Yesterday I had a revelation. Embarrasingly, it was something that seemed glaringly obvious the more I thought about it. I have been so moved by my revelation that I just have to share it with you. Oh, and another thing. It can't really take credit for this one. I'll explain.
I was recommended a book by Danii Adamson, who sells Arbonne skincare, makeup and nutrition items. You can find her here. I bought it and I read it, in about an hour. I just couldn't put it down. Everything contained within this book seems glaringly obvious once it is pointed out, but I for one needed reminding of five key points contained within the book.
I'll summarise them briefly for you here - these 'rules' can be applied personally and to your work life. I'll certainly be using them across all areas of my life.
1. Your worth is determined by how much value you offer rather than by how much you take.
So often we think of worth solely as the figure on our bank statements. It isn't just that though. We're people, and the people who we like best, respect most and trust most are those who offer more than they take. Striving to be one of those people who offers the most value will bring untold benefits to your personal life and your work life.
This is obvious stuff, is it not? I always go to the restaurants that offer the best service, not just good food. The things that you can offer the world for free often hold the most value.
2. Your earnings are determined by how many people you offer value to and how much value you offer.
Again, this is common sense. The book cites an example of a school teacher who no doubt offered superb value to the 30 children in her class. However, despite the immense amounts of value on offer, she was only offering the value to 30 people each year. Later, she went on to develop and sell educational computer software to millions of people. Her earnings, of course, were vastly improved.
I think anyone can apply this to their work lives. I know that to ensure the continued growth of The White Robin, I need to continue to find ways to offer better value to more people.
3. Your level of influence is conditional upon the extent to which you place the interests of others first.
Upon first reading this, I was a touch sceptical. I thought that this must be a recipe for being taken advantage of. However, the more I read into this part of the book, the more I realised that it is something that most of us already do in our lives. For example, the only thing I really need is to make sure that my husband and my daughter are ok. I word hard to make sure that is the case. The key point here though, is that there is an unspoken respect and understanding with the people that we place first, that they will do the same for us. Here's the kicker though - when we place the interests of everybody else first, the chances are that most will respond in kind.
When I think about the businesses that I buy from most frequently, trust the most, and that I feel offer the most value - they are the ones who place the interests of the customer first, before their own. Has something ever been so blatantly obvious yet so mind blowing?
4. The most valuable thing you can offer others is yourself.
Here at The White Robin we sell painted furniture, Everlong Paint, vintage china, French enamel and other homeware, eiderdowns, candles and more. Are there other companies that sell the same things? Yes. Is there another 'The White Robin' out there? No. We must strive to offer more of ourselves as our Unique Selling Point. You already get tons of my charm and wit, but I must offer more. Excellent customer service, two friendly faces and two people willing to go the extra mile for our customers are things that we must continue to provide and that we must improve upon continually.
Obvious? Yes. Mind blowing? Yes.
5. It is important to stay open to receiving in order to give effectively.
Now this bit didn't strike me as obvious, but I sure as hell needed it pointed out to me. When you give something to somebody, they are receiving it. Giving cannot happen without receiving. Both parties must have their hands outstretched, whether literally or metaphorically. Too often people offer us something and we say "oh, you mustn't" or "oh you shouldn't have" - sometimes we are not open to receiving. But we must be, because firstly, we need to receive all manner of things to survive. Secondly, refusing to receive something takes away another person's opportunity to give.
All these points are explained in the form of a narrative about a man called Joe in the most wonderful book I've read in a long time:
The Go-Giver: A Little Story About A Powerful Business Idea
by Bob Burg and John David Mann
Thinking about The White Robin going forward, I'd really love to know what else I could do to offer more value to you lovely, lovely people. You are the people who keep me in a job that I love more than words can express. I hope that I've given you something my recommending this book and that you can offer me ways in which I can further give more value back to you. Suggestions are very, very welcome.