What Laurel/Yanny Can Teach Us About Authentic Self-promotion

Last week the internet went wild over a word. Only not everyone can agree on what that word is.

If you don’t yet know about the Laurel/Yanny phenomenon, take a listen to this:

Some people hear the word Laurel, and some hear Yanny.

I hear Laurel. When I played this for my significant other, she heard Yanny. Incidentally, this same thing happened with “The Dress.” We both saw different things.

As hard as I try I cannot hear Yanny or see a Gold and White dress. Laurel and a Blue and Black dress are my reality. But it’s not everyone’s reality. A poll found 55% of people heard Laurel, and 45% heard Yanny.

But here’s something I’ve learned in my 5 or so years of helping introverts…

Different realities – let’s call them Yannys – exist everywhere.

And these Yannys are often what’s holding back an introvert’s business.

Introverted clients have come to me who are self-sabotaging their business because they believe that nobody wants to see them on camera. Why? Because they aren’t 5 pounds lighter, or because their head is too big (yes, I have heard those “Yannys”).

They don’t want to show up on Twitter because social media is too noisy for their quiet voice to ever be heard.

And so they don’t promote online. They don’t show up. Their business is invisible. And they struggle to find customers.

But thinking they can’t find customers on social media because they’re not 5 pounds lighter is their Yanny. That’s their reality. It’s a reality that seems real and feels real and is not a made-up-perception-that’s-all-in-your-head.

We’re all just walking around only seeing our reality.

We’re walking around only seeing ourselves as a Yanny when other people see us as a Laurel.

“Doing a Facebook Live in my Star Trek t-shirt will doom my business,” your inner Yanny will tell you. And putting on a button-down t-shirt is too much “work” (you need choose one, and then iron it, etc), so videos don’t get made (oh yes, this used to be my Yanny).

“I’m not a good writer, and what I have to say everyone else has already said, and better than I could have said,” your inner Yanny will tell you.

Your inner Yanny is telling you whatever it can to keep you safe. And safe doesn’t necessarily mean happy, safe doesn’t necessarily mean successful.

Safe is normal. Safe is what’s known. Safe is the status quo, even if that status quo hurts you. And for the people I work with, safe is invisible.

Safe is nobody knowing about your business. Safe is half-assing a social media strategy, trying to do it all yourself, or hedging your bets on your dream.

I’m here to tell you that another reality – a Laurel reality – exist.

There’s another reality out there where people want (are craving!) a voice like yours.

They are craving a graphic designer who is a Trekkie. They are craving your unique written voice, because to them your voice is unique.

How do I know that this alternate Laurel reality exists where you’re the right weight, personality, etc, to be taken seriously?

Because the internet is huge. There are 2 Billion monthly active users on Facebook. 2 billion!!

This is not high school where there’s 2,000 students and only 1 other person who “kinda gets me.”

This is 2 billion people. There are thousands, probably tens of thousands, probably hundreds of thousands, of people out there who get you and think you are the right person to give their money to. They just can’t buy from you and tell you that you’re awesome because they don’t know you exist.

How do I know that the internet is big enough for you to find your tribe?

Because this lady has been smashing her head into bread for years, and she has 207,000 Instagram followers:

A post shared by Bread Face (@breadfaceblog) on

The vast majority of people, including me, think WTF. But a few people get it. And both types of people follow her on Instagram.

You might be thinking. Ok, but she’s not trying to sell anything. She can be as weird as she wants because she doesn’t have to be professional.

But have you seen a Marie Forleo video?

She’s pretty weird. And she has a 8-figure business because people LIKE authenticity. And a whole lotta people out there LIKE weird.

You’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. Nobody is everyone’s cup of tea. But there ARE people out there who get you and want to buy something from someone who gets them.

Sure, that point of view is my Yanny, that’s my reality, but I’ve seen the business transformation that can happen when a fellow introvert finally starts being themselves and strategically starts authentically self-promoting.

So, my fellow introverts. I know being visible is hard. I know that us introverts tend to be background people who don’t want to add to the noise. I know you’re probably still skeptical, and that it’s ok for others to be weird, but your case is special.

But remember that you have something to give to this world. Ways of expressing something that is unique to your experiences and life.

You have gifts that other people don’t have.

Whether your gift is like mine, being able to unleash hidden potential, or your gift is being able to create an amazing logo, it’s still a gift.

People are looking to buy from someone like you, but they don’t know you exist. So go out there and be visible!

Is your business not where you want it to be? I help introverts see what’s holding them back, and give them an action-plan to start making progress in their business. Interested? Read more here.