Back in 1984-85, I lived in San Antonio, Texas. At the time, my daughter was a toddler and her father and I were “starving artists” earning practically nothing with our a hippy-ish semi-electronic east-west fusion band playing in dumpy restaurants, bars and the occasional party or college campus. To make ends meet, every weekend we would go to sell t-shirts and other sundries at the San Antonio Flea Market. The flea market attracted all kinds of people from the “fringe” of Texas culture, from red-neck “good ole boys” who lived on ranches and dealt in used gold watches, to fortune-telling gypsies, to families from trailer parks selling brand label close-out, to artisans like ourselves. During those two years we met dozens of poets, painters, dancers, musicians, performance artists and actors. We even met the guitarist from the old hair metal band “Riot” (who was selling ladies clothing, no less).
Amongst our motley crew of humanity was a young man, 20 years in age, named Chris. Chris was born with a serious physical deformity that made one of his feet about 3 times bigger than a normal foot (one of his hands was also much larger than the other). As a result, Chris had to wear a special orthopedic boot on that one, over-sized foot. But as I got to know Chris, I started to notice that his “big” boot was always covered with silver glitter and big shiny stars. He had made a variety of hand-painted boots like this and proudly displayed them when he had made a new one.
Now, you know how it is when someone is “different”. People around that person try to pretend they don’t notice anything. But the truth is, they do, but they just don’t say it. So, of course it was startling at first when, one day, Chris came up to our table and slapped his “big” booted foot up on our t-shirt table. He asked us to admire the new job he had made of it. It was only at that time I noticed that his boot wasn’t just covered with stars, but that it said “Star Boot” on it. I asked him what it meant, and he said proudly, “That’s my NAME. I’m ‘Star Boot’!”
Since he was so forthcoming, I then asked him how he came up with his “Star Boot” alter-ego.
And without hesitation, Star Boot told me (in his best Texan accent):
“Well, my mama always told me,
‘If ya can’t hide it… DECORATE it!”
I’ve always regarded his words as one of my MOST profound life lessons. Star Boot’s story taught me that being transparent (and creative) with our so-called imperfections makes all the difference between feeling like a social misfit and looking like a creative genius. But in spite of learning this lesson nearly 30 years ago, it is only relatively recently I have ever truly put it into practice, preferring for decades to try to hide “it” — “it” being the real “me”.
In The 7 Graces of Marketing, Transparency is Grace number 5, and is the antidote to the “Deadly Sin of Deception”. “Transparency” means “to shine light through”. The Grace of Transparency, whether in business, marketing or personal life is about allowing our essence to be visible and audible in everything we do. Only through Transparency will we refrain from deceiving others AND ourselves. Our self-judgments and personal shame are seeds of the “Deadly Sin of Deception”, and are the shadows that make it impossible for our light to shine. When we practice self-deception, people only see our “shadow” self because that is all we show them. Deep inside we know we are not just our shadow, but because no one sees us, we feel unseen, unheard and misunderstood.
Even worse is when we might come to believe this shadow self is our real Self. When this happens, we inject that shadow ever more into our personal and professional lives. We become exhausted from trying to keep up the deception. And then, at the end of every day, the essence hiding within that shadow-self comes home and looks into the mirror, feeling confused and disconnected from the rest of the world.
When we live in self-deception, we can NEVER run an honest, transparent business. If we wish to practise the Grace of Transparency in our business and marketing dealings, the first thing we must do is stop telling lies about ourselves TO ourselves. Only then will we stop trying to deceive others.
So, all ye entrepreneurs!
love thyself and
(yes) DECORATE thyself!
Then go out and DANCE…big foot and all.
Amen, Mr Star Boot!
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LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She was recently named one of the Top 100 marketing authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was selected as a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. Her eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. In her work as a promotional manager she has produced a long list of bestselling mind-body-spirit authors. Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project, a budding social enterprise whose aim is to help grow a new generation of passionate entrepreneurs who want to serve both people and planet through innovative, ethical, independent enterprise.
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