96 The precious dignity of people 27 Nov 2020
Faithfulness means people
I’m proud of this blog’s publication schedule: Tuesdays and Fridays—no misses since February this year. On the other hand, my support services (email notices and school supplements) have suffered delays during unusually busy times. When I was gone, did you miss me? Of course not! You didn’t even notice what was missing.
That contrasts strongly with my mood today, Black Friday. I did notice what was missing. Several pressing purchases made good use of the online specials. However, that enjoyment did not fill yesterday’s missing ingredient: people. Fortunately, most of the immediate family joined the Zoom call. Without that, I would be writing through tears today. A family like mine is priceless. Now if I could only spread that over still more people—perhaps you, my readership.
The two paragraphs above spell out the age-old wisdom that reliability is one satisfaction and human interaction is a greater satisfaction. The goal is to serve my people reliably—ask any writer.
Business is people
Mike Kim led a class exercise in identifying the ideal customer. Pat Flynn places less emphasis on the specific details of the model. However, both teachers agree that we are unconsciously describing ourselves. How can I write for an audience that I do not know? How can I sell something in which I have no interest? My audience and customer base are always broader than I am. I willingly reach out and expand to meet a need. Nevertheless, it is by knowing who I am that I can make a successful relationship with a customer who is like me.
Customers making purchases are buying better versions of themselves. Purchases must enhance something they desire. The vendor is always asking “whom do you admire?” Customers and clients flock to the sources that speak to their condition, according to the adage “it takes one to know one.” Those with a broad people base succeed in the world.
When you tell me whom you admire, I have a lead on who you are and what goals you have. I do not expect you to admire someone who is your idea of the worst possible role model. Similarity helps us direct our attention.
That does not impose lack of variation; you do not have to conform to a mold. I admire Daniel Barenboim as conductor and performer without being like him in musical skills. It is enough that his musical skill provides me endless enjoyment. We relate because he is the embodiment of a talent I admire. Surely there is some trait inside me that is nurtured by what he does. Different as our achievements are, a similarity of interest brings us together.
That particular interest casts a wide net. My piano tuning customers hear as well as I do. Many can evaluate a tuning much faster than I can. My role in the picture is fifty years of experience setting the tuning pins stably. I have the motor skill that provides them what they need to enjoy our common interest. We are the same not in our persons but in our values. That also applies to seller and buyer in the marketplace.
Acting on the principle
Occasionally I remind sellers what I learned early in my business career: buyers do not change their purchasing pattern to fit my selling pattern. While the common interest I address above is necessary to commerce, the key to success is to keep it voluntary.
If I were to assign the best piano in the world to every customer, there would be an outcry in protest. They would not object to the piano. They would object to my choice. Mind you, this is not merely alignment with a brand. Within brand and model, one piano still differs from another. The matter of taste overpowers everything else. Neither the manufacturer nor the consumer conforms to a single mold.
The discussion of goals above referred to individuality. “Be rich and famous” is not a goal because it is empty of the person. Only free will identifies an admiration and a goal. An imposed model is an assignment, not a goal. Work on an assignment is much less enthusiastic than work on a personal aspiration. The proud craftsman is not achieving a paycheck but is rather achieving a perfect execution of an art. Success is to be mindful of the meaningful result.
Call to meaning
I suppose all writers aspire to be leaders. Money is not the intended outcome of writing. We hunger for more meaning than that, helping people become better versions of themselves. The reward is the changes in the lives of the readers.
In my niche of thinking readers, my audience sets about the same task. You, the readers, also long to encourage significant progress. You apply your skills to the benefit of others. You and I share a sameness. Do we hope the whole world will join us in this?
That is indeed my thesis as I elaborate on the one-word panacea from article 95: understanding. In that article, the five bullet points of understanding chart the course for this article. We succeed as we understand ourselves, other people, and our relationships.
I do not write to change your behavior—to get you to do something. Instead, I write to join you on a thought journey that brings people closer together. The outcome is never money. It is the people who are fed, the children who are taught, the families that are housed, the sick who are healed. You and I are both better because we contemplated together and became deeper in our thinking. This togetherness transcends Thanksgiving.
Lockdown fatigue shows how much we miss people when we don’t socialize. Those with a broad people base succeed. My ideal customer looks a lot like me—that is, we relate on some common trait or value. Does this apply to people you hire? Is there a talent that helps you do or be your best? We are all varied, but we have enough common interests to make progress together.
“Be rich and famous” is not a goal because it is empty of the person. An imposed target is an assignment, not a goal. Our efforts are fulfilled by a meaningful result. We succeed as we understand ourselves, other people, and our relationships.