EP76: These Words Create Stories
The words we speak…
The ones we write…
The ones that speak of tales…
These are the words that create the stories in our lives.
And believe me…
We ALL have stories to tell.
I have a story in my head.
And so do you.
We're not all that different…
You and I.
We live lives of desperation and pleasure.
We have good times - and bad.
In all of it, we live our lives based on what we believe to be true.
Living a life based on how things are supposed to be.
We all, you and I, wake up each day knowing what we will be doing. Or at least what we're scheduled to do.
And so we live out the life we told ourselves is how it should be.
All based on a story.
You most assuredly have one, too. And that story drives the actions that you take.
The work you do.
The food you eat.
The movies you watch.
Who you marry.
And who you don't.
Some call these things our preferences.
But they are not YOUR preferences. They are the ones you inherited from your family, your friends, and your dreams.
Others call them “the stories we tell ourselves”.
Some even call it our worldview.
But it is just a part of our worldview.
The part we create ourselves. The world all around us does its best to define the world we call our own.
Often, we’ll go to ridiculous lengths to make the story we tell ourselves come true.
We want to believe we are the person we see ourselves as.
But that's only part of the truth.
In truth, we need to become the person we see ourselves becoming.
Often, though, the story is based on lowered expectations, the seduction of compliance, and the avoidance of failure.
We keep trying to make the existing narrative true because that’s a lot more comfortable than the alternative.
The words we say and those we write do define us, if we believe them and try to live up to their potential.
But sometimes it is hard.
Left to its devices, the world will mold each one of us to its likeness.
This is why our dreams are important. The things that seem to be just beyond our grasp.
In the United States, we live in a country founded on freedom and the ability to live out your dreams.
Most of us will do almost anything to keep our worldview ours. To keep it alive.
When we see or hear something that contradicts our beliefs, we either ignore it or stop and fight.
“Here we go again” is an easy way to lull yourself into victimhood, a place where things are no longer up to you.
If we believe that it’s not our turn, that we’re not talented enough, we’ll do whatever we can to make that story true. We’ll sit back and wait to be chosen instead.
Well, put off becoming that THING we so desperately want to become.
It's just wrong.
Be assured the part we play in the story we live by came from somewhere.
It might be the way we were raised, or it could be the outcome of a series of events.
Burn yourself on the stove and you might persuade yourself that you should go nowhere near a stove.
Grow up in a home with low expectations and you may begin to believe them.
We see it all the time, children of families of welfare, create families of welfare. Because it is what they know, and they do not know how to change their story.
The story we tell ourselves leads to the actions we take. Some good, and some not so good.
If you want to change your story, change your actions first.
When we choose to act a certain way, our minds can’t help but rework our narrative to make those actions coherent.
In the early 90s, I had smoked for decades, and so desperately wanted to quit. It was going to KILL me. I'm convinced that is true.
But I could not quit.
I tried 3 times on my own.
It wasn't until I began to change the narrative, my story, that I saw a shift in perspective.
Instead of seeing myself as “a smoker”. Instead of telling myself, I was a "failure”, I chose to BELIEVE that I was a “non-smoker”.
I reframed my world.
My body responded, finally.
It transformed my belief system.
It took time.
All good things do.
But I finally BECAME a “non-smoker”.
That was 3 decades ago.
I'm still a “non-smoker”.
We become what we do.
WE. BECOME. WHAT. WE. DO.
But at the same time, we can slowly, ever so slowly be convinced to change our worldview on a topic or subject that we thought was right, for us.
This is the work of marketers everywhere.
The work of a GOOD marketer is to help people get what they need.
Though, interestingly, many people usually get what they want first, then justify the purchase based on their needs.
But before any of that can happen, we must find a way to get the person's attention.
Most people hold onto their ideas, their beliefs, and their dreams tightly.
Because it defines them.
It will take something spectacular to get them to stop, listen, and consider a different viewpoint.
Have you ever spoken to someone, only to find afterward they had not heard a word you said?
Or they did hear you [a little bit].
Amidst the replay of the worldview going on in the back of their thoughts.
When it comes to winning the war in their head, they have the home team advantage.
Sometimes saying something outrageous will do the trick. It will shake them up and turn off that soundtrack. It will let you be heard, finally.
Our goal - and it should be your goal too, is to get them out of conscious thought, and speak to their subconscious thoughts that control things.
Learning how to speak in such a way that people hold onto every word you say. That is the goal of marketers.
Of all marketers.
It is a SKILL.
Whether you are giving a speech in front of hundreds of people, or thousands. Or if you're writing a best-seller book.
You want your words to matter.
They must matter.
That is if you want them to help you earn a living.
And I'm pretty sure that is your goal.
Maybe not a full-time business, at first.
Possibly just a part-time gig that helps knock out a few of your bills or helps you get that toy you so desperately want.
And some of you are ALL IN and want to change people. To be the catalyst that transforms them, their business, and their lives.
Whatever your reason to be a marketer, know that YOU can make a difference in people's lives.
Just remember, while you are talking to them…
They are talking to themselves too.
They are weighing your words against their instilled and firmly held beliefs.
You must speak to them.
To the THEM that knows they need change.
The THEM that yearns for different.
Their true self wants to break free.
It is not easy.
But if your mission is to HELP people to overcome their problems and to make changes that need to be made, then you need to learn to speak to people with words that cut through their worldview.
You need to be able to speak to them and develop a relationship with them.
So they know you care.
So they understand the words you share are for them.
That you want to help.
And that even if they disregard everything you say, it is still ok.
Because you tried.
And they tried too. Their story was just a little bit better than yours today.
Maybe a month, or a year from now they may see with a reasoning heart and an accepting mind, the truth.
As marketers, our work needs to be about more than just money.
It's how we earn a living, YES, but why we do it needs to be about more than that.
It needs to be about the help we can do for others.
It needs to be about the joy you receive watching others exceed their expectations.
That is the business we are in.
Making HAPPY customers.
Until everyone is happy, we have a job to do.
I'll let you get on with it.
Do good work.
Until next week.
I'll see you then.
James "Telling Stories" Brown
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