I just love the film "You've got m@il", starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks!
I have lost count of how many times I've watched it over the years, and I continue to watch it on a regular basis, because it just speaks to my heart.
But this isn't going to be a film review. I just want to share a quote from that film here now, and that is what the character Kathleen Kelly says to Joe Fox when he comes to see her after she's had to close down her business, partly because he's opened a huge discount book store in the neighborhood where she had her little book-shop, "The Shop Around The Corner". Joe says to her that "it wasn't personal", upon which she replies that she is sick and tired of everyone saying that, and that she thinks that the only thing that means is that it wasn't personal to him, but it was personal to her and to a lot of people. And then she says (I quote): "And what's so wrong with being personal, anyway? Because whatever else anything is, at least it should begin with being personal."
Clip from YouTube - scenes from "You've Got M@il"
And you know what? I agree with her.
Let me give you 2 reasons why:
Reason # 1:
If you're building a business, people will buy from you if they know and trust you
For quite a few years now, I have wanted to build an online business, and I've spent a lot of time and money trying to learn what I need to do to succeed with that. Some of it has been very sound advice, and some of it hasn't. I've tried various approaches over the years, but quite a few of them have just left me frustrated and disappointed with the lack of result they have brought me.
And why haven't they brought any results?
Because they haven't been in line with who I really am.
They haven't been personal.
First, I tried to build an online business as a personal coach, even though I've never really liked the idea of being one. I do have experience as a teacher and a personal coach/career-coach, and I've been in charge of quite a few classes and courses over the years. But I've never really liked standing in front of a class, teaching. It just sounded like good advice to build on that experience when I wanted to start something online, so that's what I did. And there was a lot of advice on how to be professional and become the "go to" expert in your field.
Oh my, how I struggled with that! I just couldn't find a way to do it that really had me excited and feeling good about what I was doing. Nothing really resonated with who I am as a person. I felt like a fraud, because "professional" in the sense that I thought it meant, didn't seem like me at all.
I tried to create an online course, and after many different approaches, I did manage to create one that I was happy with and that I felt comfortable launching, but it still wasn't exactly what I wanted to do. I never really wanted to create a course in the first place. I wanted to express myself in a different way, because I've always been more of an artist than a teacher, - if you see what I mean...
So I decided I needed to find a better way, and I sat down and took some time to analyze my life and my online business (or rather: What I wanted to be an online business). What was working, and what wasn't?
When thinking about business, I asked myself what it is that I like about other people or companies that I follow online. Why do I follow them and also often buy their products?
The answer was really very easy:
I like who they are.
What they say and do resonate with me and the person I am or want to be.
And they show up as themselves. They seem honest about their successes and failures, and what they offer bring some real value to my life, the way I see it. I feel that I can trust them.
So the final conclusion to all my analyzing was that I needed to get more personal in my business approach, and that's what I've been trying to do ever since. I decided to build my online business around the things that I have experienced in my own life and that I have found to be valuable and important to me. Sharing all those things with you so you can get the life that YOU want, is something that I find very meaningful and important. And I want to express it through writing, through videos on my YouTube channels, through photographs, and maybe even in a podcast further down the line.
And I'm going to get more personal, because that's how I normally act around people. I just need to be myself. I can't pretend I'm someone else.
So to sum up Reason # 1:
If you want to build a business, whether it's online or a "brick-and-mortar" business:
- Build your brand so that it's in line with who you are and what you find
valuable and important.
- Share more of YOU so that the people you want to reach really get
who you are, get what you stand for, get what your values are.
When who you are and what you say and do resonate with other people, - when they can relate to you as a person and feel that you offer something that they find valuable, - that's how they will become your loyal followers and eventually your loyal customers.
Picture by Amina Filkins on Pexels.
Reason # 2: If you want to be happy and build good relationships with other people, you need to show up as your authentic self
If I'm to pick one important lesson that I've learned in life, it's this: You won't really get anywhere or even be happy if you build your life around what society and maybe your family might seem to expect: That you get a "proper education" and find yourself what is called "a decent job", and then keep your distance to other people, act "professionally" and never share anything personal. And depending on what culture and / or religion you grew up in, there will also be a lot of other expectations and rules that you need to live by.
When we're very young, we're completely open to what our surroundings teach us, whether it's our parents or other family members, teachers in school, a priest in our church, or whatever. We're like open vessels, and everything we see, hear and feel in our early years, is being programmed into our brains. We are strongly influenced by the environment we live in.
If you grew up in Japan, you will most likely speak Japanese and act according to the Japanese culture. If you grew up in Russia, you will probably speak Russian and act in accordance with Russian culture. And so on. If the dominant religion in your society or family is Buddhism, you will most likely be a buddhist yourself. If your family's religion is Islam, you'll probably be a muslim. If you grew up in a Christian family, you'll most likely be a Christian.
You get my point. We are all programmed from our birth by the surroundings we grow up in. This makes it very likely that we continue to act in accordance with what our immediate surroundings expect from us for many, many years, even after we have become adults and able to think for ourselves.
Most people just go on living like that, on autopilot, and never stop to think for themselves or question anything about their upbringing or the rules they have learned from their family and society. Many are quite happy with it, because they dont' know about anything else. Others may find themselves more and more frustrated and unhappy as the years go by because they start feeling that the rules they have been taught to live by are not in alignment with who they truly are.
This has been the case for me. For so many years I lived my life according to other people's rules or expectations of me - or what I thought they expected, and it made me feel very frustrated and unhappy. Don't get me wrong: I'm not trying to blame anyone. My peers only taught me what they had been taught themselves. But it took me nearly 50 years to get to the point where I managed to break free from that and start living my life in accordance with who I truly am. I had to make some changes in my family life, like getting a divorce, and I have lost contact with some relatives and friends in the wake of it. But at least now I know who I can rely on to love me for who I am and not just because I live by their ideas of what I should or should not do or be.
Showing up as yourself can be tough.
Especially if your honest self, your true self is not what the people close to you want you to be. But dear friend, I'm telling you: You are the only one who can live your life, and if the people close to you can not accept you for who you are, then you're actually better off without them.
I'm no saying that you need to shut some people completely out of your life. That might not even be possible. But if some people make you unhappy and have a negative influence on you or are "telling you off" or trying to make you live a life that is not in alignment with who you are, then at least try to keep your distance to those people and don't necessarily tell them everything you do or think. Just start living your life! And when you meet new people, be yourself from the very first minute. Get personal! Show them who you are. That doesn't mean that you should pour your heart out or tell them your inner thoughts and feelings right away, because that's something you shouldn't do to everybody anyways. That takes a closer relationship built on mutual trust, and will probably take some time. But show up as YOU, and don't try to be someone you're not.
Because people want to know YOU. The reason you connect with someone is probably because you saw something in each other that you instantly liked and felt attracted to. We all have that intuitive feeling when we meet someone. In just a few seconds we have made up our mind whether we like that person or not. That's why you don't want to make a bad first impression. The first impression is so important.
If you feel uncertain and don't know how you should act to make that first impression a good one and in accordance with your inner personality, that is something you can learn. Body language is the first thing we all react to, and a smile can be all it takes. But awareness is key. When you're aware of how you want people to see you, and learn how you can make that come through in your personality, you will feel more relaxed and natural after a little bit of practice. So start thinking about who you are and how you can start showing that.
Because starting to show up as the real you after having tried to act in a certain way for many, many years, - well, it takes a little practice. But you can do it! And when you show up as your true self, you can be sure that the people who connect with you and show you that they want to have you in their life, are the ones who like you for who you truly are. That's the kind of relationships that will make you happy and bring you success on all levels in your life.
And remember: It's just as important to allow other people to be their true selfs, too. Don't try to change them, but show them that you like them just the way they are (if you do!). If someone's personality is completely off in your book, you don't need to keep them in your life.
So to sum up Reason # 2:
If you want to build good and healthy relationships with people in your life, whether in business or on a personal level, you must get personal. Be yourself. Show what your values are. Be true to yourself and don't let others manipulate you into doing or being something you're not.
Picture by Elle Hughes on Pexels
I hope you liked this article. If so, I hope you'll follow my blog and maybe share the article with someone else who might like it, too.
Screenshot from The List's YouTube video "Why The Duke of Hastings of Bridgerton looks so familiar"
You've probably heard by now: Netflix has had great success with its new series "Bridgerton", set in Regency London of the late 18th -/ early 19th centuries. And the name on every lady's lips, both in the series and in real life, is "The Duke of Hastings" or "Simon Bassett", played by 31 year old Regé-Jean Page.
I was one of many who was looking forward to the release of the series on December 25th, but I didn't start watching it until just after New Year, and quite frankly: To begin with I didn't really think I would like it, because the opening scenes didn't quite catch me, so I was considering whether or not I should stop watching altogether.
But then the Duke of Hastings entered the scene, and any thought of quitting the series was swiftly cast aside. I just knew immediately that I wanted more.
Was this just a shallow decision on my behalf, made on the grounds of his dazzling looks?
Well, I must admit that his dazzling looks had a great deal to do with it. But can you blame me? I mean: Tall, dark and handsome is never wrong, is it? However: I'm actually not at all shallow, and good looks is just something that initially makes me find a man interesting. There has to be more to the equation than that for a man to keep my interest over a long period of time.
So what was it about the Duke of Hastings that made me binge-watch the whole of Season 1 of "Bridgerton" in one sitting?
Well, first of all, let me just say that I'm a huge fan of British period dramas, so the whole setting was already great. But "Bridgerton" is also very different from other dramas in this genre because of the fact that in it, racially diverse characters populate all classes of British society, including the highest echelons. And the most eligible bachelor of all is a black man: The Duke of Hastings. This is something that highly appeals to me with this series, and it makes it a drama that I find very appropriate for this time and space that we find ourselves in.
The actor portraying The Duke of Hastings, Regé-Jean Page, said it very well in an interview with NPR's Ailsa Chang (quote):
"I think it's incredibly important that when we are indulging ourselves in these kind of great, big Cinderella fantasies, that everyone gets to see themselves as worthy of status and glamour and love and redemption. And being the protagonist in these stories and being the protagonist in these settings where you can see yourself as rich, attractive and admirable is important for absolutely everyone."
But what about the charachter himself, The Duke of Hastings - what is it that makes him so attractive to us women?
Well, apart from the fact that "he is a tall, dark, handsome, brooding, thoroughly broken man who is struggling with issues of legacy and pride and trauma, and in that way fits pretty well into the archetype of (...) the stoic, brooding Clint Eastwood type (...), very kind of Darcy, Heathcliff... all these men who are hugely emotionally stunted..." (again quoted from Regé-Jean Page), - he's also (as Ailsa Chang pointed out in the podcast interview) quite different from other Regency-era romantic leads. What perhaps ultimately makes him a modern character, is that even though he's a man struggling with his demons, he seems vulnerable.
That's something I personally find highly attractive in a man, and quite frankly: I believe most women do. The Duke of Hastings is struggling to relate with Daphne, the woman who eventually becomes his wife. But he manages to figure out how to (I quote the actor) "open the doors in himself that make him worthy of love and capable of giving love to her", - and that, ladies, is - I believe - the whole clue to a successful relationship: Opening up and allowing yourself to be vulnerable with the other person and really trying to understand who they are and who you are.
Women have generally been better at this than most men, but - thank God! - this seems to have changed in the last century, and men are picking up on this more and more and are beginning to understand that masculinity isn't all about being strong and never showing any feelings, but that showing vulnerability is actually a strength.
Regé-Jean Page said it so beautifully in the interview, when asked what he most of all wants audiences to learn from The Duke of Hastings:
"That here is always a place to listen and evolve and grow; that there is more than one type of strength; that a lot of the time, exerting strength and dominance - which Simon, I think, starts from - can in fact be what's holding you back, what's making you weaker. And I think that figuring out how to open the doors in yourself that make you worthy of love and capable of giving love is that ongoing conversation that I was most interested in exploring."
Well, I must say: He did it well. I don't think I'm alone in falling completely in love with the Duke of Hastings. Showing vulnerability, combined with his manners, his show of respect for her, his ability to have intellectual and honest conversations with her, his way of conducting himself, and his classy way of dressing, his immaculate taste ... it all made the "package" complete.
But what absolutely cracked me up was this: I just adored the way he discretely talked to Daphne about things that helped her discover her own sexuality in a way that would take away any feel of shame that she might have around it and help her see it as a completely natural thing. This really melted my heart, especially since I could personally relate to what she might think and feel about these matters. I grew up in a religious family and ... well, I had similar thoughts of shame and guilt around exploring my own sexuality when I was very young, so I absolutly loved the way the Duke of Hastings addressed this. Just take a look at this scene from the series:
And to be absolutely honest: His way of gently and passionately making love to Daphne and making her feel like the most important and desirable woman on earth, - that alone was something that made him a highly desirable man.
So what can men of today learn from the Duke of Hastings?
Exactly those things that I've mentioned in this article, and then some.
Need a recap?
Well, here you have it - my very special
"Golden list" of attractive traits in a man:
The ability to open up to recieving and giving love on a deep level
Good taste / showing interest in grooming yourself and looking good without
Respect for her as a woman and as a human being
Welcoming the fact that she's different from you as a man and therefor
also someone you can learn new and valuable things from
The ability to have intellectual and honest conversations with a woman and
being fully present in the moment and not easily distracted by other things
Tenderness & intimacy
Making a woman feel like she's the one, - the one you adore and desire and love above anyone else on this planet
Hard to live up to? Well, any man who at least TRIES to be some of these things to a woman, will be considered highly attractive and desirable, - at least in MY book.
I hope you enjoyed this article and found it valuable. If so, I can inform you that I'll be writing more in the near future on both manners, etiquette and what I regard as attractive traits in both men and women, - among other things. So stay tuned!
And if you haven't already watched "Bridgerton", I suggest you do!