“If you want to tell people the truth, you’d better make them laugh or they’ll kill you.” – George Bernard Shaw
Here is a curious thought for you: When I distill my speaking presentation down to its key points, listed in order, my message is almost depressing. Here goes:
Everything has changed and you haven’t figured it out yet. Everything continues to change and it’s accelerating. You will not succeed by doing what you have done in the past. The value you offer has decreased and you have become commoditized. The problem is bigger, and the solution requires a complete and serious shift to a new paradigm. You have to shift away from (leave behind) everything you think you know, and lean into the terrifying and the weird. It’s hard. It’s really hard. Most of you won’t make it. Thank you.
Can you believe that? Can you believe that the same audience will honor me by inviting me back?
Of course, I punctuate the above with some humor to lighten the mood and build some connection with the audience so that I can tell them the truth without them hating me, and mixed in with all that bad news are some very positive points:
They care more about what you are about than what you do. They care about other things, and they want you to know about them and care about them too. You are a leader: stop telling them what you do and start telling them who you are. You are really smart, and while you may not understand this shift as an entrepreneur, you certainly do as a consumer and this is really positive. Your opportunity has never been greater to matter more to your tribe and do work that is really rewarding and meaningful to you. Don’t fear the weird, be the weird. Everyone who successfully embraces this shift will say it was really easy.
See? I’m not a horrible person. I just have no friends.
The truth arrives with all sorts of anxieties, disappointments and other responsibilities, which we would rather avoid. The truth can be painful, challenging or even terrifying. Dealing with the truth means you (we) have to pull our heads out of the sand, or out of our fantasy and illusion, and we have to wake up, get up, stand up, pay up, pony up, human up, grow up and stop hiding from it.
It takes courage to tell the truth, and it takes a lot of courage to hear it. I suspect a lot of us forget that.
Now go shine a shamrock. Happy St. Patrick’s Day.