The story, the margin and the follow through
12 minute read. Three things you must master to have an impact in this world
In my business, I help good people make a living doing what they love. Whilst I teach a lot about strategy, marketing and money, there are three key messages I keep coming back to that don’t fit neatly into those categories. I want to share these with you today because if you’re serious about being SEEN in this crazy online world, you’ve got to master them, without exception.
(1) The story
If I want you to remember something, I MUST tell you a compelling story that sinks into the marrow of your bones. I must make the hairs on your arms rise up as emotion rushes over your body. I must create hope in your heart and excitement in your lungs. I must move you.
Humans are story tellers. Before we could write things down, we were passing on stories, myths, fables; rocking back and forth to commit the tale to memory, singing to help recall, chanting to lock it in the psyche of the group.
But most of us have forgotten this fact, resorting to dry summaries over dramatic stories.
Let me give you an example of the same story told in two ways. Ask yourself, which one will you remember when you think of me?
Attempt 1 – I had depression for six years of my life. One day, unable to get out of bed, I was sent to the doctors. The doctor, upon hearing my story, prescribed me with anti-depressants. I burst out crying and told him I didn’t want medication. I hated my life and medication wouldn’t solve that! He was surprised at my outburst and I was embarrassed. After a moment’s thought he suggested I go running for the next two weeks instead. I did. And I can honestly say running changed my life.
Attempt 2 – “Lisa, this isn’t right”, my mum said to me through tears. “You need help. I’m sending you to the doctors, no discussion”.
I held the banister as I pulled myself up each heavily carpeted stair to my room on the top floor of the town house my parents had moved to five years earlier.
I dressed and returned to the kitchen, heavy hearted and desperate. My eyes were grey. The sparkle I once had had left no trace.
“Okay”, I said to my mum “I’ll go”.
As I walked the block to the doctor’s surgery I struggled to quieten my mind. “You’re a loser Lisa, you’re fat, why do you even bother”. It was a relentless broken record of abuse that one decent human could never say to another. But I ate it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I was addicted to it.
“Lisa Bean?”, the receptionist called, “The doctor will see you now”.
I hung my head in shame. How did I arrive here, I wondered to myself as I paced over to the closed door of room 3.
Inside the doctor’s office, everything was as expected. The old chairs, the corduroy, the stethoscope.
“How can I help you today?”, he asked. His question was neither affirmative, nor optimistic. It was just a string of words he’s said 1000 times before.
I looked down to my feet. I was wearing ‘Happy Socks’ – brightly coloured socks my mum had bought me. She said that if I wear them, I can’t possibly feel down. The edge of my mouth cracked into a micro-smile.
“I have depression”, I murmured.
My throat burned. My eyes filled up. And I lifted my head.
“I think I need help”.
The doctor was a nice man. He listened to my story for a few minutes, taking notes on his pad: ‘Can’t sleep’, ‘can’t get out of bed’, ‘afraid’.
I looked to him, eyes wide and burning, waiting for the fix.
And that’s when it happened.
As he muttered the words 1000s of us have heard before in those dry, sterile doctor’s surgeries – “I’m going to prescribed you anti-depressants” – I left my body.
I floated up to the ceiling like a helium balloon and looked down on the scene. There was this broken young woman desperate for help and there was the desperate older man unable to help at all. We came from differently worlds. We had different challenges. And we couldn’t find a bridge between us.
As I watched the scene unfold, I felt an anger fill the room.
“I don’t want medication. It won’t help. I HATE MY LIFE”. My words bounced off the walls and I crashed back into my body.
Surprised and caught off guard, the doctor raised his eyebrows and widened his eyes.
“Oh”, he muttered, clearly shocked by the outburst that had come from this seemingly amenable young woman.
He sat back in his chair, rubbed his chin for a moment and then leaned back in to share his idea: “Okay. Go running. Go running every day for the next 2 weeks. The running will have the same effect on your body as the medication. Can you do that?”.
I looked down again, embarrassed by my outburst.
“Yes”, I replied as I stood to leave, neither of us knowing the impact those two little words – “Go running”, uttered on a rainy Tuesday morning in a Doctor’s surgery in North Yorkshire, were about to have on the world.
Attempt 1 tells you what happened. Attempt 2 brings you on the journey with me. It shows you what happened. It puts you in the seat of emotion.
Which story would make you ask “Then what happened?”
Each of us have a story to tell. In fact, we have hundreds! And each story can be used as tool to move people into action, to shift people from one state to another, to help you stand out in the noise.
You might not be practiced at telling stories. We actually get coached out of it as we grow up. And so we must go on the journey of reconnecting with the story teller inside each of us. It’s a skill. We can learn it. And we must.
(2) The Margin
Making money in business is one thing. Generating a margin – otherwise known as profit – is quite another. But here’s the truth: In order to reach more people with our ideas, our tools and our strategies, we must generate a profit in order to re-invest in marketing, personal development and activities that fill up our soul to keep us going long term.
Businesses exist to turn a profit. We can use this premise to not only influence more people to live a better life but to live a better life ourselves, too.
Let me explain…
I don’t want you to survive for a year, throwing yourself on your sword to teach a small group of people what you know. It’s not what you had in mind when you started a business.
I don’t want you to charge what you think ‘other people can afford’ because it’s what you can afford. It’s a trap that will keep us ALL locked at the bottom.
I don’t want you to hold down a job for five years because you can’t pay yourself a wage. You can make a living doing what you love. Other people have done it. It’s possible. And you can do it too.
But you have to learn how…
A lot of the people I work with come from working class families. They grew up without money. I’m not making an assumption. I ask them about their money beliefs and where they came from. A lot of my clients, not all but a lot, were taught that money doesn’t grow on trees, there’s not enough to go around and be grateful for what you have – don’t be greedy!
They feel guilty for having aspirations of wealth. They’re embarrassed at the thought of earning more than others in their family or community. And they don’t believe they can charge more than ‘by the hour’ for their services.
These beliefs are known as ‘money blocks’. They’re psychological barriers to earning, keeping and enjoying money and wealth.
It’s what our parents taught us because it’s what their parents taught them. They weren’t taught about wealth, so they couldn’t pass it on. They weren’t taught about business so they told you to get a job. And they didn’t even know an alternative was possible.
But you know it is, don’t you? So what are you doing to do about it? The way I see it, you have three choices.
(1) Accept what you learnt as TRUTH. Stay as you are and pass this on to your children.
(2) Blame people, blame the system, blame your parents. It’s not fair! You didn’t get taught what you needed. And stay as you are. But angrier. And pass this on to your children.
(3) Realise there is a BIG gap and start fucking learning. Read. Invest in coaches who’ve done it before, even if people say “It’s a con, they’re using you”. Go to seminars even though people call you mad and laugh. Focus on what you want and go after it.
Learn how to grow a scalable, profitable business.
Begin the journey of charging your worth, according to the value you add.
Go all in in your business and figure out how to change the frickin’ world.
(3) The follow through
Erm. This isn’t going to be easy. I haven’t mentioned this part yet.
So many people think their first video is going to go viral. Or their 10th post deserves 100 likes, shares and coverage in a local magazine.
Did you know that Picasso made 50,000 pieces of art?
Did you know that Mozart created over 600 pieces of music. Bach created over 1000.
Sorry – how many blogs have you written again?
Hehe. I’m being facetious.
But I want to make the point that the greatest skill you can evolve at this stage is to KEEP GOING. Keep posting and improve through action. Keep reading and assimilate through sharing what you’ve learnt. Keep speaking on stages and get better through practice.
Joe Wicks, The Body Coach, was once asked by a newspaper “How did you get so big on Instagram?”. He replied “I was posting even when no-one was watching”.
Tony Robbins, on realising he wanted to be a better public speaker, booked himself into multiple speaking opportunities A WEEK (even if that was just standing up at a networking event) when others were speaking once a month or once a quarter. By the end of the year, he’d had hundreds of chances to practice whereas others had only had a dozen.
No-one escapes the work.
Success doesn’t come overnight.
And everything you do is part of your education.
Natalie Ellis recently said online that she STUDIED her most successful posts on Instagram and learnt which ones performed best. We’re talking hundreds and hundreds of posts. Some tanked. Some did okay. And some FLEW. By posting so much, she was able to create data for herself to inform her next steps. Natalie recently took her Instagram account over 1.6 million followers. Wow.
DARETOGROW is my third business. This could well be my 500th blog. I’ve made HUNDREDS of videos on YouTube. I’m bringing in multiple six figures and it’s still fucking hard.
It is going to be hard. Because every time you reach a new level, your desire expands. It’s in our nature. Our very purpose is growth and expansion. And by virtue of having a new goal, we must master new skills. And that ain’t easy my friend.
So get used to it being a challenge and rise up to meet it.
And I will too.
One final thought:
The fastest way to give up on this endeavour is to hang around with people who’ve given up. Or ask advice from people who’ve never done it.
I am a MASSIVE advocate for investing in courses and programmes for (1) learning from people who have the results you want and (2) getting around other people able to invest that amount at that level.
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