Think Small. Start Now.

I was a guest on a podcast yesterday. Towards the end, I was asked what I could share with the audience to help them make this shift away from selling commoditized goods and services towards staged experiences that lead to guided transformations.

It’s a good question.

So was my answer.

What I said was if you want to sell a commoditized service, there is probably a manual for that.

There is always a rulebook for jobs that are known and defined. Working as a barista? There is a manual. Brain surgeon? There is a manual. Teacher? There is a manual.

All the jobs that exist have a manual, including the important jobs.

But there isn’t a manual, as far as I know, on how to be more, or matter more.

There isn’t a manual to tell you how to inject more humanity into your work. There isn’t a manual to tell you how to care more. There are guidebooks; there are suggestions, but a step-by-step process? Not so much.

There is a manual to tell you how to play classical music. A bunch of manuals really. There are the manuals that teach you how to play piano, and then of course there is the sheet music that tells you how to play Beethoven’s 6th Symphony.

But there isn’t a manual that tells you how to invent, or create Beethoven’s 6th Symphony or even your first symphony. There isn’t a manual that teaches you how to make art, and you shouldn’t confuse the manuals that teach artistic technique with inspiration.

Leonardo da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa. There have been thousands of painters who have copied it. Da Vinci was an artist; everyone making a copy is a painter. The painters read manuals. Da Vinci took a chance.

What makes art and work that matters so valuable is that nobody knows how to do it; we all just know it when we see it.

So here again is my answer to how you get started, how you make a serious shift:

Think small, start now. This is a much better strategy than “Think big, start later.”

Something to keep in mind is that when you start, you don’t have to be perfect.

You just have to start.


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