I’m channeling my inner Ernest Hemingway (or is it Dr. Seuss?!?) and working on a short story. It’s about the type of person I can best serve through Lifelong Leaders and what I envision happening in his or her life because of that partnership. It’s a “hero’s journey” type of story. What about you? What are you working on right now.
So back to this story I’m writing. One of the first things you have to come to grips with when you’re starting a new business is that you can’t serve everyone. First off, it’s just not possible to serve “everyone.” It’s like those Steven Wright jokes – “If you owned everything, where would you put it.” or “I have a large seashell collection which I keep scattered on beaches all over the world.” Second, I’m learning that any attempt to reach out to every kind of person makes for a very bland, generic and boring kind of business. Finally, there’s the realization that I’m simply not capable of building a business that serves everyone.
So who do I serve? What does this person in my story look like, feel like and experience the world like?
My buddy-coach-mentor-soul-brother Justin (everyone should have one of those), got me on track when he simply said, “The people you serve (your audience) look a lot like you.”
This means, in order to write this story, I need to understand and acknowledge my own story. All the really tough parts and the really good parts add up to where I am today. And it’s not just having the experiences, but identifying what it took to get through the tough parts and appreciate the good parts. In a very real sense, the story I’m writing has already been written (and continues to be written) in my own life.
Hear me now, this is true for you as well. There are people all around you that need to hear your story. They need to hear about the tough times and how you survived and what you learned and how you grew. They need to hear about those moments that took your breath away because you could barely contain all the beauty and awe that you were experiencing. They need to know they’re not alone – that someone else has felt what they are feeling.
But it takes bravery to share our stories and to pull the curtain back and reveal our own journey. For whatever reason – fear, ego, insecurity, wounds – we don’t share what’s most true about ourselves. I challenge you to be brave. Sometimes it takes a leader to go first. Don’t go and post it on social media or announce it to everyone in the office. Rather, find someone you care about and someone you trust. And tell them your story.
Yesterday, I wrote a welcome letter for people who sign up to be on this list. I asked them if they ever felt the following:
- Feeling a bit stuck in life – like you’re just drifting from thing to thing
- Battling some anxiety and not sure what to do about that
- Knowing you have a passion to do something but not getting much opportunity
- Struggling to explain to others what matters to most to you
- Yearning to make a difference and searching for the right path to take
You want to know how I came up with that list? I just wrote down how I’ve felt at different points of my own leadership journey.
Now I challenge you to do the same. There’s someone out there who feels like you do.
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