There’s a single word our entire mindset marinates in when writing a bio (or even our whole website) and it starts, you guys, with a Q --------
the same letter in a Scrabble bag that will break the kneecaps on your next six moves OR crown you Queen of Word Games, luck willing.
And no, Queen isn’t the word. But it should be...
Think about this - for nearly our entire lives, we test to move onto the next grade, we SAT to get into college, we exam to graduate, we resumé to land the job, we performance review to keep said job and on we go, so on and so forth, forever and ever leaping through hoops of flaming tarantulas to answer the grandfather of all questions -----
ARE YOU QUALIFIED???
I.e., Do you get to be here? Do you have the experience/intelligence/stomach for this?
These procedures and formats marking us worthy or unworthy were established long before any of our birthdays, making this impulse to hoop jump a very hard muscle memory to erase ---- so much so that EVEN WHEN a whole new medium and power shift comes along (I’m talking about the Internet), where we get to run the show and have our own platforms and essentially say whatever we want...we still stretch out our hamstrings and ask, “So for this next jump - how high?”
And because we still THINK this way, we therefore WRITE this way (#writingisthinking).
This explains why some bios read like resumes - because sounding official might qualify us.
- Why some are darling, cutesy little sass factories - because not being uptight and winking at the right person might qualify us.
- Why some are a mosaic of astrological signs and Myers Briggs scores - because maybe that will matter to someone?
- Why some are harrowing tales of nearly dying but not dying - because skirting tea with the angels might qualify us.
- (Why some are the implementation of nonsense like “Your bio isn’t about you, it’s about your customer,” which is less about qualifying and more about attempting to hypnotize the reader.
That’s M.A.N.I.P.U.L.A.T.I.O.N. >> a word worth at least 18 points in Scrabble.)
To put it bluntly - we don’t know what to do with our freedom. And we don’t know how to qualify without our hoops.
We play defense instead of offense.
We react to the notion that people are reading about and considering us for the job, instead of proactively staking our claim.
What if, instead of hoop jumping, we don’t even flinch. Instead of proving something to our customers, we look them square in the face >>>>> And one-up them.
In the past six months alone, I’ve gone looking for photographers, web designers, coaches, bookkeepers, and a one upping is exactly what I want.
Tell me something I don’t know.
Say it in a way I haven’t heard or thought about before.
Intrigue me. Excite me. Dare me to contact you.
And look, I’m not some diabolical asshole that goes around demanding these things of people. What I’m saying is that this is what we all unconsciously crave.
Fresh ideas feel good. New perspective is a drug.
What are your ideas and realizations and collected wisdoms? They don’t have to defy the laws of physics, but your life and your work, they fold into each other to form a most unusual origami. What is its pattern and shape?
There’s a gigantic difference between saying what you think you should say and saying what is.
Do the latter, and you’ll show up the Queen of your domain. Queen might only be 13 points in Scrabble...but it’s the winning move to a killer bio. Which is the crown jewel of your personal brand.