Are You Boring?

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I know, the question is a bit presumptuous, but it’s a question we all must answer, as professionals, and it can be tough to accept if your reality is like mine!

How do you know if you’re boring?

Well for starters, are you being talked about in the marketplace?  Do people know who you are and share this with others?  If people aren’t discussing your services, your products, your cause, your mission or your career there’s a reason.

The reason is that what you’re offering is not reaching potential customers.  You’re not building relevance in a tough and highly diverse marketplace.

In the eye of the customer you are in fact “boring”.  And boring is most certainly not where you want to be.

Let’s take this even farther.

You’re probably boring on purpose.

Why?  Only you can provide the answer.  Perhaps you’re doing what is most comfortable or what is within the parameters of your training.  Or maybe what you offer has always proved successful so why change.  If you’re anything like me, you may find yourself dismissing the question altogether by defending the quality of your product or the depth of your skills.  But my intent here is not to challenge your competence.  I’m sure you’re an excellent clinician.  I’m asking that you take a closer look at your career from a business development standpoint.

Is what you offer and provide remarkable in the marketplace?  Some of what you offer, while high quality, may not be intriguing or interesting enough to capture the attention of your audience.  And yet, there are other professionals (e.g., life coaches, relationship coaches) in the marketplace with no mental health experience or training who are winning over customers daily because they are offering unique workshops and services that speak directly to the needs of their target audience.  And that, my friends, is taking market share away from all of us.

I say it’s time for us to pay more attention!  After all, you don’t get “unboring” unless you work at it.  Being remarkable takes dedication and sometimes a shift in perspective.

Remarkable is a choice.



  1. Barbara Radin Fox  February 3, 2009

    I think that the article is an interesting take on success and marketing. I don’t think, though, that boredom is the only reason why people don’t talk about our product or service, but it certainly is one of the important reasons.

  2. Brian Sullivan, PsyD  February 3, 2009

    Dave, I fully agree that we can learn a great deal from business-savvy people, and that we should be unafraid to be non-boring.

    But I’m going to go out on a limb, disagree with you a bit, and even risk being labeled a heretic by suggesting that we licensed folk have more to gain by cooperating and collaborating with the better non-licensed coaches around us than by seeing them merely as competition.

    You know, a license is something like an air filter to help ensure that what gets through is of good quality to be useful, screening out the harm-producers. But it’s no guarantee of high quality. I’ve met several unlicensed coaches to whom I wouldn’t send any referrals under any circumstances. But I also know more than a couple of licensed mental health providers about whom I feel the same way (sadly).

    The ratio is better with the licensed people, but that doesn’t mean I refuse to collaborate with people based on licensed/unlicensed status. And in fact, I know at least one non-licensed coach who is a better, intuitive, therapeutic person (not to mention creative) than many of the bona fide therapists I know.

    By the way, I’m so excited that you have begun this blog, and I genuinely hope you inspire MANY people to read and reply to each and every one of them.


  3. David Diana  February 4, 2009

    I appreciate the comments from all! And I certainly agree that there are many reasons why people may not talk about a product or service.

    In my mind, the use of the word “boring” is an idea I use to jolt me a bit so I can be sure I am using my talents and energy in the best manner possible. I would love to hear more about some of the other reasons why people may not be talking about our services.

    One additional reason may be that the issues a person faces, which leads him/her to treatment, are not only highly personal but difficult and challenging. Therefore, discussing a workshop they attended or the therapist they are seeing may not be tops on the list for that person to share!

    And Brian raises an excellent point that is important for all of us in the profession. Instead of competing, why not partner? This is a topic in and of itself but if we look at coaching as one example, I believe there are a lot of things to learn from them in terms of what they do well and not so well. In addition, leveraging skill sets and strengths will only make both parties stronger.


  4. Brian Sullivan, PsyD  February 5, 2009

    I wonder if there are any non-licensed coaches (that is, coaches who are not also licensed mental health professionals) out there who can add to this discussion?

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