My best day is so easy. Just after we got married, my husband and I decided to start a family. Five years later, it still hadn’t happened. This was a bit of a shock to me as I’d been pretty used to having a degree of control over my life – which of course I now know is a total illusion!
But after five years, it did happen, and naturally, which was even better. So the birth of my son was by far the best day of my life, followed by so many other wonderful days as I watch him grow, learn and develop his personality. As parents, we might provide context and guidance, but he’s a unique person, not a “mini me” – a fantastic journey for all of us.
The worst day? Well the one that I want to share is a bad day, not the worst day, but it happened only a week ago. It revealed my core process to me. I had pitched for a piece of work to develop a sales and marketing strategy for a company launching a new service into an industry I know and understand extremely well. The other company pitching for the work were a design agency – offering a brand for the new business, but not a sales and marketing strategy. In my opinion, how can you develop a brand if you haven’t worked out the overall strategy?
I lost the business to them. I don’t know anyone who likes losing a pitch (and if you’re relieved to lose it, then you shouldn’t have been going for it in the first place). But what made me cross was that I strongly believed the client had chosen the wrong route. I could have accepted them choosing a different consultant over me if they had been providing what I was convinced was the right solution – I’d have still been unhappy to have lost, but there would have been acceptance.
So, how does this lead to unveiling the essence? Or stripping something bare? Or going right to the core?
Well, I’ve realised that’s how I work. I push through the layers of crap – this is what we do, how we do, it’s the way we’ve always done it, it has to be that way, etc etc – and get to the heart of the business. I guess that, having learned about Simon Sinek’s “why”, this is what I’m looking for too.
Once you know that, then you can start to rebuild and rebuild based on firm foundations. This is so relevant and true for businesses. But I also work with individuals on their personal brand, especially small business owners selling their expertise, and the hardest part is helping them uncover the essence of who they are and where they want to be in five, ten years time.
Once you know that, whether as an individual or a company, then the building blocks to get there become blindingly and startlingly clear – unveil the essence and reveal the way ahead.