Why some people don’t want to tell their story

Joe_2004.1By Joe Basques, Vice President
Footwasher Media

I had a very interesting experience
last week. It was both disappointing and exciting. It turned out to
be a great learning experience. And it turns out to be a nice wrap-up of this current series.

 I’ve often heard the staff at Footwasher Media say, “We want to work with companies that want to
change the world.” I never really thought about what that actually
means. I always thought, “Yeah, ok, every company wants to change
the world, or they wouldn’t be selling their stuff.” My
experience this week changed my mind and showed me what “world
changers” are and what they do.

I met with a potential sponsor
regarding a series of content surrounding the Patient Protection and
Affordable Care Act
(PPACA), commonly referred to as Obamacare.

This potential sponsor has a series of
products that could be leveraged to save individuals money when this
program comes in to full effect. (In the interest of fair disclosure
I have not read PPACA, and I don’t know if the products actually
save money), but my instinct was to tell the complete story of PPACA
from multiple angles. I wanted to look at it from the eyes of an
average family of 4, home health care providers, Medicaid supplement
providers, lawyers, tax professionals, etc, and position this
provider as a thought
on this entire subject. We could have exposed
the product to multiple markets that he had not even considered.

After multiple discussions it became
clear that the potential sponsor wanted some content that simply said
“Here’s my product, buy it.” There was no interest in going
deeper and telling the entire story. I was disappointed that the
discussions didn’t go further, but I was very excited, because I
finally “got” what the term “world-changing companies” meant,
and why some people don’t want to tell their story.

I have often wondered why anyone
wouldn’t want to tell their story. My experience this week is a
perfect illustration that some people are happy selling their
product, widget, gadget, gizmo, etc. whatever it may be. It really
doesn’t matter what they’re selling, because if they weren’t
selling “that” they’d be selling “something else” and
they’re perfectly happy making their numbers and taking home a
check (in some cases a very large check). They don’t love what
they do. They love the money that comes with it or the rewards
that it buys, but they don’t wake up excited to tackle a challenge
and make lives better. They’re not out to change the world, and
they probably don’t even know it.

Then there are others who are
interested in changing the world. Their customers may not even know
they need the product, but it’s your job to tell the entire story
and explain to them why they need it. You see world changers want to
tell their whole story, not because it helps them hit the numbers,
but simply because whatever they’re working on is exciting to talk
about. World changers could talk to you about their work for hours,
and not even know the time has passed.

I saw a touching interview
this week of Ron
, Editorial Director of the National Journal.
In the interview Ron relayed several stories from a road trip he took
with his son Tyler, who has Asperger’s
. One of the stories he told was of a meeting
between his son and former president Bill Clinton. Both Tyler and
Clinton are passionate about Teddy Roosevelt. The two had a
discussion about Roosevelt, and before long Clinton went on a
monologue for 10 minutes and didn’t realize the boy had moved on to
something else. Later, Ron asked his son what he thought of the
meeting and Tyler responded, “He talks a lot about the stuff he
really likes.” This is my point, when you talk about something
your passionate about, you should get lost in it.

I realize I’m using a lot of terms
and phrases we’ve all heard before, like, world changers, thought
leaders, inspiration, and it dawned on me that some people will read
this and won’t really “get” what I’m talking about. I know,
because even though I’ve heard these words a million times before,
I never really “got it” until last week. If you’re not excited
and inspired by what you’re doing; if it’s more about the numbers
and what you get, than how it serves people and changes lives: if you
don’t want to talk about it for hours on end, then you're probably
not a world changer.

 If you're an inspired world changer,
and you have an urge to tell your story right now, leave a comment
below, we'd love to hear all about it... and maybe help you tell it