Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.
– Albert Einstein
In my businesses, artistic pursuits and relationships I have realized that knowing my value and creating value is at the heart of fulfillment, happiness and revenue generation.
After many successes and failures as an entrepreneur, and after a ton of reading and research, I have come to view and define value as different from purpose, vision and mission. There absolutely must be a purpose, a vision and a mission to everything that we do and any endeavor we undertake. Purpose is the “why,” and the vision and mission are the “what” and “how” or an articulation of the direction that we are headed and positive future we are working towards.
True value runs far deeper than our every day talents, knowledge and skills. It is the source within each one of us where all creation emerges. True value flows from and through us making who we are intrinsically and characteristically unique.
We cannot truly value anything in life, if we first don’t value our self. When we value our self, we create a demand for what we have to offer. Think of what makes each precious stone more valuable than the next. Theoretically, they are all made of the same basic material, as we all are, a varying composition and arrangement of electrons.
Our view of the stone is what gives it value. Our perception or experience of the stones’ rarity, popularity, durability, tone and saturation is what makes it valuable. Bright, more vivid colors with a medium tone are most sought after. Therefore they command the highest price and admiration.
When we communicate from a place of value, we naturally show others the attributes that make us stand out, that demonstrate our rarity, vividness and quality.
Value is the, “why you?” Why should people choose you, why should they listen to you, why should you be the one that fulfills the purpose and accomplishes the vision and mission?
Because you are valuable, because you have value, you have a purpose and a vision and a mission. The value comes first, then as Earnest Holmes said, “the words, ideas, images and concepts, and then the movement towards the thing.”
At times, it is hard to believe that there is something unique about each one of us. Especially, when we consider that there are more than seven billion people out there, hundreds of millions of great ideas and concepts, unfathomable genius, and humbling stories of triumph.
As far as we know, across the Universe – an expanse so vast that it is comprehended and measured in light years, the earth is the only place with human life. And, you and I are a part of humanity, each with a completely distinct gait, character, belief, perspective and life experience. The fact that you and I are here is, in and of itself, a phenomenon. When I look at life from this perspective, I am humbled by the diversity, and I immediately feel gratitude for existence, specifically my own existence. I see the value of our time, the depth of our connection, and the totally unique formation of my being.
When we are steeped in our own worth, when we source vision, thought, and action from our heart, when we communicate from our own journey and set of experiences, we naturally attract that which upholds and reinforces that value – loyal, paying clients and customers, trustworthy and reciprocal partners, efficient and dedicated vendors. When everything we do is rooted in value, we experience fulfillment in all areas of our life and we experience the difference we are making – the blessing and inspiration of our presence.
This is why before creating business goals, a logo, messaging, a digital presence, products/services and promotions, know your value. All, infused with your value, will act as a magnet.
Let’s ground these assertions in business practice, with what branders call the value proposition – the benefit people receive from your presence, the rationale for people to choose you and your product or service above all others, and the reason you are different from anyone else out there. The value proposition is not the product or service, itself, but the solution that your product or service provides.
A value proposition enables you to create a thriving revenue model, make good decisions, distinguish sound advice from opinion, know when to spend money and how, know who to partner or work with and why, and build a highly functioning and motivated team in a flourishing culture. Doesn’t that type of clarity sound so good? For me, it was a game changer. No more waffling. No more insecurity about my decisions.
There is also a value statement or set of value statements that includes the value proposition, and further articulates you or your company’s core beliefs, guiding principles, and philosophy.
Clear articulation of both will support us in creating our own market, understanding potential competitors and the context for delivering our value, crafting our brand identity and messaging, and in creating a business and promotional strategy.
Traditionally, companies articulate their value proposition and statement after identifying who their target audience is or after analyzing their competitors. In my experience, a distinguishing success factor amongst entrepreneurs remains constant – the individuals and companies that built their brand and business from their value and what they were passionate about, consistently had the most satisfied customers, truly enjoyed what they were doing, made the most money, and had active yet balanced lifestyles. Defining the target audience and competitors was indeed a critical and important piece of the overall strategy, but it played specifically for how the individual or company decided to go to market, communicate about the product or service, and allocate company resources. It does not, however, account for personal passion and fulfillment.
Brand and marketing strategists are seeing an overall shift towards honesty and meaning in commerce and marketing. Over the next five years, probably less, we will see the rise of many niche concepts created from life experience and personal passion, delivered to a specific target audience with similar life experience and interest as well as appealing to the masses because of their unique quality, utility, meaning and/or story.
We will and already do see that promotions and marketing tools are more about building relationship and engaging people’s passions and interests than they are about “telling” or cramming information and catchy slogans down the consumer’s throats. Since this is the case, we must cultivate and focus on our own value before we can expect to have any genuine relationship with our customers. That is why branding is really the practice of knowing our self, and from their recognizing our own value.
I am in no way diminishing the importance of the customers’ needs, preferences and inputs when creating a strategy. What I am advocating for is becoming steeped in your value as a strong foundation for building a brand and business.