What I’m about to share with you is a powerful exercise. It provides you with clarity in life and business. Some of my e-mail subscribers who were here from the beginning even had their husbands, wives and kids go through it.
This exercise came out of necessity: to clarify who I am, what I stand for and who I work with. I’ve been digging into my brand for over two years now, trying to make it clearer to myself and to those considering working with me. Ideally, we would share similar beliefs and values.
This exercise is like a flag you stake your territory with. Those who see it and come toward it – those are your people. Your Tribe. Your ideal customers, partners and stakeholders. This exercise will help you define what you stand for, and what your flag looks like. And here it is:
List 10 things you believe are true.
Why 10? Because it’s a hard limit. You are forced to make cuts and concessions to get to your core values.
What are “truths”? These are statements you absolutely believe are true. For example: “I/We have something to contribute” or “Leave it better then you found it”.
How do I pick my truths? If someone you know were to read this, they would immediately be able to recognize you (or your brand) in these statements. These are evident in your behaviour, how you relate to people, how you do your work, how you calibrate your moral compass, how you live your life.
Now, make a list of your 10 truths.
For everyone reading, as well as potential clients, partners and students, these are My 10 Truths:
- I am going to die. My mom passed away from lung cancer in 2012 – it was, and still is, an incredibly painful experience for me. This also made me fully realize that we are here only for a short time, and that we should do as much great work as possible in that time.
- Freedom is worth the risk. I lived through many difficult and oppressive situations (from being a war refugee to working under shitty managers). Freedom, in life and in business, is incredibly important to me, and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to maintain it.
- True is more important then nice. I don’t deal with drama, politics, bureaucracy, half truths or pretense – we need truth and honesty, without dilution or fluffiness so that we know where we stand and so we can make better decisions.
- You can fit in, or stand out. Not both. Borrowed from Seth Godin, after years of not fitting in, I’ve come to agree with this statement. There are those of us willing to be vulnerable and exposed to criticism and ridicule – in order to be true to ourselves and live authentically.
- Always be learning. When you stop learning, you stop growing. There is always more to explore, experience and connect. This truth is my personal reminder to stay humble – never wanting to walk around with a full cup of tea :)
- Simplicity is the ultimate goal. We live in a complex world, eating away at our attention, mindfulness and ability to do meaningful work. I believe simplicity is a result of mastery and it is what I strive for in my life and work.
- Plan without execution is meaningless. I’m a natural planner, willing to strategize until the cows come home. However, nothing happens until there is action. In the 8 years of running my business, I’ve learned that any action is better than no action at all.
- I have a responsibility to make a difference. Every decision, every conversation, every relationship is an opportunity to leave this world a better place. For me, my greatest work is helping you find your way to meaningful work, and making a positive impact with it.
- I believe in fight over flight. Confronting truth, facing our fears and stepping out of our comfort zone is one of the hardest but most rewarding things we can do. Celebrate your scars, you’re the only one who earned them.
- Rules are bendable. I don’t like following the same rules as everyone else, and I have a problem with authority and the dogma some of us have been steeped in. I’ll bushwhack my way through a hike and teach marketing by comparing it to diabetes. I believe growth happens when we challenge the status quo.
Now it’s your turn. Let me know what your 10 truths are at firstname.lastname@example.org, I’d love to hear from you and I hope this will be helpful on your journey.