One of my favorite artists is Hugh Macleod whose satirical doodles are illustrated social commentary.
Are We Talking About Me Yet?
I mean let’s be honest, most if not all of our daily decisions about how we spend or waste our time, money, calories, and energy are self-serving. Yes, we want to hear the story of how you overcame your personal hardship to run your first marathon while leading the blind, and click we will on the link about Miley’s latest pantless faceplant into the puddle of Public shame, but at the end of the day it is about our contextual core. what tugs our heart strings, inspires us, and makes us feel better about our own life decisions.
Every good salesman knows or should know that developing a loyal customer relationship involves giving a shit about their client. Really and truly caring about the hopes, dreams, painpoints, and bonus, name of their spouse and kids. It takes patience, self-control, and empathy to truly listen and get to know someone else–attributes we all could use a little more of. And when you are in the throes of needing to hit that sales quota, milestone “like”, or woo that HR rep in the final moments of the interview, it can be near impossible to not pitch your lil heart out. But that is just it–it comes out like what it is…an attempt to sell your product, brand, or yourself. And everyone can smell a pitch.**
This is something that I have struggled with as someone with an idea for fashion, products, and lifestyle concepts that are more than what they appear at face value. No one else was doing it, at least as far as Google and I were concerned. This made me hopeful as well as fearful. Who was I to be the mouthpiece for modern multi-purposeful lifestyle. And would anyone care? If they did, wouldn’t it already be out there making someone a multi-millionaire? I had to ask myself,
if it never made a dollar, would I still do it?
the answer is “yes, but.” But I need to know that it made a difference to someone. That he/she was able to take my experiences living in the smallest apartment in NYC and understand (even if just metaphorically) what it means to be confined by your own walls or possessions and forced to evaluate the way you wear, create, use, and consume. A shift in thinking and behavior is hard to come by, as we are all conditioned for comfort, but only then are we able to learn and grow. If what you truly believe in, your ‘passion project,’ is helping people, is it really so terrible to want to reach as many people as possible. Everyone knows it is a numbers game, and the more people that know about you and your initiatives, the better the chance that it will strike a chord with someone. Is it to shout it from the top of your social media mountain?
I am fortunate enough to know a good number of go- getters that have actively turned their passion projects into their full-time careers and I try and support and promote their products when I can. Sometimes that means paying a little more for my sustainable shampoo and posting a selfie on a #goodhairday. Other times it just means showing up or giving your time and energy.
Do I buy Briogeo shampoo because it is the best I’ve ever had? Because its pretty logo on the label makes me feel a little more luxurious as I lather up in the morning? Maybe. But I would have bought it anyway because I know Nancy who glows when she talks about her haircare line which she developed when she could not find anything natural on the shelves that delivered on their claims. In essence, I didn’t buy her products. I bought her. (And I continue to buy because it really is good stuff.)
If you subscribe to the Simon Sinek way of thinking, then people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Doing business with and establishing relationships with people that believe what you believe in is essential. With this reasoning, how could you NOT professionally pursue what brings you joy? It’s a scary thing, this realizing what you actually give a shit about. It means a personal responsibility to do work that no one is going to hold you accountable for except yourself. And you could totally fail. But that’s what makes it exciting, too, and what makes me admire those that are also gung-ho about going for it and Do[ing] Cool Shit.
If you really really care, others will care too. Who knows, it just might inspire someone to finally get out and Do That Thing they always wanted to do too.
Like this? GOOD. Now go out there and share/heart/digg/re-post and tumbl the hell out of it. 😉
**VC Charlie O’Donnell created the ultimate ‘canned’ antidote to the pitch with this ‘auto-response’ (cue real-life laugh track).