What kinds of life-changing, “full of power” messages have people shared with you in your life?
Maybe a kind word from a boss helped you feel you could land a project that had you nervous—and knocking that project out of the park led to a promotion.
Or perhaps something a parent whispered to you each night at bedtime still helps you out when you’re sad.
When I asked the question on LinkedIn, Seth Waite, CEO of home moving broker Handled, said this:
“Years ago, a board member for one of my companies told me, ‘You’re big enough to do the things you think you’re big enough to do.’”
Seth walked out of the meeting with the realization that his mindset was his only real limitation. “If I thought I was capable of doing something, I was.”
That’s inspiring stuff—and evidence of how the right message at the right time can make all the difference.
Personally, one of my fondest “message memories” comes not from the board room but the classroom.
I can still remember the day Ms. Hornbeck caught me copying answers to my math homework from the back of the textbook.
(Why would they put them there, I thought, if we weren’t supposed to look at them?)
Rather than get angry, though, or call me a cheater, she pulled me aside and made an impact on me I’ve never forgotten.
Calmly—kindly—Ms. Hornbeck told me, “Josh, if you only copy the answers… If you never struggle to work the questions out… You’ll never learn how to solve the problems.”
Now those were the words she spoke.
But the message I took away was something entirely different.
“Josh, I know you’re capable of doing this.
“I believe in you.”
I’m not sure learning how to do my algebra homework has helped me all that much in life. Running my businesses doesn’t require much beyond simple math.
But her larger lesson has been invaluable.
Yes, she taught me, you can overcome a tough problem if you work at it long enough.
And that’s the power of a strong message.
Getting your message wrong can doom you to obscurity.
But getting your message right?
That’s one of the ways to create influence.
When you have influence, of course, you can attract top talent, motivate the people who look to you for direction, build strong brands, sell more easily… The list goes on.
However, to create influence, not just any message will do.
You have to get the right message right.
You need a “power message”—one of 8 universal messages that are so powerful that we as humans would do almost anything to hear one of them.
Power messages can make us spend fortunes, change relationships, move across the world— even sacrifice our lives.
Skilled advertisers and marketers know these messages by heart. So do successful politicians. And you’ll find at least one of these messages in every popular song.
And—you’ve probably guessed it by now—my teacher Ms. Hornbeck communicated several of them to me in those few simple sentences.
Can you guess what they were?
The first is probably obvious: “You can do it.”
(Yes, back in the 19-somethings my humble math teacher told me the same thing that Seth’s board member told him… And that sneaker giant Nike would later spend billions in ad dollars to tell both of us.)
The other power messages she used might be a little harder to identify, but they made just as much of an impact, if not more.
Tape them to your wall and practice using them in your own work…
Then see how much of an impact you can make when you get the right message right.Liked it? Share it!