Estimated read time: 4 minutes
One of the latest content marketing and social media checklist exercises includes this:
What’s your why? Why are you doing or trying to do whatever it is you are trying to do?
I do this too – myself and with clients – and it does actually help us figure out why we should advance an organization’s objective operationally, in social media and digital marketing. Once we know the why it’s much easier to:
- know what we might talk about on social media and our blogs.
- find the right stories for our interested communities. (Related read: How to story shop!)
- understand the overarching purpose of why we are trying something.
But ultimately, knowing the why doesn’t mean we have the ability or skills to accomplish the impact that our why can guide us toward.
When those two are too far apart from each other it can end up looking like this:
When our stated (or wishful maybe) purpose and our abilities (aka skills) are too far apart from each other we can’t make it across the Ocean of Failure. The wider the gap, the more likely the failure. In an effort to beat this comparison to death: We don’t know how to swim or don’t know how to swim that far.
The closer the two align, the more likely we are to make it work and be successful. Here’s how that could look:
No lengthy swim needed here! That doesn’t mean it’ll be easy! It won’t be. There’s likely competition out there – which is another reason why a good why is super important. One that’s different from others. It should still be authentic and truthful!
Some might argue that the perfect scenario would be if the two circles completely align, but how likely is that? And two circles on top of each lose the point. 🙂 But seriously, it’s great to want to make a difference and we can build our audiences and customer bases on that alone – especially to get started.
But once we are working with clients, inside an organization or are public about our why, we need to be able to back it up by showing our skills – and that can look differently in different verticals. It also might mean that we can teach other people and help them be more successful. For example, if I’m going to continue flying around the globe to inspire and teach people how to share authentic stories, I have to at least tell some decent stories myself and be able to apply my Authentic Storytelling Framework to other situations. One person actually gave negative speaking feedback one time and said: “Thing is he doesn’t tell good stories.” Maybe not my target audience or maybe I was off that day. On the flip side I also get plenty of positive reviews:
To book me to speak at your conference or company event, please check out my speaking page for details.
Let’s look at my own relevant story here:
My why – Help people – including myself – and organizations be more authentic and then share their authentic stories continuously using whatever channels are currently useful.
My ability – As a career traditional and brand journalist, I know a few things about storytelling:
- How to find good stories.
- How to get others to help you find and then share them.
- How to share them quickly.
- I can produce and distribute (aka promote) them
My why and ability mostly align. Of course, that doesn’t mean surefire success 100 percent of the time. Somebody else may beat me to the punch. Maybe I’m running out of patience for a project to take off and pull the plug. My proven tactics of distribution have changed and I missed a window of opportunity. The list goes on and on. The Ocean of Failure can widen for all kinds of other reasons as well.
But to get started and to even have a shot at making it work, the why and the abilities have to align. Or at least be close to each other. If they aren’t, there are no boats at the Ocean of Failure and we can’t swim that far. Once the why and the relevant and available abilities are determined the road to success can be an easy-ish ride.