This is Day 26 of 30 Days to Creating Irresistible Presence. On Friday, Barry Moltz gave us our marching orders on creating an irresistible personal brand. Today, my dear friend Michael Port shares an amazing post about why knowing what we stand for in this world is essential to our businesses, our lives and our irresistible presence. Read on!
Theme song: Stand! by REM: http://tinysong.com/j4hT
Stand for Something (or Someone Will Stand On You)
by Michael Port (@MichaelPort)
The world is an abundant place.
Yet we think and act as if we are threatened by scarcity at every turn. Often we behave as though we are engaged in a zero-sum game, where for every winner there’s necessarily a loser.
Sure, there’s some scarcity in the world.
Some species are facing extinction (maybe even us if we’re not more careful). We are told that oil and gas may be in short supply. But those aren’t issues of scarcity. We have created these challenges. We can solve them. We can better protect endangered species, because we are the threat, not some unknown or unknowable. It’s just a matter of changing our behavior. There is an abundance of solutions for improved fuel efficiency and alternative energy sources. We need only the will to act.
The only true scarcity in the world is our resistance to embracing our own true self, our hopes and dreams, our capacity to think big.
We’re all we’ve got, in the end. Resistance is futile (as they say). When we think small, we bury our true nature under fat layers of persona— professional, personal, Web-related, and other temporary disguises.
We become a doctor because our mother or father was one, and though it is a worthy career, maybe it is not the one we would have chosen. Maybe I want to be a professional rock climber or a cellist. Maybe you want to be a sculptor or a translator. But no one supports us in this calling. Instead of following what our instinct, our spirit tells us, we follow what others tell us to do. By resisting ourselves, we create our own condition of scarcity.
What do you resist in yourself? Don’t know? You must if you want to create an Irresistible Presence.
When we resist ourselves we create false scarcity: I’m not enough. I’m not as good as. . . [pick a name]. It’s too hard. There’s no time. I can’t start because I don’t know how it will end. When we focus on what we are not, what we do not have, and what we do not (and often cannot) know, we focus on a self-induced scarcity.
Each of us is naturally abundant. To exist is abundant. Look inside and see the glory of who you are—more than good enough.
Instead, we look outside ourselves for the externally generated justification and gratification we think we need in order to matter, to be important, but that we can never fully get from someone else.
We cannot (must not) wait for other people to tell us that we’re worthwhile.
I exist. You exist. We are. We are already important. We don’t need someone else to tell us so. We have something to offer the world. We are the person we’ve been waiting for.
We are the treasure we’ve been searching for. No one else can give us our true sense of self. That’s why it’s called self.
Creating an irresistible presence is a journey inward to our essential nature, to our core. It is not a matter of adding things, of becoming something else, of being a different person. It is not a matter of finding it. Just the opposite. It’s paring down, stripping away the excess. It is already there. It’s you. It’s me. Our core.
To be irresistible is to begin by letting go of what we don’t need—habits, attitudes, and beliefs that stand in the way of an irresistible presence.
At our core is that part of us that can never be destroyed no matter what is done to us. We can be beaten and tortured, tormented by others. We can lose everything we own. We can lose the love of our life. But there is a part inside of each of us that cannot be taken away. It is our core and it is rich and abundant—and it’s what others are irresistibly attracted to.
Nelson Mandela endured as much as any person can, and yet, after more than a quarter of a century behind bars, he emerged with a spirit of love and forgiveness. There could be no better model of the power of the core of a person to preserve its abundance, even in times of unimaginable scarcity. And that is what it means to think big. It is to understand that we need nothing except that which is inside each of us. We don’t need more to do more. We can do more with less. The only thing we need is to know our core.
Creating your irresistible presence is to be not the person prescribed by history, by society, or by the invisible panel of pseudopeers who contrive to rule through conformity. When you are irresistible, you simply are. You know the why of what you do. You walk the talk, always truthward-bound. To be truly irresistible is to be radically transparent. You are a person turned inside out, your core rendered visible.
I’m not saying it’s easy to know when you’ve whittled down enough to access your core. The core is an elusive entity. It is what we stand for. It is what we are about, what drives us to do what we do.
What do you wake up for in the morning? Does it fulfill you? Is it what you truly want to be doing?
Nor, once your core is identified, is it easy to expose it for the world to see. To let people know what we stand for is to lay ourselves bare, all those raw nerve endings reachable, touchable by others. It can make a person uncomfortable just to think about such vulnerability.
Yet here’s the paradox: To be so exposed is where our true strength resides. When we repress our dreams, thinking we have protected ourselves from getting hurt, from the power of others to adversely affect our lives, all we have really done is repress our dreams. We have wasted our resources on self-protection, and in the end it will never work. All that negative energy makes us weak. Our core is strong. Our core is founded on trust and truth and on love.
Creating an irresistible presence is not and cannot be a rebellious act. It is an empowerment, not a revolt. It is not a response to something; it’s not “I’m-going-to-show-them-just-watch-me-become. . . [fill in the blank].” To rebel is an action fueled by scarcity. An irresistible presence is ultimately about creating something, not simply revolting and rebelling against something in the past.
To change our future, we cannot be prisoners of our past. Rebellion is simply acting out in the present against something in our past history. We must not allow ourselves to be trapped by our history. Yes, we are necessarily shaped by our pasts, and, yes, we must learn from history (why repeat mistakes?), but we are in control of our future. It’s up to us to ensure that the past is not forcing us down a road not of our choosing.
Frederick Banting, who won the 1923 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his invention of insulin, said in his later years that if he had been more familiar with the literature and the long history of unsuccessful attempts to isolate the extract that he did ultimately isolate (along with his collaborators, Best, MacLeod, and Collip, as no great work is done alone), then he might never have undertaken the research he did.
Our capacity to do great things can never be measured by the past. The future is not bound by any precedents. As Randy Pausch writes in his book, The Last Lecture, “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.” To create an irresistible presence is to choose our own destiny.
What things bind you to your past? Do you really need them, or are they holding you back?
To create an irresistible presence is an act of originality and creation, an act of abundance. It is finding that we already have the resources to do more, to make a better world. It is a willingness to express our ideals and ideas openly when necessary and the ability to listen to others.
As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” The closer to our core we travel, the more connected we are to what we stand for, the more energetic resources we will draw from the bottomless well of the human evolutionary reserves of self-trust and love. To live from our core is to stand for something, and that something is what is precious to each one of us.
You may be thinking—but what if I’m not 100 percent sure what I stand for? Or, what if I feel like I stand for a whole lot of different things? Of course, we all stand for lots of things, from racial equality to a more democratic access to education to animal rights—for truth, for reality, for kindness, for something.
At our core, we stand for one thing. It is the fundamental principle that fuels us, that resonates in every fiber of our being. Frederick Banting, whom I mentioned above, stood for helping others in crisis, and he died in the service of what he stood for, while bandaging the wounds of a Canadian air force pilot headed to World War II, in a plane carrying both men that went down off Newfoundland. The pilot lived to tell the tale. Banting could not save his own life.
What you stand for shapes how you live your life, how you treat others, how you run your business or career. It seeps into everything you do until it is seamless. People say, “Oh that’s so you.” It makes you irresistible.
Here’s a short list of things you might stand for: women’s rights, children’s rights, education, animal welfare, literacy, justice, equality, humor, freedom, independence, respect, meaningful communication, less suffering, a sense of community, comfort, health, green living, self-expression, possibility, excellence, happiness, love, love, love.
What about what you. . .why do you do what you?
Don’t intellectualize. When you over-think what you stand for, the energy leaks away. Your identity is driven by an inner passion, not a cold inner rationality. I’m not knocking rationality. It has its place, but it is not the core. Think molten core not frozen core. Once you have your why-you- do-it statement, you will know what you stand for.
There’s a reason why you do what you do. Why you want to give the people in your world what you have to offer, to serve those around you. What you stand for is often general. That’s okay. Once you can articulate the why of what you do, then you will achieve it all the better, because other people (most important, the people you want to serve) will get it. Or maybe they won’t at first. That’s why you have to live it. Because what you stand for is you, you will exhibit it in how you work and in how you live. That’s what it really means to walk the talk, to create an irresistible presence. People will be excited about what you do only if you are excited about it. People will believe in you and what you do only if you believe. We need to set aside our trepidation and step out.
It can be scary to stand for something big and to let people know. Not to mention the fact that if you really stand for something, then it’s not just words, it’s work. Thinking big is always backed by good hard work. And that’s scary, too.
I, Michael Port, stand for thinking bigger about who you are and what you offer the world. I want to think bigger in my own world and help others think bigger in theirs—after all, in the end we all live in the same world. Everything I do in my business and in my personal life is done with this ideology, this belief, at its core. I facilitate the Think Big Revolution. I run a business that helps others achieve remarkable (and meaningful) business success. On the personal side, my lifestyle is designed so that I can help my son Jake think big about who he is and what he offers the world. I train in martial arts and practice yoga to achieve a higher excellence in my control over mind and body, which in turn increases my capacity for handling adversity.
Bruce Katz, the founder of Rockport, married work shoes and running shoes to create his megabrand of walking shoes. With his shoes, he helped give birth to the fitness-walking movement in the early 1980s. Bruce Katz stands for walking comfortably.
LensCrafters philanthropic initiative, The Gift of Sight, sums up what the company stands for: Clear vision is a basic human right, not a luxury.
John Wood, the founder and CEO of Room to Read, has built a global enterprise working with rural villages to build sustainable solutions to their educational challenges. Inspired on a trek through Nepal in 2000, he quit his comfortable senior executive position with Microsoft to pursue his dream of helping those without resources gain access to education. His vision is to provide educational access to 10 million children in the developing world. Room to Read has already begun working in Nepal, Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Sri Lanka, Laos, South Africa, and Zambia. Wood stands for educational opportunity for all.
When we know what we stand for, we can achieve big results in our world, whether it’s building a giant brand, as Rockport and LensCrafters have done, creating a worldwide nonprofit, as John Wood did with Room to Read, or another less publicly visible goal.
Lisa Miller stands for helping women achieve their dreams. Her web address says it all: giveyourdreamaheartbeat.com. She knows about dreams. She worked hard to hang on to hers. Within a 10-month period in her life Lisa suffered the loss of her husband, her job, her home, and her dog, and she was in a car wreck that resulted in months of physical therapy. Lisa is an expert at healing and thriving in the face of adversity. As she says, “I’ve learned the ultimate level of success is the realization that you have everything you need right now, as you work toward goals and dreams. These two scenarios can coexist. If you’re not happy now, you’re not going to be happy when you have more money, purchase your dream home, or whatever goal you may have.”
Paul Griffin stands for empowering teenagers to become leaders and forces of positive change in their families and in their communities. In the early 1990s, when his aspirations for a career in acting stalled out, he conceived the idea of a program that would bring teens from all walks of life (the inner city and the suburbs, white, black, Hispanic, and Asian, teens in stable homes and teens in foster care, the wealthy and the less privileged) together to create an original musical based on their lives. Now a nationwide teen-led and teen-driven nonprofit pro- gram in seven cities across the United States with more to come and in Israel and Cape Town, South Africa, City at Peace is developing an important presence and authority in the youth development and arts program community. Paul found (and followed) his true passion.
You will (I guarantee you) be irresistible and succeed at a level you didn’t think was possible when you know what you stand for and you live it. You will be bold and extraordinary, just being you. Your voice will be heard, because it is authentic, because you are honest with yourself and with others, and it will be evident. When we stand for something, we are who we are, no matter what.
As Henry Thoreau so beautifully wrote, “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. . . If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”
What are your castles? What do you value above all else? What is the last thing you would give up, and why? What do you dream of? What is your perfect world?
For you to say everyday:
- I will identify what I stand for through a concerted process of self-questioning and exploration to discover my core, the “what” that is so me.
- I will make public what I stand for. I will hold myself visibly accountable each day to its letter and spirit.
- And, as a result, I will create an irresistible presence.
Called “an uncommonly honest author” by the Boston Globe and a “marketing guru” by The Wall Street Journal, Michael Port is a New York Times Bestselling author of four books including Book Yourself Solid, Beyond Booked Solid, The Contrarian Effect and The Think Big Manifesto.
Michael is a Contributing Editor and writes a monthly column on sales and marketing for Entrepreneur Magazine and another one for American Express Open Forum. He can be seen regularly on MSNBC, CNBC, and NJN and receives the highest overall speaker ratings at conferences around the world. According to the average number of Google searches, Michael is the 5th most popular business coach in the world. Why? Because his mission is to rally you to think bigger about who you are and what you offer the world.
Learn more at MichaelPort.com
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Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org or 877-279-522
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