One of the most powerful things in the world is having clear picture of what you’re about. Here’s why:
1) It gives you direction. In the first month of this blog, one of the things that’s served me best is having a clear picture of “About.” In fact, that the most popular content by far on this blog is the About page. Each day, it consistently outranks the rest of the content.
When I started my last blog, I didn’t have a very clear sense of what it was about. This was okay, because I was in the searching stage, exploring what this whole blogging thing is all about, figuring out the power of relationships. And as soon as I figured all that out, suddenly, a new direction appeared. In fact, that’s the reason for this new blog.
This is an important lesson I’ve learned in the process of defining what you’re about: You’re not actually defining what you’re not. A lot of people get this wrong, and it really messes with their heads. As a blogger, for example, the idea of creating a specific niche to write within was paralyzing to me with my old site. I was so focused on all the things I would not be able to write about if I chose something to be about that I was sort of directionless.
Then a good blog friend of mine told me to stop focusing on this and to pick something to be about. She told me that once you choose what you’re about and form a perspective, you can talk about anything. The trick is to relate everything to what you’re about. This is easy when you get to the other side of the process, and really, it’s empowering because it gives your messages direction, and it helps you differentiate your content as a blogger, and it helps you reach your goals. But getting there is hard, because first you have to realize that having something to be about does not mean defining everything you are not about.
In your life, this same thing applies. It’s critical to see that determining what you are about doesn’t have to limit you. Chosing one job or a career doesn’t mean you will never get to do anything else. But that sort of thinking cripples thousands, even millions of job seekers, college students and individuals, particularly in the Milllennial generation. Too afraid they will be missing out on – everything else – if they pick just one thing, the miss out on opportunities that come only with choice and action.
By defining what you are about in your career, your life, your relationships, you are actually giving yourself permission to do more, because you are choosing action over the inaction unlimited choice produces.
2) It helps people help you. Once you know what you’re about, it’s easy for other people to understand what you are about, too. On this blog, when people visit my About page, they get a taste of the perspective I’ll be providing. And it seems like so far, people are interested in that. Here’s how I can tell: Last month, 95% of my traffic was new. Now, 77% is new, and my feedburner subscriptions are climbing daily. Which means that others get me, and they’re coming back to get more.
Having people understand what you are about is important for another reason. It helps them tell other people what you are about, which helps you. For example, when Steve Rubel recommended this site from his blog, my traffic shot up, and my feedburner subscriptions nearly doubled. Not bad for a month old blog. This happened because he found me interesting. He was interested in what this blog is about. And that got even more people interested in what it’s about.
Here’s how this works in your career. When people understand what you are about, they can tell other people. They can become powerful personal advocates – for you, your brand, your ideas, your work, you career. When they don’t understand what you’re about, they’re not going to recommend you to a friend, refer clients your way, or help you find a job. It’s as simple as that.
3) It gives you room to grow. This is an undervalued beauty of defining what you are about. Determining what you are about helps you benchmark your personal evolution. Because you will change some aspects of what you are about as your job, your career, your life, your relationships, your interests, your family and your priorities change. That’s the way life works. And when you know what you are about, you give yourself room to grow. And that’s important, because if you never understand where you are or what you’re about, you’ll never get to the step of wondering where you want to go or what you want to become.
Think about college, for example. A great many college graduates don’t actually work in the discipline of their major. This doesn’t discredit the college experience, or your degree, though. And here’s why: Choosing a college major is typically one of the most life-defining, difficult processes a person goes through. It is difficult because the answer forces a lot of direction. But it’s important, because it helps people understand what you are about, so you can get a good job. In the end, however, it’s just a point in life that gives you the push you need to get to where you’re growing.
It’s a daunting process, but it’s worth it. Take some time to consider what you’re about. Take a minute. Write it down.
Discover what you’re about.