The Step Before Step One
Popular theory these days tells you to fail fast, fail often. Iterate! Be in permanent beta! You’re a chameleon, damnit!
This works great when navigating product testing and customer buy-in, because if you plan too much the landscape will probably have changed by the time you’re ready.
However (I mean, you smelled this coming from a mile away, right?)…
The problem with permanent beta when it comes to building a personal brand is that we can forever pretend that what we’re sharing isn’t the real version of ourselves.
We have no problem bullshitting others by giving ourselves titles such as “Founder of ___” or “Creator of ___”, (Look mom! I started a movement!), but when it comes down to actually standing for something and putting our asses on the line, we answer with:
I really want to, but. I would if. I can’t because. The market says. I tried selling. I tried calling. I emailed them. The timing just isn’t right.
It’s the time when accountability is placed in lead boots, and nudged overboard in the dark of the night with a nothing-to-see-here whistle.
Yeah I saw the thief stealing the painting, but I’m just interning here.
If we’re always testing, we’re never diving.
Permanent beta is our way to keep the demon, who creeps through our vulnerable thoughts on either side of sleep, from stealing the few scattered ounces of confidence we have in ourselves. I know, I’ve been there and still deal with that son-of-a-bitch all too often.
But before the money, the fame, the accolades, the sales, the respect, the impact, the clients, the referrals, the commissions, the contracts, the 1099’s, or whatever it is you’re looking for, there’s you, in a room, telling yourself that you have what it takes to push your brand somewhere.
Read that sentence again.
Diving into something is not about convincing the public that you are super official, it’s convincing the demon in your head that you are willing to be.
Of course, we all need to be amateurs before we can “turn pro,” but just because you’renew to something doesn’t mean we don’t expect something from you. You have to take yourself seriously before anyone else will.
A chameleon is one thing, but a flim-flam (wo)man is something else.