Stage 8. CONGRUENCE - uniqueness
From Alte to Sao Bartolomeu de Messines - 20.6 km
Our force comes from the awareness of our uniqueness. We do our best when we find how to thrive in that uniqueness.
When considering one’s expertise, we sometimes feel that our knowledge is widely shared by others and not so unique. This feeling of self-doubt and personal incompetence, called the impostor syndrome, needs to be kept in check. In fact, it is rarely justified. After 3 to 6 months of studying any topic, you will be more knowledgeable than 95% of the population on the subject. Naturally, you won't be the best in the field, but your challenge resides in formulating your experience into a story that will resonate and bring value to a specific audience.
Sometimes, people fail to realize how unique they are. It is just a matter of taking a hard look at one's life. Using my case as an example: there are a lot of corporate executives in the world. But there are fewer consumer goods executives who are experts in the region of the ex-Soviet Union, even fewer who made the jump from corporate to create a startup and successfully exit it, and even fewer who became social media experts and digital nomads changing location every month, whose ambition is to maximize their free time and experiences rather than their finances… How many people are there with a similar profile? Could this profile be articulated into a story to generate value as a business consultant for example?
But I could also have defined my uniqueness through a different prism and another story.
How many people survived cancer at 30, faced the unexpected suicide of a girlfriend, built significant wealth to have their trust broken by two of their closest friends (one illegally and one unethically), and as a result, lost most of their wealth in their 50s, and had to re-invent themselves? That also is a unique story. Could that be positioned as an inspiring tale of resilience and hope for a different audience?
I believe that the probability to identify a unique positioning and a matching audience to generate value is quite high for anybody who knows their ideal business model and is determined to act.
Younger people often feel at a disadvantage. They think they've not had enough time for significant achievements or experiences. They do not believe in the power of the story of their short life. They do not realize that this is not about showing off. Whatever your age and experience, it is about creating a human tale that an audience can resonate with. Their dreams, their youth with their implicit hope for the future, and their potential for growth are themselves powerful assets in the same way that my age and its implied wisdom are my assets. Everybody needs to leverage their own assets. We are only limited by our self-awareness, creativity, and desire to bring value to an audience.
A QUICK STORY
As a practical example, I will relate a challenge from a waiter I know quite well. He is a young, capable man, barely making 1,000 euros a month. I asked him why he was doing this job.
Right away he started:
'It's easy for you to talk. You've made it. You have money and experience. You don't know what it is to struggle when there are no jobs around. If you were in my situation without everything you already have, what would you do?'.
'I would probably try and organize free walking tours in my city. The business model is quite simple: usually, you end up with ten people for a two-hour walking tour and they tip you about €10 each on average. So that's €100 per tour. You'll have to spend €40 on marketing so that's €60 net.'
'You do that twice a day for 22 days and earn over €2,500 for a much shorter working day. In addition, it could lead to other opportunities from the interaction with the tourists. And the good thing is that you don't need a Ph.D. to do that.'
He reacted negatively:
'Oh yeah, it's not for me. I don't know anything about history. It's not my thing.'
'Hold on... Let's think about it. First of all, if you wanted to know everything about the history of your city to the point where you could give a tour, that shouldn't take more than two or three months, correct?
'But even if you didn't want to do that, could you give tours on topics that are more related to your interests, for example, tours about the best places to take Instagram pictures, or a tour about the five best bars to have a beer, or something around music or street art or any other topic you enjoy?'
'This is something pretty much anybody can do. It will probably take 2 to 4 months to reach full speed but it will make you more money than being a waiter for less working time and I believe more opportunities may arise from it.'
'Why don’t you do it?'
And I finished:
'This is not my game. I am trying to make more money. We all have to choose a business model corresponding to our aspirations. The key is to know why we are working, and why we are working the way we do.'
TRAVEL UPDATE - STAGE 8
Distance: 20.6 km
Cumulative Elevation: 556 m
Time: 4 hours