Forget the mass, impact the special few

There is great satisfaction in impacting others, even if it is one person.

As I am in the midst of building my marketing knowledge, I am learning that it is important to focus on the smallest viable market: the smallest group of people who you choose to serve. The idea is, if you obsessively try to understand and cater to these special few, they will voluntarily spread the word about your product or service as a result of the value they derive from you. This also allows marketers to create a stronger brand, community, and projects that they are proud of.

“The relentless pursuit of mass will make you boring, because mass means average, it means the center of the curve, it requires you to offend no one and satisfy everyone.” – Seth Godin, This is Marketing

I experienced this firsthand earlier today when I received my first blog comment from a stranger. I was surprised to see that he felt strongly enough about blog post, compelling him to leave a comment. This comment was not just any comment but one of great depth and vulnerability. The joy that I received from that one comment reminded me of why I write these blog posts.

By focusing on impacting a special few, you are able to provide value to those who want to hear what you have to say.

“We must begin with a worldview, and invite people who share that worldview to join us. ‘I made this’ is a very different statement than, ‘What do you want?'”

This points back to the old adage, “Quality over quantity.”

In a world that is convoluted by the “more”, focus on the “better”.

Focus on impacting the special few. 

Measures of success

I love reading other people’s annual reviews just as much as I love writing my own. One of my favorite to read is Bill Gates’. This excerpt in particular resonated with me:

Today of course I still assess the quality of my work. But I also ask myself a whole other set of questions about my life. Did I devote enough time to my family? Did I learn enough new things? Did I develop new friendships and deepen old ones? These would have been laughable to me when I was 25, but as I get older, they are much more meaningful.

Melinda has helped broaden my thinking on this point. So has Warren Buffett, who says his measure of success is, “Do the people you care about love you back?” I think that is about as good a metric as you will find.

Our measures are dependent on our age, values, circumstances, and definition of success. It is important to step back every so often to ask, “Do my actions align with my measures?”. Alignment can be achieved by simple adjustments in our focus and strategies.

On another note, I admire how human thinking shifts when we age to focus on the more meaningful, intangible aspects of life. It makes you remember that though we are different in many ways, there also have undeniable commonalities that connect us all.

Have faith, embrace the uncertainty | Note to Self

When you are working towards a goal that doesn’t have clear outcomes, it is easy to believe that your efforts do not matter.

However, whether you are starting a business, searching for a job, or waiting for results for a health test, we must have faith that things will work out.

“Trust who and what you are, and the universe will support you in miraculous ways.” – Alan Cohen

It is a simple mindset, but it can power us to trudge forward regardless of the situation. If you are like me, you often believe that you can will yourself into achieving any goal. However, these unique situations force us to relinquish our control and give ourselves to universe.

“Everything you want is coming. Relax and let the universe pick the timing and the way. You just need to trust what you want is coming, and watch how fast it comes.” – Abraham Hicks

All we can do is try our best, push ourselves to be better, maintain our integrity, and hope that the world will work in our favor.

No matter what happens, you will be alright.

Call your loved ones

As we grow older and more preoccupied with our own lives, it becomes more difficult to spend time with our loved ones. How paradoxical. Technology makes it easier than ever to connect with others, yet there is a disconnect in the quality of our connections.

What are the effects? We lose feelings of belongingness and forget how loved we are.

What would the world look like if every person felt loved? I’m assuming it would look like this. More kids would know that someone believe in them, making them feel more free to explore and speak their minds. More parents would be armed from a loss of purpose when their children leave the nest. More outcasts would be less inclined to perform heinous acts in search for attention. There would be more empathy, understanding, and joy; and less hate, discrimination, and injustice.

Create positive ripple effects.

Start by calling your loved ones. Text someone you haven’t spoke to in a while. Volunteer at your local community center. Smile to the strangers you walk past. Make eye contact and listen when people speak.

I myself am trying to call my parents at least once a week. How odd is it that I talk to my parents more now, after I moved out, than when we lived under the same roof. You don’t know what you have until it’s gone. The happiness they show every FaceTime makes my heart sing.

Tell people you love them. Show people why you’re grateful for them.

Doesn’t matter if you do this once a month, once a week, or every day.

Just start.

Releasing bad habits, social media addiction

My worst bad habit: Overusing Instagram.

Instagram is the bane of my existence. I delete and reinstall the app more times than I like to admit.

In 2018, I tried to remediate my addiction by opting out every other month. One day I’m posting like mad and I’m gone the next (The password changed by a loved one because my self control is nonexistent). When I detox, especially after the first week, I experience several the positive benefits: better focus, calmer and positive mind, closer connections with my loved ones, etc. However, when I reinstall the next month, my itch to scroll and all the negative effects that come with it return. Of course.

It will be 2019 tomorrow, and I ask myself again, why do I use Instagram? 1) I use Stories to practice take photos, 2) to show people what I’m working on, and 3) to see what my favorite people are doing. Since my detox was in November, I’m opting from Instagram this January, however I am wondering if I can forgo using it the entire year. Maybe I can start taking photos on an actual camera or simply save them on my phone. Maybe I can savor showing people my work until after it’s done. Maybe I can regularly text my loved ones to see how they’re doing.

I read this quote yesterday in Tony Robbin’s Unlimited Power:

“If you can find enough reasons to do something, you can get yourself to do anything.”

If I say no to Instagram, what do I say yes to?

  • Yes to better focus on my goals
  • Yes to a healthier headspace, both calmer and more positive
  • Yes to more time to do what is most important
  • Yes to better connections with my loved ones
  • Yes to being more present, living for today
  • Yes to nurturing my creative passions
  • Yes to thinking space

I challenge you to think about your goals and list all the reasons why you want to achieve it. Think long and hard, create an action plan, and motivate yourself to succeed.

We need more commitment and less complaining.

“Reasons are the difference between being interested versus being committed to accomplish something. […] Why you do something is much more important than how to do it. If you get a big-enough why, you can always figure out the how. If you have enough reasons, you can do virtually anything in this world.” – Tony Robbins

The best stories happen between caution and courage. Be open. Say YES.

The world has a funny way of telling us what we need to hear. It speaks to us through our gut feelings, dreams, and serendipity. However, are you open enough to hear the whispers?

Similar to many others, I was raised to be fearful of strangers. I held this fear until my last year of college, knowing from my own experiences that not all strangers are dangerous. To overcome this pervasive trepidation, I embarked on a solo trip to the quaint town of Ojai. There, I encountered several strangers, however there were three particular ones that resonated with me: Nancy the AirBnb host, Brett from the local bookstore, and Rich Tell from the city bench. I had the chance to engage in long conversations with the Ojaians, ranging from 20 minutes to almost 3 hours. After the trip, I was much less afraid to strike conversations with every day people.

I used this newfound courage to strike conversations in every setting I could: coffeeshops, the park, Ubers… (Amongst my friends, I was notorious for digging deep into the Uber driver’s life, asking question after question. This was amplified when I was intoxicated.) This helped me connect with people from all walks of life in my trips to San Francisco, which led me to opportunities and invaluable, wild adventures down the line. My friends know best about the countless shenanigans I’ve gotten into since I’ve moved to the Bay.

I’ll name the most recent one. Yesterday, I went to the Bay Street shopping plaza for the first time to read at Barnes and Nobles. Before B&N, I explored a Canadian furniture store called EQ3. Think quality mid-century modern at an affordable price. I spoke to a female employee, telling her it was my first time in the story and that I had just moved to Oakland, so she proceeded to give me a grand tour, starting with a grand view of the city. The designer in me was freaking out. Iconic Eames chairs. Collaborations with Marrimekko. Beautiful variety of wood. I had connected with the woman on a deeper level. A 26-year old Bay Area native who just moved to Oakland and had a marketing background (Sound familiar?). She had to carry on with work, so I wandered the store. Before leaving, I said goodbye, telling her that I felt like we could be great friends. Immediately she asked if I was free at 7 PM, 30 minutes from then, to go grab drinks in Walnut Creek. I obliged and had an unbelievable experience.

Turns out, this woman runs a LLC, very knowledgable about people, and is a bona fide “boss ass bitch”. I was in need of more strong women in my life. The universe answered, presented the opportunity, and I said yes.

How do I regularly have these spontaneous experiences?

By being open. (Often times vulnerable.) By placing my trust in the universe. By both cautious and courageous. The best stories unfold when you dance between the two.

Keep the most important thing, the most important thing. | Note To Self

It’s easy to forget our goals.

In the age of social media, we often gravitate towards tasks that will give us the most attention. Why? Immediate gratification. It fuels us with external validation. Dopamine hits are addicting, but does building a fancy website or posting on Instagram every day further our goal of becoming a better _____?

I often have to remind myself of this:

Stay focused and put in your reps. 

Want to be a better writer? Write every day.
A better speaker? Practice speaking every day.
A better photographer? Take photos every single day.

Whatever your craft is, improve it every single day. Consistency is key to exponential growth.

Though marketing is crucial to building any business, the quality of your craft is what will keep your audience engaged long-term. How beneficial is it to build an audience when you have only completed pieces of the prototype? When it’s time to market, you’ll market.

Fixating on publicity will not enhance the quality of your work.

Keep the most important thing, the most important thing.

Related reads:
Continuous Improvement: How It Works and How to Master It
The 1 Percent Rule: Why a Few People Get Most of the Rewards