Anyone who knows me, or at least knows me from my Florida, later in life self, knows would be surprised to find how much I resonate with Richard Branson. I think I lost a lot of my personality during my corporate years, and raising teenagers probably helped to drown my sense of humor. I feel like such a stick in the mud walking around with this enormous armour around my shoulders. What’s interesting however, is that I haven’t always been this stuffy. If you know me from my younger years, you might remember that I have always been a bit of a risk taker, adventurer, and rule breaker. Somewhere along the way I lost that.
So when I read Richard Branson’s comment that “it’s crucial in this job not to take yourself too seriously and people appreciate it when they see a bit of humor and personality shining through.” This really hit home for me. It’s about time that my personality shows through. I thank Pam Tipsword, my business partner with the Education Center, because she makes me laugh. I am on a mission to laugh more, loosen-up, and find a way to bring personality back to business building.
Pam and I occasionally shoot videos for social media. Our best ones have been videos where we are lighthearted and funny. We once did a video for massage customers of me snoring on the table! And Pam once ended a video with, “it’s not THAT kind of massage!” Many would gasp at our mere reference of insinuation of the seedy side of the industry, but as Branson says, “the average customer is usually far smarter and more appreciative of a joke than big businesses give them credit for.”
I recently heard a massage therapist who changed her tagline because she was afraid that potential clients might be offended. She did Hot Stone massage and her tagline was “it’s time to get stoned.” I LOVE IT! And, I sincerely hope she goes back to using it. The 2017 presidential election was a reminder to me of how it’s okay to polarize your audience. Donald Trump proved that there are enough voters (or potential clients) out there that it’s not only okay to offend half of them, it’s preferable because now you’ve sparked the side-liners into action and weeded out those that wouldn’t appreciate your message.
When Branson told his daughter, “when you come across absurd rules, you should take advantage of them.” He was reminding us that when we come across absurd rules about business building and advertising, that we should most definitely take advantage of them. To showcase how absurd they are.
I flash back to a conversation I had with my mom when I was very young. We lived in Southern California and she taught English as a second language in a farming community. I remember very vividly her telling me, or maybe she was having a conversation with my dad, but it was about how Mexican men were mean to their wives. I also remember very vividly telling (or perhaps just thinking) how horrible it was to stereotype a group of people like. In some way I was hell-bent on proving her wrong. In my infinite wisdom, naivity, and years of rebellion I ended up proving her right. My point however is, even after my own personal experience, I still refuse to believe in stereo-types, status quo’s, or how things have always been done. I firmly believe there are patterns, cultural programming, and habits that affect all of us, but I enjoy making the effort to see everyone and every idea as a blank slate ready to break the mold, shatter the stereo-types and challenge the perceptions.
I don’t know how I got on that topic other than to say that challenging the traditionally held beliefs whether they be of people, cultures, or business practices is an integral part of how I do life.