A few years ago, when I was but a mere 23, I worked at a summer camp in New Hampshire. It was one of the best experiences of my life. Long, blissful days playing games, learning to survive in the wild, and dancing around campfires in the evenings like monsters. Good times. But when I first arrived, I didn’t know anyone. And introducing yourself to a huge group of strangers is always fun, right?
Thankfully, Gabe came to talk to me while I was sat in the food hall eating my cereal and chocolate milk (in the same bowl, obvs). Gabe was a lovely smiling lad, around 19 or 20. He was easy to talk to and kept the conversation going. Cool, I thought. My first friend!
But as that first day crept on and came to a close, I realised something. Gabe hadn’t taken a particular shine to me. He behaved this way with everyone. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course. Unless you’re running a business.
Gabe and I were always friendly with each other and shared smiles in passing, but we never became good friends as at first I’d thought we might. I wondered to myself if Gabe ever truly became friends with anyone, or if he was just surface-layer friends with everyone.
When you run a business, trying to please everyone will mean you never connect with your people. Or, more to the point, they will never connect with you. If you don’t give people a reason to choose you, well, they won’t choose you, will they? They’ll choose the guy they can actually relate to, whose blog posts resonate with them and who speaks their language.
So just be your goddamn self.