(an excerpt from Chapter 3 in Becoming an OBM)
Part 2 of being a thought partner is having confidence in yourself, your knowledge and your skill set. “Getting lippy,” with our clients, as I like to call it, does require a bit of sass on your part (heheh)! Some of us have to dig pretty deep to find this confidence; it’s a very personal thing. The dictionary defines confidence as, “belief in oneself and one’s powers or abilities.”
As an OBM, that means that you believe in the value that you have to offer to your client’s business. You aren’t afraid to speak up and share your ideas, thoughts and experiences with your clients, or more importantly, you ARE afraid and do it anyways.
In my experience, confidence means that you are willing to contribute without letting the fear or worry of “am I offering value?” get in the way. Or put another way, you are willing to fall flat on your face, get up, shake it off and move on.
The thing is, that will rarely happen.
You see, clients are EAGER to hear from you. They want (and crave!) someone who is willing to engage, brainstorm and share ideas; someone who isn’t afraid to challenge them at times, and even say “you are off your rocker here!”; someone who will speak up and tell them what they think (good, bad or otherwise). It is rare that I’ve heard of someone engaging with their clients at this level and getting put down for it. On the contrary, the clients are usually thrilled to have this kind of input as it is so rare for them.
This doesn’t mean that you have to have all the answers (none of us do!). What it does mean is that you are willing to engage, with the intention that 1 + 1 = 3, and that together with your client you can come up with so much more than either of you could ever do alone. THAT is the heart of the OBM relationship.