Is doing the “nicest” thing actually going to serve you, your clients, and your business in the way you want?
I learned this lesson early on when I said ‘yes’ to a prom date in high school with someone I didn’t really want to go with.
It was freshman year, and I was hoping that the boy I had a crush on would ask me to the prom.
But, a boy I didn’t know and had never talked to before beat him to it and handed me a note asking me to be his date to the prom (anyone else remember passing notes in HS?! Do the kids still do that now that they can text?!)
Even though I didn’t know this guy’s name up until getting that note, what proceeded to follow was me doing everything I thought I should as a nice and good person - I said “yes.”
It might not have been a prom date, but can you think of a time you’ve said a “yes” you didn’t mean - in or out - of business to be “nice”?
Here’s the kicker and what unfolded at the prom after all my “niceness”:
All I did was cause this boy to feel weird. He spent his hard-earned money from his part-time job to buy me a prom ticket and the whole night turned out to be extremely awkward given we had never exchanged more than that note previous to his ask.
When he signed my yearbook at the end of the year, his message said something along the lines of, “Remember me? I'm the kid you didn't want to go to prom with.”
OOF. Friend, this was not my proudest moment, and I’m slightly embarrassed to share this story with you, but I learned a lesson that’s served me since and absolutely has everything to do with your business: trying to be “nice” or “good” for the sake of people-pleasing, in attempts to create safety, as a way to minimize discomfort (yours or someone else’s), or because you think you “should” is performative at least and it costs everyone involved at the expense of what’s actually true for you.
And, frankly, it’s lying, which does more harm than good in and out of business. Because when you’re so focused on being nice or good in business, you end up being (unintentionally) dishonest or disingenuous.
Turns out, trying to be nice at the expense of being honest, isn’t all that nice for anyone involved.
This is something I see now in my clients and support them around because the “disease to please” is rampant in the helping and service-driven industries and it affects your content and what you do or don’t share, what you’re willing to say to the client who’s investing to hear honest feedback, how you lean in during sticky money conversations on a sales call or hold space for hard moments in a session, your boundaries, what you choose to invest in and how you leverage support, and even how you lead your team.
So, if you identify with being “nice”, I invite you to take inventory for a second - where are the places in your business - in your content, with clients, your audience, team - that you’ve been nice instead of honest? And, what would it look like to flip this around and be honest instead of nice?
I know in my case, if I’d been honest, that would have *actually* been the nicest thing for my prom date and myself. I’m guessing the same is true for you in every situation where you have the choice between “nice” and “good” or honest.
I’m also willing to make a bet that when you lead with honesty in your business, all the “nice” and “good” results you want - like more clients and cash - will be easier to receive, have, and hold (after all, it’s easier to create safety and trust the good stuff when you believe it’s not just because someone else is placating you to be “nice”), and those honest boundaries will make your business easier to run.
Wishing you your version of success!
P.S. Ready for 1:1 coaching support that’s honest, instead of “nice”, and all about helping you get honest with yourself and others so you can create next-level success and income on your terms?
Book a free coaching consultation here to talk about how I can support you with the clarity, mindset, strategy (messaging, marketing, sales, leadership), and action that goes into building, growing, and scaling a profitable business your way and snag one of my upcoming 1:1 coaching spots as they become available or a 1:1 VIP weekend here in NYC at Soho House!