How to Lean into Your Resistances and Knowing When You Shouldn’t Follow Good Advice

It’s still hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that I’ve been a full-time entrepreneur and coach for almost 14 years. 😳 And pretty much throughout those 14 years, I have struggled (aka resisted) to follow one piece of very good business advice: choose a niche target market industry.

When people learn I’m a communication coach & strategist, they often ask, “Do you work with clients in any particular industry?” – which essentially translates to: who is your target market? And I’ve never really liked my answer to that question.


So, during the “downtime” of the COVID years, I’ve decided to finally tackle that question. But to do so, in my way. … And it’s been a game changer.

Resistances show up in many forms in business. That’s why I’d like to shed a light on how LEANING IN resistances might serve you better than following “good” advice.

 

When You Know You “Should,” But You Don’t

From day one of starting my business, I’ve read plenty of books, watched plenty of videos, and listened to plenty of people smarter than me make the case for choosing a niche target market. So, I’m well aware of the importance and value of niching.

I’ve always had this nagging feeling that if I could just pick one industry to focus on, things would be easier.
It’d be easier to run targeted ads online.
It’d be easier for people to refer clients to me.
It’d be easier to choose the right podcasts to be a guest on.
And it’d be easier to select which conferences I should be speaking at.

But I still resisted niching by industry.

It makes a lot of sense for a business communication coach to work within a particular niche industry. But for me, I thrive on the eclectic nature of my work.

 

Reframing Resistance

The culprit behind my niching resistances: industry.  

So, instead of forcing myself to niche by industry, I asked a question that helped me reframe the challenge:

“What would it look if I embraced my resistance?”

That question helped me get curious. And it lead to more questions like…

  • How does working across multiple industries serve me?
  • How does it serve my clients?
  • What about it do I enjoy?
  • If I could do more of any aspect of my work, what would it be?

By choosing to embrace the resistance, I could listen to the clues it was giving me.

Instead of focusing on what I didn’t want to do (niche by industry), I listened to what I did want to do: to work with brilliant people in many fields of expertise.

Thanks to the book, The Medici Effect, I’m a firm believer in “how breakthrough ideas most often occur when we bring concepts from one field into a new, unfamiliar territory” and that “breakthrough principles of creativity occur at novel intersections.”

I love that I can help my marketing agency client by sharing what worked well for my banking software client.

By solving problems for my client who owns multiple clinical practices, I’m able to offer unique solutions to my education reform client.

And so, by embracing my resistance to siloing my clientele by industry, I found a different path for defining my niche target. 

Of course, embracing your resistance doesn’t just apply to niching down your target market.

What If You Leaned In?

Resistance shows up in many ways. I’ve witnessed them going through similar struggles while developing their brand’s communication strategies. Each has had their own unique resistances to popular and effective marketing strategies – even ones they feel like they should be doing.


It’s my job to help them get curious about those resistances and ask: What would it look like if you embraced that resistance? Because…

Resistances can leave clues for finding an aligned (and effective) path that’s unique to you.

If you’ve been resisting a piece of perfectly good advice, you might consider now turning the tables. Here are some examples of how certain resistances lead to fantastic solutions…

Client #1
Resistance: Overwhelmed by the idea of expanding the coaching/consulting model side of her business
Solution: Retooling the client experience so that she (a mother of 4 and owner of 2 businesses) could have more flexibility in her schedule

Client #2
Resistance: “Constantly” come up with new content for online marketing
Solution: Instead of putting so much focus on online content, we created 2 signature programs for speaking engagement, along with by pre- and post-event strategies to drive more leads; plus, a multi-month mailer campaign. (Both of which yielded amazing results, even during COVID!)

Client #3
Resistance: Delegating client management tasks to team members
Solution: Mapping out the business’s client journey and identifying the parts he enjoyed the most or absolutely had to be involved in; then, create SOPs for the rest. Now, he gets to stay involved for the fun and important stuff (which is what he was really worried about letting go of), while the team feels empowered to handle everything else.


We wouldn’t have found those solutions if the client kept pressing forward with strategies they felt they SHOULD be doing. By listening to resistance’s clues (procrastination, half-finished projects, overwhelm, etc), we were able to build solutions that fit the client’s strengths and preferences.

Is It Time to Lean into Your Resistance?

There is plenty of good advice out there. And a lot of it works for a lot of people. But if you find yourself baffled by the fact that you’re resisting good advice, it might be time to embrace that resistance. In doing so, you’ll likely find a less common path, but you’ll finally be walking a path that’s meant to be uniquely yours. 

 

Happy Influencing!

Sharí Alexander - Influence Speaker & Coach - Headshot

Sharí Alexander
Communication Coach & Strategist 

P.S. Here are a few other ways I can help you increase your influence, whenever you’re ready.

1. I’m putting out a lot of great tips on LinkedIn and Instagram.

2. Grab a FREE copy of my Mindreader Blueprint. It’s the step by step guide for finding your influential message.

3. I do one thing better than anyone else…help industry speakers and subject matter experts* leverage their communication strengths and build strategies that: 1) educate their target market, and 2) increase sales.

If this is you, we should probably have a conversation.

*I especially excel when an industry topic is “boring,” “technical,” “visionary,” “complicated,” or “difficult to explain.”

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