Saturday, April 11, 2015

Three Questions on Value We Should All Be Asking

Tonight I want to combine several thoughts from this week into one. Three posts from this week each contain a major theme that is worth exploring, just a bit more.

Here's the big idea: The best value is often provided through consistency and story.

What is value?
A few nights ago I wrote about my core motivation for work, which is providing value. A good question to ask then is, "what is value?" In a very simplified way, value is anything that might be perceived as beneficial to one or more people. It might be the kiss I give Stacy when I come home for work after she's had a long day with Asher. It might be excellent food and service at a Michelin-rated restaurant. Value might be writing on a topic that provides the words and clarity for someone else who's just never been able to say it quite the same way. There a billions of examples of value in this world. If you are someone who seeks the good of others, wants to serve, or even wants to be in the business of making a ton of money because the work done benefits others in tangible or intangible ways, you are thinking through value.

How do I improve at providing value?
This may be a question you ask yourself and I sure has heck know I'm asking it all the time. So even if what follows only helps me, I'm cool with that. This question hits on my post on hustle from last night. I believe the only we can improve how we provide value is through hustle and if someone asked me to define hustle in only one additional word, I'd say it's consistency. By this I mean the day-in, day-out dedication and hard work in whatever we are trying to accomplish. In my life it is my family, my work, and most recently this blog. Consistency helps us improve because we don't stop, we're always evaluating, always experimenting, always trying to find what works best, and never giving up. That can't change. And too often we assume that for successful people, those who both seem most valuable in this world and the best at providing value, it just comes easy to them, or they were born with it, or whatever. To be honest, I am more convinced than ever before that those people just hustle more than me and you. Period. And the only way we can even dream of coming close is consistently seeking to provide value to others.

What's one of the best ways to provide value?
Just as I've grown convinced that the best value providers are great hustlers, I strongly believe the best way to provide value is through story. We are, as someone I know puts it, a "story-formed people." Our entire lives are shaped by story and stories are the best at getting at purpose -- at the why? -- than anything else. The best teachers, sales people, parents, musicians, etc. find a way to talk about life and shape how we think without ever telling us directly what to think. They simply show us through stories. I know this well because when I actually tell a good story, people are moved in some way. The best feedback I got on the blog this week was on my post about the bedtime routine I have with Asher (well, maybe "had. Ever since I wrote that post he's gotten more fidgety before bed and we get less and less time together. Such is life with a toddler. Gots to mix it up.). I think this is because it's a story that is familiar to others who have similar childhood stories or it connects to the longings of hearts of people who never had something like that. And when we're moved, we've benefitted from the story, and that means we've received something very valuable.

This blog is an idea. An experiment. An adventure. I am writing a post on one thought for 30 minutes everyday for a full year. If you like what I write, have an idea for me to write about, or have any feedback, please share in the comments below. Also, if you think it is at all valuable to you, share it because it just might be the same for someone else. Boom!

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