Unprofessional to Get Personal?

Before launching this blog, I wrestled with how this brazenly personal blog would reflect on me professionally, and what it would mean for my business, Cloud 9 Organize & Redesign.

My small business is an intimate one. I spend hours at a time huddled with my clients in crowded closets and basements and bedrooms, touching very personal stuff – from toiletry drawers to not-yet-confronted belongings of deceased loved ones.

Disarmed by having our heads buried in boxes and drawers, my clients and I often fall into deep, meaningful conversations. In my four years of helping people get rid of stuff, I’ve collected a treasured set of clients-turned-friends.

This friend-gathering feature of my work is important to me. I’m not good at compartmentalizing myself into professional Kyle and personal Kyle. I love talking about what matters in life as we purge decades of old paperwork or label bins for the storage closet. I love getting close with my clients. There, I said it.

When it came time to decide if I’d be harming my business by launching this blog, I realized that, really, there’s nothing to lose. If current or prospective clients are repelled, then we probably didn’t, or wouldn’t have, hit it off anyway, and those would have been some tedious, humorless hours cleaning out their garage.

I love that the more transparent I get in the world, the more I attract kindred spirits. For me, that typically translates into meeting people who are brave, vulnerable, seeking, and committed to personal growth. My blog is a virtual sieve, catching those people I’m meant to have enriching experiences with, while less compatible connections pass through the holes. An efficient win-win.

Yesterday I received a gift that greatly reduced my residual fear about whether this blog will shrivel my business. It was an email from a shorter-term client who I don’t know as well as some of my longer-term ones.

In part, her email read: “Your bravery in sending the blog to your professional contacts is astounding, because otherwise I wouldn’t have had it (the blog), and I’d just think you were awesome, stylish Kyle with a perfect life and I’d be that much farther away from realizing that I can be totally real with myself and others too.”

Of course there are plenty of professional environments where you’d be ostracized for being vulnerable and transparent. After all, we live in America, where productivity, perfection and invincibility are the top predators of the cultural value chain.

Still, I think we underestimate how relieved and inspired others are when someone steps forward to reveal actual self instead of android worker self. We’ve been so conditioned to equate imperfection with rejection that we sell each other short.

Through this blog experiment in radical honestly, I’m learning that people can hang with a whole lot more than you think they can. It only takes one person to release the perfection pressure valve for the rest of us. Then everyone can relax, creating space for honesty and creativity. And I’m no social scientist, but that’s got to be good for productivity.

5 thoughts on “Unprofessional to Get Personal?

  1. you are an amazing example of authenticity in life and have created the possibility to inspire that in others – bravo!
    Ellen

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  2. Kyle- your words continue to astound me. I can relate to worrying about exposing too much. Yesterday I had an interview that was going well until he asked me to explain a long period of time that I was not employed. I wasn't prepared to answer in a way that was both truthful but also protecting myself. It was just after my brother died. But I didn't tell him that. I sort of stumbled and knew inside that this would cost me. The interview ended OK but I may get rejected. Its OK though. It may just not be the right fit!

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  3. thank you so much ellen and sheila. sheila, thanks for sharing that story. i agree that if you're not offered the job, there's something better waiting for you. keep me posted…

    love,
    kyle

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  4. Personally I'd much prefer to work with someone I can relate to on as many levels as possible. I think you are so right and it's a refreshing revelation.
    Dig it.

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  5. I'm so happy to be a client-turned-friend! I've been off the blog for a while just because I don't know how to set it up to “ding” me when there's a new post. If things don't pop up to me, I get forgetful…
    Anyway, I love this post. I love that you are so committed to being real and authentic in the world. I'm a clear beneficiary of that:) !!!
    Also, love love loved your post about the P.O.
    I once sat down at a wedding table of 12 people that I didn't know and took a deep breath…in an instant I realized that I was expecting myself to make everyone have a good time! Like it was somehow *my* responsibility. Seconds later I caught myself, took another (more relaxing) deep breath, and told myself I was no more responsible for these people than they were for me. Ahhhh, I relaxed and had fun. It was a seminal moment in life for me.
    Anyway, Kyle, much love, thanks for writing, and thanks for being you!
    xoxo EMG from Eastie:)

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