Let Them See You Sweat

I’ve decided to tell you about a difficult situation I’ve been experiencing lately, but I want to tie it into a quick lesson… after all, the main objective of this website is to provide you with Internet marketing tips.

Let’s start with a flashback to the 1980’s…

From what I gather, the phrase “never let them see you sweat” originated from a deodorant commercial in 1984. While I may have been exposed to it as a 5-year old during commercial breaks between Saturday morning cartoons, I certainly have no recollection of it.

I do, however, remember hearing this phrase spoken from the stage at an Internet marketing seminar several years ago. Apparently after serving its duty as a deodorant slogan, “never let them see you sweat” became a business principle of sorts.

The idea is that you should never let your ________(fill in the blank) see you “sweat”, because it is basically a sign of weakness. This includes customers, prospects, fans, followers, competitors, subordinates, and bosses… just to name a few.

In other words, you don’t want to let any of those people see your weak side, because it will affect their opinion of you.

The speaker at the Internet marketing seminar was teaching that you should never appear to be frazzled or portray a lack of confidence in the projection of your image to your online prospects and subscribers. Instead, you should always appear to “have it all together”.

There are times when this makes sense. Anyone in a leadership role (whether it be a parent, T-ball coach, or President of the United States) must instill confidence in the minds of those he or she is leading. To this end, there are times that it is appropriate to hide your emotions and appear to have it all together.

I would even go so far as to say there are situations in which you should never let them see you sweat. For example, if you’re in a war, you shouldn’t let your enemy see you sweat. Revealing a weakness could mean instant death.

If you ever have to hire a lawyer, you probably don’t want one who sweats profusely and exudes a lack of confidence in the courtroom.

I’m also aware that marketing can be likened to war, but I propose that the concept of “hiding your sweat” is overrated as it pertains to business.

Things to consider when hiding your sweat…

First, there’s an inherent problem with never showing weakness. The problem is that we’re human. We have weaknesses.

To confess weakness is to accept that you are human. This can have a positive effect, because humans can relate to other humans. As a marketer, this can be advantageous in gaining trust and portraying authenticity.

I will admit that revealing weaknesses can also have a negative effect upon a business. I remember a few times in recent years that the stock of the Apple company plunged as a result of negative news about Steve Jobs’ health. Last month Apple lost $10 billion of market capitalization in 5 minutes, possibly due to a health rumor.

Those are serious consequences, but publicly traded companies have an obligation to their shareholders to reveal certain “weaknesses”. To avoid doing so could be unethical at best, criminal at worst. Therefore, revealing a weakness can actually be a sign of integrity.

Second, it’s a myth that showing emotion (ie. letting them see you sweat) is always a sign of weakness. While much of our society does believe this myth (and unfortunately this may result in negative consequences for leaders who show emotions publicly), there are plenty of examples of leaders who have dispelled it.

I watch very little TV, but last week I turned it on and caught the second half of an episode of Undercover Boss. This episode featured Sheldon Yellen, the CEO of Belfor– a huge international company. Throughout his undercover experience, some of his own weaknesses were revealed (inability to use power tools, disconnection from his own employees), and his emotions ran wild… this guy cried like a baby on national TV!

While this may have been interpreted by some as a sign of weakness, I’d be willing to bet that his display of authenticity did more to instill confidence in his employees than any motivational speech he could have possibly delivered. It appeared that his employees loved him more for it, and were more committed to the company as a result.

This goes along with what I wrote earlier this year about authenticity. It’s no longer enough to say you’re real. You have to BE real.

So next time you’re faced with concealing a weakness versus showing your humanity, keep these ideas in mind and remember that it may or may not be best to hide your sweat.

OK, that’s the end of today’s lesson…

In case you hadn’t perceived it already; I wrote the above article as a way of processing my own thoughts, and justifying my decision to share my own weakness with you.

The reason I haven’t written much lately, and haven’t created any new lessons in the past few months is because I haven’t had the energy to do it.

I’ve been experiencing what is probably best described as Adrenal Fatigue. In case you’re curious about it, there is a very good article explaining it here: http://www.lammd.com/articles/adrenal_fatigue.asp

I’ve had several symptoms, including a severe lack of energy. Those of you who know me, know that I’ve enjoyed an active lifestyle which included frequent exercise, fishing, windsurfing, playing with my kids, etc. Lately, I’ve only had a few hours of workable energy per day, and it’s barely been enough to take care of myself and keep up with email, let alone do the stuff I enjoy.

In my case, I believe this condition is most likely the result of many years of poor sleep habits, constant blood sugar spikes, and internalizing my stress and anxiety.

Various medical tests showed that my adrenals simply aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do… resulting in various chemical imbalances in my body. For example, I’m not producing much cortisol, which has several physical ramifications. To aggravate the situation, my adrenals are compensating by producing too much epinephrine (adrenaline), which results in a lot of anxiety and psychosomatic symptoms.

I’m following what I believe is a good treatment plan, and I expect to make a full recovery!

Of course it’s been tough in the mean time. My wife is expecting our 5th child any day now, and I’ve had to grapple with the question of how am I going to help and support her like I did at the birth of our other four kids?

So you can see why I’ve put business stuff on the backburner. By the way, other than neglecting this website, my business is just fine, and I think it would run for many years with minimal input on my part. That’s one of the benefits of building the type of business that I teach in my lessons! 🙂

(Note: I do not anticipate my coaching club being negatively impacted during my recovery. Paul and Jeff already handle most of the time-consuming elements of it, and in any case that I’m unable to be on a coaching call, they’ll be there.)

OK, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way…

I want to convey that I know life is hard for EVERYONE. Your pain is probably worse than mine, and it’s a part of our human experience.

I’ve had friends and relatives die in the time that I’ve been writing tips on this website.

I’ve also had subscribers die, and I’d be willing to bet that not a day goes by without some of my subscribers experiencing a tragedy of some sort. With over 60,000 subscribers around the world, it’s pretty much a given.

I also know fellow Internet marketers who have been through, or are currently experiencing MUCH more difficult circumstances than I am. Some of them are battling cancer, chronic diseases, and some have already died.

So this is NOT about me complaining. It’s also not about seeking sympathy. Prayers maybe, but not sympathy. I’m thankful for all that I’ve been given, and I KNOW that I am indeed blessed.

This post is about me being a little more real with you. I say a “little more”, because there are certainly other things that I haven’t shared with you about my life.

In the past couple years, I’ve been compelled to be “more real” when it comes to my public life. Perhaps this is a step in that direction.

Showing my sweat to keep myself humble?

I’ve probably participated in our culture’s collective move toward Internet-enabled narcissism more than I would like to admit.

The phenomenon of online narcissism is well documented, and you’ll see it everywhere if you look for it. People use their blogs, Facebook accounts, twitter accounts, and other public-facing avenues of communication to control their image. They provide only the information (status updates, pictures, etc) that they believe will best conform their image to the way that they want it to be seen.

Went on a cool vacation? Post it. Had a great dinner? Post it. Hung out with a celebrity? Post it. Got angry with your child or spouse, lost your temper, and broke something? No one needs to know.

I despise it, and yet I’ve been a purveyor of it. In one respect I’ve even taught it.

So yes, this is me keeping myself humble. Believe me, I’d much rather be known as the energetic windsurfing family man, than the tired Internet marketer who burned out his adrenal glands.

I also had one more ulterior motive for sharing this with you. I knew it would give me an excuse to share my faith with you too.

OK, this is where I’m gonna hijack this conversation and get “religious” on you…

No, I’m not turning this into a religious website. Based on the demographics, I’m aware that I have thousands of subscribers who are Muslim, Hindu, and no-doubt countless other faiths represented. I’m not here to force my convictions upon you, and I never will.

But I didn’t want to share my pain with you, unless I also shared my hope with you. In fact, it wouldn’t be right, because it would be a totally incomplete picture.

I believe that there is a spiritual realm that supersedes the physical world as we know it.

In spite of how I feel, I’m actually healthy and strong. In spite of what our society says, perception is not reality. In spite of what my doctor’s reports say, there is a greater truth to be found.

Of course many religions share this sentiment, as do believers in the Law of Attraction, which has become so popular in the Internet marketing world. But here’s where I part ways with those folks…

You might think I’m crazy, but I believe that approximately 2000 years ago, Jesus Christ (the actual son of God) came to earth, died on a cross, and came back to life again. That’s reality. And if that’s true, then the Bible is totally validated, and it’s true too.

The ramifications are huge. The Bible says that the same power that raised Jesus from death is available to me, and in fact is already inside of me (Romans 8:11)! While it is controversial even among Christianity, I believe the most accurate interpretation of the Bible proves that Christ’s atonement included healing for sickness.

I’ve seen first-hand that God still heals people today. In our church we see people healed every week. Some are healed from small things, and some are healed from big things like cancer and heart disease. We’ve seen numerous verifiable x-rays and doctor’s reports which have confirmed miraculous healings.

I share this to let you know that not only has my healing been paid for by Christ; yours has too.

The following is a song called “Name of Jesus”, which is on a music album by my sister-in-law that I executive produced a few years ago. To make the video I used scenes from The Passion of The Christ. So if you’re offended by the blood of Jesus, don’t watch…

This song has been inspirational to me lately, and I hope it is for you too.

As always, you are welcome to leave your comments below.

Have a great day!