Monday, November 24, 2008

Are You Remarkable?

Am I Remarkable? That is a very interesting question, from a personal as well as a business point of view. One of the marketing pundits out there (Seth Godin) has an entire blog post about it. Really the question is:

"Am I being valuable to others?"

Valuable enough for them to remark on me (hence the "remarkable" part).

This post is about personal value. I believe that all human relationships must provide value from both sides of the relationship, otherwise very quickly (and I'm talking hours/days/weeks ... not months/years/decades), the relationship will wither and die. And this value must constantly be provided. You must constantly be valuable ... be remarkable ... but WHY?

Why? Because the person on the other side of the relationship is spending time, energy, value, on you to maintain the relationship, and if you don't offer value in return, they will spend that time, energy, value somewhere else where they can receive something in return. It is self-centered and self-deceptive not to do so, and very few relationships will survive when one side is giving most of the value. You see this in friendships, lovers, business partners, employers, customers, parents ... all human relationships.

And when you don't pay attention to the value you provide you see the downside in divorce, long-lost friends (why do you think they were lost in the first place), break-ups, business dissolution's, terminations, lost customers, estranged children.

The first part of the previous sentence is important: "when you don't pay attention." Attention to how the other person sees your value. You must be valuable, be remarkable, to the other person, not to yourself ... that is where the self-delusion comes in. When you say "I thought I was remarkable" is when you are in trouble. You need to say "I know I am remarkable because the other person ... "

So here's my 3 step plan to being remarkable and keeping those important relationships in your life:

1.) Pay attention to how other people react to you. - Do they react the same to you as they do to everyone else? If so, then you are not remarkable.

2.) Assume you are easily replaceable. - This is a tough one, because it requires you to look in the mirror and find your flaws. But the truth is, you probably are not the only one who could be in this relationship

3.) Do one thing every day/week/month that makes you irreplaceable. - Figure out how to provide some value that makes your different. Makes you remarkable. And the more value the other person provides, the more remarkable you'll have to be to keep the relationship alive (eg. just think about how good looking you'd have to be to stay on Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie's radar)

Attention/Assumption/Activation - (the activation part is point 3 above).

Simple to understand - Hard to do ... but if you do it ... do it well ... do it in all your relationships ... you will be ... well ... remarkable

See you on the wire

- Steven Cardinale

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