The most insidious of all lies
There is a belief that to be successful in this world you cannot be yourself (and to define success, I would say it is the act of being trustworthy and credible). This is a facade; an insidious little bugger of a lie that is completely false.
The larger the deals/bigger the projects you take on, the more you are judged on your brand, your credibility and associations. People sniff out fakes (people trying to be something that makes them small) very quickly at this level. The only way to earn respect is to be a thought leader. Your business depends on it.
Being a thought leader requires you to have big ideas, incredible integrity, credibility (bling) and be willing to say and do the things that make your heart beat faster.
Not everyone will resonate with your work. That's not your concern.
Your concern is to be a master at your crafts, take risks and walk ahead of the pack so you can lead from the front.
The more unwilling you are to ask the tough questions the more difficult you'll find it to grow your business (and life).
Lack of receptivity on the part of others is a question of delivery on your part, the audience (are you in the right industry) and the recipient's openness to what you're saying (in sales we call this qualifying a prospect based on interests and past actions).
And breaking the ice is a matter of doing things differently that as a result delights and surprises your audience in an authentic way. Complimenting people is an example of this. Learning how to be funny and make fun of common day occurrences does this.
You have the skills and everyone's style will be slightly different; it's just a matter of trying it out.
Photo by Melanie.