Injecting Meaning into Things vs. Deriving Meaning out of things.
Putting meaning into things vs. Deriving meaning out of things
Which do you think it is? Injecting meaning into things or deriving meaning out of things you do? Most people think it is deriving or taking meaning out of things. They think the thing, the action, the movement gives them the meaning that they seek out of life.
I think that’s backward.
I think we inject meaning into the things we do. I think we inject meaning through our actions and our thoughts. I don’t take meaning from working-out or reading or writing. I decide to inject the meaning into these words as a form of self-expression, of creativity. I inject meaning into a coaching call with a friend. I inject meaning into a dinner with customers.
It is clear that we are meaning-making machines, often to our own peril in our minds. Sometimes there is no meaning. There just is. There just is the way things are. Like Ryan Holiday says in the Obstacle is the Way, we do our best to jack ourselves up with meaning making, rather than just leaving things well enough alone. We want to mold things into our meaning making. We wonder why things didn’t go our liking, to the way we wanted. When all along, things — and people — just are.
My executive coach has a great example. Many of us wonder why nobody watched our video, why nobody replied to our one email, why the click through rate sucked, why nobody clicked on our one Facebook ad set we spent $10 on, why our one blog post was ignored. And here it is:
#Nobody was even thinking about you!
People don’t like to hear that, but it is true. Some of you don’t even respond to your friends, the people that already know, like and trust you. And you think some random Internet guy is going to buy your thing because you think it is cool? Hardly. If anything, the number of touch points that people need in order to buy has gone up!
#Most of us suck at communication because we’re only coming from our perspective.
Our frequency with communication and its consistency are rarely enough. In fact, they’re typically woeful. Most big orgs today send one email — about them and their stuff — and then they wonder why their unsubscribes are up 40% YoY.
Today, you must be consistent and frequent with it — automate it — and hit them over the head with it. And the ‘it’ , the content, has to be about them: how they benefit; how they produce more; how they halve the time it takes them to normally do something; how they automate a lame, manual process.
Let me repeat: make it all about them. People don’t want a features list. They want a customer success story in the way Salesforce tells it. Why? Because stories sell!
I believe you have to hit them over the head with it in omnichannel (multi-channel) format from as many angles as possible with precise messaging. It’s like creatively solving the mass communication problem with even more ways, more options, more angles of messaging. (Many of which drive people crazy, which is why you have to empathize with that and figure out which mode your customers and prospects best respond to. Then, do more of that mode for that particular customer.) Sounds like work? It is!
Oh, but what if you achieve perfect message-to-market match!? Perfect product-market fit? What if our software and apps could nudge product toward people with the intent to buy? What if we made a lot of them repeat buyers buying on subscription? The Holy Grail of business? Then, what? People buy! Over and over and over again!
People don’t unsubscribe from messaging the resonates with them.
People don’t unsubscribe from places they buy repeatedly from. People don’t unsubscribe from messaging that resonates with them and their families lives. If anything, they want to hear more often from you when they know, like and trust you, and you’re providing great value to them. Value for them trumps all. People don’t care about your stuff until they know that you care.
There are people out there that you LOVE hearing from over email! Admit it! People you don’t even know personally, but they make it feel like you do. They are out there! And I bet you buy from them over and over and over again. I do. And that ought to be every business owner’s main marketing goal: make your messaging so great that customers LOVE hearing from you.
## What if you prevented a $150,000 problem from occurring?
What if you helped solve a $100,000 problem for only $10,000 for a customer? What if you prevented a $150,000 problem from even occurring, like through a futurecast? What would that mean to your customer? Think about the relief they would feel. The emotional tax that would ease in their minds, let alone leave the company bank account far fuller. This is what I mean by value creation. As Creative Innovators, We’re magicians! We create value for People in the form of added money, added time given back / freed up time, friendship / camaraderie and Entertainment. All value-driven. You have to focus on what your customer wants ALL THE TIME. Because nobody cares what you want.
All Innovation starts with your customer*. Never forget that.
Guess who would like to hear the story about how somebody helped prevent a $150,000 field problem from happening? People in that same market. Will you put the story in front of them? Will you only put the story in front of them 1x? 3x? 10x? I can guarantee you that nobody sees it 1x.
External rewards. External things.
Back to our meaning-making machinery. The reason why we’re all so jacked up about meaning is that we make it all about us — we’re selfish! We whine, “Why didn’t I get that? Why wasn’t I picked!? Why didn’t I get the promotion?” We whine. (Yes, we do.)
We’re deriving external rewards from deriving meaning from external things. Which I believe is a human mistake. We have a really, REALLY hard time being happy for others’ success, especially when we’re struggling. That’s hard! Especially when we play Zero sum games.
When does confidence arrive?
We think confidence is going to arrive when we finally make the $100k / year (or $200k. Or, $500 k). We think confidence is going to arrive when we get the trophy wife (or #2, or #3). We think confidence is going to arrive when we get our Tesla Model S. We think confidence is going to show up when we finally make the NYT bestseller list. We think confidence will arrive when we’re finally the boss and get to make the decisions. We think confidence will arrive from these external rewards when confidence is an inside game. It all begins with clarity about what it is you want, and a belief in your abilities to figure things out. Inject your meaning into clarity. Begin there.
To find clarity for you, you have to seek it out every day in performance prompts. Guys, this is about 100x to 1000x more important than your inbox or social media distraction. Clarity about what it is you want right now, what you want for your family, your career, your life. Start there. Get it out. Write it down.
Start with clarity. Start with gratitude. Start with all the awesome things in your life you got right now. This will help you to redefine your meaning / what’s important to you and what’s not. And you cannot find clarity by only doing it once — you Gotta do it again and again and again and again. Best if done daily. Every day! Daily dose of Vitamin C. You will not believe the difference this will make in your life. Especially if you feel lost either personally or professionally or both.
Go get after it! Find it! Re-discover it! It is out there for all of us!