Every now and then a phrase will come up – as these things do, they come in waves.
Themes emerge and being a curious soul, I like to explore why.
One such phrase that has come up recently is
“when everyone else is going right, go left”.
This phrase niggles me.
It’s not that I disagree with the idea of going in a different direction to everyone else. This is what I have built my business (and much of my life) doing. I firmly believe in taking the unconventional route.
There is a difference between a life choice to be individual and a business choice to disrupt patterns of behaviour.
Going left when everyone else is going right can be a tough nut to crack in business – assuming you want a viable business anyway.
Taken literally, if you are travelling in completely the opposite direction to everyone else no one can see what you are doing. They have their backs to you.
The only way to get them to notice is to make one hell of a lot of noise so that they turn around. Then they have to make the choice to change direction – leaving the masses – or turn back in the direction they were originally going. Most of the time they choose the latter.
Making a hell of a lot of noise is possible for well-funded start-ups who have the resources to disrupt. But for most small businesses and solo entrepreneurs that is a tall order. I do see many trying to do exactly this by being polarising and loud with their message. It works in some ways to attract the early adopters and rebels but it doesn’t create mass change and impact. It can be overtaken (and usually is) by the next loud noise to attract attention.
There's more to making an impact than making noise.
I take a lot of inspiration for my work from the world around us all. There are natural rhythms and energies that we can learn from if we choose to look closely enough. I already use the energies of the elements to help craft unique pathways working with individual energies and strengths . But that is only the tip of the iceberg of what we can learn from being within the world.
There is so much to explore and learn from nature.
Whales use exact frequencies at exact depths to send their calls out for hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles.
Forests have their own underground communication systems they use to transmit messages.
These are things that we cannot readily see and are still largely in the realms of mystery for us humans. They are not loud and brash, they are subtle and extraordinarily effective in achieving their purpose.
Have you ever wondered how a shoal of thousands of fish can move in absolute synchronicity?
What about the extraordinary displays of murmurations of starlings?
In our societal models, we would assume that there is a leader that is determining the direction.
But that is not the case.
Spend 5 minutes in entrepreneurial circles and you will probably hear the phrase “You are the average of the 5 people around you”.
It's true on many levels and perhaps one of those levels relates to the lessons we can learn from the starling.
Starlings have a lot to teach us about how to create change in the world.
A murmuration of starlings creating beautiful displays of aerial acrobatics is not led by one starling.
Every single starling in the flock is actively determining the direction of travel by influencing the 7 starlings around it.
Those 7 starlings affect the 7 around each of them and so it continues – the scale of the impact of one single change in direction by one starling can affect tens of thousands in the blink of an eye.
Starlings don’t go left when everyone else is going right.
They go left taking the whole flock with them – naturally.
What exactly have starlings got to do with marketing?
I work with entrepreneurs whose mission is to create massive global change and transformation. These are people who know they have a significant role to play in changing our perceptions and behaviours for global wellbeing.
Starlings show us just how this is possible.
Starlings show us that we don’t need to make a lot of noise to have a massive impact on the direction of travel. We can be a lot more subtle than that.
Cultivating strong relationships that are deeply transformative for small groups of individuals around us has a greater potential to deliver real change. Mass impact begins with the individuals around us.
Going deeper has a greater global potential. Letting the ripples spread out naturally is how quality results in quantity and, more importantly, lasting sustainable change.
It also shows us how critically important and powerful our individual actions can be in creating global change – pretty important to remember when we are feeling small and insignificant.
Focusing on what we can do – the small steps we can take towards our mission – paves the way for it to become a reality using natural frequencies and energies.
No pushing, no shouting, no tussling to be seen and heard.
For the trailblazers of the future, this is surely the more effective route to take. It might take a little longer to manifest than a murmuration. We are still (re)learning the ropes in the human world.
Massive change in the business world is just around the corner. The models we have known for so long are no longer in step with the direction of travel of global consciousness. We all get to decide the direction of that change.
Every single one of us can have a massive impact in the world simply by learning from starlings. Go left taking the 7 people closest with you and watch everyone else adjust their course inevitably.
(And if you would like to see how you could put this into practice in your business, let's open the conversation)