December 15, 2013 at 4:53 pm #462
DDR Assignment – Ideal Client Character Sketch – 14Dec13
It’s 4:30 in the morning, the same time I got up each day for 27 years. What’s different is the reason I get up, and where I get up; well, really everything is different.
For close to three decades I worked in the corporate world where early start times and long hours were the norm. My view was the still-sleeping city passing by in a blur as I looked out the window of the L-train that took me into downtown Philadelphia and my office on the 17th floor.
Now my view is the gallery across the street from mine, on a winding stretch of road that dates back to the 1800s.
It’s been six years since I walked away from the lucrative salary, the generous benefits, the exclusive club memberships and first class travel. Six years since I walked away from exhaustion, never-ending deadlines, meetings that ran one into the other, and too many nights in bed alone.
Throughout my career I had focused on just one dimension of myself to the exclusion of all else. I never married. I never had children. My life was my work. Period. I’d like to say there was a definitive crisis that led to my awakening, but it was more like slowly coming out of a dream. Subtle rumblings; moments I’d question my choices when I’d catch a glimpse of a mother laughing with her children; questions – always questions about whether I was living the life I wanted.
For years I denied the rumblings. I refused to acknowledge the loss and the intangible grief I felt, focusing instead on the trappings of my material world, and the identity I’d carved out as a high-powered professional woman.
It was a difficult, but crucial lesson to learn that I am so much more than just one job, one role; that I am a multifaceted and complex person (as are we all) with an array of abilities and talents, all wanting to be expressed. When I at long last allowed myself to listen to the rumblings I learned it’s not an “either/or” life, it’s an “everything” life.
So I chose to make the commitment and focus my energies on bringing forth all the aspects of myself that I love and want to honor. I didn’t realize how one-dimensional I’d become.
When I quit my job and began reintroducing myself to the world again I was astonished to realize how many people don’t live the corporate life – how many people have unique businesses, artistic products to sell, and a wealth of things to do. I felt like I’d come out of a trance and was seeing life in full, blazing color again after so many years of seeing it in black and white.
I looked back to when I was a child and thought about those things I loved doing – drawing, coloring, constructing masterpieces out of clay, sticks and paper clips. Where was that child who found such joy in creating? When had I stopped giving my imagination free reign?
Both my parents and the corporate world I lived in frowned on such right-brain thinking. It was seen as frivolous and distracting from the goals at hand. I had blindly accepted that dogma until one day, in my 53rd year of life, I put down my BlackBerry and picked up a paintbrush. Where I used to slash budgets with a stroke of a pen, I now create paintings with the stroke of a brush.
It wasn’t about “becoming” an artist – I had always been one. It was about letting her come out to play again. I had buried these traits, these abilities because they didn’t “fit” the life I lived, but in truth I was the one who didn’t fit the life I’d created. So I created a new one.
December 16, 2013 at 7:36 am #467
I really like this, after reading I have a good idea of your ideal client’s backstory, what led up to her being a potential and ideal client of yours. I now realize I have not developed my ideal client as much as you have, I only hinted at his/her backstory by putting the Robert Frost quote – “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by….” on my Ideal Client Pinterest Board. Thanks for such a great example!
December 16, 2013 at 9:24 am #469
Wonderful. I really get this person and love how liberated she feels by her decision to make such a huge change.
December 17, 2013 at 7:54 am #474
Thanks Gloria and Helen for your input. I appreciate it so much!
December 17, 2013 at 7:55 am #476
Here is the link to my Pinterest Ideal Client Profile, too. It’s open to the public so you should be able to see it. I named her Michelle.
December 17, 2013 at 8:00 am #477
What a very detailed image of your ideal client. YOu’ve really thought it out. Great job! You’re more likely to find exactly her!
December 17, 2013 at 2:36 pm #481
Thanks Stacey. Actually, I have more than one story or “ideal client sketch” because like others, there is more than one type of midlife woman who wants to work with me so it’s important that she sees herself in one of the sketches. I interviewed 7 midlife business women to get their stories, their before and after, their continuing struggles and their hopes and desires. It really helped me to put together something that spoke to the different women I work with, because we are all unique and not one size fits all when it comes to reaching them. Not sure how Tea feels about what I just wrote, but that’s been my experience.
December 17, 2013 at 5:26 pm #502
Beautifully written. Is she based on a real client or a conglomeration of clients?
December 18, 2013 at 10:33 am #504
That’s a great idea to interview those clients. I’m getting ready to launch a new program and think I will include that for sure.
It really shows when you speak of your client!
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