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June 23, 2020

076 | How To Be Polarizing + Prep For The Hate

How to be polarizing and prep for the hate with Annie Miller

Okay I think this is going to be a very fun episode. Mainly because I look forward to the implementation + conversation that comes out of this topic of polarization.

I was VERY scared to be TRULY polarizing in the only space that I have.

While I was never a normal fitspo, and never “fit in” in the what I would consider to be the norm of the world of online fitness, I also didn’t REALLY start actively speaking out in a polarizing manner until 2018. And I didn’t start doing it OFTEN until maybe late 2019 and 2020 to date.

Before we get into polarizing topics, how to address them, what to expect when you open the door for hate, and so on, let’s define what a polarizing topic is by definition.

According to Oxford Languages on my little Google search, to polarize is to:

“divide or cause to divide into two sharply contrasting groups or sets of opinions or beliefs.”

Thus, you can see where CHOOSING to be polarizing may be completely and absolutely terrifying. But I must remind you my friend, that you are not trying to be for everyone. You are trying to draw deeper and closer to your ideal client + drive out those who are NOT for you and your brand.

Being polarizing does that and more.

Beyond cultivating a stronger, more die hard audience, being polarizing also leads to viral exposure, relatively speaking.

I say relative because if you have 100 followers, then getting 1000 likes and 100+ shares is the most viral for you. For someone with 20k+ 2000+ likes and hundreds of shares would be viral. It all depends on your day to day comparison.

Bottom line, stepping out and speaking firmly on a polarizing topic gets ATTENTION. And hi, you want attention.

To recap:

Being polarizing can result positively in:

Larger than normal exposure, likely to YOUR PEOPLE. Because your die hard audience members will share with their friends, who align with your ICA. Win-win. More people in your audience who are likely your ideal client.

It more clearly defines to your audience what you and your brand stand for. What is a go or no-go for you and your business, program, brand, self.

Drives people out of your audience who don’t belong here. I repeat, you are NOT for everyone. No one is.

Now, let’s discuss some topics and how to land on a polarizing topic that feels natural for you. It will be scary to speak out no matter what. Maybe. Who knows, maybe you love it.

Polarizing topics:

I will give examples from business and fitness as I coach both and speak out in both of these arenas with strong polarizations.

I need to say something real quick, just in case we aren’t clear on WHAT a polarizing post is.

IT IS NOT YOU GETTING ON YOUR SOAP BOX AND COMPLAINING LOUDLY.

THAT’S JUST IMMATURE AND ANNOYING. Let’s be clear.

When I refer to a polarizing post, I am referring to you speaking out about something you disagree strongly with (an unpopular opinion), providing reason for WHY you disagree and your action in the other direction. How does you disagreeing benefit your audience. WE MUST KEEP THIS AT THE CENTER OF OUR POLARIZATION.

So, now that that’s out of the way…

First off – your polarizing topic(s) should, like I said, feel natural.

What angers you about your industry. Or breaks your heart? What elicits a deep emotional response from you?

Legitimately think about it. If you don’t know, pay attention to what sets you off this week or month. That’s your topic, my child.

What makes you want to yell and scream. What posts do you secretly send to your friend and talk shit about? Mmmmm? I know you do it! That’s your topic.

But remember, you’re going to compose your thoughts, and determine why you’re speaking out on this topic. We’re not just complaining. You have a solution. Don’t be the person who complains without leading.

If you don’t know – my polarizing topics in fitness are the speaking out against the sexualization of the fitness industry, against selling with your body, against bounce around workouts and constant variation. I SAID IT. I have my reasons and how they relate to what I offer. That’s what I deliver to my audience.

Again – I need you to see that I ALREADY DEMONSTRATED THESE THINGS THROUGH MY CONTENT AND ACTIONS. But I didn’t actively speak out on these topics until pretty recently. They were already a part of my brand – I just defined them and chose to yell a bit.

And every time I post on these topics, they go viral, my audience becomes stronger, and I gain new humans, who dig my STRONGEST beliefs and opinions. ARE YOU GRASPING THIS?! Ugh it’s so cool. And being polarizing is thrown around but not dissected and explained, you know? That’s my aim today. To encourage you to be polarizing but in the most authentic way possible, with an understanding of WHY you’re doing it.

On the business side, it’s sales calls. I don’t do or teach sales calls. While absolutely loving my mentors who use them. While having friends in the industry whom I adore, that solely use sales calls to fill their programs.

I point this out because disagreeing with a colleague or teaching something different than your peers IS ALLOWED, and NOT AT ALL BAD!!!

Your business and messaging is not their business or messaging. Good thing right?!

You are free to disagree with me by the way. You do you. Always.

I could yell about this topic for days. It’s so fitting.

Your topic might be that you don’t believe macros and food freedom can go together. Or self love and wanting to be smaller can happen at the same time. Or you don’t need supplements, or you drive home how racism exists in diet and fitness culture, or you preach not needing an email list, or that separating biz and life is literal blasphemy and 300% impossible, or that weights are the best, above all else, and everything else will never replace it. Whatever it is for you.

Pay attention. Then, look at how you will address this verbally, because you likely already act out against it or it is represented in your offers.

How to address them:

I kind of already covered this but for the love of all things Holy remember that you are COMMUNICATING. Yes, you may be speaking with a bit more passion than usual, but the goal is to be HEARD, for people to LISTEN. Not for them to distracted by how loud you’re being, and miss the whole point.

  1. Determine what actually pisses you off.

Hint – it’s not the sexualization of the fitness industry, it’s that the sexualization of the industry brings down the quality of content and leads women to go further down the dark rectum of false expectations and comparison. Making it even harder for them to focus on what REALLY matters.

You feel me? Look at what the result of the thing you hate is. That’s what actually pisses you off.

Part of why I represent a business built on something other than sales calls is because it’s ALL that is sold these days, to my knowledge anyway. And that NEVER fit my lifestyle. I have a business that serves the lifestyle I desire. I’ve always built it that way. Whether I was making $2k per month or $40k. I’ve never done a single sales call, and just so desperately want people to do know that sales calls are fine, but if you want something else, YOU FREAKING HAVE OPTIONS!!!!

So, its that it leaves my audience with a one size fits all approach to sales and that’s bull shit.

THIIISSSS allows us to yell, take a stance but then provide the solution, that there is ANOTHER WAY – to do fitness, to gain strength, to have food freedom, to conduct sales.

I hope that makes sense.

What to expect when you open the door for hate:

We can’t talk about being polarizing with addressing that people will disagree.

I’ll repeat:

According to Oxford Languages on my little Google search, to polarize is to:

“divide or cause to divide into two sharply contrasting groups or sets of opinions or beliefs.”

You’re causing a divide – a sharp one. An “oh shit – Annie’s saying what I was thinking but would never say.”

Prepare yourself. I am fortunate to have a community of people who share my beliefs on this stuff or at least respect me enough to not send me straight hate messages when they DO happen to disagree with me.

Fact is, when you put yourself out there, you may get some push back. That’s okay. You’re not for everyone.

I think you’ll find that most of the interaction will be gracious and appreciative. But if someone does happen to chime in and strongly disagree – you’ve processed your thoughts on this topic and can have a conversation like an adult. Just like you have the right to say what you want, people of the inter web have the same right to respond to your content. If you’re going to open the door, you don’t get to control what comes through.

This is also why I stress speaking out on polarizing topics in a client centered manner still. You’ve considered what objections people might have, and you can address those IN THE POST. Shut them down before they can even respond. I do this OFTEN. Pay attention!

Alright, I think I’ve said enough words on this topic. You’ve got some homework to do.

Good luck picking up your microphone and finally speaking your truth into existence on the inter web.

Also, just remember every post is a learning opportunity. But keep your head straight and centered on your audience, not your rage.

Review of the week comes from Tnlatham and says,

“As as upcoming coach, it’s nice to see a different perspective on how things actually should be done. Annie always has great insight and gives a no BS way of explaining things. She is a hard worker and very determined to help others, which is what a coach should be about. I see all the time where coaches are just in it for the money and it’s nice to get insight on what your first steps should be when being a new coach and having a different outlook than just money and freedom. She has payed her dues and gives people the scoop on how that’s just life. Pay your dues, get experience, then succeed more than ever. I highly recommend listening to all of her podcasts because she has great info on most things in life!”

Remember you need to check the show notes (here) to see if you were review-er of the week, and then keep an eye out to see if you were listener of the month as well. That will be in the show notes and Annie’s Weekly Wrap. You can subscribe to Annie’s Weekly Wrap here!

How to be polarizing and prep for the hate with Annie Miller

If you find value here, on The FitsPRO Podcast, then pretty please head over to itunes, subscribe, rate and review the show. It means the world to me when you spread my message to more humans.

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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.

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