Defining Statement

A while back I attended an all-day presentation titled “Grow Your Business”. The speaker arrived here from Minneapolis with many helpful reminders as to the various disciplines and tools that can make or break any business. One of the key statements he made was this: “No one in business fails or quits due to lack of Commitment or Conviction, but rather due to a lack of Clarity, Congruency and Consistency.”

At first I felt I should argue that a lack of commitment can bring failure, but as I looked around the room, I doubted that anyone in the audience would demonstrate this within their business life, so I let it go. The speaker went on to say that the most important tool available to anyone in business, for the purposes of achieving communications, marketing and promotions impact, is the “defining statement”. Ok…now I am really listening, I even leaned forward in my seat; this is starting to resonate with passion, purpose…and calibration! I knew that this would ultimately be similar to the exercise of developing a “13-second elevator speech”, but something about the title “defining statement” was intriguing to me.

I recall how I had felt ten years ago. I would have denied it at the time, but I was largely defined by what I did; by the position I held. Tracing my steps from that point on to the subsequent positions I held I found a similar pattern emerge. I had defined myself by either title or accomplishment.

An over-inflation of value through position / title can often lead people to seek greater titles, sincerely believing that holding the title will provide a more visible definition of the value of self.

On the other hand, many have succumbed to the belief that they have little value, and are defined by the “lowly” title that they hold. One of the best illustrations of how this belief is not true, I heard expressed by the CEO of Ritz Carlton. Speaking to an audience regarding values, he stated, “If I don’t show up for work, people manage to get by. However, if the dishwashing staff don’t show up, the whole place falls apart!”

While a defining statement, based in products, services and benefits, can work great for a business, I wonder if it falls a bit short for personal life. Is someone who performs the Chief Executive duties a CEO, and someone who performs the janitorial duties simply a janitor? Is there a definable value difference? What happens to how someone is defined if they no longer perform the functions they once did, either greater or lesser?

If I were to ask you what your defining statement was, what would you say? If I were to ask a friend of yours who you were, what would they say? What if I asked your family?

We all have a role to be valued by society. We all have strengths to employ and hearts to engage. What defines you? Is it your title, your role, your contribution, or something deeper still?

If you were to write a defining statement for your life, what would it read? What would be so constant and compelling that neither life or death, promotion or demotion, prosperity or poverty could effect how you felt about yourself? Would it let your PASSION flow, and would that passion inspire others.

What’s the flower? Take a guess…