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Just me being personal

When I first started to write my newsletter, it was very difficult for me to write about anything personal. I made up a story that people didn’t care about me. All they wanted to read from me were my business building tips, success mindsets or any other relevant information on how to get clients.

But over the last few years, I have allowed myself to open up more and let people into my world. And it’s been an incredible relationship building adventure.

It all started at the urging of my business partner, Patrick, to shoot a video with Gia simply announcing my engagement. I didn’t want to do it, but Patrick can be persuasive, so I finally agreed. Getting Gia to do the video was even more difficult, but she finally relented.

What happened shocked me.

I got more comments and emails from that one video than anything I have ever done. What!!!

Since then, I have done everything possible to bring the human Bill element into everything I do and it’s made a difference.

We would all rather engage with someone who is open and personal. We want to know about people we do business with. We want to feel like we are dealing with real people who care about us. We do not want to deal with closed and impersonal corporations trying to sell stuff to us all the time.

When you speak about who you are and when you speak your truth – your newsletter subscribers are going to respond!

Here are a few tips on that for ya:

  • Write the way you speak. There is no reason to use big words or fancy language. Write as if you were speaking to a friend who you care deeply about and are pretty familiar with. Don’t worry about making mistakes.
  • Share powerful opinions even if you think some of your readers might disagree (especially if you think people might disagree!). Share perspectives that need to be said, but others are afraid to say. Scary – perhaps. Powerful – definitely.
  • Tell stories from your own life experience. People love stories that allow them to extract what’s useful to them and their own lives.

I remember 4-5 years ago, my ex-wife emailed me after reading one of my newsletters. She said that it sounds like I am leading a charmed life, that everything seems so neatly put together and that I come across as perfect. I didn’t like getting that email because here’s someone who knows me and is telling me that I am not being altogether real.

That authentic email from my ex-wife made a huge difference for me on my journey towards being more real and personal in my own communication. I learned that sharing things about my journey that haven’t been easy or flattering is part of who I am, so why omit them from my communications.

So I want urge you to be more YOU, including all the rough edges, when you speak to people in your life, your clients, your newsletter subscribers and even your potential clients.

This will allow you to feel better in your business and your business will reward you with more revenue, more clients and more fulfillment.

So how are you going to be more authentic in your next communication/newsletter?



  1. Liked what you said about being authentic and how the video with your and your fiance announcing your engagement got so many more views. Would like to ask a favor or you… I would like an outside opinion as to how authentic (or unauthentic) I come across on my first ever personal video telling my personal story: https://youtu.be/wZZsp4sLsbU

  2. Andrea says:

    It’s easier to tell the plain truth than have to remember lies…

  3. Bill, thanks for sharing this life experience. Very insightful and helpful as I’m a beginner writing newsletter.

  4. I love this Bill – thanks so much for sharing.
    It has been a journey fro me to go from feeling like I always have to sound super-professional and knowledgable to allowing myself to not always have the answers and be vulnerable when communicating to my list and audience… AND it has been so deeply rewarding to not only feel the level of authenticity of my own writing deepen but to see/feel people respond much more meaningfully when I do! Hells Yes! Thanks for being a great example in this regard and all you do and share with us :).

  5. Hello Bill.

    Thank you for this post. Your vulnerability, our vulnerability, is what connects us as humans and spiritual beings, regardless of what service we provide to the world.

    Having grown up in a household with great instability and mental illness, I learned early and quickly how to protect my feelings from the vulnerabilities of sharing my experiences with classmates. The taunting, teasing, ridicule, and bullying led me to believe that I was not smart enough to go to college. I took on others short-sighted and limited views of me, and it wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I followed the truth that had lingered inside of me, waiting to be expressed in the world.

    After the devastating death of my father, my safe person in the world, I was lost. All I could grab hold of was the whisper of truth inside of me that had been buried, by not lost. Without knowing how, I made a decision to enter college as a single mother raising three children with no outside support, working a part-time job, and with each conscious and faithful step toward my dream, I earned my doctorate in clinical psychology. I returned, or as I like to say “re-membered”, the pieces of my true self.

    Decision, was and is, my power word. I have decided… and then somehow the steps appear.

    When I know someone can benefit from my story, I bring it into my therapy office as well as into seminars and summits on EQ (emotional intelligence), or to someone I may encounter elsewhere who is struggling. Sometimes I still get scared when becoming vulnerable, personally and professionally, and my past protection to close down looms over me. Then I remind myself that without the pains of my past and the growth that has followed, I wouldn’t be me, and I wouldn’t be someone who understands the pain of others… The tie that binds us all, and can bring forth compassion for another’s story. Although I wouldn’t want to go back and repeat the pain of my past, today I am grateful for the gifts that followed.

    We all have a story. Each one matters.


  6. I learned from doing energy work that from neutral anything can be said, and when sent out into the world it will only do good. The beauty of speaking one’s truth from this place is that it speaks to the heart and soul of the receiver, bypassing the judgmental mind.

    In all the places where I judge myself I know that I don’t fully embrace vulnerability. I shall be looking for my next level of authenticity in those places this week. Thank you for the share, Bill! 🙂


  7. Bill,

    WOW!!! The Big Shift, I had no idea about you or the Big Shift a month ago and now you and The Big Shift and all of your team have changed my life. I wear the Red Scarf to bed!!! I am very intuitive but did not want to acknowledge it in my monetary life. But after being coached at your event by an intuitive and attracting so many people who would be my best friends, I got to really accept more of myself. What an amazing gift. I feel like the bear is now out of my soul and I am growling, trying to keep at a low roar.

    I am so ready to be part of your team. Thank you and forever grateful for the work you do and the work you have done to get to where you are now. Thank you for your diligence and not giving up. There are so many of us who appreciate, respect and will use all that you have given that we can use to change ourselves and the world.

    Hope your trip with Mr. Branson was fun and insightful.


    Maureen williams
    (650) 534-4511

    KIAH 415-488-3924

  9. As usual, Bill, you keep adding value. I find it easy to write honestly but often have to edit just for the purpose of inserting conjunctions….my academic training keeps popping up. The Big Shift was all that you promised and more. Sitting in the airport I found myself comparing the energy to what I had just experienced over the weekend. I don’t want to live in that impersonal, defended world. This morning I was in line buying groceries 2 people behind an elderly woman in one of those electric chairs they provide for shoppers. She had her checkbook but no identification and the apologetic clerk couldn’t accept her check. I listened for a few minutes as he tried to explain and then I began to live the new expanded money me. I stepped up and asked him to put her bill on my credit card. What an incredible feeling that was to know my own abundance and realize I’d brought my open heart home. And the truth is, after he ran my card, she insisted I wait for her brother who was coming, because she wasn’t able to receive what I wanted to offer. Instead of insisting on her accepting my gift, I was able to recognize her extreme discomfort at “owing someone,” and so I stayed. While we waited 20 minutes for the brother I had an amazing conversation with this 94 year old woman who still works for New York Life Insurance as a Chinese interpreter. And the magic of the weekend continues as I vow to carry it forward. I’m not going back to impersonal/disconnected even when others are……

  10. Anonymous says:

    Bill, I know what you say is generally true, and I do share. I have no problem sharing, actually, but there’s a point where I have to draw a line and that’s what I’d like your thoughts on if you have time. I’m sure I’m not the only one with this situation. The question is how and where to draw the line (or do you)? Sharing my story can freak people out because there is a lot of trauma in it. Some can handle it, but if not, one of three things often happens. 1) People can become so appalled they are triggered into their own unresolved stuff, which isn’t useful, or 2) what I say takes over their attention so much that they get engaged with their own emotions (even if through empathy) and cannot hear the rest of the story, which is of clarity, freedom and discovery. 3) Or they cope by separating, regarding me as “other” and/or damaged, because what I experienced is outside their reality and harsher than they can handle emotionally. That puts me in a category I don’t enjoy and that isn’t useful. So sometimes I just say “I had a lot of trauma” which is pretty acceptable these days. However, it was the depth of that experience that propelled me to the insights I’ve acquired, so downplaying it is not real or accurate. How have you seen people handle this kind of situation?

    • Sharing your full story and owning its power is one of the most important tools of transformation we have. People are going to be triggered. They might judge. They may get emotional. It’s what you do with their reaction that’s going to determine the effectiveness of your sharing. The more grounded and more powerfully you stand in their reaction, the more profound your sharing is going to be. BTW, the irony of Anonymous is not lost on me.

  11. HI Bill, thanks, because mine is the trail of a visionary and humanitarian with my movie The Success Attitude, so it is letting go of fear, living in the now and definitely following intuition and divine guidance about my next step. I do this in my workshops but will do more in my marketing. Thanks. Janice New zealand

  12. Thanks for the insight Bill. I appreciated your transparency at the BSE. As a DC I’ve enjoyed the luxury f being able to be personal with my patients and in my marketing, rather than the traditional aloof medical doctors often are expected to be. Its allowed me to be authentic with people and they quickly see that moving toward care in my clinic is a step they want to take. The line crossing experience at BSE showed me even more clearly that no one has a charmed life, that as a community we all have suffered. The difference is that the people at BSE haven’t given up they are still looking for a different personal experience.

  13. Bill…
    This is exactly what you did at the Big Shift…that was able to move the entire audience. It was real, authentic, and beautiful. I used to think that I had to appear “all put together” for my tribe..that I had it all figured out, since I stepped into a ‘pack leader’ role…and I was so wanting them to stay in the tribe. So, I’d hide behind a smile, or a bunch of exclamation marks in my writing… That didn’t work…cuz it wasn’t real. Now when I simply share from my heart…I realize they love me for who I am…as completely real…hell…I LOVE ME AS COMPLETELY REAL! Thank you for the reminder. The Big Shift experience was more than I imagined it to be. Thank you…and your entire team… <3

  14. Thanks Bill being yourself.
    People around cannot stand you being the same powerful person.
    Either they try to push you into the gutter they are in or try to move you to the wrong path they had followed to reach there. I am telling this out of experience.
    When you progress people try to destroy you and when you win even after that they hide their venom and show as if they knew you would make it.
    I thank you personally for all your emails to me.

    • This is not my experience. It’s up to you to either shift your belief system or the people you surround yourself with (or perhaps both). It will be life changing.

  15. Hi Bill. I attended your Big Shift events two years in a row and am overwhelmed by how different the two experiences were for me. I was blown away by how open and transparent you were this weekend. Your value and intention of “being peace” transformed the experience for all of us. You showed up completely as you, and, therefore, allowed us each the opportunity to fully show up, too. It was extraordinary. The incredible transformations that were deeply personal occurring in a room of hundreds of people were, frankly, unbelievable. Many people changed so much, in their energy and presence, that time and time again, I didn’t recognize them! I experienced, over and over again, our interconnections to each and every person in our space and the profound impact we each have on one another when we show up fully as ourselves. You reminded me that when I allow all of me to show up, magic happens! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  16. Dear Bill – As others have mentioned, your skillful, heartfelt use of personal stories was one of the big takeaways for me from last weekend´s Big Shift event. Your email reenforced my commitment to sharing of my own stories in my teaching and writing – despite my (long dead) mother´s strict instructions to not talk about one´s self too much (i.e., at all) and my self-protective instincts. Looking forward to join the “scarf mafia”! Bearice

  17. Thank you Bill for sharing something that few people know. Being vulnerable and relatable draws people closer to us and appearing perfect can create a barrier.

    PS Thanks for a great Big Shift Experience. I learned so much

  18. Bill,
    I had a wonderful opportunity to experience your personality during The Big Shift Event 2016. You are so genuine and truthful in sharing your life stories, feelings and “Ta-da!” moments… Your comfort of open sharing is absolutely joyful.
    Just before reading your post this morning, I was reflecting on experiences from Big Shift – what a powerful shifting experience it was. Then, while writing response to one of my clients, I looked at my e-mail signature line, and thought of the ways to change it to make more personal – and then spotted your e-mail with this excellent post – timely and extremely valuable!
    Thank you for sharing your personality and your experiences!

  19. Thanks Bill…love this philosophy. Personal stories make such an impact… I got to experience that at the BIG SHIFT this past weekend (Awesome event!). I have committed (today) to writing a personal story for a bay area newsletter that I subscribe to. It will share my healing journey through Lymes Disease. Thanks for the added push in expanding my comfort zone!!

  20. Thanks for the great tips Bill! After reading this article (and attending The Big Shift Experience this weekend), what struck me most was the sharing of personal stories. I’m gonna create a document that is strictly for stories from my life that may be moving / helpful / inspiring for my tribe.

    ~ Sarah

  21. I know you are so right Bill. I have worked very hard on my speaking voice, to make it congruent with my heart voice. My next big challenge is my writing voice. I write so academically it makes ME want to go to sleep and stay asleep! So I have avoided writing and I know that has limited my business, but most importantly the movement I want to create in the world.

    Just as we did at the Big Shift Experience I am crossing the line and committing to working on my writing voice being congruent with my speaking and heart voice!

  22. June Timberlake says:

    Hi Bill. I agree, the personal authenticity encourages trust and connection to a real person not just a successful one. And knowing more about what the entreprenuer’s journey really is is very helpful in limiting over idealistic goals or abandoning them too soon. Knowing more about your struggles helped me realize what resiliency looks like in this field. Being prepared for reality trumps ignorance. It also made it clear why I have had such struggles in moving forward. How many tries does it take to be successful? As many as it takes but negative interpretations and self talk shut that down. So when a leader shares their challenges that makes it real for the rest of us – because if we didn’t have any weaknesses or mistakes I assume we’d be there by now. Thank you. June

  23. Bill
    Thank you so much for letting be be “the second person at the mike” and talk about my “movement” to create integration in holistic healing with the Western medical model. Your reaction was so profound because of course this movement already exists and I heard Dr. Oz talk about it on the Today Show before I attended your event. I really am just adding my voice to something that others are already doing and I choose to empower myself to be a speaker for that. I was so sleep deprived on Sunday because my roommate was snoring all night long and it broke through a lot of my resistances of getting up before such a big group. In my work with other people such amazing shifts can happen which takes me along for the ride and I know you know that because we all experienced how empathic and connected you are emotionally with what you do. I would like to “call” you on some of the things that came up for me around your business. I think it would be a call that would create a tremendous impact on you and your business. Listening and meeting Sean we know that incredible things can happen for us from the most unexpected places!!

  24. Bill! I so agree and yet, it is so difficult for any transformational leader to admit that they too are still in the process. While recording one of our calls for our upcoming telesummit on love with an author who has multiple NY Times Best Sellers on relationships, she asked Dianne and me a very uncomfortable question. We were all just saying that every new and even established couples have issues to work out so by all means, have realistic expectations and get some skills around this. And then, she surprised the hell out of me. As we were talking about that, she said to Dianne, “So, what bothers you about Gary?” I almost fell off my chair in the middle of the interview. The thought went through my mind, “I’m editing this out later.” And yet, I realized, I needed to be real with our audience if I wanted them to be OK with this process! If we wanted them to be real with the fact that problems are natural for couples to negotiate, I needed to exemplify this. At first it felt painful and awkward. “Oh boy,” I thought, “there went my shorts to the ground.” And then, it got worse. I remembered that 100,000 people might be seeing this soon. Then I almost had a panic attack. But when I looked at the recording later, I realized it was one of the most powerful moments in the entire series of recordings. It’s not easy being vulnerable. In fact, its horribly scary at times. Being authentic is difficult at times. And yet, the very word ‘authentic’ comes from the same word as ‘author.’ In other words, getting vulnerable is necessary to become the author of your own experience. Thanks for sharing this blog, Bill. Your honesty inspires me to have more of these moments myself as I create my own movement. This is the kind of honesty that inspires a ‘movement’, as you so elegantly shared on Sunday at The Big Shift. This is truly one of the ways I will change a generation’s fate with love. Thanks for his post on a Monday morning. You are a real soul, my friend. – Gary

  25. Chadw says:

    You certainly shared your authentic and all out lovable self at the big shift…thanks again for living what you teach and teaching what you live. So many things make way more sense after learning by your example…Thanks for the hug too!

  26. Thanks Bill for being personal. It makes all the difference. I loved the Big Shift program and really appreciate your work in the world. I am particularly affected by your value of generosity and I believe sharing personally from the heart is an extension of this value. You give your wisdom, you give money and you also give of yourself deeply. This generosity of spirit is, in my opinion, why you have success and love what you do. And why you have won my admiration and why I count you as a mentor.

    So gratefully,

  27. This is God sent, Bill! I was just going to fire an uncommitted client TODAY! Yours remind me to take courage to say with polite congruency rather than being so courteous and nice lest I hurt people. Thank you very much! And thank you for the Big Shift Event! I’m so thankful for the 90 % I could attend and receive and share … The last 10 % I had to forgive myself as I was sick.

  28. Thank you for the reminder on speaking our truth. We are back from the Big Shift Experience and need to let the weekend integrate. My husband and I are preparing to launch our wellness center, Shanti Living Wellness. We need to get a blog up and running asap, and your personal note speaks to my heart! We look forward to learning more in the next year with the Big Shift Coaching Program and I can see our future (very near future) full of prosperity and abundance not only with finances but with community and healing! Thank you!

  29. Hi Bill,
    This email came at the perfect time to reinforce exactly what I have been hearing from deep within throughout the Big Shift Experience here in San Jose this weekend. I’m embarking on a journey of using video to speak to my tribe and establish not only recognition but a sense of familiarity and community with those who see the videos. It’s clear to me that this medium is one that will allow others to experience, really feel, my presence which is such a deep part of what I do in coaching those who are being affected by their divorce. Your blog post just reinforces what I have sensed and validates the thoughts I’ve been having. Thanks for being you in a very real way; your visibility and transparency is so greatly appreciated by me and all of us in this year’s BSC program.

  30. Dr. Adrian Richie says:

    Hello Bill,
    Thank you for the authentic notes. This really vibrates with me. I actually have a couple books going on that I have on hold because of my fear to be authentic and real then the hurt could cause others. I learned this weekend at the big shift that there are ways to say it still stay authentic without hurt. Thank you for the time you and Patrick Spence this weekend and all we got in training was amazing. Going to be a fun 12 months in the BSC program. To remember me I was the guy with the hat like yours all weekend! Namaste.

  31. Thank you Bill for being authenticity you.
    I just spent an incredible weekend with you and Patrick at the Big Shift.
    Having known your work and followed you for 10 years I finally got to meet you in person. Your heart centered programs have always resonated with me and now I can see why. You, my sweet Bill, are one of the most authentic people I have ever known.
    Thank you for being you. I look forward to spending the next year working with you in the BSC Program.

  32. Kate says:

    Hi Bill,

    Thank you for the heads up. It seems to me this message was directed at me.
    I’m preparing to write my first book. I often catch myself thinking about what I might include in the content and I wonder if I’m too open and free in the way I express myself and my experiences. The candid truth might make me feel vulnerable, however what I know for sure is that my authenticity comes from my sheer honesty.

    Take care.

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