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All posts from December 2019

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732: Is the Goal the Goal?

We all set goals. Did you set the right ones?

Designing a lovely new interface: is the goal a lovely new interface – something never seen before so you can impress yourself – or is the goal to support those who will use it toward their goals?

Pursuing a fatter wallet: is the goal to have more so you can give more to businesses that sell fancier toys – an unfulfilling cycle of ‘more’ – or is the goal to have enough so you’re free to do your meaningful work?

Building a legacy: is the goal to pat yourself on the back and attempt to last forever – which won’t happen – or is it to change the culture so that your time here made a difference for the benefit of those you care about?

We all have goals. The trick is being honest enough with ourselves to know if we’ve really set the right ones.

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731: Why We Don’t Trust You

“Building trust” while marketing your important work need not be a mystery. Here’s why we don’t trust you:

Because we can tell that you’re reading a script. Whether it’s on a sales call or a video for Facebook, we can hear it in your voice. We can see your eyes dancing along the autocue. We know that thoughts aren’t with us in this moment, so we wonder why ours should be with you.

Because we’ve seen this all before. We see your $997 online course and boilerplate ad script. We judge you by the leaders you look up to, that teach you to charm the dollars away from those who need them more.

Because you were afraid to be real with us. We can tell when someone’s being brave. When someone is doing important work for important reasons, something we can get behind. When you pick out gifts just for us, and when you regift last-minute.

Exactly who are you doing all of this for?

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730: Two Years of Daily Posts

One year ago, I wrote my first daily blogging milestone.

The points I made in it are no less true, yet I’ve more to add now I’ve doubled my discipline as of today, as I acknowledge the two year mark of daily posts:

You’re still never sure: Every new day begins with a clean slate for the blog; there are no idea lists or agendas. There is only the daily discipline of showing up for those trying to make a difference in the world, serving that day with the best gift I can with the time I have.

Noticing is a muscle: Noticing things – patterns, problems, opportunities – is largely what intelligence is measured on. While the repetition of ‘brain training’ apps remain a point of debate among scientists and psychologists, I can say unequivocally that my ‘noticing’ muscle has grown 4X in the last 2 years of showing up daily for those like you.

Discipline compounds: While I still like to set a time in the day to produce these, I find I can now enter the right “state” to create at a moment’s notice. Little warm-up or mental prep is required anymore. I’ve been able to apply this discipline to other mediums, as I prepare to produce even more value daily for those like you. Stay tuned for that.

My gift to difference makers like you has become a gift to me, too.

Thank you.

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729: The Question is the Answer

I was asked a question today regarding my book, ‘Marketing Isn’t About You’, and I thought I’d share it with you here on the daily post:

“What are some ways someone can ‘love them first, ask questions later’?”

“It’s worth sharing because it’s a great question.

One worth asking daily. In business, in marketing, in relationships, in life.

It’s one that has no one answer. The question is the answer.

Want to wash cars but nobody’s asking? Go wash their car. Let them know it’s your gift to them and if they’d like you to do it again next weekend, here’s your rate.

Want to help people eat more healthily? Go tailor a meal plan just for them. Maybe arrange a preferential rate on groceries for them, or make the meal for them. Let them know it’s your gift to them, and if they’d like help going further, here you are.

Want to help their business grow? Go make it grow for them. However you can in a way that is ethical and accessible. Maybe arrange a phone call or email lead for them that they didn’t see coming. Let them know it’s your gift to them and if they’d like more, here you are.

The question is the answer.

Allow me to pose it to you: What are some ways someone can ‘love them first, ask questions later’?

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728: Overvaluing Authenticity

Do you keep hearing about how important authenticity is?

In the brand-building circles, authenticity all the rage.

“Just be yourself.”

If you’re doing work that matters, there’s more to this:

If you’re inconsistent, authenticity is likely going to cause frustration for those you serve. Unless the value they’ve bought into is the novelty of frenetic availability, there’s likely to be a desire for a consistently met expectation. You tune into certain channels more than others because you know what you’re going to get, when you’re going to get it.

If you’re struggling today, authenticity is likely going to dampen the experience for those you serve. Unless they bought into a particular “reality TV” storyline from you, where the drama is part of the product, there’s likely to be a desire for you to focus on their problems rather than your own. You trust professionals who dress properly for their work because they focused on fitting into your environment, not expressing themselves in jarring new ways.

If you communicate from strength, authenticity is going to bulldoze through your audience if they communicate from warmth. All your talk about goals and market domination will alienate those who would prefer to talk about feelings and visions of a better world. Unless they’re endeared by your counter-cultural approach to their space, you’ll be better suited to making your communication style about them, rather than about yourself.

Authenticity is important, such as in a trusting personal relationship where you go to heal, grow and nurture. But in the marketplace, authenticity’s praise often casts a shadow over consistency, sensitivity and empathy.

You’re there for them, not for you.

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727: Knock Knock

Remember when the answer was, “Who’s there?” instead of, “Go away”?

We’re all experiencing inbox fatigue. It doesn’t have to be this way:

We over-subscribe and under-read because we’re afraid of missing out, or forgot to unsubscribe from the things we don’t actually read anymore. And so, we miss out on the important things.

We over-share and under-connect because people over-subscribe and under-read. There’s less room for quiet, thoughtful connection by email than their used to be. They’re hard to hear over the noise.

We can choose to listen though. There are a few senders that I make time to read from because they chose quiet, thoughtful connection over trying to be the squeaky wheel. We don’t need megaphones to speak with those who care about us.

So what’s the solution to the noise? Care more.