Why It Always Pays To Be Yourself
“Just be yourself, and you’ll do fine.” At one time or another, all of us have been given that good advice from well-meaning parents, friends or colleagues. But pulling that off, actually being one’s genuine self, is sometimes not as simple as it sounds.
When Cronin Creative was initially established in 2007, we were already fairly rooted in the music business, so the lion’s share of our early work was for record labels and various musical artists and their representatives. But as we grew the company, we also broadened our client base to include a range of industries, from real estate to book and magazine publishing, from event companies to non-profits and healthcare.
Early on, proudly showing off our graphic design work to a potential healthcare client, we pointed to some of the beautiful CD packaging we’d designed for Nashville’s major labels. That was pretty much the end of the meeting, as the marketing executive’s eyes glazed over, and she seemed to lose all interest. Not only were our music biz credentials not worth a whole lot, for this particular potential client they were a deal killer.
We decided then and there that if we were going to expand our business, we were going to have to sublimate our music connections. While it seemed like the right thing to do at the time, it turned out to be one of the most dubious decisions we’ve ever made. It was really a choice to not show up as our authentic creative selves, and it didn’t feel right.
It took some non-music biz clients to shake us awake. Called upon to design the set for country star Marty Stuart’s TV show, we soon found ourselves prevailed upon by clients for free tickets, which we provided. My band was then hired to play a trade organization holiday party (we were a hit!), and the cat was fully out of the bag. What a relief, and what a shift. Our visibility and cool factor rose considerably, our professional relationships grew richer and more real, and our business picked up.
We learned an important lesson. Embrace every part of who you are and let it shine. If somebody doesn’t understand or appreciate it, save yourself some time and trouble; stick to you guns and move on. There are plenty of people out there who will gladly join in and dance to your refreshingly quirky, totally authentic music.