Paul Simon wrote “I am a rock, I am an island.” in 1965. It was his interpretation of John Donne’s 1642 sermon, “No Man is an Island,” from which the first lines are:
No man is an island,
Entire of itself;
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.”
OK, first, the use of the word “man” above is not to be perceived as a gender statement, especially back from the less-enlightened 1600’s.
Second, I know I am getting deep here for a Monday morning, but I’ve been thinking a lot about how isolating entrepreneurship can be vs. working in a big company or corporation. You had people to delegate to, others and departments responsible for their specific area of expertise.
But fie! Not always so as entrepreneurs; we need to look inward, to ourselves, and when we come up deficient, to other entrepreneurs surrounding us as an cushiony entourage of respected, reliable, resourceful colleagues. Those besties to bounce off of, query our quest, pose possibilities, barter brainstorms, and confide conceptual comments.
No person, gender aside, is alone on an entrepreneurial desert island, now more obvious than ever before in our need to zoom connect in a pandemic: as we refer, coopt, collaborate, interrogate, interact with others; globally, locally; electronically, and face-to-face; streamed in real time and recorded.
So when I tell my clients to refer to themselves as “I” or “my” in their personal LinkedIn profiles and “we” or “our” in their company Pages, it’s not to fool the reader. It’s to differentiate between a personal narrative of their own individual career journey in the former, and the collaborative, inclusive description of what their company can do for the reader in the latter. Even, especially, if the person and the company are the same talent, as in a sole proprietorship, or a one person LLC.
But wait, has Marc gone anthropomorphic?
In the final analysis, your new client is buying your capability and accessibility to solve their problem, not caring what legal structure you formed to practice your craft or how or from where you accumulate the thoughtful solution. Customers are accessing your brain, and…sssshhh…indirectly the other brains you surround yourself with.
So I = we, my = our, as no entrepreneur is an island, and this blog post’s take-away from the ending of Simon’s song:
And a rock feels no pain.
And an island never cries.”
Be strong, tearless and pain-free fellow entrepreneurs, as we all know it can get lonely and challenging out there, but we have each other, via LinkedIn or other media, to draw on the support that carries us through good and challenging times to deliver the answers we are hired to derive.