Four Ways to Make Your Mess Your Message

There’s a misguided belief that in order to be experts in our chosen field, we have to know everything. We have to never have failed. We have to have it all together. We have to be perfect.


When I first started my PR business, Studio 4 PR, I often felt like a fraud because I was just starting out. A wise business coach once said to me, “You only have to know a little bit more than the people you’re serving.”

The perception that clients expect you to be perfect is so off-base. Because, if perfection is something worth striving for (and I don’t think there is such a thing), then how does one get to be perfect? By failing! Over and over again. Success is a journey, not a destination. Sure, it may happen faster for some than others, but there’s a lot of learning that takes place when we’re still a mess that your clients can benefit from.Many entrepreneurs create their passion out of pain. It’s what fuels them and drives them to want to help others.

Here are four ways to make your mess your message:

  • Be Authentic – People can relate to you if they feel like you “get” them. Talk about (and show them) your battle scars. And, then show them how you triumphed.
  • Be Vulnerable — This may sound counter-intuitive, but I don’t mean this in the sense of being weak or everyone’s doormat. I mean being so grounded in what your business stands for that you Will. Not. Compromise. Dr. Brené Brown, author of Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead says vulnerability is about being all in. “It’s a willingness to show up, be seen and take chances,” she says. A friend recently started a coaching business, which evolved during the healing process of a difficult and abusive childhood. I suggested that she use her “story” to help clients connect with her. She said that she would be too afraid that her father (and abuser) would see it on Facebook and be upset. Don’t allow someone else’s baggage to hold you back.
  • Be Thankful – It’s really hard to feel grateful about a difficult time in your life, but try and remember that your ability to dig your way out shows you (and your clients) how strong and resilient you really are.
  • Be Transparent –Let’s say you have the opportunity to listen to two people speak on the same topic. Both are equally capable, but one has actually lived it while the other has just studied it. Which one would more likely resonate with you given that you are currently experiencing something similar?

ABC’s Good Morning America Co-anchor Robin Roberts remembers when she was battling myelodysplastic syndrome, a disorder that stemmed from previous treatment for breast cancer.

“When I was first diagnosed, I wasn’t going to tell anyone,” Roberts said. “But my mother’s advice was to ‘make your mess your message.’ I learned that it takes a lot of courage to get up and to know that the best is yet to come. “

Thanks for sharing this space with me. I’d love to know what you think of this. Feel free to comment below and share this with anyone you think would benefit.

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