What Makes The Best Pros “Best”

Don’t ask what the world needs; ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.

Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive.

Howard Thurman

When not offering confidence-building seminars or helping clients hone their presentational skills and strategies, you can find me officiating non-denominational wedding ceremonies (it will make sense if you check out my Bio!).  Last month I participated in a wedding fair hosted by Dior Chase, Events Manager at the legendary Castle Green in Pasadena, CA. I usually don’t do fairs but Dior always creates a fun, intimate experience. At day’s end, I looked for Dior to say good-bye and spotted a laughing couple hugging her.

Moments later, Dior was beaming as she told me that the couple felt relieved and no longer stressed about their wedding because they’d met such great vendors. With pride Dior said she loved her handpicked vendors because they were the best (thank-you, Dior!). What’s more, she said she only wants to work with the best because she wants her couples to feel confidently happy when planning their wedding.

In the weeks since, I’ve thought about what Dior said – that she’s in the business of helping people not worry during one of the most important (and stressful) times in their lives.

What an incredible thing to say about yourself, “I’m in the business of helping people not worry!”

What does it take to succeed in the business (whatever the business) of helping people not worry?

The reality is that there are hoards of professionals who are competent at what they do and who do quality work. However, competence alone doesn’t create what business guru Seth Godin says is in short supply – “trust, connection and surprise.”

In order to help people not worry, we need to connect with them at more than a superficial level.  Connection, though, only comes about when you:

  1. Know your self. Know what you enjoy and have a system that lets you efficiently do your craft. When you know your own self, you know your brand – and so know you can’t be all things to all people.
  2. Surround yourself with top people. I’ll go so far as to say – be a snob and insist on working only with the best. You see others as collaborators and not competitors and so you let “the best” know you think they’re the best by being generous with your compliments. You respect your colleagues and admire their skill wanting to know, “how did you get to be so good at what you do?”
  3. Stay grounded, knowing that the unpredictable is unpredictable because it can’t be predicted! You go about your business always having in the back of your mind the belief, “I’ll handle it” – no matter what the “it” might be.
  4. Understand that you’re dealing with real people with real needs and every real need has an accompanying fear. You understand that people can be whack-a-do and so presume nothing about your clients. You know how to effectively manage a difficult client – as well as manage your own difficult emotions. You can convey understanding and still be able to establish boundaries.
  5. Recognize your biases and so are able to listen to what is being said and not said – and, in return, you make it easy for people to listen to you.
  6. Understand you’ve been hired to give your perspective – and so you can say the hard stuff – because you care.
  7. Know how to have a conversation and so you are extravagantly hospitable with your talent, energy and passion.
  8. Share your knowledge even if there might not be an immediate return. People remember people who help them, even if they don’t hire them on the spot.
  9. “Seriously” – there are precious few jobs where humor is not going to help you go a long ways.
  10. Treat your clients like colleagues and your colleagues like clients. Think about this one!

Surprise people with trust and connection and they will hug you and say, “Thank you – what a relief it is not to have to worry.”

Mark Twain claimed –

The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.

The best of the best, no matter what their field, work from a place of heightened awareness of the client, and so

the best of the best know their “why.”

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