The Virtues Of Sharing (Southern-Style)

What happens when a Yankee and a Texan marry? Well in my own case, I inherited a bunch of southern family. I’ve learned to say “y’all” and “bless her heart”. The family tree includes Crutch and Buck, Bubba (seriously), Uncle Son and Aunt Willie Lee (nicknamed “Aunt Snazz”), who still mowed her own lawn at 90.

But the biggest gift from my southern in-laws has got to be that they share things. Big things, little things. They ask questions, and seem to genuinely want to know the answers. Yankees—or at least my band of Connecticut and Vermont Yankees—are much more tight-lipped. You’ve got to drag things out of them, even after you’ve known them for years.

I like to think my southern branch is on to something.

Have you ever noticed how much easier it is to connect with those who let down the curtain a bit? They show us how real they are. Their vulnerability, their being human, actually draws us closer.

It can be sharing a personal loss, as Charles Green so eloquently wrote about his beloved dog Sammy. He didn’t do it to earn SEO points, he did it because he had to. It was too important to his life NOT to. If you read the comments, you’ll note they are unusually personal and reflective. Charlie hit a chord with his heart-felt story.

Sometimes, it’s telling the REAL truth about what you’re feeling vs hiding it behind bluster. I had been mystified by a client’s abrupt dismissal of a stunningly gorgeous shot of her we wanted to use on her website. “It’s a bad photo”, she kept insisting. It was only after some probing that she finally said:  “I look so old”. Ah. Now that’s something altogether different. Her oh-so-human feeling immediately made me identify with her (and showed me how to solve the problem).

And maybe it’s just trusting that your story must be shared. Last week I was introduced to a very successful business author. After the usual preliminaries, she could have waxed poetic about her business writing—which would have been the straightest line to revenue for her.  But instead, she told me about a personal memoir she wants to write. I was simply blown away with how she immediately took me into her story. She had me hooked. You can bet I will be at the front of the line to read her first non-business book.

Show me you’re human and I will follow you, read your books and maybe even move mountains to help you.

Bet I’m not alone.

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  • I emphasize vulnerability with my clients as well.

    Though some people see showing who you really are; the good, the warts, and the fugly, as being weak.

    I’m sure you’d agree Rochelle, nothing could be further from the truth.

    Storytelling reveals who you are as a person. What a great way to connect.

    • Rochelle

      I totally agree Steve–this is a hard lesson for some of us. Just we’re selling advice we aren’t ever supposed to make mistakes? If only 🙂

  • Having a shared last name and a common friend (Charlie Green), who is far from common, I am delighted to find your blog. Having embraced and been embraced by family even farther south (Argentina), I too have benefitted from a culture of warmth and sharing. What a wonderful gift.

    I would love to know more about your storytelling business friend. I have used a novel, until Brazil, to bring myself back to US connections (after decades of working internationally) and to make new ties to like-minded souls.

    I look forward to your future blogs.

  • I was born and raised in the South. Not the “Bubba” south; but still the south. Manners and respect seem to have started there. Being comfortable within one’s self is important. To be able to share openly is something many people have a problem with.
    I read Charles’s blog. It took me back six years when I experienced the same thing. I remember every detail of that sad, but necessary, afternoon.

  • peter getoff

    Rochelle, you are brilliant. Once again you have tapped into a key ingredient (of course in my opinion) of building successful relationships-with loved ones, business associates, fellow human beings.

    Thanks for the reminder. I think there is a balance-I am excellent at making others comfortable so that they share about themselves but sometimes I am more tight-lipped and less disclosing than I need to be.

    Thanks for elevating my consciousness for the umpteenth time!!!


  • The personal remains an important, often forgotten part of personal brands. For the solo practitioner in particular, it helps distinguishes you. In my case, my interest in music and concerts often becomes something that helps connect me with prospects and folks who can make the needed intro to the prospect I may not even know exists. Also, my penchant for wearing tees of my fave band under a dress shirt lends itself to other conversations, perhaps the way someone gets comments on their ties. Nothing wrong with sharing details that help to humanize you to the folks you meet. It helps makes it good feeling to know you.

  • What a great post , I love your writing.
    I am a french woman married to an american from the south, living in Texas. I love how people here are easy most of the time and cheerful too.
    Sharing from the heart is how I would describe the sharing you are talking about, the heart can be vulnerable and it is ultimately its great power.

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