Warning: What follows is a lede you probably never expected to see in a business publication…

In the last 4 months, I’ve found myself in a position to give online dating a go. I’m merely a dabbler, but the process has left me wondering about what lurks in the murky depths below the “matching & winking” at the surface.

When I initially wrote my profile, I made it big and bold. I used words like “ambitious” and “driven.” And I reasoned, if a guy is turned off by that, he’s not the right guy for me.

And that’s not untrue.

But it’s not the whole truth.

The whole truth is that ambition and drive are characteristics that don’t often lead to attraction. I don’t just say that because I’m a woman. Those same qualities in a man might mean he’s prone to workaholism or keeping relationships at a safe distance. Not exactly sexy.

Four months into this little personal experiment and I can say I’ve come to one conclusion.

I put “ambitious” and “driven” at the front of my profile for 1 reason: I wasn’t as serious as I thought about trying to attract attention. It made it easy for me to say “There are no good men on this site!” or “Men just can’t handle a woman like me.”

This week, I came across two resources on online dating that piqued my interest. First, a book by the founder of eFlirt Expert, Laurie Davis, called Love at First Click. The second was a Wall Street Journal article called “Hacking the Hyperlinked Heart.” Both are about online dating strategy. They’re based on loads of personal experience and gobs of research.

Last night, I adjusted my profile. I followed the advice in the WSJ article and toned down the work stuff, concentrating on what I like to do when I’m not working. I talked about being driven by curiosity instead of ambition. I led with my love of travel, lattes, and wine. I talked about cooking and eating out.

It was true. It was sincere. And it felt attractive.

Then I messaged a few guys, winked at a few more, and ate dinner. In the span of a few hours, I had more activity on my profile than I’d had in 4 months.

It’s a good (re)start. No telling where it will go from here, but I feel like I’m taking myself and my goals seriously, all the while not allowing myself to blame anyone else.

“What does this have to do with business?” you might ask.

I’ll tell you. Many business owners nowadays do and say a lot in the name of sincerity, authenticity, and transparency. Sometimes this takes the form of blatant over-sharing, but it can also take the form of not following through on a big idea, not polishing their sales copy, or simply ignoring solid practices because they want to do it “their way” in an effort to be different for different’s sake.

Just as I wrote my dating profile in a way that allowed me to blame the guys, many business owners choose to operate in a way that allows them to blame their potential customers.

“They just don’t understand the value of what I do.”
“If they can’t handle my honesty, I don’t want their business.”
“No one is looking for what I create.”

When you choose sincerity without a care for strategy, you set yourself up to lose. Click to tweet. Maybe that’s what you’re looking for. Though, I’d put my money on the cause being your fear of true success. It’s not that you’re trying to lose (who does that?), it’s that you’re fearful of succeeding.

You’d have to serve the big client. You’d have to write the book. You’d have to create the life-changing program.

You’d have to put it all on the line despite the uncertainty of the outcome.

Sounds pretty much like dating to me…

Strategy and sincerity are not mutually exclusive. The question is: Does allowing sincere communication to fit within a strategic framework make it less true?

I wholeheartedly believe it does not.

On the contrary, allowing strategy to be your framework for relating sincerity means you have a much better chance of actually communicating in a way that allows your customers to see the whole picture, understand how your business can serve them, and make a true impact in their lives. Best practices, tried & true techniques, and definitive strategy work because they shed light on what we share as human beings.

When you inject your own personal truth into a framework of strategy, your truth comes in contact with our most profound sources of connection. You can do the good you’re meant to do through your business because you give your potential customers the best chance of being attracted to what your business has to offer.

Like so many aspects of business today, it’s both/and, not either/or. Choosing to engage both sincerity and strategy is a winning combination.

But, business owner beware, if you start combining sincerity and strategy, you might actually have to go on a few dates.

More praise for The Art of Growth

The Art of Growth by Tara Gentile“What I appreciate about Tara’s work is that she smartly, succinctly, and intelligently lays out a path for the entrepreneur to leapfrog some of those steps that can lead to burn-out and abandoned dreams.”
— Jennifer, via Amazon

“…the value here is not just in the amazing concepts and philosophy Tara describes, but in the practical how to that’s woven in.”
— Anne Samoilov, Launch Strategist

“Your new book #artofgrowth is jammed packed w many layers to digest, consider + work with! So, thorough and thoughtful!”
— Teresa Capaldo, coach for the creative and soulful

“…truly opens your mind to what is possible.”
— Tat, Mum in Search

Click here to grab your copy.