We all have goals. Whether we give them a name or not, we have an inner desire to be someone who matters.
It’s hard to feel like we matter in this busy world of fast, anonymous and cheap. It’s easy to shrink and feel small.
The truth is, no one notices small acts of good unless you do many small acts, many times.
If we want to matter, we have to matter on purpose.
I want to be brave. I don’t want to be a “marketer”
The piece of marketing and business building that has always felt “ick” to me is the awkward “look at me!” pieces.
We see people who get attention and many of them have an odd, weird charismatic persona thing going on. I don’t blame them. That schtick gets noticed. It goes viral. People pay to be entertained by the roadside hawker.
That isn’t the person I want to be. It isn’t who I am.
The truth is, I can do it. I can act. I can dance. I can pull the psychological levers to get attention. When you know the formula it isn’t hard to do.
I choose not to be that person.
The person I want to be is someone giving, generous and kind.
I want people to see me and invest in working with me because they see value in that work, not because I stunned them into paying me. Cynics say that can’t be done. I guess I’ll have to prove them wrong.
Which isn’t saying I won’t show up. Showing up matters.
The other day I was reading an article about outgoing Boston Mayor, Thomas Menino. Mayor Menino wasn’t a perfect guy, but he was beloved in Boston by people from all walks of life. I heard that over 70% of Boston residents had met Menino personally. Whoa. That’s a lot of real deal face time. He would go to every business opening, school, drive around town for hours looking for street signs missing or pot holes that needed attention. If he ran for Mayor of Boston again, he would have easily won.
In the article I read the photographer caught him talking to an 11 year old girl telling him she was having a hard time in school. He gave her his cell phone number so she could call for help. I started to cry.
That is the person I want to be. I want to care and give and believe in other people. I want to share what I have and what I know without apology, without restriction, without worrying if someone will screw me over or take advantage, mock my intentions, or nitpick the details.
Here would usually be the paragraph where I justify wanting to be generous, reassuring people that “Hey, I want to get paid,too.” I don’t need that paragraph. I know when I show up being who I am, the right people will invest in what I offer.
To be the person you want to be, you need to trust in your value.
You need to be brave, not to over come fear, but to own that you matter. Speak it out loud, “I matter. I am valuable. The work I do matters. The work I do is valuable.” Go ahead and say that out loud.
You need to show up real. You need to concern yourself with how to make the world better, not worry if someone is out to get you. There has to be a part of you that believes in goodness and magic and the value of giving. Just giving.
You need to do great work. Care about it being meaningful and valuable and impactful. You need to reach and strive and ask for help to go a little higher.
We hear a lot about the fear of stretching “out of the comfort zone.” I think that’s a line of BS designed to get us to buy books and self-help courses. We didn’t fear taking biology, reading Shakespeare, learning about Abraham Lincoln, showing up for philosophy 101. And when you did fear trying out for the school play or going out for the basketball team, you got on with it and showed up. You didn’t consult your 50 besties on Facebook to debate “Should I or shouldn’t I show up for the try-out? It feels uncomfortable.” No. You put on your big kid pants and showed up. Growth is normal. Discomfort is normal. It means you are living.
Being the person you want to be isn’t about overcoming fake fear or the money. It’s about making a living. It’s about bending down and letting children trust you enough to tell you they are hurting and offering them a life line because they matter.
Be the person you want to be. You matter. You are valuable.