You: Your Best Product
You check your email and received your automated reminder that your cell phone bill is due. A text came through notifying you of the package you'd been waiting for. Several calendar events slipped by your radar on your phone lock screen. Money comes in and out of your account almost as if by magic. People scroll, comment, like, or even glance over your social media posts without any feedback or you knowing they saw it. You paid for your items at the store in a self-checkout. You ordered some more goods online with the click of a button.
You've accomplished so much in such a short amount of time, but somehow feel unfulfilled. Perhaps you didn't even realize how MUCH you really do have happening on auto-pilot, but still...something is missing.
The missing element to all of these mundane tasks is the very core essential to you growing as a person, as a business, and bettering the world around you.
*I have to start by giving this disclaimer: I am NOT a people-person by nature. I grew up secluded, wrapped up doodling in notebooks, and building plastic skyscrapers by myself with no desire to interact with anyone. This may not have been ideal in shaping me for the future I live today, but it is what it is and we make do with what we have, learning to be different along the way.
That said, I've found over the course of my life that social interaction is non-negotiable. In order to really 'live' you must encounter other bipeds such as yourself. These encounters may vary in experience and circumstance, and most often you will have little control of how they go. You typically still have to speak to a living being to obtain a job, we don't have accessible robots to fix your car when it breaks, and in some retail settings you may even be forced to show your receipt to a door-guard to prove that you really did purchase your wares before exiting.
It's more than that though; the same way we routinely take for granted our technology and its ease, we can begin to see people as scenery or a portable vending machine if we refuse to open up and exchange a thoughtful dialog. Nobody wants to be your robot, and I doubt you do either. We were made to be social creatures, and yes, that means even 'you' the introvert/recluse. We all vary in how much interaction we desire, but it's hard-wired into us nonetheless. The problem with this programming is that we live in an unfair world with poorly dealt hands, we all have unique desires, and the way we communicate and feel accepted is different. This means that every interaction is hard work.
Here's the great thing though: occasionally, sometimes more than not, our relationships can have a good outcome! When you begin to ask others questions about what they do, what their story is, etc. you'll discover wonderful treasures at times. You may solidify a new friendship, a partner to collaborate with in a project or event, a business client, or just feel great about escaping a conversation and not dying!
How does this translate to you and business? I know, I know, I take some time tying up the article title, but it's just that: a title. I did that for a reason: we may look to a person for one specific thing, but in the course of dialog we come away with more than we intended, much like the blog post. The cherry on top here is that there really are people out there that want YOU. Yes: YOU. In a world of automation and technology, it's hard to find a replacement for authentic personal interaction. If people like something about you...they'll call, text, email, make plans, help, gift, etc etc...you get the point. It's easier to put a product out there on the market, but competitors will always have the same thing you do. What you have that sets you apart really comes down to you as a person and it's a scarier but more rewarding experience to put yourself out there for others to enjoy. It's difficult because along with the potential for a good outcome, we also risk rejection. We can push a product or service all day long, believing that there are plenty of fish in the sea, but when it comes to someone wanting us...well, we pretty much assume that nobody like that exists.
Today I want to encourage you to STOP IT. You are invaluable and can't be replaced. If you don't like yourself - fix it, and grow to be different. Accept feedback(something you can only get unbiased from other people). Give without expectation. Listen without being heard. Love intentionally. Someone out there is doing the same thing. All of these things together make you a better human and to succeed we all need to realize the similarities we have with one-another and respect the differences(dare I say even enjoy). In business, people will choose your business over someone else solely based on you as a person(you still need to offer a good product or service...sorry don't cut corners there).
In closing, don't forget to make people a priority in your life. No matter how busy, how poor, how comfortable, or how painful your existence may be, people are the puzzle piece that can change it all. As a busy person myself, I have to work really hard and sacrifice my time and resources to keep a social life...but it's worth it and the very thing that keeps me going when my brain is burning up in overload and fatigue. My wife and I were invited to a neighbor/friend's birthday night out yesterday. I could've said no on account of using my time 'wisely' to catch up on several important deadlines. I could've said I was saving money to 'get ahead'. I could've stayed home and 'rested' because I'm perpetually tired. In the end, I said 'yes' because they chose to invite me to be a part of their special day and I loved every minute of it.
Money and time cannot replace relationship, nor can it make people want you for the right reasons. Take advantage of opportunity to be a blessing in other people's lives and to let them into your own world to potentially make it a little brighter and bigger.