“The more talented somebody is, the less they need the props.”
“A fancy tool just gives the second-rater one more pillar to hide behind.” – Hugh MacLeod in book Gaping Void
Do the tools really make you better? Perhaps it is more comfort than a performance boost. I bet if you looked around, you could easily remove five things that would have no effect on your productivity, sales or leadership. In fact, it might increase it from the peace of mind you would get from letting go of something. The mind has a strange way of holding onto everything, even if it doesn’t matter.
The talented people I know care less about the props and equipment than the second rated people and companies who love pillars. They focus on what matters – the raw thing that drives revenue, relationships or whatever goal they have. A lot of times, their value is just themselves. They don’t hide behind pillars that make them look or feel better than they really are. The work is what matters. Paying the price to become better than a thousand other people is what stands out.
That old lie, “image is everything,” had its run when you could fool people with marketing and glamour. We could keep our distance in the old days and manage what people saw or believed about us.
Life and business has gotten more personal and up close. Pillars don’t work too well when we are pretty clued in on the facades. We want what is real and meaningful. We want to know we are working with experts that know what they heck they are talking about and doing. There’s always a market for substance as opposed to mere appearance.
I have found the law of attraction kicks in when you are able to focus on the substance. So how can you get to your core and let that speak for you? Here are a few strategies:
- Cut the fat. Get rid of what doesn’t matter or doesn’t add value. Remove the distractions. It will clear the field for you quickly.
- Increase white space. It’s tempting to add more graphics, embroidery or superfluous speech. Try not filling so much space. Let the content speak for itself. See how much white space in your presentation, whether on screen or in person, you can present.
- Identify the centerpoint. What is the one thing that makes your success happen? It may be thought leadership. It could be coding. Or it could be your gift of gab. Focus on that. Perfect it. Make that front and center with your audience.
- Believe in yourself. If you have conviction and know something well, then you don’t need the pillars. You know yourself. You know what matters and you have confidence. If not, then focus on growing your belief system.
The crowd mentality – your peers, competitors, and all the marketing noise out there – loves to focus and promote the pillars. Ignore them. It’s fleeting and compromising. Grow the good stuff in yourself and your brand. Remove the pillars one by one. It’s difficult and may be unnecessary to get rid of all the pillars around you. Knowing you have them is good as well. At least the decision is intentional.
So what does this mean for you? Feel free to comment.