In January, I met an amazing individual called George Hardwick. I had gone to London for a couple of events, and he was at the first one, which was the Yes Group London meeting. Attracted by the cover of his book, I began talking to him about living life as a creative. He is a spoken-word artist, and one of the first things he’s said to me, was:
“To be successful in your creative missions, you must be world-class in whatever it is you do.”
Now at first, I thought, well jeez, that’s a bit of a tall-order! There are millions of writers in the world, and even if I tried my hardest, I couldn’t imagine being known as a world-class author. It just seemed impossible. I bought his book, The Creative Uprising, because I was intrigued by his message and his ideas, and wanted to know more.
Then at the end of the evening, after listening to two incredible speakers, who indeed both appeared to be world-class in what they did, George took to the stage.
To say I was blown away would be an understatement. He delivered a rap/poem, that encompassed the messages of the two speakers, and the energy of the meeting, and it flowed and rhymed and made us all laugh, gasp and clap. And he had written the entire thing during that evening, while sitting and watching in the audience. He had taken in every word, and then wrote the piece, which summarised the evening in the most poetic and beautiful way.
He was, quite frankly, world-class.
In fact, you can see his ‘wRapping up’ of that evening below. Even if you weren’t there and watched the speakers, you will still get a lot from George’s words.
So how can you become a world-class success? Recently I have been re-reading two books, the first is The Go-Giver, by Bob Burg and John David Mann, and the second is Go-Givers Sell More, by the same authors. The first is a parable, and the second then applies the laws from the story to real life. For anyone who has a phobia of selling, I would highly recommend them. There are five laws described, and the first is the Law of Value, where your true worth is based on how much value you create for others. As they say in the second book, creating value for others does not necessarily need to cost any money. You create value every time you take the time to thank someone, greet someone or call someone to say hello. In business, you create value when you send a handwritten thank you note or in fact do anything where you are putting the needs and desires of your customer above your own.
This is what I think it means to be world-class. George says in his book that we often link success to how much money or stuff we have acquired, but that it doesn’t necessarily mean anything. And that it is more important to be successful in helping others and changing people’s lives for the better, by giving our gift. A while back, fed up with being asked how many books I had sold, because to most people, that is how you measure the success of an author, I wrote the following quote on my Facebook wall:
“Do not ask an author how many books she has sold. Instead, ask her how many lives she has touched.”
To me, I write to help people. I don’t write to see how much money I can make, because that is not how I measure success. The main reason I would like to sell more books, is so that I can help more people. And I am coming to realise that I need to step up my game. I know that I have published books before they are ready, and I have not given my all to making sure they are as awesome as I can make them before I release them into the world. This is due to impatience and an attitude of ‘It will do’. But no more. I will still set myself deadlines, because I know full well that without them, I will never publish anything, but I am making a commitment to myself that my next book is as amazing as I can possibly make it before I publish it.
Oddly enough, when it comes to projects I do for other people, I will work my ass off to make sure it’s as perfect as possible, before the author publishes it. It seems I have no problems with working really hard for other people on their projects, but when it comes to my own, I am more slack. I suppose I fear disappointing others more than I fear disappointing myself, but I need to change that feeling into the driving desire to be world-class in every sense.
As the saying goes – ‘How you do anything is how you do everything.’ And I am beginning to think that in order to be successful in life, and not just in our creative missions or business, we must be world-class in EVERYTHING that we do, every day.
What do you think?
P.S. After having a conversation with Bob Burg on Twitter, I would like to add to this post that it isn’t a case of EITHER creating value for others OR making money, it is more of a case that by putting your FOCUS on creating value for others, then making money will be the result. I know I have had difficulty with the idea of being paid to help others or for doing something I love, but I am working on those old beliefs.
Thank you, Bob, for your awesome words and your encouragement 🙂