I take it as an insult when somebody calls me The N Word: Nice.
Out of 100,000 adjectives in the English language, if the best you can come up with is nice, then I’m doing something wrong.
It’s like spending Thanksgiving Day ripping out gizzards and mashing actual potatoes, only to be told that the food is “very good, thanks.” VERY GOOD, THANKS? What is this, a $5 blowjob?
Now that I’ve taken the blog to all new inappropriate heights, I might as well tell you what I really think. (P.S. To all my third grade teachers, I promise I’m still 45% wholesome.)
Being described as nice isn’t a personality problem: It’s a personal branding problem.
You might not think of it that way, but that’s what it is. If your entire presence conjures up nothing more than the most generic word of all mankind, then either your personality is really that unremarkable (doubtful) or, more likely: You’re not really yourself around other people. Choke. Punch. Gulp.
Reasons why you might not feel comfortable being yourself around other people:
- You don’t like yourself.
- You don’t trust yourself.
- You’re wearing anything resembling a speedo.
That’s really it. It’s not because of what they’ll think of you. It’s because of what you think of you.
So here’s the rub: If you’re constantly buffing yourself down, you might feel more smooth, but smooth isn’t interesting. Smooth is flat. Smooth is dull. Smooth is, for lack of a better word, NICE.
For lack of a better word. What a tragedy.
The reason I’m talking about this, however, is not because I’ve suddenly turned into a raging life coach.
Rather, it’s because the way we show up in our personal lives is the same way we show up in the professional.
Raise your hand if your entire brand feels bland? Raise your hand if you have trouble talking about yourself in interesting ways? Raise your hand if you’ve inadvertently smoothed all the edges of your business so you would look legitimate? Professional? Serious? Big? Smart? Important?
Serious question: Can your business be itself? Because now, more than ever, here’s the truth:
In buffing your edges, you behead your edge.
And you know what’s left after that?
A website that’s nice. A business that’s nice. And a brand that isn’t a brand, but merely the latest form of—ahem—lip service.