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Be you, be authentic, be transparent. Great words to live by… but how much is TOO much? How much mess should you show to your audience?

Do you give them the down & dirty play-by-play of every little thing that goes wrong? Or do you hide it all behind an “everything’s fine” facade and build a persona that never makes a mistake?

How do you address the mess? Jennie & Alyson will share their experience and some rules to follow when you want to share a mess of your own.

Our transcript hasn't been proofed, so there will probably be some errors. Sorry about that!

Alyson Lex 0:00
Zoom, ladies. You've heard it right? hot mess, express, I'm such a hot mess, what a hot mess, all the things. Here's the deal, everyone is a hot mess at some point in their businesses and in their lives. And when you start your business, when you're building it, or when something just doesn't work, or super stressful, or you have something personal going on, mess happens, happens to all of us. And it's really popular to show the mess. I like to show the mess. But are you showing too much? What is the right amount of mess to show? Here's the thing, everyone's acceptable level of showing the mess, is different. I share more mess than Jenny, Jenny shares less mess than me. And both of us show less than other people or more than even more people. There is some stuff to consider here. And we're going to go through it all today. Because it's really important that you don't show too much mess, and make yourself out to be not competent, not able, and not an expert in what you do.

Jennie Wright 1:15
We're going to consider three things. We're going to talk about your audience, your brand, and also your style of mess. So let's talk about the audience first, I like this, is your audience going to actually appreciate the mess? Are they going to get turned off by the idea in itself? Is it going to make people think that you're less credible, less of an expert? Is it going to reflect badly? Or is it going to be something that's wildly embraced? And just people are just clamoring on board? Because they think it's awesome, super authentic, super open, it helps them connect more deeply with you Like, how is it going to impact? This is something that Alyson and I have actually talked about? There's also the idea, and we'll talk about this a little bit later, as well as the curated mess, you know, a little bit of putting on instead of putting on airs, it's like putting on the mass. And we'll talk more about that later. You know, is it going to be something that actually leaning into? And will it make sense to your audience? Will they still be able to pull the relevant messages out of it? versus just seeing the mess? Are they going to be able to associate well with it? And are they going to get something from it? Will it teach something? Will it help people understand something? Will it help them understand you? Or whatever it is that you're talking about? Is it going to help them learn from you better? Is it going to help them understand you or is all that good? Is it just going to be this sort of like screen of mess, and they're not going to be able to see through it? These are really important questions before you start going and playing down this road.

Alyson Lex 2:49
Surprise, surprise, we want you to take your audience into consideration when you do anything in your business, who would have thought. But the thing is, not all audiences are going to be able to learn from every mess. Not all audiences are going to be able to connect to every story. So understanding your audience is crucial. When it comes to choosing what you share with them. I share a whole lot with my audience, I am very, very open, I don't share everything because my audience won't care. They won't learn from it. And they don't want to hear it. Alright, and that brings me to the second point, which is your brand. And I'm not really a branding person. I'm definitely not a branding expert. But what I do know is that the way you communicate with people needs to be on-brand with how you want to be perceived in the marketplace. I personally, I remember when I was getting my logo designed and doing all of that stuff. It was like well, what, what's your brand? What are some associations? How do you want to be seen and I was like, quirky, doesn't take herself too seriously, but still knows her stuff. And is really good at what she does. And so yes, showing a little bit of my mess is on brand for me and by my mess, I'm gonna define that real quick. My mess is not necessarily chaotic household. Right? My mess is not necessarily my own personal self perceived failings. My mess is not necessarily you know, interpersonal conflicts. It's never that kind of stuff, actually. So what is my mess? Well, it's when I maybe flub a little bit, or the fact that Jennie likes to share screenshots of videos where I am definitely not expecting it, or things that maybe make it so that I don't know Perfect and polished all the time, because I'm not. And that's on brand for me, I've designed my brand to be that way for a reason. One because it's very authentic to who I am, but to, I don't want to have to be perfect and polished all the time. So if I set my brand up the right way, I don't have to be, okay. It's gonna say, hashtag selfish goals there. Hashtag selfish goals. But if your brand is super polished, then no, don't show your mess. And if your brand is more like me, it may be tempting to show more of the mess, you want to make sure that you consider the other two aspects your audience and your mess before you go all in on showing your mess if if you have a more relaxed brand.

Jennie Wright 5:49
And to your point, I have tried in the past, to play around with different levels of mess, like I'll show you know, when I'm moving and how things are crazy, or, you know, the fact that I did actually have a antipa station in my kitchen at one point in a previous apartment, it was totally out of my control. Because it was like the whole building had it. Those kinds of things are normal things that people put out there. I have found through trial and error with my brand, that if I show too much the perception is is I am not competent. And I've had problems with clients back in the past. This was several, many years ago, back in the past, where if I was showing, quote unquote, the mass that I was getting messages like, Well, you know what, I don't feel comfortable with you being able to finish this project. I was like, Whoa, okay. So I don't show it in a way it doesn't. I mean, could I be more is my brand? Could my brand be a little bit more on the, you know, chillax kind of side? Sure. But I'm not going to put the jeopardy of people thinking, you know, I'm, there's a lack of competence or whatnot, it also actually might speak to the fact that maybe at the time, I wasn't pulling in the right clients. So there's maybe that too, you know, I'm having a little bit of self discovery, we'll talking about this, this is actually kind of cool. So there's a possibility to, but it's just sort of what I've gotten used to, and I also like a clean, sort of, you know, feel to things as well. So there's that.

Alyson Lex 7:25
And you touch on something really important in what your message says about you. And, and, and even the, quote unquote severity of the mess, right. So let's use an infestation versus maybe some, you know, I skipped a laundry day this week. Right? Do I maybe show the laundry but hide the ants? Maybe? Or maybe you just put it out there look every spring I get ants in my kitchen. Right? not that serious? If I had roaches, nobody's hearing about it. I'm just gonna put that one out there. Okay, it is not happening. So there are levels. And there are always no go messes. Alright, I'm just gonna lay this rule down. Relationship drama is a no fly zone.

Jennie Wright 8:21
And for many people, it is a fly zone.

Alyson Lex 8:24
But no,

Jennie Wright 8:25
for me, it's a no as well.

Alyson Lex 8:28
I keep interpersonal conflict out of my private life. I mean, my public life. It is 1,000% private. I want to I actually just thought of this. So you have really three levels of life. You have public, which is out there for everyone to see. You have personal which is out there but not for everyone. And then you have private and that stuff stays locked down all the time. Okay. If I have an argument with my husband, there are let's let's do that an argument with my husband. If I'm if I'm talking publicly and this is 100% hypothetical, my husband is an amazing man. Public I might say I had an argument with my husband. Okay, that's okay. They happen. We have an argument. Personal I might tell a friend, I had an argument with my husband about x. Okay, maybe it's you know me to a friend. Yeah, I'm frustrated by x. Private is me The dirty details of that argument, my innermost feelings about it, the rants, the events, and, you know, you can choose whether you share that with a best friend or not. But that doesn't get out. Okay, so that is my example of public, personal and private, it's really important to understand where each of your messes falls on that spectrum. The fact that I miss laundry day or that every spring, I have answered my kitchen, public, I don't care. Other stuff, I'm not even going to say here because this is public.

Jennie Wright 10:42
Like your example, I'm going to relate it to business, I'm going to pull it into the business world, too, right? So we have the somewhat public personal and private messages of our business, you know, the hiring and firing of an employee who's been on your team, publicly trashing another person, another coach, things like that. So just be you know, and we're just, we're just trying to raise awareness on this. And you may or may not agree with Allison and I, and what we're saying, and we totally understand that. And if your preference is different than ours, that's okay. We're just sharing our This is our personal opinion. And luckily, we get the platform of having our own podcast to talk about it. So yeah, so many coaches, and many people will say keep it under wraps, until you've kind of solved your stuff, only you can decide whether or not this is true. So something to think about. Here's a couple things that you can do that will help you maybe navigate like, what can I show? What do I feel comfortable with showing? And one of those is sharing the unrelated nurses like Alison's audience we were talking about earlier really connects to her mental health journey. And they applaud her for that transparency and understanding. And I actually think it's attracted more people to her. And I honestly and Allison chime in on this, I honestly think you may have gotten actually some clients from that, who, like, I can name two in my head, that share a similar mental health background that you're now writing for?

Alyson Lex 12:21
Yeah, absolutely. I've used it as a connection point, I've used it as education. And it also serves a personal mission of mine in which is to de stigmatize the mental health issues that happen. And, and so I am able to encourage others, that, hey, you know, what you see on the surface may not always be what it is. So that's a specific mass that I've chosen to share that a lot of people choose to keep private or personal. And that's where what you were saying, This is how we operate. And you may choose differently.

Jennie Wright 13:00
Absolutely. I shared when my mom passed away, to give to your private, you know, your public, private and everything like that I shared with my mom passed away to her and I had a difficult relationship. I didn't go into all the messy details about it. But I definitely shared that there had been some, you know, there had been some issues there. But even though she had now passed, this was, you know, it was a post that I put out right after her pack when she passed away. And I did get a lot of people who kind of connected to me on that. And that was my level of acceptable mess, because when she did pass away with all transparency on it, it, it hit me a little bit harder than I thought it would given our previous relationship. So but I am very curated in the fact that I don't talk about the details. Nobody needs to know the details. You know, I mean, and there's that. And I think that's important to think about. So that kind of leads into the next point, which is the whole don't go overboard.

Alyson Lex 14:01
Exactly. So there are a couple of parts about not going overboard that I think are really important that Jenny and I just explained. Okay, so Jenny did share about the relationship and the difficulty that she had when her mother passed away. And then she didn't talk about it a lot again, until now. Right, she didn't post about it every day. It wasn't the running theme of all of her promotions for a year. It was something she decided to share in order to a have her own personal journey but be connect with others who may have shared similar experiences. And then that was it. It's really important that it is not all about your mess. All the time. I cannot stress that enough, mention your mess, tell a story that might contain a mess in the context of a larger lesson. But if all you do is say, OMG, look at me on such a mass, you're not going to connect with people in the way that they want to. You're not going to give them the value, you always have to consider where is the value in what I'm posting. Right. I share tidbits about my mental health journey, in order to show people that if they're struggling, they're not alone. that's valuable. Jenny shared what she shared in order to show people that if this is the kind of relationship you might have with someone in your life, you're not alone. That's an important message. You might decide, hey, I want to share and I know that actually, in an upcoming episode, we are going to share what used to be the mess in our back end, in order to show you like the back end of our business, there we go, right. There's my mess, Jenny's dying right now. Because nobody needs to know about our back end mess, the back end of our business mess. See, this is why it's on brand. For me, I'm totally comfortable with this little thing right here. But we're going to show you and tell you what it used to be like for us when we organized our businesses and our podcasts and our work together. And kind of why that didn't work and what we do now. So you can learn, hey, I do it this way, here's a better way. Right? That's, that's a reason. So why are you sharing the mess? If you're not giving them value, it's gonna wear thin after a while.

Jennie Wright 17:10
And to really sort of cut to the chase on this, are you doing it for internet karma? karma. This is something that you see a lot on Reddit and you know, injure and things stuff like that non business associated stuff, where people are posting their stuff for some karma. And quite honestly, we love to be able to feel validated. And we love to have some people tell us you know, this is I'm really sorry, or whatever the case is. But check your reasoning. You know, what's, what's your reasoning for putting it out? That's a really good conversation to have. I've had that conversation with myself more than once I've even put a post up before when I was really upset or sad. And I went, yeah, I know that the reasoning behind this is not valid, and I've taken it down. Right. So if all you do is say like Allison said before, oh my god, look at my mask, you're possibly going to run into some issues. They're just something to think about. Right? So show them. What is helpful though. And this is a really good thing. This is a great marketing technique is show them how you're overcoming that's show them how you're overcoming the things. So once you've had a solution, or once you figure your stuff out, I will soar once you figured your stuff out. Right pG parkette podcast and I almost said the S word.

Alyson Lex 18:23
I have been holding myself back this entire episode.

Unknown Speaker 18:30
difficult.

Jennie Wright 18:32
Oh my god. Okay, so yeah, it happens guys. There's the mess right there. So if you've overcome your your stuff, there's a good password to use if you've overcome your stuff, then how are you going to show it and how are you going to how can you use that as a as a motivational technique as a up leveling technique as a credibility technique, an expert technique? Right. So I use an example of when I did my case. So I've done 300 summits, right. I'm I will loosely call myself an expert of summits, I will give myself that loose determination. Okay. But my first summit, and I've said these exact words, my first summit was a hot mess. Because I had no bleep deeply any clue what I was doing. And, I mean, I look back at it now and they're still posts on Facebook. Guys, if you want to scroll back on my Facebook to the early early 2013 you'll see me post about my summit. And it is so cringe worthy. It is so bad. Oh my god, it's so so bad. But I left it up I've purposely left it left up because it is my It is one of my growth moments. And so I'm able to talk about it on the podcast and on other people's podcasts and with clients. And it allows me to incredibly interesting connect to people saying, Look, you've never done this before. summits aren't easy. I know, I screwed up my first one. But then I learned and I figured out the techniques. And I did this. And I did this. And now I've done over 300. And I can help produce your successful summit. So you can see how I've turned that incredibly hot mess of cringe worthiness and other words that we shall not use on a PG family podcast, into a teachable moment, and an opportunity to actually elevate myself as the supposedly loosely named expert that I shall call myself.

Alyson Lex 20:36
Jenny's an expert, she's just trying to be humble. Anyway, we actually have a client right now who went through some major personal stuff, and grew as a result of it. And she shares the story of the stuff she went through. But more importantly, she focuses on how she grew. And when we create copy, yeah, we reference the story. But we say you don't have to have gone through this. I'm going to show you what I did. So it's, you're sharing the mass, but you're not fixating on the message really, actually like that. Share the mess. Don't fixate on the mess. That is really how you want to approach it. What message am I sharing? What lesson are we learning? What's my reason for doing it, and then move on. That's it.

Jennie Wright 21:44
I have really found this little hot mess Express of our own here, super fun. And I'm actually enjoying this, I didn't think I would enjoy this episode as much. Because you know, it makes me uncomfortable. But I actually really enjoyed it. And I'm like giggling and laughing and you know, practically swearing and I'm feeling super authentic to myself.

Alyson Lex 22:04
And what you're doing right now is a perfect example of showing it without being it. Typically, these episodes make me uncomfortable, but I've overcome it. And I'm enjoying it. Don, show up your writer for not a mess. Yep, there you go. There's a perfect example. So everyone who's listening? Jenny did it right. Go be like Jenny fat.

Jennie Wright 22:32
There's a couple takeaways I have an Allison have today to share with you. These are the things that we think came of came from this that are important and fun and interesting. So I want you to really think about your audience and what's going to fit for them. What's going to provide value, how is it going to support them before you start putting stuff out? Again, if you want to work in the public space and use your social media, and use your email and things like that, and your website and whatnot, to be authentically you. We're not perfect. And there's the you know, poop happens as I say, so we can talk about how we have the poop, but more how we overcome the poop. And then we have a poop free life. There's There's my, that should be a social takeaway right there. Quick put that up on Instagram, please.

Alyson Lex 23:17
The poop free life. Wow, this has devolved quickly. Okay, so my takeaway is if you're not giving value alongside the mess, or the struggle or the what have you, your message is going to wear them. It's not going to connect and people are not going to necessarily care so much. So what I want you to do instead is if you're going to share a story, connect the dots for them. Tell them what you learned from it, tell them what they can learn from it. Don't just be like, here's my story and kind of, you know, story don't own them.

Jennie Wright 24:03
I really like that connecting the dots, but that's really good. All right, I'm gonna say check your reasons. Why are you sharing this? Is it for karma? Is it for sympathy? Is it for, you know, having people tell you how wonderful or how sad or how, you know how they see your life? Like what is the reasoning What is your why on this? I guess I'm the of the persuasion that, you know, be authentically you. 100% don't over sterilize things which I will fully admit early on in my career. I was oversteer overly sterilized and what I was putting out online but I was coming from corporate guys, I was an investor relations and communications. You don't show any mess and Investor Relations and communications just gonna say, including the fact that one of the companies I worked for had a bedbug infestation at one of the places that I worked Anyways, right? Like you don't talk about that stuff. You just don't. However, really make sure you're connecting to the why on this and that you're just not searching for some good old karma.

Alyson Lex 25:13
I like that. Yeah, it's really easy to to chase the likes and chase the comments up, we've all fallen victim to it. So yeah, I really like when when Jenny said that, like check your reasons, stop and take a beat. My last takeaway is when you're sharing some messy stuff, make sure you show how you've overcome it. Make sure you show them what comes after. Because this is this is not just great connection, material and encouragement and motivation. It's great sales material too.

Jennie Wright 25:50
I'm really curious as the listener, what do you think of this episode? Do you agree with us? Do you disagree with us? Do you have opinions on it? I'm actually really curious to know. And I'd want to hear from you. So get in touch with us you can actually go to System to THRIVE COMM And and find a little connection page there. You can connect with us. Let us know what you think. Are you messy? Are you not messy? Do you keep it all under wraps? Do you share it for the world? Is it all over the place? Are you more curated? How do you address the mess? Oh, I like that. How do you address the mess? This has been fun to do with Alyson it's been fun to talk about again, I really didn't think I'd like this particular topic. It was making me a little anxious, but I actually really really enjoyed it. So I just want to thank you very much for listening to this particular episode. Follow us. Download us, connect with us. Subscribe to us. And you get to hear more of our little messages and or not so little messages and our overcome this and our lack of karma chasing I don't know. Anyways, thanks so much for listening, everybody. We'll be back again soon. Answering another big question.

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