Yesterday, I asked you to consider what your audience wants to become. Today, we’re going to dig a little deeper into why this is such a scary question for a lot of us.

Commoditization means things get cheaper. Things (goods and services) become commoditized when whatever perceived initial value they have is now lost on the marketplace, and they are now available for less.

Commodification means that we have assigned a market value (money) to a social value (decency).

Commodification is more a crime of the market against humanity, while commoditization is more of a market problem for the manufacturers of branded goods. Here is the page I used to make sure I had my facts straight if you want to dig in yourself.

Are you priceless?

What your audience wants isn’t what you sell, it’s what they become for having you in their life. The UBS ad I shared yesterday asked a simple question: “Am I a good father?” It didn’t advertise goods and services. Instead, UBS challenged us to ask an important question: “Am I failing at the most important job I have?”

We know that UBS sells investments and advice, and we also know that UBS isn’t the only firm in that business. There are other brokerage firms, there are other financial planning firms, and there are banks and credit unions. There is no shortage of suppliers of investments or advice (or anything else) willing to compete with your business on price.

UBS knows this, so they are leaving what they do right out of it. Instead, they are focusing on why they are in business, which is to help you be the best version of yourself possible. A good father, a good mother, a difference maker in your community – these are the questions that burn inside each of us.

Your mission statement probably doesn’t say that you want to help people be the best version of themselves. Your mission statement probably refers in some way to what you do. My mission statement is, “To inspire people to innovate and implement meaningful change in their life and business.”

I like my mission statement. I remember when Tom and I talked it out and created it. We felt good about it then, and I feel good about it now. That mission statement is accurate. It’s also just a mission statement; it doesn’t tell you anything about who we are and what inspires us.

Why Tom and I are in business is what makes us different, it’s what brings you value and it’s what keeps you coming back for more and sharing our words with others. The reason we are in business is because we believe that life, and business, should be fun. Our hunch is that you feel the same way and that what you really want is to be happier. You want to feel more positive, you want more satisfaction out of what you do for your audience, and you want to spend more time doing the things that you love, that inspire you.

Are you priceless?

The goods and services – in our case consulting on strategy, business planning and measurement – are only the tools we use to get you somewhere better.

We have a market price for our services. You can hire us for money.

However, the vast majority of people who read and benefit from our blog, who look forward to it in the morning have never paid us anything, ever. We write the blog because we believe passionately that most people lead lives of quiet desperation. Most people are unhappy, and we write the blog and do other stuff to help you, long suffering reader, be happier. That’s it.

So why is it so difficult for us to get honest and really start doing work that matters?

For starters, being honest about who we are and what we believe is scary and dangerous. When we open up about what we believe and what we are passionate about, we risk alienating some people who might get uncomfortable with such honesty.

When we choose to do work that matters, we risk that some people won’t get it and we will suffer a financial loss.

When we do work that is courageous and bold, we reject the status quo, and the status quo is safe and familiar.

When we choose to stand for something, to reject average, we take on risk and risk feels dangerous.

Are you priceless?

There are few things that are truly priceless. Even art that is considered priceless has a price that is set by the market. The Mona Lisa is priceless until it is up for sale; then the market will tell us exactly what the price is.

Love is priceless. Compassion is priceless. Empathy is priceless.

An advisor who manages your investments and then your fortune isn’t priceless. She is doing her job, and she is worth about 1% per year on your total investments.

An advisor who stages experiences that engage you and that challenge you to think about what is truly important to you, one who guides you to self-discoveries that allow you to be the very best version of yourself, that advisor is priceless.

Are you priceless?

 

 

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