Built to Serve | Find Your Purpose, Become the Leader You Were Born to Be Evan Carmichael | Summary



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Built to Serve: Find your purpose and become the leader you were born to be By Evan Carmichael


What is my purpose? How do I find my passion?

Most people wake up and drive to a job that they hate.

Think about your five closest friends. Are they happy? Do they live their lives with purpose? Do you? We put on a fake front for what we want people to see and think about us, but the reality is most people aren’t happy. We’re lost. We settle. We aren’t happy with where we are. You can’t be happy if you don’t know your purpose. It’s not possible. You want more but you don’t even know where to start. You know there is more out there. You see others having success and you want it, too; there is nothing wrong with that. You just need help finding your purpose so you can find the success you see all around you. You can be productive, crush your goals, pretend that all the things that you’ve acquired actually mean something…but at the end of the day, if you don’t know your purpose, you’ll always feel like there’s something missing. You’ll know that you’re capable of more and that you’re not living the life you should be. You might be fooling the world, but you’re not fooling the person looking back at you in the mirror. You need to find your actual power source.

Your purpose is your source of power.

Once you find your purpose it’ll fuel you for life. You’ll do things that you never thought you were capable of. Achieving your purpose will force you to morph into a stronger version of yourself. You’ll have to push through fears, insecurities, and doubts that held you back. But somehow it’ll all feel possible and necessary because you’re purpose-driven now…and that’s the only thing you’ll ever need.


What is my purpose?

“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” – John F. Kennedy

The world has changed

“The sooner we realize that the world has changed, the sooner we can accept it and make something of what we’ve got. Whining isn’t a scalable solution.”- Seth Godin

Humans are built to serve.

Some people are built to serve the world. Others want to serve the twenty-five closest people to them. But in either case, humans are built to serve. If you’re not happy right now, it’s because you’re not serving enough people, or you’re not serving the people in your life deeply enough. But whom do you serve? How do you serve? And once you’ve found the answers to these questions, how can you make money serving so you can help even more people? That’s what we’re going to figure out together in this book.

Step 1: Your Who

“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-re than you!” – Dr. Seuss

Everyone has Michael Jordan-level talent…at something.

You just haven’t found it yet, or you have and you don’t #Believe in yourself enough to go all in on it. You’re genius. You’re amazing. You were not meant to live a photocopy of someone else’s life. You were not created to wake up and do work that is below your capabilities. You have Michael Jordan- level talent at something and need to uncover exactly what your purpose is and how you can serve.

I’ll start this process by asking you what your most important core value is.

Everything great that you love is connected.

Finding your most important core value is what I call your Who.

It’s finding who you are. And knowing that you stand for belonging allows you to set a course for your life. You now know that being in a business, a job, a relationship where you don’t feel like you belong is going to be toxic for you, no matter how much money you make or how much you look like you’re winning by any other metric. It’s a life-changing experience for people.

Step 2: Your Why

“There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we discover why.”- William Barclay

In this example, your purpose is to help outsiders feel like they belong.

Your purpose comes from your pain

Your Who and your Why don’t change.

They’re with you for life. When you’re ninety-five years old, you won’t stop caring about belonging. In fact, it’ll likely only become stronger as you gain more confidence with it. You also won’t stop wanting to help outsiders feel like they belong. You’ll only double down on it as you gain more wisdom and strength with time. Your Who and your Why tell you who you are and your purpose for the rest of your life. They are incredibly powerful, and they give you more self-awareness than 99 percent of the world has right now.

Step 3: Your How

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”- Confucius

The final step is finding out how you got through the pain you suffered.

Your How will evolve as technology, markets, and you evolve.

Step 1 – Your Who

Your Who = Your Core Value

“Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.”- Buddha

You have one core value that defines who you are. I call it your Who.

People are defined by their values. But you have one core value that is more important than all others. It’s the starting point for all your ideas, actions, and beliefs. If you’re ever in a slump, it’s because you’re living your life inconsistently with your Who, your most important core value.

This is the starting point for everything. – If you’re confused about what to do next; if you’re pressured by others to fit in or live their version of your life; if you feel held back because of people judging you, it’s because you don’t know who you are or what you stand for.

Your Who is your rock.

When you figure out your Who, you have a solid rock to stand on. Suddenly you have clarity about your direction. You stop being pulled into other people’s agendas because you have your own map now. You don’t allow the opinions of others to damage your self-worth because you stand for something now. You know what the right thing to do is because your Who demands it. Having clarity over who you are is your source of power.

So how do you find your Who?

Let’s start by figuring out what makes you happy.

What makes you happy?

Let’s start by having you answer five essential questions.

  1. Who was your favorite teacher growing up and why?
  2. What is your favorite movie of all time?
  3. What do you love most about how your parents raised you?
  4. Which successful person do you look up to as a role model and why?
  5. For your kids (current or future), what lessons do you want to make sure they understand?

What does this have to do with figuring out your Who?

Everything. All the great things in your life are connected. Your job is to find what that connection is.

Happy doesn’t always lead to your Who, though, so you may find it easier to go negative instead.

What do you hate?

If you can’t find your Who by going positive, think about what you hate.

Draw the line that connects the people you can’t stand being around.

I’ve never seen someone’s Who be something negative. – Humans are built to serve. We’re good at the core. We want to do good and so do our neighbors. We’re just confused about how to do it and are stressed out living lives that don’t have meaning. If your Anti-Word is “lie,” maybe your Who is “honesty” or “truth.” “Fake” becomes “genuine.” “Insulting” becomes “supportive.” And so on.

Find your Who.

It’s the core of who you are.

But what happens when making money goes against your Who?



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Your Who > Money

There has to be something that’s more important to you than money.

Money is just a tool. And it’s a very important one.

Money is important. Even if you’re a charity, money is important. It’s just not number one. But it’s also not number one hundred. Money should be in your top five priorities. If you’re an entrepreneur and it’s not, you’ll never build a successful business. But it’s not number one. Something has to come before it. That’s your Who. That’s your most important core value.

Life is not about achieving the goals; life is about who you become in pursuit of those goals.”

There’s one more critical step to your finding your Who, though, and that’s your Credo.

Your Credo

So what is your Credo? It’s how you break down your Who. You start with your core value, then you add some definition to it by adding the three things that make it up.

Your Turn: What’s Your Credo?

To finish up your Who, you need to finalize your own Credo. Think about what your core value is, and then come up with three definitions of it. Three examples of it. Three children of it.

Who did you marry?

“Marry the right person. This one decision will determine 90% of your happiness or misery.”- H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Who you marry is the family you choose.

You didn’t pick your parents. You didn’t choose your siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles. Most of us still feel an obligation to spend time with our birth family, even if we have totally different Whos. In most cultures, you pick the person you marry. Your spouse is the family you choose, and it’s one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make.

So many successful people credit their spouse for being essential to their success.

This will be tough

“You have to have confidence, and then be tough enough to follow through”: Rosalynn Carter

The greater your unhappiness, the greater your actions will need to be.

You’re not living the life that you want. You need to be courageous enough to make the change. Knowing alone is not enough. Action is required.

Your Who will give you the courage.

Here’s what’s going to happen: You’ll find multiple areas that you know you need to change. You now know why you need to change them and the source of your unhappiness. But when it comes time to actually act, chances are you won’t.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken”?

Your Who is also what you would tell your younger self if you had the chance.

Remember who you are daily

“You are what you think all day long.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Step 2 – Your Why

Your why = Your purpose

Your purpose comes from your pain.

Your purpose is to help other people who are currently facing the same struggle you went through.

“If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.” – Chinese proverb

You are built to serve

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”- Mahatma Gandhi

If you’re not happy, it’s because you’re not serving.

Saint Francis of Assisi said, “For it is in giving that we receive.” Leo Tolstoy said, “The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity.” Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” Muhammad Yunus said, “Making money is happiness; making other people happy is super happiness.”

Serving others is hardwired into our brain.

Helping others is pleasurable. It’s hardwired in us.

So whom do you help?

There are lots of people you can help. There are so many great causes out there. The whole world needs help in a million different ways.

It’s time for you to become a superhero.

You’re a superhero

“Heroes are made by the path they choose, not the powers they are graced with.”- Tony Stark (Iron Man)

Because you’re not just a superhero, you’re a tree.

You’re a tree

“All things share the same breath- the beast, the tree, the man… the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports.”- Chief Seattle

I think leaders are trees.

What does a tree do? A tree breathes in carbon dioxide, which is poison for people. A tree then eats it, grows from it, and spits out oxygen positivity for the world. That’s your job as a leader. Your job is to face the pain, eat it, grow from it, and then create positivity and oxygen for others around you.

Comfort is the enemy of greatness.

When you’re comfortable, you don’t get strong.

People who are comfortable don’t create great things.

Your pain is your strength.

This is the fundamental mindset shift that most people never make but is required for success. The pain that you went through, that you’re trying to forget…it’s your strength. It’s the way through. It’s your answer. That pain is how you become the tree. You’ve experienced the pain, grown from it, are stronger now, and are able to help others who need the support. Be the tree, even if you feel like you don’t know how.

You don’t have all the answers yet.

One of the biggest barriers blocking you from becoming a tree is self-doubt.

Your pain will define you. Either you succumb to it and give up, or you become a tree and allow people who are going through that pain to feel like they can breathe and that there is hope.

My purpose is to help entrepreneurs

“When you find your purpose, it gives you the strength to do things that you never thought were possible.”- Evan Carmichael

Your purpose will keep you going.



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A pain-free life?

“We have the tendency to run away from suffering and to look for happiness. But, in fact, if you have not suffered, you have no chance to experience real happiness.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Force pain on yourself?

When you get an idea for something that scares you, go do it. Train yourself so that as soon as you come up with a thought for something you’d like to try and it makes you nervous, you need to go do it. It’s not just randomly putting yourself in painful situations, but rather listening to your intuition with the thoughts that are already coming to you, and finding a way to get started on them.

You were not meant to photocopy your day over and over again.

If you have no pain, you’re living a life fully inside your comfort zone, and that’s not a recipe for fulfillment. So pay attention to your ideas, trust that they are right for you, and try them out, especially when they make you nervous. As you blast through your comfort zone, you’ll find pain and begin the process of discovering your purpose.

What’s your why?

“There is no greater gift you can give or receive than to honor your calling. It’s why you were born. And how you become most truly alive.”- Oprah Winfrey

Exercise #1. Ten-Year Chunking

Here we divide your life into ten-year chunks, figure out what the most painful moments were, and find their common elements to give you clarity on your purpose.

Exercise # 2. Emotional Patterns

Here we look at the most common causes of psychological pain and how they have shown up in your life.

Exercise # 3. Police Lineup

Here we look at the people who have caused the most pain in your life and figure out what your purpose is through them.

Ten-year chunking

How old are you right now?

On a piece of paper, divide your life into ten-year chunks. For example, at the time of this writing I’m thirty-nine years old. So I’d divide my page into four chunks that would read: 29-39   19-29   9-19   0-9

Think about the worst thing that happened to you. When did you feel most worthless as a human in the past decade?

Then open your eyes and write down one sentence about the experience and three descriptive keywords for how it made you feel.

Repeat this exercise for every ten-year chunk on your page.

The more chunks you have, the more history you have to pull from.

If you didn’t find it yet, don’t worry; let’s check in on your emotional patterns.

Emotional patterns

You have emotional patterns that trigger your pain.

Who specifically will you help?

You don’t want to serve everyone equally.

You need to get specific on who you’re going to help, and that will come from the specific pains and circumstances you faced.

Based on type of pain:

Example: Brene Brown created multiple best-selling books and popular videos around shame because she struggled with how people perceived her.

Based on demographics:

Example: Oprah Winfrey does a lot of work supporting the black community, women, and the underprivileged, because she faced discrimination.

Based on interests:

Example: I want to help entrepreneurs because of how much I struggled in my first business and how the failures impacted my self-esteem.

Your ideal target persona

Go back to the most painful moment in your life and think about which pain points that moment hit on. Think about the demographics that matter to you for the types of people your pain will serve. Then finish off with the interests that make a difference.

You need to tell your story publicly and become a leader.

Becoming a leader

“The currency of leadership is transparency. You’ve got to be truthful. There are moments where you’ve got to share your soul and conscience with people and show them who you are, and not be afraid of it.”- Howard Schultz

People connect with people.

The greatest asset you have is you. Your Who and your Why are unique. That’s what makes you, you. And since people connect with people, you need to share your story so that your ideal target persona will connect with you.

I need to know that you understand me.

You need to connect with people emotionally before you connect with them logically.

Sharing is scary

Most people aren’t willing to share their story because they’re afraid.

You’re afraid of being judged. You’re afraid of what people will say. You’re afraid that people won’t look at you the same way anymore. You were “normal” the day before, but now you’re an ex-drug addict. Now you’re someone who tried to commit suicide. Now you’re someone who has depression or some disease or a disorder. Now you don’t fit in anymore. And that’s scary.

Remember that you’re a tree.

You’re a leader. You want to have an impact. You want to make a difference.

Your silence perpetuates everyone’s silence.

Until you’re not silent.

Telling your story is scary.

But you do scary. You do difficult. You take on challenges. You don’t want to just do what’s safe, predictable, easy. You don’t want to photocopy the same day of your life over and over again. This is what growth looks like.

Tell your story

“It’s important that we share our experiences with other people. Your story will heal you and your story will heal somebody else. When you tell your story, you free yourself and give other people permission to acknowledge their own story.”- Iyanla Vanzant

How to tell a great story

There are three crucial elements to a great story: struggle, transformation, mission

You start with the struggle. What did you go through? What’s the story behind your Who and your Why? Why was it so painful? I need to feel your pain. This isn’t just any pain; this is the most painful moment of your life.

You need to get emotional when writing about your struggle. That’s how you know it’s working. If you don’t feel it, others won’t either. And if they don’t feel you, they won’t listen to you.

Next, talk about your transformation.

You did something to get through the pain. You stood up to someone. You changed your environment. You believed in yourself.

You end with your mission.

Now that you’ve shown what you struggled through and how you transformed, you’re on a mission to help others. That’s your Why. You’re here to help. You want to lift as many people as you can out of what you went through. And because I understand your struggle, and I see your transformation, I believe in your mission too.

Those are the three sections of a great story. Make them powerful.

“Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world.”- Robert McKee

You can help the person you were five years ago.

The person you are today can help the person you were five years ago. You know more, have more confidence, have more experience, and can give specific guidance to the person you were five years ago. So you must. Because there are so many people who are like the old you. And those people need you.

You will never know everything.

There will always be something new to learn. There will always be more experiences, more knowledge, more tools, more resources. Forever. Perfect does not exist. If you wait until you know everything before you start helping, you’ll never start. You’ll be ninety-five years old, still waiting for the perfect time, and then it’ll be too late.

Step 3- Your How

Your How = Your Passion

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”- Oprah Winfrey

Finding your Who gives you some clarity, but it’s not enough. It’s only a piece of the puzzle to find fulfillment. You need your Why and your How.

You need to enjoy the process, not just the end result.

Successful people love the process. They love the game. They love doing it. Jerry Seinfeld calls it the “torture you can endure.”

“People fall forward to success.”- Mary Kay Ash

Get success by modeling success.

Don’t know the answer to something? Model success! Someone has figured it out before. You don’t need to be a genius and come up with every idea yourself. Just see who has won already and model their success. It won’t take you all the way to the finish line, but it can take you 80 percent of the way, which makes everything a lot easier.

You get success when you love the process.

You have to enjoy the process

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.” – Amelia Earhart

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”- Steve Jobs

The key takeaway in establishing these goals is how we handled ourselves and those around us during that process. What relationships did we create? What stories can we tell? Whose lives did we affect for the better? That’s what matters. It’s not about the glory of reaching a personal goal, it’s about the glory of relishing the journey and sharing in that accomplishment with those that helped us get there.”

How to find your passion

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”- Harriet Tubman

There are two ways to find your How.

The first is the Recipe for Success. It’s how you saved yourself.

The second is to use the Passion Process, where you think about all the work that you enjoy the results as well as the process. Liking the end result isn’t enough. You have to like the work.

Figure out your recipe for success.

What was the habit, action, mentality, or resource that made the difference? If you met yourself ten years ago when you were still struggling with this thing, what would you tell yourself to do? Did you change your environment? Did you meditate? Did you take a class? Did you alter your morning routine? Did you adjust your mindset? What did you do, step by step?

Here are the three most important questions to ask:

  1. When did you decide that something had to change?
  2. What was the first thing that you did to start the change?
  3. How did you sustain the momentum?

This is your Recipe for Success. It’s your blueprint for how someone like you can break free of what you had to deal with. And there are many people who are in the same situation as you were and need to break free.

“Long ago, I realized that success leaves clues. And that people who produce outstanding results do specific things to create those results.”- Tony Robbins



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The passion process

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”- Nelson Mandela

The Passion Process will give you clarity on how you can achieve your purpose.

Step 1: Make a list of all the ways you’ve helped people.

Step 2: Underline the activities that you enjoyed.

Step 3: Narrow it down to your top three.

Your how can change

“You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.”- Jim Rohn

Your How Highlights

Your How is your passion; you need to enjoy the process, not just the end result.

When you combine your core value (Who), with your purpose (Why), with doing work that you love (How), it’s a home run.

You may not enjoy every moment of every day, but overall you will be doing work that you love.

Just see who has won already and model their success.

From purpose to profit

“Profit isn’t a purpose, it’s a result. To have purpose means the things we do are of real value to others.”- Simon Sinek

You need to make money

“If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours.”- Ray Kroc

If you never learn how to make money from your purpose, you’ll always end up needing a day job, and your purpose will become a hobby. If that sounds like a great life to you then I’m happy for you. If not, then you need to figure out a money-making model that makes sense – one that’s consistent, one that’s significant, one that can pay you so you can quit your job and succeed to the point where you are providing jobs for others and helping even more people.

Don’t spend money until you’re making money.

You don’t want to be in the spending money business. You want to be in the making money business!

Here’s the secret: dream big; act small.

Find the smallest possible way to get started, to take the first step, to get some momentum going. Dream big; act small.

Entrepreneurship is always about resourcefulness more than resources.

When you find a winner, expand!

Once you start making money, you pour it back into the business to grow even faster. Money is like gasoline. Spray it on dead wood and it just gets soaked up. Spray it on a twig that has even a tiny flame and it’ll ignite. Don’t spray gas until you’ve got that flame.

Another great way to start with no money is with a service, not a product.

Start with a service first

“Whoever renders service to many puts himself in line for greatness – great wealth, great return, great satisfaction, great reputation, and great joy.”- Jim Rohn

I believe most entrepreneurs are better off starting with a service. – Products are great because they are scalable. You aren’t trading your time for money like you are in a service-based business. But there are two unique advantages of having a service that I think makes it the best starting point to make money from your purpose.

  1. It gets you close to your customer.
  2. It’s a faster way to make money.

It’s faster to start a service, because you don’t need anything. You’ve already got it. It’s you. It’s what’s in your head. It’s your experience. You saved yourself, and you can save others. That’s something you can market and sell today.

For example, the most basic version is a coaching / consulting program.

Three free ways to get clients

“Selling is something we do for our clients – not to our clients.”- Zig Ziglar

You don’t need to spend big money on ads to get your first clients.

The first way is the Fast Pass to Freedom, where you’ll be reaching out directly to ideal clients, showing your credibility, offering them value up front, and building your roster of paid clients. You could be making significant money this week if you just apply this method.

The second way is partnerships and alliances, where you reach out to people who are already selling to your target audience.

The third way is being a thought leader, where you create content that becomes a marketing magnet, attracting ideal clients so you don’t have to reach out to anyone the clients just keep coming to you. This takes the most time to build, but it becomes an ongoing flow of income for you that only builds with time.

“Happy clients are the best advertising money can buy.”- Anonymous

The fast pass to freedom

The first is your website.

The second is social media.

The amazing content Ten-Pack

  1. Your Who. Tell me your single most important core value, where it comes from, and why it’s so important to you.
  2. Your Why. Explain why you do what you do. Tell me your pain and how it led to your purpose.
  3. Your How. Give me an overview of your Recipe for Success by telling me what steps you took to get out of your pain.

4-6. Recipe Breakdown. Take the three most important steps of your Recipe for Success and go deeper on each one.

Results. Tell me your results. Show me your transformation. Where did you come from, and where are you now?

8-9. Examples. Show me other people who are like me, and explain their transformation. Tell the stories of people you have helped directly or give hypothetical examples of how you would help someone if they came to you with specific problems.

  1. Hope. Make me feel that it’s possible for me as well – that if I connect with you and follow your advice, I too can solve my pain.

The most important element is the information. Does the content make me feel? Does it make me think? Does it resonate? Does it make me believe that you can help me?

If so, then you’re ready for the final step: outreach.

Reaching out to people

“Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out.”- Benjamin Franklin

You’ve created great content, but it won’t matter if nobody sees it.

You now need to get your message in front of the right people. Your ideal clients need you. They are suffering. They’re in pain. And you can help. Let’s go find them! The fastest way is through people who self-identify on social media.

You just need to find them and reach out. There are two ways to do it.

The first is search.

Search for keywords that relate to your area of expertise. Every social media platform has a search function.

The second is hashtags.

Reach out to fifty potential ideal clients per day and offer the free call.

Start doing your fifty outreaches per day.

Partnerships and alliances

The fast pass to freedom relies on daily grunt work.

Create a great bio and picture. Make your ten-pack of amazing content. Then reach out to fifty ideal clients every day. If you want money in your pocket quickly, this is the path. If you want to quit your job to follow your passion, this is the answer. It’s effective, but it takes a lot of daily work. It’s much better than having a job working for someone else. But it’s still a daily grind, because you’re going after one person at a time.

If you want to level up your game, connect with potential alliance partners.

These are super-connectors. They’re people that can get your message out to hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people.

This plan is slow…and then really, really fast.

It takes time to build relationships. It takes time for people to know you. It takes time for them to like you, believe in you, and be willing to share your message. It’s slow, frustrating, and you won’t make money in the process (that’s why you start with the Fast Pass to Freedom). But once you get a yes, it could make your entire business.

Getting big names to see you

“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.”- Albert Einstein

At the core of every business relationship is bringing people value.

The first step is having them know that you exist.

Start by hanging out where they hang out.

The internet has created unprecedented access. Almost everyone you want to connect with is on social media.

Look for the platform where they are most involved.

Chances are your top fifty are on multiple social media platforms.

Look for where they are engaging with people. Where are they responding to people? Where are they answering questions? Where are they asking questions and interacting with their followers?

Ignore all their other accounts and just focus on that one. Their focus becomes your focus.

Be their best contributor

“People are the most important thing. Business model and product will follow if you have the right people.” – Adam Neumann

Bring the people you’re reaching out to so much value that they trip all over themselves to find a way to help you.”



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Ninja ways to get to people

Not everyone is on social media.

I think social media is the most level playing field. You don’t have to have money or connections to participate. If you pay attention, bring value, and stay consistent, you will get noticed.

You need to find a shared connection.

If you can’t get to the person, then work on getting to the “person who knows the person.” Map out who knows the target person you want to connect with, and then create a plan to reach out to them. It’s going to be a lot more difficult, but if you feel it’s worth it, it’s totally possible.

You are a thought leader

Being a thought leader means you’re an expert. You’ve got ideas and strategies that can help people. You have a How and a Recipe for Success. You lead with your Who, and you’re doing it because of your Why. As a result, you’re a weird duck. You see the world differently than others. And if you can teach others to think like you think, you can make a huge impact and make a lot of money automatically.

Eighty percent of winning on social media is creating amazing content daily. If you’re not gaining a following it’s because either you’re not posting every day or the content isn’t amazing. Yet. Getting traction is a painful, slow process, but I’m going to make it easier for you. Since it’s the hardest marketing strategy to win at, I’m going to go into more detail to help you.

It starts with picking the right platform.

Stop trying to be everywhere

“Do not try to do everything. Do one thing well.” – Steve Jobs

The common advice in marketing is to be on every social media platform. Stop that. You’re not dedicating enough time to be great everywhere, and you’re trying to run a business, not be on social media all day long. You’re posting mediocre content everywhere that nobody cares about. Would you subscribe to you on these platforms? If you’re not putting out content that you’re proud of, stop. Immediately.

Next, what are you great at? Creating content falls into three buckets: video, audio, and the written word.

Love writing and speaking to the technical crowd? Get on Medium. Want to make short videos and connect with Millennials? Instagram is your home. Love creating long videos with a broad message? YouTube is your best bet. Would you rather interview people and release audio-only content? Start a podcast.

Every few years, the networks change. The audience changes. The popularity changes. Don’t let it scare you. Adjusting is not that difficult. If you’re focused on one platform at a time and you learn how to make great content, you’re going to win.

You’ve got one job as a thought leader: make me think like you think.

You must lead with your powerful opinion. Make them feel and think something powerful from your very first sentence. You need to capture them with the way you think and pull them in so they want to learn more. Your content is not for your friends. It’s for your ideal clients.

You have something important to say. You’ve been through pain. You have a purpose. You want to serve. Before you start creating thought-leadership content, remember what the intent is. You’re trying to shift someone’s perspective and give them hope.

Steps 1-3: Your Powerful Opinion

“You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.”- Nelson Mandela

  1. First sentence is a powerful opinion.
  2. Second sentence is context.
  3. Third sentence is to raise the stakes.

Step 4: Tell me a story

Telling a story is one of the most effective ways to influence someone.

Good stories build familiarity and trust. I see myself in your story and feel I’m just like who you were. Because you’ve now introduced me to a familiar world, I’m more open to learning. Stories are also more engaging than dry facts, and it’s that emotional connection people make to you that will make them care long before they’ll listen to your advice.

Bring me into your story and make me feel how you feel. Tell me what’s going through your mind and the impact it’s having on you.

Those are the stories that will influence people.

Step 5: Address the hedge

“Persuasion is achieved by the speaker’s personal character when the speech is so spoken as to make us think him credible.”- Aristotle

You need to get into their head and squash the uncertainty.

Assume they have questions and answer them inside your content.

Step 6: Deliver your advice

“We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light the candle that can guide us through the darkness to a safe and sane future.”- John F. Kennedy

Now we get to the solutions. This is what you wanted to do the whole time.

Solve the problem. Everything we’ve done so far is the emotional work to get people to feel connected to you, to snap them out of their regular way of thinking and make them open to change.

They’re ready; now you’re going to give them the goods.

  1. Find your Who
  2. Create an environment around your Who.
  3. Establish a morning routine to lift you up.

Make the advice specific, actionable, and easy to do. Now, bring it home!

Step 7: Bring it home

This is your last chance to deliver the win.

You’ve done everything right. You’ve given me a powerful opinion that interrupted my thought process and made me pay attention to you. You gave me more context so it makes more sense. Then, you raised the stakes and made me want to turn this should into a must. You gave me a story that was emotional and made me feel connected to you. It made me feel like you know what I’m going through and that you can help. And you addressed the hedge. You recognized where I’d feel skeptical, and now I’m ready to listen to you. And holy cow, that actionable advice was amazing and I’m taking it all in!

Now tell me what’s next.

What do I do next? Do I watch another video of yours? Do I contact you for coaching? Do I buy your book? Do I join your newsletter list? Do I sign up for your free bonus? Do I attend your event? Do I subscribe or follow your social account? Tell me what I’m supposed to do. More than just the advice, I want that energy from you. I want that hope from you. I want it consistently. Because tomorrow I’m going to wake up and be the person I was before I met you, so I need to feel like you’re with me on this journey. Make me hungry to stay with you.

And you’re done!

That’s the perfect thought-leadership content structure. You can adapt it for different platforms.

The free leads you to the money

“A large social-media presence is important because it’s one of the last ways to conduct cost-effective marketing. Everything else involves buying eyeballs and ears. Social media enables a small business to earn eyeballs and ears.” – Guy Kawasaki

Your first job is to get attention.

When you have attention, when people know you, when you’re seen as the expert, that’s when you start getting paid. Give all your advice away for free. Tell people exactly what they should be doing and how. Make your content so valuable that you are the go-to person for your industry and you get known for it.

So what are people paying for, then? Access. They’re paying for the one-on-one time with you. They want specific help. They want to ask you their burning questions. They want your advice to be tailored to them and what they’re going through. They want to be closer to you because you’ve done what they want to do, and the more they’re around you, the more they feel like it’s possible to do it as well.

Understand that most people won’t pay you.

And that’s great. It will only be a small percentage of people who ever ask you for coaching, buy your books, pay to see you speak, sign up for your program, etc.

The free people lead you to the paid people.

Some people value money over time and others value time over money.

Making money from your purpose.

Your purpose is too important to just be a hobby.

You’re ready for amazing things!

“Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away! You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the [one] who’ll decide where to go.”- Dr. Seuss



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