If I asked you for a business card right now, and you could give it to me, what would it say?
For some people, it’s a no-brainer: doctor, lawyer, pastor, alligator wrestler, etc. But for many, many others (including myself), there would be a lot of titles on that card. And maybe even some of those titles would be scratched out and annotated. There would be links to websites, YouTube pages, Twitter accounts, etc. And’s lets add on a list of past achievements for good measure. (Like the Voltron toy I designed when I was seven years old…)
I mean, who can fit who they are on to a business card? And for those who can, are you showing people who you truly are? How you can best serve them?
Not too long ago, if you were to ask me to pick one thing to put on to a business card, it would be some obscure logo for a band, and a link to a Bandcamp page. Why? Because that’s what I love doing, playing loud rock music.
That’s all good and nice, but what good am I doing for others by playing loud rock music? Maybe I’m being a help, but am I really giving my best self? It turns out that that wasn’t the case. My business card needed some work…
A business card needs to communicate the greatest value that you can give people in the quickest and clearest way possible. This is called a value proposition.
The Value Proposition in the Wild
Everyone’s a king or a queen of their own personal kingdom, and you have about 14 seconds to hold court with them and show them who you are. In life, you have to be crystal clear not only about your own identity, but about how you can give to others.
Today my business card would say:
Hi, I’m Adam. I’m a life strategist. I help principled young adults and parents define their dreams and obligations, so they can change the world while paying the bills.
You can see it in the wild right here.
This may sound simple, but it wasn’t an easy journey getting here. I had to go around the mountain a lot of times to come up with my own value proposition.
And what did I learn from this process? It all starts from the same place – with understanding the concept of value. I don’t believe that you can come up with a good value proposition without understanding what value is.
And what is value? Well, let’s try to find out by asking a bit differently: what is the most valuable thing in the universe? Is it gold? Oxygen? Lithium deposits on Alpha Centauri? A mint-edition copy of Strange Tales #114?
Folks, this is where faith comes in. Discovering what the most valuable thing is requires us to step outside of ourselves and embrace another perspective. It requires us to look objectively at ourselves.
The perspective that I embrace tells us that the most valuable thing in the universe is – you. This most valuable thing is human beings. That’s a solid truth. And it’s a truth that’s trampled upon day in, day out, by our culture, our societies, and ourselves. That’s why the world needs you and your awesome value proposition.
Once we understand this truth, our lives become less and less about ourselves. This is because we’re already taken care of by the Person who paid the highest price for us. Now our lives are about communicating that truth to others – that they’re the most valuable thing in the universe.
And the way to make people believe this truth is to value them. We value them by giving, by serving – by loving. By doing everything from recommending cool music to them, to calling them out of the blue just to say hi, to holding their hand all night in the emergency room, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera…
We value them by spending time developing our own value proposition.
Stop drifting, start leading.
Again, creating a value proposition is not an easy process. It takes time. But this is how we go from being drifters in life to leaders in life. Once we offer ourselves to others, we also offer to them the change that comes with accepting our help. And when people accept your help, they need you to take them to that place where the change happens. They need you to lead them.
Going from being a drifter to a leader means identifying how you can best help others, and by leading them to the change that happens as a result.
And you know what? It’s OK to change your value proposition every once in a while as well. It’s a journey of discovery, but it starts by giving. By giving what is most valuable. By giving yourself.
So how can you offer help to others in a clear and effective way? What’s your value proposition? Let me know in the comments below!