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Don’t Believe Your Press Kit

Lessons learned on the road to success

press kit 1On a recent trip to Montreal, a client arranged for us to stay at the Ritz Carlton. A beautiful old hotel in the heart of the city, we were thrilled with the service and delighted to find that several celebrities, such as Rod Stewart, were also staying there.

Dressed in a sequin tuxedo, I presented a keynote to a large conference of 800 people. It went very well and I received a standing ovation. After the presentation, I mixed and mingled, basking in compliments and accolades about the performance.

All of a sudden, a woman with a thick French accent came running up to me. Speaking rapidly and loudly, she said, “WHO are you?”

“I’m Barbara Bartlein,” I responded.

“Oh,” she screamed to her friends, “It’s Barbara Bartlein.”

At this point three more women came running up to shake my hand. They quickly told me how much they enjoyed my work and purchased several tapes and CD’s.

I was ecstatic at my success in Canada. I had visions of expanding my business internationally; webbing across the globe with goods and services.

My delusions of grandeur were quickly tempered the next day, however, when I ran into this same group of women in the lobby.

“We were surprised to find speaking instead of music on the tapes,” said one.

“Yes, we don’t really understand what you are saying,” said another.

“Oh. Perhaps, I should have given you more explanation,” I replied. “All my tapes and CD’s are from talks I have given.”

Looking very disappointed, one responded, “Oh. We thought you were with Rod Stewart.” And they walked away.

It goes without saying that the plans for international expansion are on hold.

This is one of the problems with success. If you are not careful, success can actually sabotage future accomplishments. You can get so focused on what went right; you lose sight of what can be improved. In the speaking business, we call it believing your own press kit.

Staying grounded is one of the challenges of success in business. Here are some tools you can use to keep your focus and your motivation:

  • Make sure you have people around you who tell you the truth. One of the dilemmas for any leader is that the people hired to advise you may tell you what you want to hear instead of what’s true. At work and at home, it is important to have colleagues and friends that give you accurate feedback and information. This may not be a problem if you have teenagers in the house.
  • Don’t shoot the messenger. Make sure that you don’t blame the messenger for the content. Shooting them will insure that future discussions will be sanitized for their protection. Chew over information even if it doesn’t sound accurate. Often the most valuable dialog is the minority opinion.
  • You are only as good as your last product or last service. Customers tend to remember the last thing you did for them. Don’t expect them to be impressed with your resume, they really don’t care. They are more interested in what you can offer for the future.
  • It’s not about you. Don’t focus on how you are doing…look at what you can be doing for your customers, employees and colleagues. What problems are they having that you could help solve? If you do a great job at what you provide, people will come back for more.
  • Don’t believe your press kit. Don’t get so infatuated with your own success that you stop learning and growing. If you try to just sit on your laurels, others will quickly pass you by. The time to make the leap to the next level is when you are at the top of your game, not on the downward curve.

About Barbara Bartlein

Barbara Bartlein is The People Pro. She presents keynotes and training and is an expert in workplace culture. Her new book, Energy Suckers-How to Deal With Bullies in the Workplace is now available. Visit her site for more information.


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