Recently, a friend needed a hat. A black .. or grey or camel .. hat. Wool makes him itch so I suggested cashmere, but that's neither here nor there.
He shopped online for one. He went to the shops to find one. He found lots of hats wherever he looked. He tried some on. He walked by others. And then he bought a hat.
The hat was black, 50% wool/50% cotton. Not the exact hat he wanted with the exact criteria he'd set. What made him change his mind and buy the wooly hat? What was the deciding factor?
It was the street vendor he bought it from.
My friend passed by the vendor with caps for sale, saw the hat, and started talking to him. My friend heard this man's story, about how he became a street vendor, where he'd gotten the hats and the other items he was selling. About how working on the street, setting his own hours, seeing his dedication and hard work pay off made him feel.
It was the connection to this vendor's goals and to the history of his industry that compelled my friend to buy the hat that night. And he told the vendor: 'I could give my money to any store; I want to give my money to you.'
My friend was looking for a hat and discovered a value principle: I want to spend my hard earned money on hard working people.
These value principles grow within us and engage with us constantly, in most decisions we make. They infiltrate our subconscious and are visible in our actions and spending habits and the conversations we have.
What is your 'hard earned money'? Is it the influence you have in your field? Is it the success of your business? The reach of your network? The butts in seats at your event or performance?
What it is really is your story. The vision, the mission, the values you project and protect as the minutes pass and the days tick by. We are all writing a story. This story. Our story. What's yours?
For my friend, he believes in supporting people who are 'agents of their own destiny'. Because my friend is an agent of his. It's his story - and it's written in everything, every decision he makes and conversation he has and thought he thinks.
Not sure how to tell your story? Not sure you want to? You're doing it anyway. So..
Get a sherpa. Make a plan. Talk it through. Find traction and climb.
Tell your story. You're doing it anyway - with every decision, every conversation, every thought.
Tell your story. Be fearless.