Did you listen? Did you smile in spite of yourself?
That recording was of my son on his first birthday, almost five years ago. I don’t remember what we were doing that had him belly-laughing like that, but frankly it doesn’t matter.
I don’t care who you are or what mood you’re in, the sound of a child’s laugh can melt even the iciest of hearts. Forget aroma therapy, this is audio catharsis.
We are currently celebrating the overlapping seasons of Easter, Passover and Ramadan – seasons of renewal, of new hope, and new beginnings this spring. That sound of a baby’s laugh (or ANYONE’s laughter) reinforces that feeling of renewal and hope.
The other side of the coin, however, is just as powerful. Few things create the feeling of despair and hopelessness experienced by children (and the heartbreak experienced by their parents) when the children are struggling with speech, sensory processing disorders, attention deficit/executive functioning, autism and other learning differences, all of which can create and be created by trauma, and can prevent them (all) from freely experiencing the regular joys and fulfillment of daily life.
Maude and her cadre of therapists and other service providers give hope and new beginnings to children and their families through her advocacy, development and occupational therapy programs at A Total Approach.
Moreover, through her eponymous Maude Le Roux Academy, she provides training and continuing education for occupational therapists and related professions in pediatric care around the world to ensure an ever greater number of children get the chance at new beginnings and a life of fulfillment.
She shared how she, too, loves hearing children’s belly laughs when she walks down the hallways of her center. Beyond the inherent beauty of the sound, when she hears it coming from her clients, in her hallways, she knows it’s the sound of success: she’s making a positive impact on their lives.
Nevertheless, despite her success, Maude also revealed how difficult it was for her to name The Maude Le Roux Academy after herself without fearing that she was “being egotistical.”
She founded the academy because she had created assessments and intervention programs that were unique and effective, and word spread. When other professionals in her field from around the world wanted to learn more about what she was doing, they googled her name as the primary search term.
The simple fact was that she was the brand.
She came to realize that if she wanted to have the widest reach possible, to help as many children and families as possible, she had to be as discoverable as possible. Ultimately, she made the smart, objective business decision – not the subjective emotional one – and named her academy after herself.
The biggest revelation: she had to learn to put aside her fear of ego and own her achievement.
It's a funny thing — fear of ego. In other words, the fear that if you truly own and claim your success, it will be seen as bragging.
Worse, that concern can lead to imposter syndrome, and the fear that someone else might look at you and say, “Who do you think you are? You're not so great. As a matter of fact, you're a fraud!”
This can be a particularly sensitive issue for those of us who are independent business owners and service providers. I know I'm constantly navigating the mental tightrope walk, because for marketing purposes, I have to promote the business (which is my programs and intellectual property, developed from my skill, knowledge and experience), without sounding like I'm “self-promoting.” Clients want to work with me, specifically.
In other words – I'm the brand.
What about you? Maybe you're an entrepreneur like I am, and you are the face, voice, and primary service provider within the company. If so, you probably know exactly what I'm talking about.
But what if you're thinking, “Nope, I'm one of 100,000 employees in a Fortune-500 company. I'm definitely NOT the brand!”?
I have news for you: You're not just a brand, you're TWO brands: You represent your company or organization when communicating with external clients, vendors, collaborators and other stakeholders, AND you represent your OWN brand, no matter WHOM you're speaking to.
Your energy, integrity, commitment, confidence, empathy, authenticity, passion, and more are reflected in every conversation you have, whether in person or on video. The quality of the experience others have with you and come to expect from you in these interactions becomes your reputation… in other words, your brand.
And nowadays 99% of the world knows the “virtual you” far better than the “in-person you,” especially since most of the world will never get the chance to meet the “in-person you.”
How well does the “virtual you” reflect those brand qualities you WANT people to associate with you, as part of your reputation for excellence?
If people's virtual experience of you is still a B+ at best (and let's be honest — if you never turn your camera on, it's a D: it's passing, but barely), it's time to up your game. Check out my self-paced online course Virtual Influence to learn how to deliver a consistently excellent “BRAND-YOU” experience for everyone you encounter.
Don't let fear of ego keep you from raising your virtual bar, for fear that someone else might think you're showing off or trying to make everyone else look bad by comparison. Raise the bar, and help everyone else rise to that level too! Then everyone wins.
You'll be giving them a GIFT.
Speaking of gifts, in the spirit of giving hope to children and families, Maude is giving two extremely generous gifts to our listeners:
First, if your child or a child you know is struggling with one of the challenges or disorders Maude’s therapists address at A Total Approach, she has offered a free consultation call to discuss their needs via Zoom. Just send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up your call.
How do you know if you should take her up on this offer? As Maude wisely said, “When the strengths and weaknesses don't balance each other out and the child is not happy, it's time to do something.”
And second, you can also get $100 off any course at the Maude Le Roux Academy using the code Influence100.
At the very least, in this springtime holiday season of fresh starts, if you’re tired of the stale experience of video conferencing with people using 2020-quality standards for what’s minimally “good enough” for your virtual experience, download my free guide to equipment recommendations to improve your virtual influence here.
Trust me, there’s a whole different kind of catharsis in store for you (and everyone you connect with online) if you do!