Act Like Your Mum Is Watching
Exercising the honesty muscle will help you in the long run. Creating and sharing have to be for the right reasons.
You don’t need to create a false facade to impress. Acting and behaving as though people should trust you is different from being trustworthy.
Let’s take the Mum Test.
This is to validate that before you press publish, what you say is genuine, anchored and also represents you. Acting like your mum is watching is so you don’t become your alter ego or another persona to hide behind.
This isn’t about creating bland content or work to just fit in and be safe, but stepping up so others can see the real you, with a little homely acknowledgment looking at you from the sidelines.
It’s good to have a solid grounding for you and your work. Here is your checklist for the mum test.
Whether you are about to share in text, audio or video, come back to this for one last rooted confirmation.
Is it you?
When you take a step back, can you safely say that what you are presenting is a true representation of you? Are you trying too hard to look and sound important? Would it be better to explain something that feels technical or in-depth in your own style or isn’t complicated?
Does it flow as though your mum would say, ‘that’s you!’
Is it outlandish?
Whether an outrageous admittance or calling someone else out, is this going to put you in a delicate place after you have aired? Is it going to be better if you take a step back and take time to think?
Is it going to be something your mum would say, ‘I didn’t know you were like that?’
Is it believable?
The experiences you encounter help you shape ideas, it has meaning to you and a way to share with others to help them. This is different from telling others that your experiences have shaped you into a renowned professional. Stating that you are the best and your achievements are unparalleled, whilst giving yourself an appreciative nod, can also make up for your lack of credibility.
Is your mum going to say ‘I’d never expect that from you?’
Is it just an ad, in a different format?
Deep down, we’ll all know if you are promoting something that you think makes you look sincere. Whereas in reality, you are doing it because you have to. We all need to find a return for our efforts, but treating every space as free advertising does wear thin.
Is your mum going to think, ‘is that what you do?’
Is it truthful?
Does your work come from a place where you are looking to tell the truth, to the best of your ability? In an article called, you are what you say and share, when people subscribe and join you, as your audience grows it means taking responsibility for what you say and do. Is your narrative from a place that is respectful, accurate but can also be brave?
Is your mum going to proudly think ‘you were always told to tell the truth when you were little!’
Is it to look successful/vulnerable/important/self-made?
Is heightening an output to inflate your own presence to draw attention to you? Or is it to support and be of value to others? If everything is intended to help you, not others, why should people be bothered?
Is your mum going to say, ‘are you ok?’
Is it to people please?
When your work is to keep an infinite number of people happy, is your work slipping away from what you represent and the values you have? Strangers are always going to be in abundance, so does your work apply to people you are never going to meet and from a place that is available everywhere, such as content themes on ambition or happiness?
Is your mum going to think, ‘are you a motivational speaker?’
When it comes to telling the truth, here is 40 seconds from Denzel Washington who says, “Anything you practice you’ll get good at it.”
Character is shaped by the habits we form and the role we serve, not by the route to look better than others.
When forming good habits around the function of your content, it’s honesty and consistency that will help people decide if you are the person/company they choose to trust.
It doesn’t matter if others are professing to have the answers or worldly wisdom, it’s about sticking close to your principals so that what you share is in alignment with what you believe in and what you promise others. If you can do this often enough, then consistency is rewarded.
It all comes down to being a good person who can share a perspective that can trigger a pattern, thought process and behaviour in others. It’s better to act the same way, whether people are looking or not than it is to create a persona that fits what people expect.
The mum test is a way for you to look others in the eye and say, ‘this is me’. Even better it’s what your mum knows is a true reflection of you and delivered in a way that is clear and simple, for them to understand.
If you want to convey a message of someone that isn’t you, that’s fine, but at some point, you are going to get found out. The bluster and self-importance can only go so far. Start in small steps putting your honesty muscle into practice.
Being trustworthy is what others decide. When you become worthy of their trust, it becomes easier for them to buy in, form relationships and also tell others. The mum test is there to always keep our feet on the ground.