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Suzanne Banta

#020: Who Are You?

Listen to Episode 20

Today on The Client Whisperer™ Show we’re talking about identity and answering the question, who are you? Who who, who, who? Stay tuned. Welcome to The Client Whisperer™ Show. I’m your host Tony Banta and I am the Client Whisperer. I’ve spent over a decade running multiple six- and seven-figure client businesses and I’ve learned that the secret to success in a client business comes down to one thing: leadership. Bad client behavior is the enemy. And with the right curriculum, infrastructure, and mindset, you can lead your clients to great success and scale your business the easy way.

I believe this is going to be great. I wonder how many episodes we can have a classic rock theme to. That’d be so fun. I really want to know – who are you? I didn’t sing on this one. I got mixed reactions to the last one, so we’ll see if you like the singing and you want that to stay. You have to reach out and leave a comment. Leave a review on iTunes, client so that I know that you like that, or else I’m just not putting myself through the necessary humiliation to do that for all of you. But it’s the last day in January. It’s Friday, January 31st – crazy how time has flown by. But I’m really excited to be able to be here and talk to you a little bit about identity.

I feel like this is a great time, the new year. It’s the end of the first month of the year. The first month of the year for me always feels a little bit new, it feels like a shock to the system. We got through the holidays, we got through all those things. The last year for us had some huge changes, especially towards the end of the year. So we were coming into the new year and then everything just kind of fell into place. It felt like our identity was back. Like we reached normal again where we can continue to make reasonable measured progress towards our goals. It’s been a little busier than it usually has, but that’s really good.

And I have a really great story. Some really great stuff happened. I’m feeling particularly well-rested. So I’m going to share why and how we did that in just a few minutes.

But this episode’s all about identity. The reason why identity is important is because identity is everything. Who we are is everything. I was on a podcast recently being interviewed – and it hasn’t dropped yet. It’ll probably drop in a few. I’ll make an announcement. But I was talking with the person on the podcast and he was talking about behaviors and how you get someone to actually change their behavior.

And this is such a great question. This is a question that so many of our clients and people in various networking groups that I’m in, and you know that we certainly go deep on with our private clients and even employees of our private clients on how you actually change client behavior, because we can’t control other people, right? So we have to live in this weird, unintuitive world. Because if I want to change something else in my life – I want to change that chair, right? I don’t like that blanket that’s behind me. And if you’re listening to this and you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can always check out the video on – because this is episode 20 – and YT for YouTube. And that’ll take you to the video.

But if I wanted to change that, I can just go over and grab it. Right? It doesn’t have autonomy. It doesn’t have agency. It can’t make decisions for itself. It’s just a blanket. And so I can move that. I can put that in the closet. That’s not mean. That’s not cruel. That’s not unusual punishment for me to throw the blanket in solitary and swap that out. But we can’t do that with people. We can do that with clients. Even when clients bother us, we can’t do that with clients. And clients have paid us, even if they’re driving us crazy. We can’t necessarily say, “Block, I never want to talk to you again.” Right? That’s not fair. And yet, so often, we wish we could in those extreme cases, and there are ways to handle that. We cover them every Wednesday.

You can check out What to Say Wednesday and we talk about those ways of handling some of the extreme cases and those other questions that pop up naturally when working with clients. But here we’re talking about identity, and in this conversation that I was having on this podcast, he kept talking about behaviors.

And you know, the really interesting thing about behavior is that there are two ways to change. There are two ways that we as individuals can change our behavior. One is through training, through conditioning, what we’ve spent time doing and we’ve built muscle memory on. I like to think of this as the low and slow method of skill-building.

I wasn’t that great at podcasting in my first episodes. I had a podcast years ago, maybe 2014, somewhere in there. And I have some speech issues that I’ve had since I was a kid. Sometimes I’ll stammer or sometimes I’ll stutter. When I was a kid, it was really bad. I would get choked up. And when I would want to say something, but I literally wouldn’t be able to say it. I didn’t know how to bring the words there, I didn’t know how to pass air through my airways to make any voice. I was just stuck. Right? And it was just anxiety. It was just, it was just the stress and the muscle memory that had grown stressful around that.

But my point is, when I first started podcasting, I was not good. And even when I started this podcast, I wasn’t great. Even just 20 episodes ago, it wasn’t that long ago. But I listened now that we built up a bunch of interview episodes that I recorded before we actually launched because I wanted to have a good number of them in the pipeline. And I go back now and listen to some of the first interviews that I did that are now coming out and they aren’t as good as the most recent interviews. Why? Well, because I’ve done 30 combined episodes that are recorded, just so far in The Client Whisperer™ Show.

And so now I’m a lot better. It’s the low and slow method. I keep showing up, I keep doing it. I have to be honest, I did not want to do this episode today. It’s been a really long week. And I’ve had a couple of health issues. But this is my commitment to do this. And so I had to get honest with myself and say, “I made this commitment.” This is the low and slow thing that I’m doing. I’ve committed to show up.

As Seth Godin talks about, I’m showing up and being consistent for you, the listener. And for those of you that are our clients, that’s my commitment. So low and slow method. I’m getting better. I’m getting better because I keep showing up even when I might not want to. But the second way that we can change our behavior, because that first way is training, the second way is our identity.

Who we are, how the deepest parts of us already know how to behave and perform, and I like to think of this as the fast and radical way that people change literally in an instant. I can remember a couple of times even recently where there were some things going on and I just felt disempowered about it. I had some things that were outside of my control and when I would see them come up, I would feel that punched-in-the-gut feeling. I can’t talk about the specifics, it wouldn’t be appropriate for the podcast, but I had that punched-in-the-gut feeling.

And there was this narrative in my head of “safety=control=I have to know everything, manage everything, do that.” That was an identity that said that I’m not already safe and already okay exactly as I am. There were these layers of belief that I had to peel back, that I had to uncover. And when I did that, when I went through some of that work for myself, what I was able to do is I was able to see, “Oh, I already am in control. I’m not in control of what those other people do, but I’m already in control of me and what they’re doing doesn’t have to affect me at all. What they’re doing doesn’t have to make a difference in my day or in my life. Cause I have amazing goals. I have amazing people surrounding me and we get to work together towards those goals. We have amazing clients who have goals, who we get to support them towards everything that they’re building in the world.”

And so all of this adds up to, I have amazing things to focus on. Why would I want to focus on the negative? Why would I want to give away that power, that agency to that? Well, I don’t, that’s insanity. But that’s the insanity that comes with that misinterpretation of the identity, right? I was thinking about it in computer science terms, right? The data that’s on your hard drive or your solid-state disk, that data can get corrupted sometimes, right? And then what happens if you’ve ever had a JPEG that you’ve taken with your camera that you’ve put on an unreliable hard drive – you’ve seen this, you open it up and there’s a big green block on it somewhere, right? Sorry, computer science nerd. Every once in a while I’m going to give you these analogies.

Well, what is that? That’s data corruption. That picture was perfect, but the tools we have to save it, the tools we have to remember it, to interpret it are flawed. And so that picture, that image, that moment in time of, your kids playing, of your wife at that special moment that she said yes when you were holding the engagement ring, or I’m just thinking of some incredible moments of my life, right? The time when a few of your friends were at that party celebrating a big success. There was a perfect moment. There was nothing broken about the moment.

And I think the same thing happens with our identity. There’s nothing wrong with our identity. So when I ask, “Who are you?” I’m not asking who’s the broken version of you, your identity is already perfect. Who are you? The best parts of you are already there. It’s already whole. It’s already perfect. It’s that the interpretation of that, the layers that we have to translate that internal identity into the world is flawed. And it’s in that flaw, how that comes out that we misinterpret our identity.

We might give our ego, our fears, some of those patterns that are meant to protect us, we might give them extra power and give them more power than they deserve so they take up a bigger seat at the table, they take up more air time in our heads. And when we let that happen, the translation of our identity flows through that, right? It gets corrupted by that as that plays out. So what’s important to do is, it’s important to get back to the true identity. To clarify.

For me, that’s in journaling. For me, that’s in the conscious and intentional writing down of the way that I’m feeling, and I have a little bit of a practice that I’ve developed over time that goes specifically to connecting who I am within and how I’m feeling and how I want to behave. Connecting that back to my values. I’ve gone through some intentional value-setting processes and that’s incredibly useful because that gives me a way of saying, “No, no, I’ve already intentionally decided who I am and I’m these things.”

So now when some of those things happen, when some of those weird things come out of the blue – and I actually literally just had one happen earlier today and I could see at another point in time at another day when I get that call that’s really frustrating, that throws you for a loop – threw me for a loop. Right? I could see how that could make me say, “I’m just done with the day. I’m not going to show up, record the podcast. I’m not going to do those other things. I’m not going to answer those emails for those leads who I promised I would send some resources to, I’m not going to do that today. I can worry about it tomorrow. It’s all, it’s all just too much.” It’s me giving my power away. That’s me giving in instead because of the identity shift.

Do you know what happened? I saw that. I felt that and I said, “Okay, enough with that because there’s nothing that will stop me from marching forward and building the business, building the resources for you, our listeners, our friends from afar. There’s nothing that will stop me from continuing to do what we’re doing. Even if I take some detours to figure out and to clarify my identity, the fact that I have that identity, that I am in control of me, I can choose to be affected or I can choose to just let that go, to let that flow like water.”

If I were to throw a – I’ll get really hippie on you for a second. If I throw a flower pedal into the river, within a matter of seconds, I can’t even see it anymore. And that’s exactly how I treated that incident earlier today, just literally a couple of hours ago. So what does that mean? How does that apply to what we’re talking about? Well, that’s the power of identity. It’s not that bad things don’t happen. They still do sometimes, right? We can’t control that. It’s that I’m not affected.

I have a story to tell you that I promised I would have – why I’m so darn well-slept. Well, I have a three-month-old at home. She’s actually 14 weeks and change, I think. We haven’t been sleeping very well. My wife and I – my wife has been taking far more of those sleepless nights than I have. She’s been taking excellent care of our daughter. I’ve been covering for her a little bit at work. She’s been slowly getting back into some of the work as more time allows. But it’s been tough. It’s been a tough few months because whenever there’s a big change, it’s tough. Right?

And we oftentimes don’t remember to give ourselves that grace to remember that we have to make space for those changes and for ourselves to reacclimate with them. So that’s been tough. And we heard from some friends about sleep training with your baby. And we have other family and friends who are like, “No, don’t do that, you can’t do that. You can’t leave them alone for too long. You can’t let them cry. They need you.”

I feel like parenting is one of those things. It’s like politics. Everyone has an opinion and if you look for external validation there you’re in trouble. But yet there was an ego component. My wife and I held off, and part of the reason why we held off sleep training our daughter was because we didn’t want to be bad parents. We didn’t want to leave her to cry for too long. In fact, I didn’t want to leave her to cry for five seconds. She was crying. I wanted her in one of our arms, right? I wanted to make sure she was okay. I didn’t want to be a bad parent. I didn’t want that identity. I was afraid of that identity.

But my identity is not a bad parent. This was a decision that my wife and I made intentionally, to have a child. This was something that we wanted. This is something that we thought would be, and I’ve shared before would, would be much harder to do than it actually was, because we thought we would actually have to wait longer than we did. And that’s an incredible blessing that we’re so incredibly grateful for.

So we have this miracle. We’ve intentionally decided we’re going to be great parents, we’ve intentionally decided that we’re going to do whatever we need to do to make sure our daughter is happy and healthy and secure and our family is happy and healthy and secure and we’re not always perfect in it, but we don’t have to be, just have to consistently work to make sure that we are all healthy and that we can pursue that happiness.

Well, sleep training has worked. We’re seven days in, and this is a testament to two different things, right? I covered two different things. The first is training. We’ve been training our daughter, we’ve been consistent. My wife, God bless her, has her watch set with alarms at every one of the sleep and wake and feed times, and she is on it like clockwork. She has that consistency down, which I appreciate because that is not always my strong suit and she is doing that work. And in a matter of a week – in the beginning, our daughter wasn’t used to those times, so she cried a little bit.

The other thing we did that made this a lot easier, by the way, is that we hired experts. We found a friend of a friend who is a parenting coach and they have an incredible program that walked us through it, that gave us the philosophy and the science behind what our daughter needed. And so we were able to suspend our doubts and our fears and some of those things just a little bit so that we could see just how that would work. We could try it out because our new identity was, we will do whatever it takes to make sure that we have a healthy, happy, secure family and daughter. That’s our new identity.

So this is just one thing that we were trying, right? If that didn’t work, we would try the next thing. We have a cousin who had a sleep and feeding expert and that was on our list, and then we had another place for us to go. So this wasn’t the end, right? This was just – it was actually stopped, number one. Right? Lo and behold, we have a string of things being quite easy around things with our daughter, which is wonderful.

Not that it’s always been easy, folks. Don’t want to put a sparkly, shiny glow on the situation. It definitely hasn’t always been easy, but the sleep training’s been reasonably easy. It was tough to have to let her cry. The program that we’re in calls it Cry Equity, kind of like Sweat Equity. I really like that. If you’re interested, you can hit me up. I’m happy to send you a referral to these folks because they’re phenomenal.

But that’s the training, right? Low and slow with our daughter consistently every day at the same times, we made it work. Do you know the amazing thing that happened, she is so much happier now that she’s getting the sleep that she needs, now that she’s getting all the food that she needs, now that she’s well-slept, and I think that she actually is beginning to feel more secure, because before she would be more scared to be alone in her crib. We don’t have to talk with her to be able to tell that. You can sense that. You can see that in their faces, she was more apprehensive. She wanted us closer. Even if she was sleeping, she liked to sleep on us. She liked to sleep really close, really nearby. But now she’s comfortable in that environment that was uncomfortable at first. Now it’s comfortable. Took seven days. That’s it.

Why am I sharing this? Because that’s training. That’s really powerful. That was a really amazing thing that we were able to do for our daughter even though it was uncomfortable for all of us, my wife and I and our daughter. And the second is, we waited to do it because of our own identity because we didn’t want to be bad parents. And what it really was, was that ego translation, that fear that we didn’t want other people to think that we were bad parents. We didn’t want to be judged and have it feel like that was right, like that was true. So we did the wrong thing for our daughter of delaying sleep training, of not doing that because of our own misinterpretation of our identity. But we’re amazing parents.

And once we got clear on that, in an instant, we were able to make the decision that said, “No, we’re trying this because this is our identity. This is what we’re doing.” And it had an incredible effect. So, you, my friend and listener, are incredibly smart and talented. If you weren’t, you probably wouldn’t be listening to this show. It is time you decide to be the person who gets the results that you want. If you don’t want to feel like you’re trapped by your clients, like you’re tossed around by the whims of what your clients want, if you don’t want to feel like you need to give in to everything that your client asks, even the wrong things, because you don’t want them to judge you as being a bad coach, consultant, service provider, fill in the blank. I would ask you what your values are. I would ask you what your identity is that decides those values. Who are you, my friend?

Do you know what else is really cool? Now that we’ve just gone through this exercise, it’s also something that you can do for your clients, because they need to decide who they are, too. For them to be great clients in your program, for them to be great users of your service applies to almost anything. By the way, to be great users of your software, to be great, the list goes on and on…do you know what that requires? That requires them to be the kind of person who knows how to use the tools that you’re giving them, requires that they become the kind of person who can take without fear, but they can be the kind of person who is successful in living their life a different way, eating a different way, doing business a different way, doing sales a different way, talking with prospects and helping them make a decision that will help them in a different way.

And if you do this, if you master this piece with your clients of letting them know that they get to choose, if you weave into your program what they need so that they can be successful, that’s the ballgame, folks. That’s it. That is everything that you need to have an incredible thriving business that delivers raving fans to you like clockwork. And the really, really good news is that you can actually design that in your curriculum. If you’re stumped by that, if you need help, there’s a link in the show notes. You can actually schedule a call with our team. We’re happy to look at your program and show you where that’s missing, but I don’t want you to rush and do that right now, to be honest. I want you to sit with this. Who are you? Where are your clients and who do they need to be? Talk next time. See you soon.

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