Episode #279: Unconventional is the New Conventional
TAYLOR BRADFORD: You are listening to episode number 279 of the Boss Girl Creative podcast. Today I’m talking about unconventional being the new conventional. On to the episode.
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Hey, welcome to episode number 279 of the Boss Girl Creative podcast. I am your host, Taylor Bradford. I’m excited that you pressed play today on this episode, which is all about the unconventional business unicorn, which is what I consider myself because I do feel the unconventional way is the better way and is the new conventional. And I stumbled on an interview with Marie Forleo and Simon Sinek. And you may know who he is; he wrote the book Start with Why and then a follow up to that, Find Your Why. And then he’s written a couple of others since he wrote Start with Your Why. And this book that he’s talking about with Marie is his latest, The Infinite Game, which is speaking my love language. And I’m excited to actually dive into this because it does fully align with being an unconventional business owner. So we’re going to talk about this interview that he had with Murray because there was some really good nuggets that I kind of wanted to discuss today on today’s show. And to kind of get you thinking a little bit further outside of the box, because I do feel being an unconventional business owner. If you align with that, I’m sure you do if you’re listening to this podcast, because that is what I’m all about is we are square pegs, they are round holes, and we don’t fit. And I don’t think we should fit because I do think there is not one size fits all in business. And I don’t think we all have to be doing the same things in business. I feel like we need to be motivated by our internal, whether that’s our core values, our why, and it should be all of those things. And I don’t think there’s a one size fits all. So this conversation that Simon had with Murray really spoke to me, and I wanted to kind of go through that and pull out the nuggets that he talks about, especially because it is part of his book, The Infinite Game.
So I want to start off with a quote that is from his book, and it goes like this, this is what he says, “When we work hard for something we don’t believe in, it’s called stress. When we work hard for something we do believe in, it’s called passion. And I think there is an extreme differentiating factor between the two. Because if you’re not fueled by the work that you’re doing, then you are stressing yourself out. But if you are fueled by the work that you are doing, it won’t stress you out, and you have passion for that thing.” Very, very distinct difference. So basically, Simon Sinek, his entire life, he’s been preaching away, you can live in which you wake up every morning inspired, you feel safe at work. And when you return home, you feel fulfilled, and people in positions of authority or power or wealth, they keep telling him that he’s naive, that he’s stupid, that he doesn’t understand how business really works. And then he discovered a book by James Carse, which I’m also going to add to my own list called Finite and Infinite Games. And he had a major aha moment when he was reading this book, which is what inspired The Infinite Game that he wrote. He had this aha that the whole world is walking around thinking it’s flat, that the world itself is flat. But it’s not; it is actually round. And the reason that he is saying that everybody’s walking around with the world is flat means that there’s a start and then there’s an end and that we’re in competition with everything that we do. But that’s not the case. He wasn’t the naive one; they were when he finally had this aha moment. He says, “We live in a world in which we are players of infinite games. But there’s like no such thing as winning in marriage. There’s no such thing as winning and friendship. There’s no such thing as winning in business. But too many of things, or the noise that is in the world, points to everything, having a number one, everything being the best, beating your competition, being on the bestseller list and the number one spot, if you think about it, from start to finish, in a flat world, there is a winner every single time. But in life, that doesn’t exist. There is no winner. There’s no winner in a marriage that takes two people compromising and working together. In a friendship, there’s no winner. Same thing. In business, there’s no winner either. And yes, while there are bestseller lists, it changes weekly. And you’ll see stocks rise and fall like nobody stays at the top and the end like there is no ‘the end.’ So it’s not finite, it’s infinite. You can’t win at those things. Because there’s no agreed-upon time frame. And there’s no agreed-upon metrics. So it’s not flat, there’s not a start and a finish. We are round and keeps going. We get to decide our timeframes and our metrics, which means there isn’t a number one, and there aren’t winners. In business, there’s not a number one. It’s something that you continue to put your blinders on. Yes, you need to know what your benchmarks are, who your competitors are. But you put your blinders on, and you just keep doing better at you. You do better at your product. You do better at your service. So there are two reasons for his book, The Infinite Game. The first is a rallying cry for those that think there is a better or different way. And that’s me. I’m an unconventional. I don’t like doing things like everybody else, because I don’t like how they make me feel. I don’t like doing webinars that lead you down a sales funnel and get you to buy things like that makes me super uncomfortable. If you want to work with me, or you want to have access to me, I have ways to do that. You can have access to me through the Inner Circle membership. Or you can hire me to work one-on-one. And those are the two ways. Yes, I have a course on SEO. And yes, I have some masterclasses. But you don’t see me really pushing any of that because it makes me uncomfortable. I’m not a hardcore salesperson. And I don’t think that those are the ways we have to do things all the time. And which makes me super unconventional. If you go out and listen to any of my competitors in my own niche, you’re going to hear them constantly running sales funnels, constantly pushing launches. They are driven to do that. And that’s just not me. Like if you want access to me, you’re welcome to that access, you can get yourself into the Inner Circle membership going to bossgirlcreative.com/InnerCircle, or you can hire me one-on-one. Just send me an email, and I can get it set up with you.
So his rally cry in this book were for those that think there is a better or different way, which is me. And the second is to give you a filter so that we can recognize who those finite players are, so we can change our behavior, or at least keep our guard up when we do business with them because you are going to interact and be around people that have a finite way of thinking. So he talks about having a conference chat with Microsoft board members and with Apple board members within a couple of months of each other. So he goes and gives them a talk. And he said with Microsoft, and the conversation was constantly about being better, being the best. How can we get to number one? How can we get our products to number one? And as a parting gift, he received – at the time – one of their products that really kind of rivaled and was even better than Apple’s product at the time. And then a few months later, he went and spoke to Apple’s executives, and their conversations were how do we get our products into the hands of teachers? How do we advance technology within schools? How do we help students learn? And he happened to share a cab ride with an Apple executive, and he kinda was like pushing the buttons a little bit. And he was like, “Hey, man, when I was speaking to Microsoft man, they gave me their, you know, this brand-new tool, this brand-new toy.” And he was like, “I’m sure I’m sure they did.” And that was it. Like, “Oh, well, let me give you this thing. It’s better than what Apple provides.” The Infinite players of the world, they understand that sometimes, other competitors’ products are better. And then the flip is true; they understand that their products are better than their competitors’, the people playing the infinite game understand that there is an ebb and flow, but there is no such thing as the best. There is an ahead and behind. So the goal is not to beat the competition. The goal is to outlast your competition. The only true competitor here is yourself.
So here’s some questions to ask yourself, how do you make your products or your services better than last year? Or Heck, better than six months ago? Or three months ago? How can you continue to improve your core values, and how your customer experiences your website, your email content, your social media content? How do you continue to improve based on your core values? How can you get better? It’s not about what your competitors are doing or how they are doing. It’s okay to know what their benchmarks are. It’s okay to keep an eye on them, but you should never gauge or build your product or service based on what they’re doing because the competitor is yourself. And it’s important that we focus on being resilient, versus just being stable, because even a stable company in a storm can go belly up. The ones that are resilient will last. So it’s important that we work on our resiliency. Here’s a great example that he talks about in his book, The Swiss Army knife. Up until September 11th, 2001, The Swiss Army knife was probably one of the most gifted items ever. It was easy, it was simple to gift, and it did a lot of functionality. But then September 11th happened. And now, no longer can you carry a pocket knife while you’re traveling internationally or within the country. You cannot board a plane with a pocket knife. But the company that makes a Swiss Army knife has been saving for decades for something they couldn’t predict. And so they didn’t stumble after 9/11. They shifted gears and continued putting effort into the other products they were selling. They didn’t stop and panic and be like, how can we recalculate? How can we remarket the Swiss Army knife? How can we get this into stores into you know, back into gifting? They didn’t do that because they knew the writing on the wall was it’s not going to be what it was. So instead of trying to sink money back into Swiss Army knives, they still make them. But they switched gears, they were resilient, and they focus in on the other products that made sense for them. And they sell more than the Swiss Army knife. They sell clothing. They sell all kinds of things. So – but what they did was practice resiliency. They created a reserve that allowed them to weather a storm that they couldn’t predict.
Something else he talks about in this book is having a just cause, something that is so just that we would be willing to sacrifice for it. It’s something that we believe in, something that we might or can’t achieve by ourselves. But if we devote our businesses and our lives and our work to advance it, then we leave it better than when we found it—having a just cause or a mission that your company can stand behind to support something bigger than yourself. It really has nothing to do with your product or your service. It is you contributing to something thing that you are passionate about helping to move forward. He talks about unemployment rate and talking about, okay, we are 96% employed, but man that 4%, we’ve got to lower that rate. Well, nobody likes to lower anything. We really are built to build things. Like when you build a house, you step back, and you’re like, wow, look what we built. When you build your company, and you find success, whatever that means for you. And you take a step back, and you look at what you created and what you built. You’re like, wow, look what I built. No one’s ever really like, wow, look what I cut down. Or wow, look, you know, we defeated that thing. There’s not a lot of internal dialogue that makes you feel good when you cut something. Because there’s a lot of negative connotation to that. So going back to that unemployment rate of 96% employed, how do we get to 100? How do we raise that to 100, instead of reducing that 4%, reframing the just cause, to create that positive mindset, to getting to that goal? So again, the purpose of a just cause is not to highlight your product or service. Your product or service is the mechanism you use to advance your just cause. And you’re not the only one. Remember, there are multiple people advancing the just cause we all have our own why’s that’s part of my eight plus one pillar series, but adjust cause is shared amongst others.
So how do you basically create a structure for an infinite business? You lead with a just cause, which has been eye-opening because even though I have some just causes that I participate in every year, I’ve never aligned them with my companies, which I’m going to be changing moving forward because I do want to make a difference in this world. You also have to build trusting teams for infinite businesses. They need to be able to be like, “I want to work for this company because of what they are doing behind the scenes.” It’s not just about the product or the service. It’s more than that. You’ve got to learn to see your competitors as worthy rivals, and not create products and services to take them down. You’ve got to build the capacity for existential flexibility. When something crazy happens like a pandemic, how can you stay resilient? What are you doing to plan and prepare for something you cannot predict. And you’ve got to have the courage to lead. Even if you’re a solopreneur other people are watching you. You may not be leading a team yet, but you’re leading other people that are solopreneurs based on your actions and based on what you’re doing. And based on the decisions you’re making and the products you’re putting out into the world and the services you’re offering. Lead with a just cause. Build trusting teams. Learn to see your competitors as worthy rivals. Build the capacity for existential flexibility, and have the courage to lead all components of an infinite business.
This was such a powerful conversation between him – Simon Sinek – and Marie Forleo. And I hope – I will link it in the show notes if you guys want to go take a listen to it – but I plan on adding this particular book to my TBR pile plus the other book that was mentioned previously, Finite and Infinite Games by James Carse. I will link books and resources in the show notes for this particular episode. There is also a transcript available for you, which you can also find with or via the show notes for this particular episode. Such a great conversation and really something that kind of like opened my eyes like “oh my gosh, I do need to put a just cause out there and attach my companies to it because it is stuff that I do behind the scenes.” So, for example, we adopt a family every single year for Christmas to provide clothing and coats and shoes for the winter months. And I love to support No Kid Hungry, and it’s a really big passion thing for me. And I can’t stand the thought of kids not eating. I can’t stand the thought of even adults not eating, so I definitely want to be able to advance a cause that is near and dear to me by providing funding to specific organizations to help provide meals for those that need it. So that is what, moving forward, my businesses will be supporting, and I will be actively talking about that moving forward throughout because that is important. And it’s something I didn’t think about until I stumbled across this interview, and it made me really start thinking. So.
Thank you for listening to today’s episode. Again, shout out – Hello – Today’s show sponsor is the inner circle membership, which is where you need to be if you want to have access to an amazing community of women, who are your fellow unconventional procrastinators, they’re just like me, and we’re having a great time. Plus, we’re launching a book club that starts in November, and the book we’re starting with is Oversubscribed by Daniel Priestley. It’s an amazing book, and we’ll be discussing it in the Inner Circle membership, which you can get into. Go to bossgirlcreative.com/InnerCircle to join. And until next time, I hope you have a great rest of your week.