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As much as some people want to deny it, change is part of life. We get older, our physical appearances change, our personalities evolve over time.

The world around us is constantly changing.

But what if you don’t resonate very well with the brand of your own business? What if your customers or audience live completely different lifestyles than you do? What if your competitors or peers seem to have certain ways of doing things that you don’t agree with?

Sometimes you may have to adapt and change with the flow of your business, and other times you may need to fight against the “status quo” and the pressures of changing who you are.

On today’s episode, special guest Cory McCabe joins the show to talk about the idea of maintaining your sense of “self” as you grow and how to protect against the pressures of unnecessarily changing who you are to fit some predetermined mold.

Highlights, Takeaways, Quick Wins
  • When you know your values and stay true to the things you stand for, you’re going to come across as authentic and genuine.
  • Verbalize your values to solidify them.
  • You don’t have to change who you are to help people.
  • Know what you’re about and present that or you will attract the wrong people.
  • Once you have self knowledge, the next step is to find similarities between you and your audience.
  • Emphasize the ways that you’re similar to your target audience.
  • Never pretend to be something you’re not.
  • Not everyone will like you.
  • Don’t change what you stand for or your “Why” because of the people around you.
Show Notes
  • 03:45 Cory McCabe: I don’t reach people as best I can, and later in the show I’ll talk about some things I’m doing wrong. I love this topic of how to reach and connect with people better. I’m excited for it.
  • 03:58 Cory: It’s good. There’s an aspect to it that’s a little nuanced, because we’re talking about how to reach people who are different from you. Interestingly, ironically, at the very beginning, I had a different title for the show. It was called Drawing an Audience Without Losing Self.
  • 04:25 Here we are building businesses, building brands, and we’re working on connecting with people we want to reach. Ultimately, that’s what a brand is. A brand is there to help bridge the connection between the business and the consumer, the entity or organization and the audience, the person they’re trying to reach.
  • When you’re building your brand, times will come where you realize that you don’t fit the mold of the people you’re trying to reach.

  • 05:11 Your personality is different. You’re passionate about these people and you really want to help them. You’re left thinking, “Do I continue pursuing this even though these people are different from me?” There are these differences in values or in personality. How do you reach them without losing who you are?

Know Your Values

  • 05:40 Cory: Cory, where do you think that begins? Let’s say you’re starting your business, you’re in those early stages, and you’re realizing that the people you want to connect with and reach, the people in your audience, are characteristically different from you? How do you move past the fear of getting started because of those differences?
  • 06:07 Cory McCabe: That’s a great question. First, you have to realize what you stand for. Know your own values and have them written down. We say, “You don’t have a process until you have it written down.” You need to have things written down. First, it comes to knowing yourself, your values, and what you stand for. From there, you can connect with people, whether they’re different or the same as you—and, by the way, everybody’s different from you.
  • When you know your values and stay true to the things you stand for, you’re going to come across as authentic and genuine.

  • 06:58 Knowing your values and staying true to them is where it all starts.
  • 07:02 Cory: I love that idea, and this is something I don’t do as much as I should, of writing things down. Oftentimes, people get in the zone of saying, “I know myself. I know my personality. I know my values,” in whatever generic thought process that might be. Okay, but have you really written down the things you will do or won’t do? Have you figured out what you’re going to do if this kind of situation arises?
  • 07:37 Have you thought about a situation where you might be tempted to compromise on your values, but you’ve already made that decision because of who you are and what your values are, to not do that? I don’t write that down enough. I don’t have that in a place where I can say, “Based on what I want and what I don’t want, I want to make sure that this is tangible somewhere I can look back to.”
  • 08:14 Cory McCabe: Absolutely. A really good example of someone who makes their values known is Sean McCabe. It’s one thing to have your values written down, like, “I don’t get into debt. That’s something I don’t do. There’s no one in the world that can compromise that. I don’t go into debt. The only way I know that is because he says it. He doesn’t just live by it, have it written down, and he knows it, and that’s just something he lives by, but he says it. He makes that known to people.
  • 08:44 This is amongst all of his other values. I think that happens because he knew that himself, first. I said that the first thing is probably knowing yourself, what you stand for, and your values. That’s something you need to know in order to reach people in the best way possible.
  • 09:06 Cory: That’s really interesting. I like that. I agree.
  • The more verbal you are about your values, the more those values will be solidified.

  • 09:18 Oftentimes, if you don’t verbalize them and other people don’t know, it’s easy to sway back and forth a little bit. If you’re actively living that out, if you’re in that place of living it, saying it, and doing it, that’s what authenticity is. Authenticity is not only being true to who you are, but also to what you say. You do what you say you’re going to do, and you don’t do what you say you’re not going to do. That’s authenticity.
  • 09:47 That leaves room for you to say, “If I’m going to be the person I want to be while I’m building a business, reaching people, and learning these skills, knowing who I am and being authentic to that is going to end up serving the people I want to serve better.” They’re not getting this fake picture of someone who wants to help them.
  • 10:16 Cory McCabe: I agree.

Stay True to Who You Are

  • 10:18 Cory: The idea of self knowledge is so huge. One of the things that has been a kind of popular as a topic for discussion in the seanwes Community lately has been how a lot of people in the Community are entrepreneurs, business owners, leaders in their industry, doing their own thing, and it’s very easy in that realm, in that company, to feel like the number ones of business are the ones who get all the praise and the attention.
  • 11:06 It’s easy to think, “I have to run my own business, because I’m surrounded by people who run their own businesses. This is the thing I have to be. I guess I have to start my own business, because it seems like this is the best thing you can do.” I did that. Back in 2014, I think, I surrounded myself with people who were building their own businesses, and I was like, “I guess what I have to do if I want to find fulfillment for myself is to start my own business. I guess.” I started my own business, and I don’t want to say that I didn’t have the ability, but I didn’t have the drive to run my own business.
  • 12:00 I’m not made to be a business owner. I’m more meant to be someone who supports someone who runs their own business. I make a great second, third, fourth, or fifth in command. I’m a great employee. That comes from self knowledge, knowing who I am, and knowing where my skills and talents are. That comes from knowing my personal values, even as simply as the things I want to do. The people I serve, consult, write newsletters for, the people we podcast for on this show, for the most part, are business owners.
  • 12:51 Talk about a difference! How do I reach people who are different from me? That’s not even about values. It’s about personality and what you want to do with your life. How do I connect with these people who, at a fundamental level, are very different from me?
  • To connect with an audience that’s very different from you, start by knowing who you are.

  • 13:20 That way, when I’m talking with those people, writing a newsletter, or writing an outline for a podcast and recording it, I don’t have to deviate from who I am to help those people. That’s critical. You don’t have to change who you are to help people. That’s something that a lot of people need to hear when it comes to building their business. They’re like, “I have to do all these things! I have to buy all these nice toys and cars because that’s what rich people do, what business owners do.”
  • 14:00 You don’t have to. Stay true to who you are, and that starts with knowing yourself. Write things down, know why you’re doing what you’re doing and who you’re doing it for.
  • 14:17 Cory McCabe: When you were talking about finding out that you’re a number two, three, or four, that reminded me of something that my friend Ryan Callaghan shared. It was a post by Ryan Holiday. It says, “When I first got a job as an assistant in Hollywood, someone told me that the best thing I could do as an assistant was to make the other people look good. I certainly wouldn’t have moved upward as quickly as I had if I sat there and worked the way people thought about my boss.” I thought that was interesting, making his job to make other people look good. That was a quick thought on the number two thing.

Focus on Your Similarities

  • 14:55 Cory: Do you think it’s possible to effectively reach people who are different from you?
  • 15:04 Cory McCabe: I think it is.
  • 15:06 Cory: Why do people feel held back? Why don’t they move forward if it’s possible to reach people who are different from you?
  • 15:14 Cory McCabe: I think it comes from people not accepting who they are and being grounded in themselves as a person, going back to the values thing. When they see other people they look up to or are competitors, they’re doing things that this person we’re talking about isn’t doing. That person feels like they have to do the things other people are doing, and that comes from a lack of accepting and understanding who you are.
  • 15:52 I’ll call myself out and say that something I’m doing wrong is what I’m doing on Instagram. On Instagram, I’m doing what my other videographer friends are doing. They’re posting cool little videos of nature, really pretty, great camera movement, and all that stuff. The videos have music. I’m like, “Alright. That’s what I have to do, how I have to reach people. The people I look up to are doing that.” The thing is, I’ve been posting this kind of stuff for a while now, and I’m reaching the wrong people.
  • 16:24 Cory: That’s interesting.
  • 16:26 Cory McCabe: That’s not what I do. I’m not a nature videographer, a nature film maker. That’s who I’m attracting. I’m looking at what other people are doing and I’m saying, “I have to do that.”
  • When I don’t understand and stick to what I’m about in the way I present myself on social media, I keep reaching the wrong people.

  • 16:50 Cory: That’s really interesting. I like it. We should have a segment called Call Yourself Out. Garrett asked in the chat, “My main target audience is known for being a majority of introvers, homebodies, etc, but I certainly am not. I like to go out and party. I don’t plan to show this on the brand, social media, or anywhere on the site, but on my “personal” profiles, I tend to. I know people following my brand will eventually follow my personal stuff, too, especially considering I sign all my emails and my name is all over the brand website. I’m not sure if this is a good idea. Really, my question is, am I doing the right thing? Do you have any suggestions?” Do you have any thoughts on that?
  • 17:44 Cory McCabe: Who are you trying to reach? It’s a tough topic. I don’t know much about this, but when people have a personal account where they share anything and everything and they can just be themselves, they’re partying, their kid’s breakfast, all that stuff. I don’t understand that because I don’t do it. I have decided to turn off any output of pictures of my coffee. Lately, I’ve been having coffee every day. With what I’m trying to do, I’m a film maker. I’m trying to get people to understand why I’m making films, what the films are about.
  • 18:36 Maybe I can even help other film makers make their films more relatable to their audience. If that’s what I’m doing, sharing a picture of my coffee doesn’t really serve that, so I think it comes down to how you can best serve the people you are trying to serve.
  • 18:53 Cory: That’s good. First off, what you said is really powerful, Cory. It’s going back to that idea of being true to yourself and knowing why you want to reach the people you’re trying to reach. That’s really important. When it comes to reaching people who are different from me or wanting to serve those people, you need to know yourself first.
  • Once you have self knowledge, the next step is to find similarities between you and your audience.

  • 19:35 It’s extremely important to find similarities between you and your audience, even if it’s simple things, like, “We speak the same language.” Or, “We enjoy similar hobbies.” For Garrett, he’s working on Gaming For Fun And Profit. How do you enter into the gaming world and not just make a penny? He’s reaching out to gamers and people who are in that hobby to help them monetize their hobby, essentially, in that particular niche.
  • 20:32 In that niche, these people are more introverted, they like to stay at home… He knows them. The critical aspect there is to say, “What are the things that bring us together?” In this case, it’s very obvious. If Garrett likes to game himself or likes particular games that these gamers like, that’s a point of connection. The point is, don’t highlight the differences between you and your audience as much as you highlight the similarities.
  • If you only highlight the differences between you and your audience, you’re only going to grow the gap between you.

  • 21:13 The more you shine a light on the similarities, the more you’re going to get brought together. We could go super deep on cultural things. There is so much in there. The point is to amplify and emphasize the ways that you’re similar.

Why Reach People Who Are Different From You?

  • 21:39 Cory: Eugene asked in the chat, “Why would you want to reach people who are different from you anyway?” Step one, everyone is different. You can’t get away from that. You can have a passion for a type of person who is not like you. How is it that non-profits and huge organizations and businesses are doing what they’re doing for people who aren’t like them? We talk about charity: water a lot on this show. They want to help bring clean water to the entire world.
  • 22:16 The people who work there have access to clean water. They’re not walking billions of hours a year, collectively, to collect clean water and bring it back to their homes for their families. They’re not doing that. There are a lot of differences there. They live in different countries, they speak different languages, but they have a passion and a vision. They highlight the similarities. They bring that to the people who are supporting the organization, and they say, “Look, we’re all human and we have basic human needs.”
  • 22:56 That’s a huge way to bring people together at a very fundamental level and find similarities. It’s totally doable to want to reach people or be in an industry that’s slightly different or who have a different personality. Those types of things.

Know Your Audience

  • 23:15 Cory McCabe: Let’s just say that Sean was doing several podcast episodes or something helping people, like, How to Connect With People, Network, and Make Business Connections and Conferences. That’s what he’s helping people do right now, in this scenario. He’s talking about a seemingly extroverted thing, so maybe he’s attracting very extroverted people who love to go to conferences and are constantly meeting new people.
  • 23:50 Maybe that’s not who Sean is. He’s attracting people who are different from him. I like what you were saying, Cory, about highlighting the similarities instead of highlighting the differences.
  • What you do can attract people who are different from you, whether you know it or not.

  • 24:14 Maybe my films are attracting people… I don’t know. Maybe right now, I’m attracting other film makers, or maybe I’m just attracting people who love what I have to share and like the messages of my films, the aesthetic, the themes, or whatever it is. I don’t really know who all I’m attracting right now.
  • 24:39 Cory: Do you know who you want to attract?
  • 24:42 Cory McCabe: I think that’s a different podcast. I haven’t figured it out. I’m still in the journey of figuring out who I’m trying to attract. Sean asked me around Thanksgiving, “Who is your target audience?” I hate that question! Every single person is like, “I want to help the world and everybody, and everybody is my target audience.” It’s not true. Like we said, everybody is different. Not everybody wants to see my films. Not everybody wants to follow my journey. It’s just a select few people.
  • 25:24 Knowing your target audience is incredibly important, but I haven’t figured it out. I don’t think I’m trying to help other film makers, at least right now. I think I’m trying to help people get perspective on their own lives through my film, but I don’t know how to define that into a target audience. That’s why I said that it’s probably another topic for another day, until I figure that out. I’m calling myself out again.
  • 25:49 Cory: We’ll get you back on the show. You should write that down. Remember that whole writing it down thing?

Be Yourself

  • 26:07 Cory: Virginia asked, “My goal as a dog trainer is to be a jack of all trades, to find the training style that will work for the dog and owner and make everyone happy. I’m working on building experience in different techniques while prepping my brain for the future launch. I’m worried my brand will make it look like I’m a know-it-all and put people off by that angle. I tend to come off that way in regular interactions about dog training now. Should I embrace that brand and my personality and work on attracting people who are okay with that, or should I put effort into softening myself?”
  • 26:45 Step one, know who you actually want to attract. You need to know that. Secondly, I would say, don’t worry about looking like a know-it-all. If you want to get hired, you need to be the expert. Don’t be a dweeb about it. Don’t be a jerk.
  • It’s okay to be the expert and talk about the things that you know, to put yourself across as someone who knows what they’re talking about.

  • 27:19 Do you have a thought on that, Cory? Should she soften herself to be a little less of a “know-it-all,” in her own words?
  • 27:37 Cory McCabe: No. I think that if that’s not who she is at this moment, if she doesn’t feel like that, she shouldn’t try to pretend to be that.
  • 27:46 Cory: I agree.
  • 27:47 Cory McCabe: If she needs to do more learning, more research, get more experience, to become what she’s trying to be, then maybe that’s her focus instead.
  • Never try to pretend to be something you’re not.

  • 28:04 That’s the highlight of this show, being true to yourself, to your personality—that’s a big one—but also your values. I’m still processing this, but my best friend just told me, “I’m scared for you, Cory.” I was like, “What? Why?” He was like, “I don’t want you to identify who you are as a filmmaker.” Again, I’m still processing this. I’m like, “Well, I am. I am a filmmaker.” I’ll have to do more thinking about it. It was a very interesting thing to think about. My takeaway was to still be true to myself and what I stand for and not just say that all I am is a filmmaker, and that becomes my identity.
  • 28:57 A bigger takeaway is to not do what all filmmakers do. Be yourself in the filmmaking industry. That’s important.

Not Everyone Is Going to Like You

  • 29:08 Cory: Being yourself is important. Another aspect of that is to remind yourself constantly that you’re going to turn some people off.
  • You are going to attract some people and repel some people, and that’s okay.

  • 29:35 I have a vlog, and I don’t talk about it much, because it’s kind of a side thing, but it’s at I do this weekly vlog. I live in Ireland, and recently, I had someone drop a comment and say, “Ireland doesn’t need any more Yanks, get out of Ireland.” I was like, “Well, alright.” No matter what you do in life, you’re not going to be able to get everyone to like you. You’re not going to be able to get everyone to hire you. You’re going to attract some kinds of people and you’re going to repel some kinds of people.
  • 30:17 Knowing who you’re going to attract and who you’re going to repel is going to get you ahead of those moments where you’re like, “Oh my gosh, this person said something mean! Oh wait. That’s not a person I’m trying to attract. That’s a person I acknowledge that I’m going to repel.” That’s okay.
  • 30:38 Cory McCabe: Yeah, I like that. I don’t know if your mom did this, but the whole thing where she tells you, “You become your five closest friends.” You start to become like the people you hang around with. You even speak like them. You kind of change yourself with who you hang around. Don’t do that with your values.
  • Don’t change what you stand for or your why because of the people around you.

  • 31:21 You need to know why you’re doing what you’re doing. You need to know who that’s for. You need to define your target audience. Don’t lose your values, your personality, and who you are as a human in your industry, your profession. That can happen when you see other people doing something. Going back to the Sean McCabe analogy of how he doesn’t go into debt.
  • 31:49 If everybody doing what Sean does or similar to what Sean does with seanwes said that going into debt was the right thing and he let that value be compromised, that would become a problem. It comes back to being grounded in your values, knowing yourself and what you stand for. I’m honestly talking to myself. Back to that whole Instagram thing, I’m reaching the wrong people. I’m doing myself a disservice by trying to be the people I look up to.
  • 32:37 It’s not that I shouldn’t look up to them, but I’m just trying to mimic what they’re doing. I’m kind of speaking to myself. I need to write down what I stand for, what my values are, and stay true to my personality. Let’s just say that maybe I like to make jokes. I can make that valuable in what I share. I can bring jokes, if that’s my thing, if that’s what I like to do as a person. I can brand my brand with myself and still help the people I want to help. I have to write down who I want to help, who what I’m doing is for. My target audience needs to be more defined.
  • 33:27 Cory: So are you going to do that?
  • 33:30 Cory McCabe: I am. I’m talking to myself and taking notes right now. It bothers me that I don’t know who I’m doing what I’m doing for.