This is the real secret of life – to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play. – Alan Watts
There are a few more of those approaches to look at, but it’s worth looking now at where your edge is – where do you end?
And, if you think about it, you end where someone else begins, and it’s hard to always tell where the boundary lies.
It’s like having your bubble – the bubble that contains you, your thoughts, your feelings – and having it come into contact with someone else’s bubble.
A huge amount depends on what happens when those two bubbles bump into each other – when that overlap and interaction take place between two people.
Think about it for a minute.
If you send out a cold marketing email your success depends on what happens at the interface, when your message comes to the attention of the recipient – if it’s not filtered out first.
The first meeting you have with someone, the subsequent meetings to talk about a project – all those interactions that take place time after time and which decide the success or failure of your business and career, or at least that particular project that you’re working on right then.
So, how do you get this right, what do you need to do to make this interaction work well?
A good way to understand this is to look at how children communicate – what they need to do in order to get on with each other.
In order to play nicely with each other.
If you look at child psychology textbooks, they will tell you that there are three things children have to be able to do to be able to play together.
The first is that they have to be able to swap information.
Partly, this has to do with language but, as you will know if you have ever taken children to a foreign country, kids can communicate quite well even if they don’t know each other’s language.
It has to do with what each person wants to do and trying to communicate that – swap information about each other’s likes and dislikes.
Finding something in common
The next thing children have to be able to do is decide on a common activity, something they’re both willing to do.
This creates the conditions for joint play, where they can both do something together that they’re both interested in.
Dealing with and resolving conflicts
The third key element that children have to be able to do is sort out the conflicts that inevitably arise.
If they can’t and it ends in tears then they’ll either walk away or be separated by grown-ups.
If they can sort it out themselves that will mean a longer period of play and perhaps the start of a friendship.
Applying these elements to your business
Now, if you think about it, the interactions you have in your business are really all about these same things.
Your marketing copy and advertising material are designed to give information to others.
At the same time the people who need what you’re providing have to make themselves findable.
So a lot of your initial work is all about figuring out what kind of person is interested in what you provide and swapping information with them.
Then, you have to find out if you have something in common – does your product fit their needs.
If it does then you have to resolve the questions and objections they have.
You’re not looking for someone like you
If you watch children playing conflict arises when two of them want the same thing – the same toy, the same role, the same reward.
The key to getting along is having a common interest and complementary capabilities – be able to work together and each bring something to the effort.
In any group of children you’ll find a mix of characters – and that’s what makes the dynamics of play work.
Once again, it’s the same with your business.
If you’re the kind of person who likes to do everything yourself or needs to have absolute control over the way things are done – you’ll find that only certain kinds of people will work with you.
If you’re loose and unstructured you’ll attract different kinds of people.
What you’re looking for is interpersonal fit
You need to understand how you work with others – how you play nicely – so that you can develop your project and grow your business.
You need to understand where you fit in, what your niche is and how that works with others in the same space.
When you understand that you’ll start to see the strategy and approach that’s going to work for you and the business you’re trying to build.
That’s what we’ll look at tomorrow.