In the two years I have been coaching and teaching the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success from The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann the most common comment I hear is “that book made me cry, it is EXACTLY how I want to live and do business.”
The next thing I usually hear is “I am ALREADY a Go-Giver but… I guess stratospheric success just takes time, huh?”
No, it doesn’t just take time. It does, however, take more than giving. Here is what I DO know - being a giver is NOT the same as being a GO-GIVER and it won’t get the same results. There are Five Laws in what the character, Pindar, calls his “Trade Secret” because all five are equally important.
I am going to use my friend and one of my heroes, Dafna Michaelson, as a classic example of the Five Laws in action. I’ve included some hints from my coaching program so you can follow her example and see what stratospheric success comes YOUR way!
In 2008 Dafna, who has been in community service and non-profit work nearly all of her adult life, realized that where the government was not providing solutions to community problems there were individuals stepping up all over the country and working at the grass roots level to create solutions. She wanted to document these stories, get some recognition for the community problem solvers and, ultimately, figure out the common ground that would bring their efforts together to strengthen and support them. She left her job, cashed in her 401K - that’s right, all of it - and made a commitment; to travel to all of the 50 states in 52 weeks and share the stories of the heroes she encountered through video and blog posts.
She did it. Her 50 in 52 Journey took her all over the nation, but, on December 31, 2009 Dafna celebrated in her home state of Colorado the videos collected from a year of travel. A year of sleeping on the couches of strangers, depending on a GPS sister she lovingly called “Betty” to get her through strange cities and countrysides, having her two kids with her when she was home in Denver and traveling when they were scheduled to be with their father anyway. Her life become an amalgam of the lives she encountered. Her voice became a chorus of “we DID this and we CAN do more” stories from all over the nation.
If there is anything that is hard to sell it is an idea. Well maybe there is one thing that is harder - an idea for how to solve a problem that seems too big to be solved. NO - there is one thing harder that that - an idea that gives the people the power to solve any problem they choose. Yeah - I’d say that one is hard to sell. It’s BIG for one thing, the scope is mind boggling. If the scope doesn’t blow your mind then the details will. But Dafna has more than an idea - she has a plan and she IS selling it. That is where The Go-Giver and the new book (launching TOMORROW but rumor has it it CAN be found today) Go-Givers Sell More come in.
Today, Dafna was listed in CNN’s list of Intriguing People (right after Neda, the young lady whose death became a rallying cry for the Iranian resistance and William Ward Warren, the 15 year old whose COLOR footage of JFK’s arrival in Dallas only an hour before his death made news in a time when even seasoned professionals were shooting in black and white.)
Dafna came to the attention of CNN after her 50in52 Journey was documented by CBS Morning News under “Good Deeds Across America.” Not only did they follow Dafna on her interviews in the state of Arizona but also interviewed several of the people she had interviewed previously.
Before her story was picked up by national media she was interviewed by several regional programs, including St. Louis’ own David Garland on his show The Rise to the Top and Kyle Dyer at 9 News, the NBC affiliate for the Denver area.
Her vision, The Journey Institute, was not only accepted into the Pepsi Refresh Project’s Good Idea contest (out of thousands of entries) but has held steady at between 35 and 40th in the rankings after the first two weeks in a field of about 800 contestants. IF this vision pulls into the top first or second spot The Journey Institute will be given $250,000 in funding from Pepsi. (Use the link above if you will to vote daily and boost her ranking.)
How has Dafna managed to generate this exposure, this success and this momentum? It isn’t through a powerhouse PR firm. It isn’t through friends in high places or high dollar charity dinners. In fact, Dafna has demonstrated how the Five Laws, when applied together to a business idea, results in greater sales - even of an idea too big for most of us to grasp.
Law #1 - The Law of ValueYour true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.
This is not the counter productive suggestion it might seem to be. Value is conceptual and individual. Your worth to your market will always be what they get OUT of your product or service, NOT the cost that they pay for it or the cost to you to provide it. Dafna’s journey and the resulting stories she captured might have little resale value, but for the price of a little time or a donation we get the VALUE of being a part of something much larger than ourselves.
QUESTION: What are you doing consistently as part of your business model that delivers something of value to your market that is more than they expect or pay for?
Law #2 - The Law of CompensationYour income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.
Never mind what you are worth - how much money you make depends on your reach and your impact. Will a few people pay you to have a tremendous amount of impact, will a lot of people pay you to have a little bit of impact or will a lot of people pay you to have a tremendous amount of impact?
While Dafna may not be taking her compensation in direct salary, the amount of funds she garners to fuel her vision is directly related to reach and impact. The Journey Institute meets both of those challenges head on. Bringing together people from different areas who are working to solve a common problem and equipping them to return to their communities with not only ideas but shared resources and support systems means that everything the Institute does has a ripple effect. Those community problem solvers can now create solutions AND more problem solvers - and so on, and on, and on.
QUESTION: What are you doing as part of your business model that allows you to have greater reach and impact? (I’ll give you a clue - this law comes down to the three-legged stool of innovation, replication and delegation.)
Law #3 - The Law of InfluenceYour influence is determined by how abundantly you put other people’s interests first.
When was the last time you needed to make something happen and you thought “who can I call?” How many people were on that list? That’s influence. It doesn’
t come from a tit for tat cashing in the chips mentality - if you’re working on that model I don’t want to hear you crying when you’ve run out of chips to cash in. It comes from abundantly and consistently thinking of others and taking care of them whenever you can.
Dafna and I connected because I saw a tweet (what we twitterholics call a status update on twitter) from Terry Bean, whom I knew, liked and trusted but only through social media (we met on Facebook through a mutual friend) saying that Dafna (whom I’d never heard of at that point) needed to meet people who were active in social media in the Chicago area. I checked out her blog, fell in love with the vision and connected her to my friends Gilbert Melot and Brian Tomkins whom I had met through Extreme Business Makeovers and their project, The Go-Giver Tour.
Dafna impressed Terry with her “other-focused” mentality and she benefited from my knowing other people who had influence because they also live and breathe the Go-Giver philosophy. That resulted in some great press in Chicago and, when Dafna traveled to St. Louis, resulted not only in her feature on The Rise to the Top and a spot on the panel for the St. Louis Social Media Club, but I also had the fun of hosting Dafna during her stay and finding out I have yet another sister I had yet to meet.
QUESTION: What are you doing in your business model that keeps you tuned in to the interests of the people you serve, be they clients, vendors, associates, affiliates or your community?
Law #4 - The Law of AuthenticityThe most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.
No matter what you sell, the experience people have will be determined by how they experience you - and more importantly - how they experience themselves because of you. Dafna gives herself wholeheartedly and unreservedly. Every interview has hours of research and thought behind it, that is her “job.” But the connection and rapport she develops during the interview is a result of her complete focus on the person in front of the camera, not of her preparation or skill behind the camera. Her hours of posting on social networks and keeping up with the relationships she has developed all over the country shows a heart that has room for everyone and willingness to share her heart with the world.
In my keynote “Igniting Your Light”, I ask the question “What do you do that keeps people coming back for more of you?” Dafna demonstrates it perfectly and with grace; she makes everyone love themselves just a little bit more.
QUESTION: What are you doing to bring YOU into every encounter you have in your business and make people come back for more of YOU?
Law #5 - The Law of ReceptivityThe key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.
Well duh, we give in order to receive, right? That’s how stratospheric success happens. Nope, exactly the opposite. We give with no attachment to a particular outcome and we stay OPEN to receiving and guess what - we end up receiving far more than we would have expected if we HAD been expecting something in return. I’ll grant you it is perhaps easier to be open to receiving when you are a non-profit vision rather than a for-profit business. In order to accomplish her goal, Dafna HAD to be open to receiving everything from introductions, meals and advice to cash and checks and credit cards. She receives with gratitude, knowing that the works she does serves and serves well. But unless you cannot say that what you do serves and serves well (and if you can’t say that then let me recommend a few other books you might want to read) then why would you not be open to receiving?
QUESTION: How can you be open to receiving without being emotionally attached to an outcome of receiving in direct relationship to what you have given?
There you have it - a classic example of a business model and entrepreneur who is demonstrating that Go-Givers DO sell more. Even when what she is selling is an idea so large and so powerful and so unprecedented that we can’t quite see it for ourselves.
If you are ready to master the Five Laws to sell your ideas, your products, your services and yourself you’ll want the books (order Go-Givers Sell More this week and you’ll have some extras coming that you can’t get anywhere else and won’t want to miss.)
If you want to apply Law #3 and Law #4 you can give just a few seconds every day between now and February 28th to help boost the Journey Institute to first place in the Pepsi Refresh Project which will give Dafna $250,000 in funding to make this vision a reality!
If you want to peek in on my chats with Dafna we did a blog post together literally through chat - gmail chat to be precise - about the power of connectivity and my interview with her during her St. Louis visit (with the arch in the background thanks to being graciously hosted by Armstrong Teasdale) truly captures the me I hope to live up to someday. I’ve embedded it below.
If you want to BE a Go-Giver and achieve whatever stratospheric success means to you then please, don’t just focus on giving, don’t just focus on receiving, learn to apply all five laws in everything you do - THAT is the true “Trade Secret.”