One of the peeps in my art group suggested a book called How the World Sees You: Discover YourHighest Value Through Science of Fascination by Sally Hogshead. I was intrigued and picked it up. The book asks the question, how do you fascinate people?
Isn't that a curious one? It applies to all of us, of course, but I couldn't help of creative people, who to me are all very fascinating. But what makes me gravitate toward one creative person and not the other? It isn't always their work but their whole vibe, or something we call their brand. It’s their attitude, the way they come across, how they communicate, and their creative works.
Creative people sometimes struggle with marketing, and to me this book helps answer the question: How can I market myself effectively? I have a background in marketing, and I've been successful at it sometimes, but I’m not always sure why. Other times I think I’m doing all I should and don’t see the same benefits as when I stop trying to do what everyone else is telling me and just be myself. And that’s what the book is trying to get across, that when you capitalize on your unique characteristics you will have success, or more importantly, you’ll draw people to you.
The book is short, filled with common sense items, but also contains insight that helps put things in perspective in a way I hadn't look at them before. There is a personalized test that helps you figure out how you add value. I was reminded a bit of StrengthsFinder in taking this test, and I think each one of these types of tests can provide insight in how we come across so we can present the very best version of our personality to people.
The author says you “don’t learn how to be fascinating, you unlearn boring.” I loved that. There is a test that roots out your top two “Fascination Advantages” in communication that when used correctly can help people see you in the best light possible. Think about the impact of that as a creative person trying to market! It’s very powerful.
In taking the test I found out my main advantages were passion and prestige, and said I added value by:
- Captivating others with a vibrant and attractive style of communication.
- Being approachable and transparent, which makes you an "open book."
- Intuitively understanding ideas and feelings of others.
Examples of this advantage area are: Leonardo Da Vinci, Ronald Reagan, Audrey Hepburn, Oprah Winfrey, and George Lucas.
As I looked at the big successes I’d had in my life, this made sense. I sold 1,000 copies of my first poetry book in a year because I was just telling my story, and tapping into ways that others might relate. I grew my platform by being approachable. I became a relationships writer because I understood how people felt about trying to find friends or a soul mate or just get along better. My “This I Believe” essay was successful because I shared a piece of my childhood that was painful but left people with the hope that pain could be left in the past.
There’s more to all this, of course, much more than I can describe in the space of a blog post. In addition to the main areas you’re best in, there is also something called a “dormant advantage” which you should try and avoid. This is an area where you’ll lose people, fail to build trust, and fail to sell your products.
I’m all for ways that help us become more self-aware, which is an area creative people can struggle with. We hear a compliment and get sucked in rather than listen to the context of what is being said. We get an offer and jump at it without realizing what it really means for our life and career. We fail to sell our creative products and blame it on publishers, editors, and agents. This is the type of book that can help us move away from the negatives of the creative career paths and focus on more of our strengths.
Cherie Burbach is a poet, mixed media artist, and freelance writer specializing in lifestyle and relationships. She's written for About.com, NBC/Universal, Match.com, Christianity Today, and more. Her latest book is: How to (Really) Make Money Blogging. Visit her website for more info, cherieburbach.com.