I’m on hour 20 of 24 in my journey home from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. While there, I completed the training of five “Certified Outthinker Growth Strategists” in AIG, the world’s largest insurance company.
A hundred emails, a proposal, and two document reviews behind me, I finally get to consider what I learned on this most recent trip. It becomes brilliantly clear that the saying “you make your luck” is more profound than the cliché leads on.
You see, clichés repeat and spread through generations because they carry some useful truth. But their repeated telling often washes away their true meaning.
The cliché “you make your luck” has come to mean something like “you get what you deserve” or “seize opportunities when they appear.” But I believe there is a more profound force at play.
Taoists believe there is some intelligent force shaping the universe. They take what science calls “laws” and assign them to one body, the Tao. And this Tao is somehow intelligent, like a master program, that takes inputs and spits outputs, then calculates how words and actions create responses and reactions.
If you keep changing your message, the Tao will respond with a cacophonous echo. But if you sing one song, if you ring the same message, the universe’s response will ring clear as well.
I’m not just talking about philosophy. I’m talking about marketing. I’m talking about getting what you want out of life.
People who get what they want out of life tell life – repeatedly, consistently – what they want, so life – the Tao, the universe – knows how to respond.
For example, one year ago, at Outthinker, we settled on a new brand promise. We had been sending out mixed signals: we were about innovation and creativity and strategic thinking. Wait, no, we were about growth. No, we were about solving problems that matter.
Because our message was confused, the results were confusing.
It takes maybe six months to three years before someone who hears one of my speeches or reads one of my blogs comes back to us asking for consulting help. Every three months, I was throwing out a different message. By the time I got a reply, I was on to yet a different message.
Then we decided to stop changing our message. To pick one thing. To tell the world through speeches and blogs and events that we are here to do one thing: to help organizations step into the future and execute with clarity. We kept returning to the same core.
At the end of the AIG session, my dear friend, the woman who introduced us to AIG, who runs a huge, global organization for the company, started talking to me about the future. About how technology, the internet of things, artificial intelligence, and machine learning were going to transform financial services. What struck me most about this conversation is that while we have known each other for years, we have never before discussed these topics. Yet this time, she brought up all of the things that define our new positioning. She reads my newsletter and keeps up with me professionally, so she was laware of our shift in messaging. By staying on message, I was able to establish the right association in her mind. I put my message out there clearly and consistently, and the universe heard me.
While in Malaysia, we also had a sales call with a leading investment bank there. Typically I would sit down and ask, “How can we help you?” And whatever they replied, I’d say, “We can do that.” But instead, I told them what we are passionate about – helping companies step into the future, prepare their linear organizations for an agile world. While they originally wanted to talk about a relatively small sales training program, they suddenly wanted us to meet their top leaders to help them revamp their entire enterprise-wide strategy.
That is the beauty of knowing what you want and sharing that with the universe. Keep changing your tune and the world with respond with a cacophonous echo. But keep singing the same note and the universe’s echo will eventually build into a perfectly tuned symphony.
What do you want?