I recently read this “fluffy” statistic (you know, the kind that always shows up as a cute infographic on the front page of USA Today) that said an alarming number of first-graders, when asked what they want to be when they grow up, respond with, “Famous.” Okay, but how? As an actor, the president, a professional athlete? They don’t know—they’re still only first-graders—they just want to be famous. We laugh, but as grown-ups, we’re sometimes just as vaguely hopeful.
The hopeful part is fine—it’s the vague part that gets us in trouble. Here’s what well-meaning but unspecific creatives tell us all the time:
- “I want to inspire others to create and live an authentic life.”
- “I want to inspire people to not give up.”
- “I want to inspire and empower creatives to be brave.”
Those all sound nice—empowering and inspiring sounds like a dream. However, inspiring others shouldn’t be the only goal. Fame, recognition, money, and even something as noble as inspiring others shouldn’t be the things that drive you or your brand messaging. If they are, you’ll never measure up and you’ll always be chasing a moving target.
There is probably a broad label, or even job title, for what you actually do—like marketing, photography, graphic design, interior decorating, coding, writing, yoga, or cooking. That refers to your skills and talents, which are a huge part of what you do.
But can you get really specific about what makes you a great marketer, designer, photographer, writer, developer, or cook? Maybe it’s your use of color or typography, or your knack for capturing light or blending really interesting flavor combinations, or the way you hear what people are really trying to say and then capture that in words.
Here are some questions to get you thinking:
- What comes easily to you that seems to impress the people around you?
- What isn’t so easy but is something you want to be really good at?
- What do you want to be known for?
- What can you do that people will pay you for and that you will enjoy?
- What have your current clients been asking for?
- What do all of your clients have in common?
- What could you stop doing that would make you feel like more of an expert?
Take a few minutes to jot down some of your answers to these questions above. This is going to help you warm up for the serious work that’s waiting for you in the worksheets coming up in this lesson.*
How do you share your gifts of knowledge?
Now that you’ve got the paper and pen handy, here’s another quick warm up. Take just another five minutes (time yourself, that’s ALL you get) to go with your gut and fill out your gift tag. We call it a gift tag because creative experts share their gifts of knowledge with other people—whether that’s for free (in blog posts, newsletters, emails) or something they are hired for (consultation, ecourses, program, products).
So if you think of your creative knowledge all wrapped up in a package, what do you write on the tag you tie on top?
Fill out your Gift Tag:
How to _______ [advice, know-how, or inspiration you share]
From a _______ [your field of expertise] Expert!
To a _______ [your dream client or audience] Like You!
This is a great way to just jump in and really start practicing saying what you do in that creative expert voice and style. Try it a few different ways, and then experiment with what you come up with.