That tastes like soap

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I’ve never not had a good time with guacamole.

(And yeah, I know I used a double negative. I’m rebellious like that sometimes, but you love that about me.)

I associate this avocado* delicacy with fun getaways full of laughter, warm breezes upon sun-kissed skin, and sparkling aquamarine waters. (And, okay, the occasional margarita.) Every time I enjoy that creamy concoction, it’s like I’m instantly transported to faraway lands that require sunscreen (even if it’s the dead of winter.)

As much as I might choose chips and guac as my meal of choice (hey, don’t judge), there are plenty of others who gag at the idea of eating anything that resembles, ahem, “baby poop.” (Thanks for that visual, Dad).

Cilantro is equally polarizing.

If you want to divide a room fast, ask people where they stand on cilantro. Seriously.

I’m #TeamCilantro, because I happen to love the fresh, herbaceous tang it provides, especially on street tacos and Thai food (but interestingly, not in my guac). To me, it tastes “green,” and I love it; to my sister (and apparently, a whole lotta other people), it tastes like a bar of Dove. (The soap, not the chocolate.)

I get that and would never blindly insist that they like something simply because it’s my preference.

But this happens ALL THE TIME in communications, yet leaves people scratching their heads.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you frequently find yourself frustrated by your team’s lack of understanding? 

  • Are you perplexed that your sales development efforts have fallen flat, even though you’ve specifically touted your product or service’s credentials? 

  • Are your colleagues and clients not responding to your emails or calling you back?

No matter your industry or profession, there are four words that, when acknowledged and embraced, have the power to change your results completely: 

It’s not about you.

Far too often, we assume that everyone thinks, behaves, and communicates the same way we do. Worse, we make the mistake of focusing our sales pitches and communication about us rather than our intended audiences.

The finest leaders understand that by putting others first and adopting a service mindset, they can improve their communication, establish trust, deepen relationships and build business.

By cultivating your awareness and empathy, you’ll naturally adopt an “it’s not about you” frame of mind and improve your communication and connection with others.

The other thing that can leave a bitter taste in your mouth?

Bad advice.

And in the professional world, lots of well-intended advisers’ words can unintentionally lead you astray.

In my latest Forbes article, I share how to ignore the worst career advice you’re probably still following—and what to do instead.

And before I go, just for fun, tell me: Are you #TeamGuac? And if so, are you a purist like me (avocado, lime, salt, and garlic), or do you get crazy with your mix-ins? Let me know in the comments by clicking this button.

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Shine on,


P.S. When I’m not writing this newsletter or whipping up endless bowls of guac, I’m a social media ghostwriter (yep, that’s a thing), helping founders, entrepreneurs, and CXOs craft their stories to communicate and connect better by magnifying their reach and impact. (Think personal branding and thought leadership.) Learn more here.

P.P.S. One more thing: If you think this post would resonate with others, feel free to share it with your friends. Or better yet, invite them to join our Illuminate Me tribe!

*You know I love my word origin stories, and this luscious fruit (yes, an avocado is a fruit 🤯) has a doozy. Apparently, when the Aztecs discovered the avocado in 500 BC, they named it āhuacatl, which translates to “testicle.” (Delightful, right?) It’s thought that the texture, shape, and size of the fruit, as well as the way it grows in pairs, inspired its name. However, after the Spanish conquerors arrived, the Aztec name was revised to “aguacate,” which did not translate to a male gonad. And thank goodness, because as much as I love avocados, there’s no way I’d eat something that means “testicle sauce!” 🥑