It might sound crazy, but that’s precisely what happened.
Before I explain, however, please allow me to introduce myself.
My name is Marla Mattenson. Over the past twenty-five years, I’ve built a career as an internationally recognized coach, working with leaders and their partners in love and business.
I’ve had the privilege of guiding Academy Award-winning actors, producers and directors, NBA players and coaches, Grammy Award-winning artists, and millionaire entrepreneurs.
My advice has been shared in The New York Times, Forbes, Oprah, NBC, ABC, CBS, and Entrepreneur magazine, amongst other outlets.
Most recently, I built a beautiful relationship coaching brand with my love, life, and business partner, Julian Colker, named The Intimacy Experts, where we guided couples through impactful online courses.
Over the years, I’ve become really damn good at two things:
And while I’m incredibly proud and grateful for all these experiences, I still have plenty of growing to do, which brings us back to the story…
To paint a complete picture, let’s rewind the clock nearly eight years to 2015.
I’m sitting in my one-bedroom apartment, organizing paperwork, when I receive a text from a former client.
Before reading the message, I was on Cloud 9 because I had just made my first sale to this client at my new, higher rates the previous evening.
Upon seeing the words, “Can we talk?” my heart drops out the bottom of my stomach, and cold beads of sweat begin to form across my forehead. The fear comes crashing like a tidal wave as every negative potential floods my mind.
“Uh oh… Is she backing out?… Were my rates too high?… She’s definitely having buyer’s remorse… blah… blah… blah…”
With clammy hands, I respond, “Sure. Call me,” and wait with anticipation as my mind continues its diatribe.
“I need this sale… It’s more than just the money… My internal belief system is hanging on by a thread… I literally cried about money in public not too long ago… My self-esteem and self-worth will evaporate if she bails…”
Ring… Ring… Ring…
“Hey! I just wanted to call you and tell you how grateful I am to work with you again.”
(Pressurized air releases through my ears)
“Me too, Caroline. Me too. We’re going to do great work together.”
After hanging up, I paused to note that I made that whole thing about me… My needs… My finances… My self-esteem…
That was eight years ago… Yet, the deeper understanding didn’t come until many years later.
At this point, I’ve experienced significant success, and money is no longer an issue, not even slightly.
Even still, I’m completing a regular performance review of myself. I’ve just finished watching the last interview in which I ask past clients questions like:
“How have I slowed your growth?… How have I NOT been helpful?… Or even harmful in the most granular sense?…”
… And I’m crushed by what I hear.
I’m reading through my notes, and a few comments stick out like a sore thumb…
“There were times I didn’t feel heard… I felt like I couldn’t be successful without you… Your guidance was powerful, but I lost my own….”
Here I am, considering myself a high-integrity, highly aware, and loving human being… preaching and teaching the importance of ethical sales to my clients…
And then, “WHAM!” the realization hits me like a ton of bricks…
I’M A SLIMY SALESPERSON!
Even worse, as I continue to reflect, I note that I’ve bulldozed, manipulated, influenced, convinced, swayed, persuaded, intimidated, cajoled, and pushed people into saying “yes,” throughout my entire life without even realizing I was doing it.
And yet, my motto is “Sell the way you serve.”
This simply won’t do.
Despite past achievements… Despite financial success… Despite thinking I had done right by my clients…
One resounding truth rang through my mind…