So why say anything else?
- Because we talk about what interests us. And we like to share with people what we find most compelling about our work. Regardless of whether it’s what will be of most value or benefit to those listening.
- It’s harder to talk about what interests others. Especially when we’re so passionate about our work. Being able to articulate what they’d like to hear most–with as much passion as what excites us–is a skill earned through empathy and practice.
Our teams have the opportunity to focus product development, sales and marketing on whatever has our audience say, “You had me at…”
Remember when we used to search on Google then click around on websites?
Ever noticed how much less you do that now?
- We have new homes. Google is our old home. Instagram (and its brethren) is home now. It knows us, it asks less of us, and it’s more enjoyable than our old home ever was.
- We don’t search or click now. We scroll. And scroll. We slow down when we see something worth slowing down for. We click only when we can’t not click.
- And it’s still changing. We want our new homes to know what we want and give it to us without us telling it. We can thank social platforms for making this possible, as they help us make the scrollable web more intimate.
Yet most of us still aren’t ready for our new home. We still buy all our furniture for our old homes. Why?
Not everything is here to stay for long. For teams doing important work, it’s important to know what does and what doesn’t:
- Tactics tend to change every few months. For instance, Instagram feed ads and squeeze pages were hot for advertising, until suddenly, they weren’t. Leaning exclusively upon a single tactic or channel is irresponsible of those leading important work.
- Yet the fundamentals rarely seem to change. Platforms may evolve quarterly, but humans take much longer…millions of years in fact. Long enough for you to invest energy into things that last a lifetime once, such as better understanding the hearts of those you wish to serve.
Nothing lasts forever. But how much of your team’s time is spent investing in what is fleeting, versus what lasts?
Everyone would have you believe that they’re always doing great. They’re not:
- They’re dealt the same hand we are, in the same time in history with the same economy.
- They can play their hand differently, be it better or worse, but it’s all the same deck of cards.
- They can play for different reasons, be it for selfish or mission-led pursuits, but it’s all the same deck of cards.
It’s your turn.
Nobody wakes up in the morning wanting an unsuccessful day. Or to die having lived an unsuccessful life. Success is relative:
- When you care about the opinions of others, you’ll measure success against how many likes you get on Instagram.
- When you care about money, you’ll measure success against how many shiny objects you can flaunt to your peers.
- When you care about change, you’ll measure success against how much of an impact you made.
Success is a lifestyle choice, not a destination when we create a lifestyle that enables us to do what matters every day.
If we’re lucky, some of our plans will go to plan.
Usually, that’s not how it goes:
- The idea was good, but it just didn’t quite work out. Not because you’re no good, but because that’s just what happens sometimes. Otherwise, you could go to the Plan Store and buy any outcome you wanted, couldn’t you?
- The idea was no good, and you lost something because of it. Not because you’re no good, but because that’s just what happens sometimes. The art of planning is to respond appropriately, rather than accept this as the end of the road.
- Things changed, and your plan is no longer relevant. Not because you’re no good, but because that’s just what happens sometimes. Update the plan.
The value of a plan isn’t in the plan but in the art of planning and executing. Plan to execute, not for things to go to plan.
First rule of engaging someone in the marketplace? Respect:
- Get to know me: We can’t expect others to engage us without first giving the opportunity to know us, our ways, our beliefs, and our character.
- Let me get to know you: They can’t expect us to engage them without first having the opportunity to know them, their ways, their beliefs, and their character.
We can choose between respecting the market by respecting our value and being disrespected in the market by disrespecting our value.
Sometimes, the worst thing that can happen to a good idea is another “good idea”:
- A bad idea won’t get actioned. Because it’s a bad idea.
- A good idea might distract you from the important work you’re already doing. Good ideas need saving for later, or they risk undoing your current work.
Don’t forget, you might already be working on a good idea. Don’t let having another one ruin it.
More than almost anything else.
- What you say to your market will make or break your company. No advertising channel or hot technique can save you from the wrong words.
- What you say to your team will make or break the team. No skillset or job perks can save you from simply not liking who you’re working with.
- What you say to yourself will make or break you. No outfit or online course can save you from having the wrong dialog inside your head.
Your words matter. More than almost anything else.
I saw a sign on the street that said “Worship with us” today. It got me thinking about the pond we fish in:
- A small pond is where everyone may already be ‘converted’, and so we must compete and poach converts over to our corner, instead.
- A big pond is where we’re not fishing for merely the ‘converted’, but rather for those who may not yet belong to a competitor at all.
We can poach the converted or we can invite the underserved to a new market. Which will help more people, do you think?
When tackling major social issues, it’s easy to think it’s an impossibility.
That’s just in your mind:
- Happiness comes from gratitude, a state of mind.
- Worry comes from fear of things that haven’t happened, a state of mind.
- The largest sex organ is the brain. Aka it’s mostly in your mind.
- Taking ownership of a problem only feels impossible, in your mind.
Turns out it’s all in our heads.
We’ve all the power to create change – we need only change our minds.
It’s a matter of the heart:
- Corporate exec: This is what people searching “entrepreneur” on Instagram actually want; authority and the trappings of disposable income.
- Entrepreneur: This is what people searching for new opportunities to innovate want; adventure, and the opportunity to create new market value.
- Social entrepreneur: This is what people searching for a bigger purpose want; a vision for a better planet, and the opportunity to make it happen.
Each gives vastly different rewards. Choose wisely.
Ever been on the phone and asked yourself, “Wait, where’s my phone?”
Sometimes what we’re looking for is already very close by:
- The right word to describe the benefit you render to the marketplace will be revealed by those you’ve served.
- The right connection to catapult your team forward will come from someone who you know, who trusts you.
- The right cause to support and create a difference it will make itself clear by how it affects those you care for.
The right answer is normally right under your nose, the last place we normally think to look.
Is there more that you can do for those you wish to serve?
- If yes, get making. Be it content, calls or campaigns, if it’s gone unmade, it’s time to uncover it and get it done. You owe it to your team to serve more, and to those you serve to receive everything you’ve got.
- If no, it’s over. You’re already on the path to closure because there’s opportunity you don’t want to see. Your competitors will get making, and become the better option for those you serve. It’s time to let someone else take charge.
It comes down to this, every day. Have you tried everything?
We’re not so binary as to have just ‘good’ days and ‘bad’ days. So what’s today’s score?
- We have a formula for our days. We may not have defined it yet, but we judge our days on a few select criteria that are unique to us.
- My formula is Impact + Growth + Legacy. If I score each of them out of 5, I know a “15 day” is a pretty great day.
- Your formula will be different to mine. But you’ll have one. And the sooner you define it, the sooner you’ll be able to ‘solve’ bad days.
We can’t make a difference in the world if we’re caught up with having bad days. Life’s too short for that.
In the entrepreneurial and social-entrepreneurial worlds, we hear a lot about hustle.
We know what that means. So what’s toil? And what’s the difference between the two?
- Hustle is a constant state of motion, frenetic or otherwise. A rapid pursuit of an objective for an undetermined length of time. It’s powered by a drive born of emotion that compels us to move forward.
- Toil is a slow disciplined grind toward a specific end. A steady pursuit of an objective for a determined length of time. It’s powered by a discipline born of a stoic duty to continue moving forward.
The difference is subtle. Both work, differently. I like toil best. Which is your favorite?
Sometimes the toil gets tough. What do you do when you don’t feel like pushing ahead?
- Remember who‘s at stake. If you support a cause, who are you leaving to receive a fraction of what’s possible for them, as a result of your inaction?
- Prehend why you decided to do it. If this thing you don’t want to do will move your team or company toward a place that enables you to do better, be better, or serve better, is that worth leaving behind due to inaction?
- Imagine what your future self would say when you’ve no time left to put into motion what you could have done today. Is the inaction worth the disappointment?
Sometimes the toil gets tough. Remember why you’re toiling.
This is particularly important to appreciate if we’re doing important work (and if you’re reading this, that’s probably the case).
We are what we do repeatedly, whether we like it or not:
- Procrastinate? Then we’re a procrastinator. Our teams probably know it already, but we may not have admitted it to ourselves yet. Our work can’t grow under those conditions.
- Avoid hard things? Then that’s what we do, there’s no sense telling ourselves otherwise. It’s our biggest roadblock to creating change, if true.
- Or do we change bad habits? Then that’s a part of us. If we can pick either of the above and stop it, this is a part of what we are.
We just need to be real with ourselves about what we are. That–in itself–is a transformative gift to our work and our cause.
Our eyes have a lesson to teach us about the future of our work:
- Eyes relax when they look further away. We lose the ability to see the big picture if we only look at things close-by.
- Eyes tense when they focus on nearby things. That tension can be relaxed with practice, without the need for glasses.
Your work may lose its vision if you strain and fixate on the immediate. But the damage isn’t permanent, we need only remember to relax a little.
What if winning isn’t for you?
- If you don’t enjoy taking part, is winning rewarding? Maybe a little, but delight needs context to be long-lasting, otherwise it merely becomes a quick thrill.
- If you enjoy taking part, is winning important? Maybe a little, but not really: it’s simply a bonus on top of already having the time of your life.
Of course, it’d be nice to take part and also win. But which matters more? Are you ready to believe it now?
Biz magazines prefer to romanticize growth as a graduation from pain. Not so:
- Growing as a person means becoming a better version of yourself, but also means leaving some people behind. Not everyone’s going to like the new-and-improved version.
- Growing as a company means achieving new levels of success, but also means you’re always facing new challenges. The problems don’t go away, they simply change.
- Growing as a cause-driven company means making more of a difference, but also means a greater level of responsibility to your cause.
Healthy things grow, and growth hurts. But what’s the alternative?
It’s an old marketing saying and an old marketing lie. It was never in the list:
- A list is just a tool. Be it your own email list or LinkedIn’s entire user database, lists are just tools. If having access to these lists were money to you, LinkedIn wouldn’t be offering free membership, would they?
- A relationship is invaluable. It goes beyond money, often refusing transactions through a commitment to extend only the right options to those in your care. They can be email, LinkedIn, anywhere. Doesn’t matter.
That level of care often translates into higher orders of purchase, thanks to the trust that comes with them. “The value is in the relationship” doesn’t have the same ring to it as “The money is in the list”, though. Shame.
It’s just a market response to a broken workplace:
- Workers like it because it affords them freedom to work on meaningful projects, travel, and be near their families. Problem 1: the workplace was denying people the things that were important to them.
- Employers like it, particularly in the US, because they can get away with less responsibility for those supposedly in their care. Problem 2: People are being treated as tools rather than valued team members.
The gig economy isn’t all bad for all people. It has its perks. But it reveals some ugly truths: what if our workplace was designed for people to contribute and thrive, rather than ship and sail?
Every business operating in the marketplace has problems. What’s our relationship with them?
- Hell: We all go through it. It’s a natural part of the process, as many of us will have learned. What we often don’t learn, is that our Hell is somebody else’s Hail Mary.
- Hail Mary: We all need these. Somebody who has the answer to address our own Hell. Another team or individual who is able to capably be our market Hail Mary.
One of the beauties of an open marketplace is that your Hell is always somebody else’s Hail Mary.
…is that they tend not to do as much good as you think they do:
- They make you feel good. You feel like you’ve done your good deed for the month. But it shouldn’t be about you, it should be about the cause you contributed to.
- They may not make good use of it. A machine designed to live on hand-outs isn’t usually a machine familiar with the value of a dollar. It just extends out its hand for more.
- What makes you and your team great, might be what that cause needs in order to be greater. What if what they really need isn’t your charity, but also your ingenuity?
This is not a call to stop giving. Rather, this is a call to give what makes you great. If a fraction of us were to do that–instead of the easy thing–how could that change the landscape of your chosen cause?
What’s your TTA (time to action) when an opportunity arises?
- One year, to get everyone’s buy-in regardless of whether or not its important to them. Many reports, pitches, meetings, and studies must be conducted to see if it’s viable or not.
- One month, to get your internal “ducks in a row” and get things moving, rather than messing about with procrastination disguised as reports.
- One day, because it’s worth taking action and learning through doing, rather than just sat thinking about what’ll happen if you were to give it a try.
We all have a TTA. What’s yours?
We won’t all have the chance to get to know you like you know you. But we will all get to form an opinion about you from your message:
- Your message will characterize you because that’s what we do to people we don’t truly know. It’s natural. Which one will you choose?
- Your message is your responsibility, you won’t find it in a guide or a webinar. If you could, it wouldn’t be yours, even if you share the belief.
- Your message will outlast you if it’s one worth sharing. It’s part of what you get to leave behind. What’s it to be?
Your message is directly connected with your legacy. Pick one that matters.
Access to the people–and things–we wanted access to used to be a pipe dream. That became a popular excuse for inaction.
Things changed. But the excuses didn’t:
- We can contact almost anybody we want. Social networks will let us target anyone in the world. Anyone. Now the excuse is, “I don’t know what to say.”
- We can access almost anything we want. Our connected world allows us to leverage, barter, JV, finance or trade anything we like. Now the excuse is, “I don’t know what to do.”
- We can make an impact almost anywhere we want. News pushes real issues in our faces from all around the globe. Now the excuse is, “I don’t look, it’s too depressing.”
It’s only depressing because we won’t stop making excuses.
“The aim of the wise is not to secure pleasure, but to avoid pain.” – Aristotle
This one’s for the gurus:
- On breaking it: Most of us haven’t been in business long enough to experience the economy correct itself in a severe way. When it does, the pursuit of pleasure pales in value compared to avoiding pain.
- On faking it: Parading faux-wealth in the marketplace will only impress you, not those you’re trying to deceive. Masking your insecurities will cost you the financial buffer you’ll need when the storms come.
- On surviving it: The inevitable market recessions will correct themselves–in part–by drowning those who were taking advantage, as nature would have it. The fakers will go quiet.
We owe it to those we serve, and those we serve alongside, to avoid pain on their behalf so that we can all live to fight another day.
The things that haunt us have something to teach us:
- The things we fear to lose show us what we hold dear. Should we protect them better, instead of fearing? Perhaps those we serve in the marketplace need the same help?
- The things we resent show us what we believe in. Should we do something about it, instead of resenting? That’s where social entrepreneurship comes from.
- The things that haunt you have something to teach you about succeeding: that growth comes first. They’re pointing you toward what matters.
What will you do about it?