Never Compromise

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:

>> This guy made happy art.

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...

Never Compromise

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.

Rorschach’s response:

“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.

Simple…not easy.

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4 comments on “Never Compromise”

  1. NEVER compromise....and always have your own "Line in the sand".

    Great post Tom. Knowing our "Why's" - It's amazing to me how many times people say to me "I don't know why this is happening to me" or "Why can't things just fall into place once in a while". If you know your WHY the path is going to be so much easier. A large majority of the BS can just fall to the wayside if you remember why you are doing what it is your doing.

    Good stuff as always and a delight to be able to read down here in the Dominican on my lunch break from the production.

    1. Alan, thanks a ton for the comment. Love that you can enjoy it while in the Dominican (and a bit jealous).

      You're right, life becomes a lot more simple when we draw a line in the sand...but of course, that's the hard part because it means we have to purposefully give up certain options and close certain doors. It's uncomfortable closing doors, so most people leave them all wide open...and never choose to enter any of them.

      Life "happens" to these people, while those that purposefully make a choice also make an impact on life.

      Thanks again for the comment!

      - Tom

  2. Hey Tom,

    Good call! It's funny, you mention that it's simple but I think even though it is a lot of people still miss it unfortunately. A good reminder even when we do know.

    Like you say, "never compromise." It's definitely a double edged sword. Once we articulate our why we have to stick to it and push ourselves to deliver higher.


    1. Michael - exactly. It definitely cuts both ways. And I guess that's why so few people stick with their creative project(s). It's tough standing for something. It's terribly difficult to never compromise. But it's a must if we really want to create impactful work.

      And I think that's the only kind that matters.

      Thanks again for the comment - stay in touch!

      - Tom

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