t know this about me is that in our current society, we don’t acknowledge the importance of being a mother and taking care of a family with the same reverence we give to business leaders.
And the truth is – for most of my life – I dismissed my own accomplishments.
You see, at a relatively young age, I made a conscious choice to be a stay-at-home mom. I raised three children (now 16, 17 and 26) and I worked part-time, as a realtor and in network marketing.
Choosing to be a stay-at-home mother takes courage. It requires intentionality. It demands a wider skillset than that of many business owners. And it needs an ability to multi-task that most neuroscientists say is not possible!
We need more women lifting one another up… And these days I’m a coach and a trusted advisor.
I have not worked in the corporate world. And I have not been a Senior Vice President or built a 7-figure business. But that’s ok. Because my clients are like me:
- My clients are over-achieving women who tend to dismiss their successes
- My clients are women who struggle to see just how remarkable they really are
- My clients are women who are afraid to go after what they really want
- My clients are women who want to make a real impact on the world
If you want to improve your health, or you are looking for your next level of personal growth and living abundantly – helping you reach your goals is what I do. If this sounds interesting, then you and I should have a conversation…
3. The low achieving nuclear submarine commander
A few days ago, I sent out an email with my favorite coaching question. I said, Email me back. Tell me your answer. I read every reply.
Steve wrote back to me: I want to create a coaching practice that challenges leaders to be better.
I looked up his website. It was nice but kind of generic, except for one thing… He’d served in the Navy. So, I emailed him back and I said, Tell me about your time in the Navy.
He wrote me back such an incredible story that I truly got why he wants to challenge leaders to be better.
I emailed him once more:
Steve, I’m a coach. I should never “tell” someone what to do. But I am also a rule breaker! PLEASE, tell this story on the front page of your website… I’ve adapted it slightly so it reads well for someone who is a potential client of yours…
Here’s what I created from Steve’s own words:
What most people know about me is that I started my career in the Navy as a nuclear propulsion plant operator on submarines.
Very early in my first submarine tour (barely four years in the Navy) I was thrust into a leadership position. I had no clue what I was doing but did my best. I stood out in the eyes of my leaders who placed me into the leadership position.
What I don’t want you to know about me is that I was ambitious. Mentors helped me grow and learn but I wanted rank and leadership mostly for financial reward. I got promoted and worked my way to the top rank for enlisted leaders.
After 22 years I left the nuclear propulsion program and submarines to become a command level senior enlisted leader, working side-by-side with the organization commander. I loved building teams to succeed in ways they did not believe they could.
In the Navy, leaders often say we spend 90% of our time on just 10% of our people.
What I also don’t want you to know about me is that I was a bottom 10% (actually bottom 5%) type, when I went through all the nuclear propulsion training in my first years in the Navy.
And I know that even though someone may appear to be the bottom 10% it does not always mean it is because of their lack of effort. Sometimes they just need a little boost and support.
In one of my commands, we had a troublesome person that would be considered the bottom 10%. Many of the leaders and managers under me were frustrated with them. It eventually reached a point of potential disciplinary action. But I found a way to support them so that they grew and changed but they never received discipline. Within a year they were recognized as the best in their rank within the organization!
Years later, the commander still tells this story to his new leaders as a way to teach not only what he learned and continues to practice, but what all can learn – everyone is important and wants to be a part of the team.
If you need a leader to challenge your thinking, or to walk alongside you in your next mission, you and I should have a conversation…
Steve’s final reply to me read:
Rich – this is absolutely incredible and I cannot thank you enough! This shifts me from some words on a website to a relatable person. I am so amazed. I have to admit I do not normally share or make things about me, but this is different and worth it.
I answered your original question as a way of putting my intention out, but did not expect this out of it.
Thank you so much, Rich!
Your clients are already superheroes
They just may not know it.
Please note that I didn’t make up my words for any of these coaches. This isn’t marketing ‘copy’. I took their words and I drew out their power. That makes a world of difference. So, please don’t take these words and add them to your website.
However, if I was writing your bio, how would I tell your Superhero story?