Aderinsola Sanwo: Cut That False Modesty!


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Hi, I’m Mira. I’m a smart thinking woman. I run a small business that I started not quite long ago. Though it’s not perfect, I would love for you to invest in it.

Hi Mira, thanks for being modest. I like that you’re a smart thinking woman. That’s good to know, but guess what? I’m not interested in investing in your business. Please don’t ask me why.

Oh, I thought we were already having a connection. What is it you do not like? You haven’t even heard the rest. How can you be certain you’re not interested? What is wrong with the picture?

Dear Mira, YOU are wrong with the picture. Yes, I love that you are a smart thinking woman. That’s a basic entrepreneurial skill. Of course, any smart thinking investor would like to look into your business. And just so you know, I was actually going to look into your business. As a matter of fact, I was just about to. But guess what, YOU told me not to. I guess this sounds more appropriate: you strongly warned against it. I bet you are trying to figure out how and when you did. You gave me a detail I did not need. Why should I be interested in your ‘not perfect’ brand? You just gave me a red light!

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not asking you to be an overnight superwoman. Guess what, I’m not even asking that your brand be perfect. It’s a start up so I understand what the road is like for it. Truth is, in the long run, you will come to realize that there is no perfect business. The great ones are simply molded through consistent guts. I think I would have preferred you telling me what’s great about your business, you know, what makes it cool and different. Well, even if not so different from others, at least a bit of an exciting phrase would have done. But you just went right up to burden me with the possibility of everything that could go wrong with it. I guess that to you, ‘it’s not perfect’ sounds like a usual, harmless introduction, but to me, it sounds exactly like ‘don’t get your hopes high already. In fact, you might want to think twice before considering it’. So you see, I did take your advice.

Fine, I understand that where you come from, it’s probably called ‘being modest’. I can somehow relate to that though. We are in an environment that constantly teaches us to ‘not blow’ our trumpets or any ‘prized’ possession at all that could make a sound. Modesty is such a virtue. And it would seem that the more modest you are, the more socially accepted you become. Well, here is something you should know: while you’re being ‘modest’ and stacking your trumpet away in your closet, someone else is blowing hers. And really loud. I’m sure you know what comes with sound, right? Everyone wants to know what the occasion is.

Of course, no doubts, your business is bound to have its share of start-up shortcomings and all, but don’t ever entertain the idea of discrediting it, particularly before others. Hey, cut that false modesty. If you do not think highly of what you represent, why should I?



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