I recently found some old notes I had written (probably some time in the last century) and came across a batch of numbered “points” that made me realize how important it is that we look at things from the inside out.
Are you living from the inside out?
I am not entirely sure where the notes I had written come from. They are either quotes from, or were inspired by, Viktor Frankl.
When I begin the work of helping my clients position themselves or their brands, they often struggle to find what it is that makes them unique. This brings me to the first Inside Out point I had written:
Work usually represents the area in which an individual’s uniqueness stands in relation to society and thus acquires meaning and value.
In today’s marketing speak, this simply means that what sets you apart from others and from your competition, is the way in which you serve other people. Whether it is customers or clients, competitors or partners, it is what you offer others, rather than what you do that counts.
Perhaps things will be a little clearer when you see the second point I had written:
The meaning and value is attached to the person’s work as a contribution to society and not the actual occupation as such.
This means that it actually is not about YOU. It is not about being an accountant, but about keeping people’s finances straight. It is not about being a printer, but about getting people’s message out.
I’ll put it another way: People don’t pay you because you are an accountant. They pay you because you keep their finances straight. People don’t pay you because you are a doctor, but because you provide them with the medical services they need or want.
From time to time, we all need the reminder of the last point on my little list:
Where the actual occupation does not allow a sense of fulfillment to arise, the fault is in the person not the work.
When I re-read this last night, some 20 years after I wrote it down, I thought: “It’s not what you do that makes you happy, it is why you do it.” It’s actually your motivation they see.
Let’s use the same example: You are not happy because you are an accountant. You are happy because you get to provide a service to people who need it (and are willing to pay you for that service).
Next time someone asks you what you do, tell them what you actually do.
Answer with your inside facing outward.
And if you are not sure what you do…
Author: Sue Hines