This week, I re-read one of my favorite blogs about what it really means to be a small biz owner: Why Everyone Hopes You'll Be Their Hero by Robert Bruce. The short but powerful piece has guided many of my business decisions by reminding me to overcome mediocrity and let my more emotional self drive me through tougher projects.
It got me to thinking about one of my most recent clients who I on-boarded this month - Larry Pray. A pastor and stroke survivor, Larry wrote a fascinating book titled, Thresholds: Connecting Body & Soul After Brain Injury. When I spoke with him on the phone many weeks ago, I had difficulty nailing down what his true goal was for my work. Sell more books. Book speaking engagements. Grow the blog readership. Establish a strong social media presence. Improve his website's search engine rankings. Or teach him all of the above?
After awhile he calmly told me that he just wanted to help people. That he truly and wholly believed that his book, in the right hands, could help a lot of people achieve healing after a stroke, whether a patient, caregiver, son, daughter, employers, pastor or even a doctor. Admittedly, I dismissed his answer as a bit idealistic and wrote down on my yellow legal pad, "reach more people, sell more books."
Then I read Larry's book.
The fact that he was even able to write a coherent sentence after his stroke, let alone write something so multi-layered and informative and touching, and then PUBLISH it is a miracle in and of itself. He recounts many stories of people who helped him along the way, as well as a full supply of "villains" in the form of dismissive neurosurgeons, ill-informed friends, and robotic insurance companies. His heroes came in many forms, some familiar like his wife Connie, and some sheep in wolves' clothing like the attorney who deflected a health insurance bomb with a well-placed phone call.
In my day-to-day life I don't really feel like a hero. I'm just someone with a unique blend of skills and experience, with a splash of geekiness and grit, in a position to help small biz owners.
But can I be more?
Robert Bruce wraps up his piece with this gem:
"Truth is, every person and company in this world wants you to rescue them. They’re just waiting, hoping you, or your product, or your service, is the hero that finally solves their problem or fulfills their desire. They hope you’re the hero they’ve been waiting for all this time."
Larry has been a hero and been rescued by heroes. But now, I don't think he needs a hero. So i revisited his stated goals.
And then I got it.
He wants to get the book into the hands of people that can be heroes with just a little more insight. A little more knowledge. A little more perspective. A little more inspiration. His book can do all of that, but it is stuck in a static-filled market. And I just happen to know how to cut through all that and get his story into the hands of the right people, the heroes in the making.