One of the most fascinating aspects of the mentoring I do is figuring out what is buried underneath the comments and responses I get from my clients. As I ask questions to better understand what they mean, what I start to see very often is people closing doors to their future. Often a hidden belief that doesn’t make a lot of sense lurks underneath a lot of the decisions they’ve already made. My job as the marketing mentor is to help keep as many doors open as possible.
For example, a designer told me that she couldn’t attend the meetings of a local trade group chapter because a good friend of hers, also a designer, was already a member of that group. When we unpacked that idea, it turned out that she imagined that she couldn’t tread on her friend’s "territory." It reminded me of cowboy times; "This town’s not big enough for the both of us." When I questioned her about it, she started to see that maybe that wasn’t true, that maybe there was enough room there for 2 designers or that, at the very least, it was something she should discuss with her friend, rather than simply closing the door to a very appropriate trade group for her target market.
Another client, a copywriter who had talked about building her business into one where she could subcontract to other writers, told me she didn’t think she could find other copywriters whose work was of a high enough quality who wouldn’t be charging exorbitant fees. Based on a single experience, she’d decided that the support she needed wasn’t out there and she would have to keep her business the size it is, to limit her business. I pointed out that just because one experience showed one thing didn’t mean that would always be the case. She has no idea who she will meet and what they’d be willing to do, especially if she’s getting the work for them. That door seems to be slightly more open at the moment.
How do you close your own doors? Can you tell when you’re doing it?