Imagine that your neighbor has brought over a plate of chocolate chip cookies that she just made for your enjoyment. You have a cookie, and it’s the best chocolate chip cookie you’ve ever had. You plough through the whole plate in a day and want more. But what is it you must do to get more? You must go back to your neighbor and ask for more, right?
There is, of course, a different solution for getting more cookies that would be far less awkward. You could, quite simply, get the recipe from her and make your own.
This would be a significant development in your cookie-related activities, for then you could make cookies every day and eat them all the time. You could invite people over and have cookie-making parties, and you could produce massive quantities and sell them worldwide. Having someone’s recipe for success can be a tremendous source of empowerment in this way, for then we can use that recipe for our own pursuits.
When someone crafts a message that reflects their vision for how the world could be made better, they are offering information, tools, products, and solutions in response to specific problems. They may be a company providing goods and services, an educational institution, or a non-profit organization with a mission to foster positive change. But what do most people do when expressing their message to others? They focus on what they do (provide financial services/educate future engineers/feed the impoverished) and perhaps how they do it (with a ten-point plan, etc.). But is that really going to inspire others to align with their goals?
Take a moment to look up your favorite cause, charity, or institute of social change through a web search. Go ahead, do it right now.
Next, check out the organization’s mission statement. Read whatever content fills that page.
What I’d like for you to do now is ask yourself whether it’s made a significant impact on you. Has it done anything more than describe what it is the organization intends to do for its beneficiaries? Has it merely focused on what they do and how? My guess is that yes, it has merely focused on the what and how of its endeavors, and no, it hasn’t really made much of an impact at all. This is because most entities are missing the silver bullet of their own vision: the underlying recipe for their success.
Much like a cookie-lover will be empowered to make their own cookies if their neighbor gives them a recipe, we can empower our audience when we address not just what and how we pursue our endeavors—but why it’s of value to the world as a whole. We will attract people to our vision when we give them the recipe for that vision.
What does this recipe ultimately look like? If you were to read some of the most successful how-to books, watch the most successful TED talks, and expose yourself to other successful thought leaders’ content, you would discover that most of these people have boiled their entire vision down a single-sentence belief. Dr. Benjamin Spock expressed his vision through a single belief (Your natural loving care is more important than doing any one thing perfectly) and his book sold 50 million copies. Sir Ken Robinson reminded us of our collective potential (We will fulfill our hope for the future by elevating creativity to be the benchmark of human ecology)—and he has the most popular TED talk of all time. The most successful visionaries don’t just explain what they do and how they do it. They explain why their vision is of value to the world—and if asked they could express that vision through a single sentence.
These single-sentence beliefs can empower our audience without any further context; when people are empowered by the message that represents our vision, they will be attracted to our vision as if it were their own. You will attract people to your vision when you define it through a single-sentence belief. This is the silver bullet of every message, and the single-sentence belief of this article as well.
It is a recipe for your success, and I’m happy to pass it along to you.