How important do you want to be?
How important do you need to be?
Popularity is like nitroglycerin. It is highly unstable and volatile. Prioritizing the opinions of others and getting their approval is often seen as the threshold of success. After all, we all need a following if we are going to break through. Many want more than just success; they want to be a celebrity on either their own small stage or on the world stage. They want name recognition and elite status.
In this post, we ask the difficult question, “How important is being important?”
Those that follow me know that I focus on pivotal growth, continually working to think bigger, reach higher and do what others never thought possible. I work with entrepreneurs and other decision-makers through executive coaching, books, online courses, in-person training, and even plays and movies.
We all need to feel valuable. We need to have a healthy sense of self and how we fit into the world. However, there is a push from social media to become so important that we are considered a celebrity. Unfortunately, in the process, the process of being important becomes more important than providing value. Ego trumps substance. That seems backward.
I remember one induvial attending a professional function with her peeps. Yes, she traveled with her entourage, a couple of women who ran interference for her. At the registration table, one of her minions said, “She doesn’t wear name tags. Everyone knows who she is, and if they don’t, they aren’t worth knowing.”
Well, la de da.
Others build their own pretend stage and are always on it promoting themselves by shining the spotlight on themselves. “I’m important” is their constant message.
Listen to their language and it is always about them. Sadly, they can’t celebrate you or others without putting themselves in the middle of the compliment. They are marketing themselves, lobbying for their importance. Like the first example, we aren’t important if we don’t know who they are and aren’t in their good graces.
Is that the type of person we want as a friend?
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Popularity has ruined many good people. In their quest to be important, they sacrifice their authenticity.
The tragedy is that each of us has something uniquely valuable to offer the world. By puffing themselves up, they miss the chance to celebrate others, help them get what they want, and enjoy a loyal following. Maybe just as important, they never break through the surface to realize how they are uniquely valuable.
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Outside-In vs Inside-Out
I served as the dean of the National Speakers Association Central Florida chapter’s speaker’s academy in about 2010. In setting the foundation for their speaking careers, I laid out the principle of Cavett. Robert Cavett was an early leader in NSA known for saying, “A desire to help others is our most noble attribute; it gives immortal momentum to life and is our only certain path to heaven.” (https://nsaspeaker.org/cavett-award/)
However, four members of the class quickly exposed themselves as “win at all costs” marketers. They wanted to be celebrities and were determined to use the speaking platform to establish their following.
They didn’t like it when I explained the following:
“Some try to build a successful speaking career by being important and demanding a high fee and along the way they will help people. “
That pyramid looks like this.
Unfortunately, audiences are wise to that. They don’t like arrogant speakers that put themselves first.
Do you like arrogant speakers or ones that help you?
Instead, we need to flip the pyramid. We start by serving. We take the stage to help people. When we help enough people and build a reputation for solving their needs, we will get paid a high fee. They will love us for helping them and be willing to pay for it. That is when we become important. In the end, helping enough people make us a celebrity in their eyes. That pyramid looks like this:”
We need to develop what I call “pivotal apathy” where we say, “I don’t care” about certain things. This isn’t irresponsible or callous but focused. Pivotal apathy is not caring about things that don’t ultimately matter. It is rearranging our priorities to reflect what really matters. It is asking ourselves, “Do I need to be important?” and “Do I need to behave like others in order to discover my breakthrough opportunity?”
Notice the first pyramid is an outside-in approach to success that relies on that stereotypical marketing and sales perspective. Apply the compliance gaining strategies discussed earlier and we can see the appeals that say, “You should know me. You aren’t anyone if you don’t listen to me.” Notice that when that speaker drives that wedge deep into the ground, helping people is buried to establish their platform.
Do you want to be that person that is important at the expense of other people?
I hope not.
Notice the second pyramid is inside-out, beginning by building a foundation of helping others. Getting paid a high fee is only possible once that solid foundation has been built. Notice that when we get paid a high fee, we have broken through. Being important is the result of helping enough people along the way.
This applies to leadership, sales, human resources, management, coaching, real estate, and any other profession. Being important is best achieved by helping solve their problems. We will never be important without earning it. Be authentic. Be valuable.
In the end, you will make a significant difference and they will see you as incredibly important.
Pivotal apathy is ignoring the first pyramid. Being popular isn’t as important as being valued for solving a significant problem.
Watch for the release of several new books, one of them is Pivotal Apathy that is due out Fall of 2021.
1. What do you ultimately want?
2. Why do you want it?
3. Who can you help get what they ultimately want?
4. Develop an apathy for being important. You have a unique value. Rely on that value to help others. In the end, you will be important because of the difference you have made.
DO THE IMPOSSIBLE
Loren Murfield, PhD
I work with leaders and entrepreneurs in small business, sales, and Real Estate to think bigger and reach higher to find their breakthrough success. Contact me to begin thinking bigger.
Want to hear about more incredible stories? Check out our latest podcast where we discuss how they build the Bell Rock Lighthouse even though it was only above water for a short time each day.