What you can learn about marketing from your high school crush
Updated: Aug 5
Let me tell you the story of a girl named Sasha.
Sasha was 14 and had just started her freshman year of high school. She had just moved to a new town and a new school. She knew one person at the school — her cousin — who was in 11th grade and was an accomplished student, cheerleader, and member of multiple clubs.
Sasha worked hard in her first few weeks of school — studied every day after school, and went to after school review sessions. She signed up for several clubs in areas that interested her so she could learn more about science and debate.
All the while, she hoped that her dream would come true — that the cute 11th-grade boys would notice her and ask her to the junior-senior prom.
She noticed that working and studying harder wasn’t winning her any new guy friends or dates as she thought it might (“Boys don’t seem to want to date me by how smart and accomplished I am!”) and that none of the cute boys were in the science club or on the debate team.
Noticing what the other girls who dated the junior boys were doing, she started to mimic them:
She bought new flashy, revealing clothes.
She started to “play dumb” around boys so that they wouldn’t be intimidated by her "smarts."
She watched hours of free how-to Youtube videos and spent 2 hours in the bathroom every morning perfecting her hair and make-up each day.
She learned how to be a cheerleader — even though she didn’t really like doing it — and tried out for and made the team.
Her cousin noticed the strange change in behavior and asked Sasha what was going on. She thought maybe her younger cousin was having a tough time making friends, so she invited her to hang with her friends that weekend.
Sasha declined, shied away, and began to avoid her cousin. She couldn’t possibly tell her cousin what she was doing — for fear that her cousin would think she was too desperate, trying to win over the boys — especially the boys that she knew were friends with her cousin.
A voice inside of her was also resentful and jealous that her cousin got attention from the boys — even though her cousin wasn’t as smart, accomplished, or even as “cute” as Sasha.
But she felt like she couldn’t tell her cousin that. And she certainly couldn’t possibly ask her cousin to introduce her (how desperate that would sound!).
So she continued to show up to school every day — looking the part, participating in the things she thought she should be doing…hoping the boys would notice her.
Eventually, it happened!
One of the basketball players got paired up with her for a fundraising project for the team.
They had to meet and come up with a creative strategy for raising $100 for the basketball booster club.
Sasha was over the moon. THIS was her chance. She didn’t sleep the night before their meeting.
She came up with all sorts of ideas, wrote out a plan for fundraising, and had already called several people who would let them set up a bake sale and babysitting parent’s night out. She had the logistics written out and even had people committed to buying baked goods and bringing their kids to the event.
She also spent hours preparing exactly what to say to the boy, getting her hair and makeup ready, and making sure her clothes fit JUST right.
When she arrived at the meeting the next day, she was sure he would be so impressed by all that she had done that he would have no choice but to ask her to the prom.
But once she was there, it didn't go as perfectly as she would have hoped.
She found that despite all of her preparation, she was so nervous and couldn't keep her "cool" during the meeting.
She tried to present her ideas but couldn’t state them clearly, despite all of the materials she’d written and preparation and practicing she’d done. She was rambling on and on and felt like she had to constantly "prove" herself to the boy.
She could feel the backs of her thighs stick to the seat due to sweat, and she kept touching her face awkwardly. It wasn't until 1 hour into their meeting that she realized she'd been smearing her eye makeup.
All told, the boy was none the wiser. He thought she was acting a little awkwardly, but kind and sweet, and could tell that Sasha really cared about their project. He wanted to help out, but she had already done most of the work herself and seemed to have it all figured out.
He asked what role he could play and how he could help — which is when she began to stammer and stutter.
This confused the boy. It seemed she was so passionate about the project, but when it came time for him to contribute and help, she got even more awkward.
She gave him a few small tasks to work on, and they agreed to change the parents’ night out to a parents’ day out because there was a schedule conflict with his upcoming weekend basketball tournament.
After the meeting, Sasha was crushed. He hadn’t cooperated with her exact plan and idea and didn’t seem super impressed by all of her planning and hard work.
And most devastatingly, he didn’t invite her to be his date for the prom.
No, in fact, he had told her during the meeting that already had a date. As it turned out — her cousin had actually set him up with one of her best friends.
Sasha was livid that her cousin would set him up with her friend instead of with herself.
She felt devastated and defeated, uttering to herself, “What’s the point of even trying to connect with boys if they just ignore me?”
She went home, threw the fundraising binder at the wall, and vowed that it must have been so hard because she just wasn't good enough.
She was exhausted, but believed that she just needed to try harder.
Whew. Pretty much a bummer, right?
Can you see all the places Sasha could have changed course?
Now, what if I told you that even though you and I both may have encountered similar situations in life — that this entire story is a metaphor?
In this metaphor—
Sasha is a health and/or wellness entrepreneur.
The "prom date" she was after are potential clients signing on to work with her.
Her cousin is the source of a warm introduction or referral to a potential client.
And spoiler — this story symbolizes how so many health and wellness entrepreneurs think they're supposed to get new clients. But they often don't get very far despite so many valiant efforts.
Let's break this down.
Sasha spent most of her time doing low-quality activities that didn’t necessarily bring in clients:
- All that worrying over her appearance and taking tons of videos to learn new hair, makeup, and fashion tricks — this is like learning the latest and greatest social media and advertising tactics. They can be important, but don’t directly lead to paying clients, can require an enormous amount of time, energy, and upkeep to stay “up” with what’s trending, and there’s usually a lot of competition and comparison involved
- All of the over-preparing for the perfect fundraising tactic — this is akin to worrying about perfecting her offerings and programs and making sure every business detail is 100 percent in place and very impressive in order to try and get clients. Chances are, all that writing and planning and preparing is not going to pay off just as it didn’t for Sasha, and it is just a way to distract yourself from what’s actually going on — Fear! Anxiousness! Overwhelm! Lack of confidence! — procrastinate, and potentially overwhelm clients (as it did for the boy!)
- All that over-studying, overachieving for good grades, and joining lots of clubs — is like taking every course and/or certification in the book and expecting potential clients or more money to come because of it. I call this "virtuous procrastination." It looks good on paper and on the surface, and it's often done in the name of "learning" and "self improvement" — but deep down, fear and feeling "not good enough" are the real reason for all the over-learning.
Side note — let's be clear, I'm not hating on learning. Learning itself is completely awesome. AND — it's very common for the voices of "not enoughness" or "fear of taking concrete marketing action" to be masquerading as the voice of "need to learn everything right now." AND — it is possible to LEARN how to let those icky voices go and LEARN to grow your biz with courage, clarity, and a fraction of the time, effort, and money spent on t he course merry-go-round! That's why I'm here! Check out my free Be the Boss of Your Career Blueprint right now to learn the 7-step method that will pave the way to business and marketing success!
- Trying out for (and making) the cheerleading squad, when you really don’t like it — is like signing up for a million free or low price masterminds, free challenges and getting a lot of cheap or unhelpful advice that won’t actually get you anywhere except frustrated, tired, and maybe even injured
- Doing all the planning herself for the fundraiser — is like not outsourcing or paying for help when you really need it. Only giving minimal tasks to the boy is like showing up to a networking event and not asking a networking contact to help you or to refer you clients -- i.e. saying "Just keep me in mind!" And not asking for and defining the specific help you REALLY need.
- Being too afraid to ask her cousin to introduce her to her friends (and then later feeling resentful and jealous of her cousin’s friend who got to date the boy) — is like not cultivating warm leads and connections with potential clients via warm referral sources who know, like and trust you, or believing it is “wrong” to tell family members and/or friends what you’re doing and what you’re passionate about…and then getting upset with the potential client decides to work with a colleague or friend of yours who has a better connection with them.
- Giving up on the boy and on dating simply because he didn’t ask her to the prom after one meeting — is like giving up on networking or saying “networking just isn’t for me” or “networking doesn’t work” when one coffee date doesn’t result in a new client.
Get the idea?
Do any of these sound familiar?
If so -- don't worry. There is nothing wrong with you, and you are not alone. Whether we care to admit it to ourselves, we ALL have a little Sasha inside of us -- just pining after what it is we want -- but too afraid to shine our lights bright and REALLY go after it.
Here's the truth:
Our beliefs and mindset about life shape our experience and perception of life — whether it’s in high school interactions or in our businesses.
I say in trainings and to clients all the time that being in business and getting new clients is much like dating.
You can do all the work to perfect and perform and please and pretend. You can over-prepare. You can do what everyone else is doing and try to "fit in."
You can invest a ton of time in free training (or not-free training) that SWEARS that this social media tactic, or sales strategy, or online course, or free guide is THE answer to all your marketing woes!
But all that time, money, and energy spent does not mean that your date (or your new client) is not going to simply read your mind, come out of thin air, or knock down the door to book a session with you.
Most health and wellness professionals believe that a healthy career comes from starting your own business, and then that a successful business is found in a never-ending series of training, certifications, out-of-the-box programs and marketing tricks, flashy offerings and courses, fancy websites, and being a nonstop slave to social media.
But the truth is: a healthy and successful business begins with the state of mind that we hold.
In fact, it’s possible to not only succeed but to discover success by doing more with less. And the only way to sustain a long term business or career is to take action but to take it from a loving and intuitive place of authentic inspiration instead of a fearful place of desperation and overwhelm.
That’s what leads to a heart-centered and inspiring career that allows you to do what you love, get paid what you deserve, live more, work less, and thrive.
And that's what makes overcoming questions and fear in marketing easy and effortless.
And who wouldn't want that!?
If I can do it and thousands of my clients can do it, then you can too. And here's where to start:
Be yourself. For real--your goofball, nerdy, way-too-smart-for-your-own-good, messy hair self.
Don’t wait for everything to be picture perfect before you put yourself out there
A few high payoff, warm marketing activities are way better than overdoing busy work due to fear, not feeling good enough, perfectionism (or avoiding everything due to procrastination). If you're waiting for everything to be JUST RIGHT, you will probably continue to push the target away rather than move closer to it.
You don’t need a perfect message or pitch. People fall in love with YOU—the authentic you—and learn to know, like, and trust you — not the words you use, the image you put out—if. If you’re using the words "have to" and "should" to describe why you're doing something -- replace them with "want to" and "love" instead. If you can't honestly and wholeheartedly replace the words, then you likely need to walk away from that activity or task.
Tap into your network — ask for what you need. Don't be shy! Tell people WHY you're doing what you're doing, and less about what you're doing. Let your heart open!
Trust yourself enough to do your best with the knowledge, experience, and skills you have now—and let go and know that’s enough. You can't possibly know everything. You CAN learn more. But what you know right now is PERFECT enough.
Know that wherever you are in your business development is perfect — just as you are. Even if it doesn't look like the "guru" or "expert" that you admire (and sometimes feel jealous of). Even THEY had to start small and from scratch.
Businesses don’t build overnight — there’s not a silver bullet or a way to rush it; if you feel you need to rush or go faster, you probably need to slow down.
Don't go at it alone--and be willing to invest in what will get you to the finish. line. Hire a coach!
Not sure the best way to get started? Still feeling icky or nervous about putting yourself out there? Not sure what to say to people to convey what on earth you do, why it's different, and why they should choose YOU?
That's what I'm here for. I love to guide health and wellness professionals who are feeling stuck and directionless to use their intuitive guidance to discover a personalized, badass life and career that inspires them and reflects what they truly love.
And I'd love to chat and strategize with you, and see if we can't clear up some of that nervousness and confusion. Reach out and let's find a time to chat!
In love and health,