Here’s how my days go lately:
I wake up.
I get scared.
I look at my calendar, see a bunch of appointments. I get scared by everything I have to do.
I eat breakfast, make tea, clear, and then meditate.
Then I remember that I get to choose to do whatever I want.
And then I choose to serve whoever is next in front of me, powerfully.
That’s all I need to do.
So many funny things have happened on this journey. One of the silliest, to me, is getting over my ridiculous fear of the telephone. As a kid, I hated the telephone. I was always worried about it being awkward (like if I didn’t know what to say), or not being a good enough conversationalist. I hated calling up my friends to ask them to hang out, because they might say no, and I couldn’t bear for them to hear the disappointment and rejection in my voice.
Text messages and e-mail were a godsend for that part of my fear. They let me empower my fear totally. I never had to talk on the phone! I could just send people e-mails or text message, and then manage the fears however I needed to when we were in person.
Imagine my skepticism and concern when I found out that most coaching is done over the phone. First of all, I gotta call this jerk I’m paying money to? Why won’t he meet up with me?
And then second, you’re telling me I will likely be using the phone with all of my clients? Oh geez.
And then it got worse! All of the training I saw and received screamed to me: “PICK UP THE PHONE”.
My fears were perfectly aligned with the reason that coaching happens over the phone, and why communicating over e-mail or text message really doesn’t work much as a coach.
The phone allows for intimacy and connection. E-mail and text messages don’t. There’s no connection with a human being. Sometimes you get the emoticon, or you know the person in front of you so well that you can get a decent amount of meaning from their e-mail, but even then, with 80-90% of our communication being non-verbal, it’s clear how crappy digital mediums are for genuine human connection.
And it was the connection that terrified me. I didn’t like connecting with people, because then I was vulnerable.
49 weeks in, and all that has changed. The first thing I ever tell someone to do, if they’re interested in being referred to me is “call me”. Call me on the phone.
And when I see an e-mail land in my inbox, the first thing I do is look for a phone number. I want to get on the phone with that person right away. I don’t want to spend time crafting an e-mail, deleting it, editing it, getting it just perfect (notice, those are all things that actually stand in the way of genuine connection. Being human is to be imperfect).
There’s some other things that are cool about the phone. You know what I don’t have? Call waiting. Or another line.
If you’re talking on the phone with me, that’s all there is. There’s no additional calls coming in, there’s no queue for me to get distracted by. It’s not like e-mail, where I can be crafting my message to someone, and suddenly get distracted by the message I think I need to craft to the six other people that just reached out to me.
So I guess the theme for this week has really simply been that business, and life, happen in intimate, connected conversation. Not in e-mail, not in text messages, but in conversation.
Want to increase your business as an entrepreneur? Stop e-mailing and pick up the phone.