When I meet you at a networking event who do I see?
When I visit your blog who do I feel?
When I receive your newsletter who do I hear?
When we have a conversation who do I encounter?
When you are growing your business, especially in the online space, it’s easy to default to taking inspiration from those around you. Researching other websites, checking out how someone else creates and presents their programs, looking at price points, branding, images, blog posts and more.
It’s natural to want to see “what the competition is up to”.
Natural, perhaps. But healthy? Not necessarily!
It can often lead to what I call The Chameleon Effect and it can have some nasty repercussions.
You don’t want to be a chameleon in business
The trouble is, when you spend lots of time watching everyone else, you can lose connection with your own inner voice. That calling that fired you up and encouraged and motivated you to get started on this entrepreneurial journey in the first place.
And if you lose touch with what grounds you, with your own story, style and stance it’s all too easy to mutate into whoever you think you should be, based on what you have seen or what you think a prospective client wants.
It’s especially common when you’re starting out or feeling a little concerned about where the revenue is going to come from. When this fear kicks in, you can find yourself losing complete track of what makes an ideal client for you and end up working with clients who just do not fit you at all.
We’ve all had that experience.
It’s not your client’s fault – they thought they were signing up with one type of person when you’re really someone else entirely!
The chameleon effect claims another victim.
Bright and shiny outsides don’t always tell you the full story
It’s really important to remember that just because someone has what you judge to be a fabulous website and awesome programs that you believe must be selling like hotcakes and setting them up as multi-millionaires, that doesn’t make it true.
Your Inner Critic, if she is wearing the Comparison Queen Hat, can have a field day with you and have you creating a whole story in your head.
But I repeat, that doesn’t make it true.
Many an entrepreneur has dived down the “woe is me, I don’t measure up” rabbit hole when they’ve taken this route regularly.
The Chameleon is aiding and abetting the Inner Critic.
You may be tempted to imitate
When you have that story running about how great a particular program or service is, you can be seduced into crafting your own based on what you have seen.
But you have your own audience waiting for you. And they need what you have to give.
You have your own experiences and insights to share that will attract a very different type of client. YOUR type of client, which is exactly what we are seeking when we build a wholehearted business.
Imitation may be seen as flattery, but it rarely leads to sustainable, fulfilling success.
The Chameleon Effect dulls your shine and makes it harder for your clients to find the real you.
You won’t be able to hear your own voice
If you allow yourself to dive into the middle of the very deep and wide ocean of competition, the pounding of the waves will soon drown out your own voice.
Your creativity is soluble in water.
And it needs space and silence to unfurl.
So gift yourself that space and silence. Unsubscribe. Turn your attention inwards a while. Connect with what you have to offer. And how you’d most like to offer it. Persevere and break through the creativity drought you may feel you are in – your ideas are there, they’re just waiting for the chance to come centre stage instead of playing the understudy, I promise.
The Chameleon needs to be banned from your production altogether!
A consistent core message is where it begins
When you take a stand, when you share your opinion when you consistently communicate a core message you begin to build a personal brand. And from there you begin to attract a following, a community. People who resonate with your perspective and experiences and ideas and want to hear more.
And then creating your services and programs and products becomes a natural extension of what you stand for and what your audience needs.
And my experience of you becomes clearer and stronger. I associate you with a stance. A style.
You’re grounded in a core message that I’m drawn too and I resonate with you.
The chameleon has left the building!
Do you need to shed that old skin and step into your own true colours?