Perhaps you’ve heard the expression — the “Elevator Pitch.” You have a minute or less to tell about yourself, your business, your project, your passion, before the elevator doors open and your fellow rider gets off. What do you say?
You’re a high school senior and you have no more than 650 words to tell your story to a overworked, tired college admissions officer. You are a non-profit organization constrained by grant application guidelines. In order to communicate effectively in a limited time and space, you need to have a clear sense of who you are, know the specific purpose of your communication, and understand who your audience is.
Crafting a mission statement is a good place to start. Mission statements can be tailored to the particular purpose of the communication and the particular audience. For example, the mission statement for my business, Montauk Writer, is to help individuals and non-profit organizations effectively communicate their stories. My personal mission statement is to live faithfully by serving others, always looking to God for my direction.
Who’s riding in the elevator with you and what do you want to tell them? Quick — the doors will be opening before you know it!
Digging through a box of old letters, I came across the following exchange between my father and me:
February 4, 1979
Contrary to predictions, I survived my mid-stay week. … About six of us spent three hours one night discussing what was the most important thing in life — some ideas: religion, happiness, knowing oneself, love, and facing the reality of death. Guess which one was mine?
February 12, 1979
… To your letter. Glad your country week is over — it could have been worse — you made it through and seemed to enjoy being with the other kids. What did you think was the most important thing in life? I’d be interested in knowing.
March 2, 1979
… You didn’t guess what I thought was the most important thing in life? Well, obviously, “know thyself” …
All my love, Suzette
Knowing yourself. Knowing who you are — your strengths, your gifts, your purpose — and effectively telling your story to the world. I’ve discovered that helping students and non-profits communicate their stories is central to who I am.
Know thyself. It starts right there.
Yesterday was a blissful day for me. When I finally came up for air, I looked at the clock and was shocked to discover it was 6:00 pm — and I was still in my pajamas! I had spent the day researching and writing an article — and time had disappeared. Ahhh — this is the zone, the flow state that we all yearn to be in. For me, spending the day curled up in my pajamas with a challenging writing project is sheer bliss. Where do you find your bliss?