Just One Person
In my previous post, I wrote about great work.
Great work is impactful work – the kind that resonates with a person (or a million people) for years to follow.
The sole criteria for determining great work is impact, and that’s specifically and uniquely determined by the person or people experiencing the work.
If you impact just one person, you’ve created great work.
So how do we impact just one person?
Start with Why
In my article on bootstrapping a business, my #2 tip was this: know your why.
But this isn’t a tip just for bootstrappers, it’s for everyone in life who wants to make an impact.
Why do you do what you do?
Why do you create?
Why do you sweat, bleed and suffer everyday over your work?
These are the questions we, the audience, the readers, the experiencers of your work care about. We don’t care what your product or service does until we know why you’re doing it.
“People don’t buy what you do – they buy why you do it.” [Simon Sinek]
Think about it: no one wants to be swindled.
As the consumer, the first thought we have when we encounter another person is if he or she is the real deal, if what they’re offering is legitimate and authentic.
The only way to assuage our fears is by telling us your why.
When we know your why, we’re on board.
If your why is nonexistent or superficial or doesn’t resonate with us, we move on to the next project.
And in a noisy world full of projects, moving onto something other than what’s being offered is very, very easy.
Live Your Why
This next step is simple:
Once you know your why, live your why.
If you create art to make people happy, make your happy art every day.
If you take care of those who can’t take care of themselves, take care of them every day.
If you build products that change people’s lives, build life changing products every day.
You might be thinking this is so simple it’s not even worth mentioning.
But living your why cuts both ways...
When you live your why, you can’t cut corners anymore:
You can’t cut ingredients to increase margins.
You can’t cut out the personal interaction to scale your company.
You can’t cut effort to take on more projects at one time.
In the movie Watchmen, the upstanding, idealistic Rorschach is offered a chance to save himself but compromise his integrity in the process.
“Never compromise. Not even in the fact of Armageddon.” [Watchmen]
Maybe we're not superheroes and life's not a movie, but the principle applies:
If you want to do great work, if you want to make an impact, then you need to know and live your why.
And that means never compromising – not even in the face of Armageddon.