Anytime somebody asks you what pizza you’d like, always tell them Hawaiian.
I believe Hawaiian is the most under-requested pizza varietal, at least as of this moment. Maybe that will change after my video on this topic goes wildly viral. But currently, there are a lot more people who actually like Hawaiian pizza than who will ask for Hawaiian pizza when given the chance.
I get it. I used to be just like you. I’m actually pretty introverted. I’m a people pleaser. I don’t like ruffling feathers. “Who puts fruit on pizza?!” is what you’re probably worried somebody will raise their eyebrow and ask you. So you keep your head down and say, “Cheese or pepperoni. Whatever you guys want is fine.”
But for the past several years, I’ve started speaking up. And 9 out of 10 times, somebody else in the room lights up. “Oh, you like Hawaiian pizza too?” We form an instant connection, and I become their hero because I’m helping them get something that they wouldn’t have asked for for themselves.
This isn’t about pizza.
Now, this isn’t just about how to order pizza. This is about how to connect with people.
Imagine you’re in a room filled with people who all have preferences and passions. They feel a certain way about certain things, but they’re all more concerned about what they think other people think – what they think they’re expected to do and say – and they spend their entire time together not really doing anything that’s meaningful.
Maybe there is a problem and a lot of people are aware of it; a lot of people don’t like the direction something is going, but they don’t want to ruffle feathers. They don’t want to be that guy. And so they all just keep their mouth shut and the problem continues (and probably gets worse).
Maybe you’re worried that your authentic self isn’t going to be attractive to your potential clients. So you just do what everybody else is doing. And then after a while of everybody just doing what everybody else is doing, you’re all just swimming in a sea of cheese pizza. Which, hey, a sea of cheese pizza sounds perfectly fine, but it could be so much better. What if a lot of your potential customers love Hawaiian pizza just as much as you do? By speaking up and showing up as yourself, you’re going to be speaking their language. You’re going to build trust and rapport and a much deeper connection.
Or maybe you won’t.
And that’s okay too. Because how far out of your way are you really willing to go to attract clients who you fear wouldn’t actually respect you for who you actually are? That doesn’t sound like a great foundation for a strong relationship.
As a self employed individual or a small business owner, you have so much flexibility. You don’t have a huge corporate hierarchy you need to report to. You don’t have a thick tome of branding guidelines you need to adhere to. You can be you. You can put as much of yourself into your business as you want to.
At the risk of making this conversation a little bit bigger than I originally intended it to be and even undoing a little bit of what I just encourage you to do, let me add a few clarifications and qualifiers: I am not forcing anybody else to eat Hawaiian pizza, and I am not mocking or acting hatefully towards people who don’t like Hawaiian pizza. If I’m the only person in the room who thinks ham and pineapple are a good topping combination, I need to be okay with people ordering something different. Pepperoni is fine.
In your pursuit of being more honest and authentic, don’t completely abandon all levels of professionalism and human decency. Embrace your quirky, but you probably still want to wear pants to the office. Probably.