The other day my friend Sandra Joseph, the amazingly talented Broadway star, quoted the poet and philosopher Mark Nepo. Nepo said “Often your dreams don’t come true but as we give our all in pursuit of our dreams sometimes we come true.”
As children, we are taught to dream big and to go for our dreams. The reality of it is not everyone can become the professional athlete, the CEO or the Broadway star, but the fact is the growth we find in pursuit of the dream is more valuable than the actual dream. The hard work, the setbacks and triumphs, and the journey make us the person we are.
We may not become the “best in the world”, but we certainly can become the best version of ourselves as we strive to be the “best in the world.”
When we pursue our dreams, go the extra mile, put in the practice time, we grow and maybe the dream really is to become the type of person who pursues their dreams.
A few weeks ago I was boarding a Delta flight from San Antonio, Texas to Salt Lake City, UT. I am a loyal Delta flyer and am often upgraded to first class as I was on this flight.
When I got to my seat I found a handwritten note on my seat with two chocolates. It read:
Thank you for your continued business and loyalty as a Diamond Medallion with us! We truly appreciate you here in SAT!!'
Each of the first class seats had a handwritten note and some chocolate. The guy next to me was amazed at the fact that they were personalized (his talked about how he has flown over 2 million miles with Delta).
It reminded me of the power of a handwritten note. It stands out. It is meaningful. It shows that you took time. That you really care.
As technology makes communication easier and faster – I think we sometimes need to slow down and stand out, because the more high tech we become the more high touch we must become.
I have had a practice of writing and mailing (yes, with a stamp) a handwritten note every week. I am amazed at the responses I get, people are over the moon when they get a card from me in the mail. It’s impactful.
So if you want to stand out or just make someone’s day – don’t forget the lost art of handwritten notes.
Ron Tite is a very funny guy - not to mention, a very creative one. Named one of the 'Top 10 Creative Canadians' by Marketing Magazine, he’s been an award-winning advertising writer and creative director for some of the world’s most respected brands, including Air France, Evian, Hershey, Johnson & Johnson, Kraft, Intel, Microsoft, and Volvo. Once a professional comedian, he now helps brands develop their content and storytelling strategy. Executive Producer & Host of the Canadian Comedy Award-winning show Monkey Toast, Ron is also a featured marketing expert on the new Mark Burnett-produced business reality show, Dream Funded. His latest book, ‘Everyone’s An Artist (Or At Least They Should Be)’ explores why the most successful executives and entrepreneurs have learned to think like artists. We caught up in Toronto to talk about the power of reinvention, counterintuitive thinking and how comedy teaches you to rebel and break the rules.
Ok, maybe wrong is not the right word. But the rule is incomplete. The truth is, people do business with people they know, like, trust and VALUE.
Honesty and likeability are important, but if people don’t see you as valuable, they will never do business with you. If you don’t come across as professional, knowledgeable, and credible with the right skill set to get the job done, you will never be as influential and successful as you would like.
So what do we do about it? How do we make ourselves more valuable? By constantly developing our knowledge, our skills and continually striving to get better. The fundamental rule of Business should read: “People do business
with people they know, like, trust and value”
Reputation is your track record. It is confidence in character and capability over time. Henry Ford said, “You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do,” so reputation only comes after you make the investment. Lasting influence is built and sustained by reputation. People can be influential in a given situation, or for a temporary period of time, but lasting influence is based in reputation. That is why it is so important to guard your reputation, cultivate your reputation, and be a person of character and ever-increasing capability.
The Power of Storytelling
In financial services you describe some very complex concepts and you use terminology that most people don’t understand – so metaphors are a way to make your information understandable and transferable.
I started as an entrepreneur when I was 21 years old. And one of the challenges that I faced in getting my business going was establishing credibility with people because of my age—or, more accurately, my lack of age. I tried several different ways to overcome the perception that I was too young to be taken seriously. What ultimately worked best was a metaphor-based story I developed. When I sat down with people who clearly had a bias against me because of my youth, I’d start off by saying, “You know, it’s interesting as I’m talking to you because I know some people look at me and they think what does this guy know about business? He’s young, He’s 21. He really doesn’t have a ton of experience. But you know, I kind of feel like a young Bill Gates.” And when I put it that way, most of the time they would smile and then I’d say, “What I mean is, you know, Bill Gates was 19 years old when he started Microsoft. He dropped out of college and he had this vision, he told everyone that he was going to take computers, which were the size of refrigerators, and he was going to put one in every house in the world. People probably thought he was nuts. Who was this young, naïve entrepreneur?”
Then I’d continue: “Now, I’m not saying that I’m going to change the world, and I’m not saying that I’m going to make as much money as Bill Gates. What I am saying is that I have something here and I know where I’m going with this, and I want you to really sit down and take a look at it. Are you willing to do that?”
That metaphor-based story worked like magic to establish credibility. I compared myself, an unknown entrepreneur, to a known entrepreneur, Bill Gates, and that little story caused people to forget about my age and concentrate on our product. Eventually we ended up building an incredibly successful business.
Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins