As you’ve probably heard by now, Siri will respond to the prompt…
Back in 1776, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, declaring that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation – the United States of America.
Since then, the U.S.A. has been an experiment in governance. In fact, it is “an experiment that is not yet finished,” as noted by former President Barack Obama in this video.
As I was thinking about the phrase, it dawned on me that the same can be said about any business on the planet. An idea, a hope, or a dream sparks an entrepreneur to build a business – offering a product or service to the world that is either new or improved.
In short, it’s an experiment. And the best companies continue to experiment while never losing sight of their original purpose, intent, and ideals (even though their offerings and products may change dramatically). They are never finished; they just keep experimenting.
In recent years, the Broadway musical Hamilton became the hottest ticket in town as it put a modern spin on the story of Alexander Hamilton and the founders of the U.S.A. As you watch this performance from the 70th Annual Tony Awards (where Hamilton was nominated a record 16 times, winning 11 trophies), consider how your business has stayed true to your original purpose, intent, and ideals.
In the Declaration of Independence, 34 signatories on behalf of 13 colonies boldly stated their beliefs, which still ring true today:We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Recognized as “one of the best-known sentences in the English language,” these words made a powerful statement about what the leaders of this new country believed and the ideals to which they committed.
John Hancock boldly and dramatically signed his name with such prominence that going forward, his name became synonymous with the concept of giving or obtaining a signature.
What are you willing to sign your name to – in bold and large script?
Do the words you use to describe your business, your mission, your goals, and your ideals ring true?
Will they still ring true 241 years from now?
Would you sign your name to them, attesting to their power and prominence for all to see?
If not, maybe it’s time to put a little more thought into the things you say and the words you use. Your marketing materials, your ad campaigns, and your client agreements offer you a unique chance to commit to clear and specific ideals. Make sure that you are conscious with your choices. If you can inspire someone with your words and your actions, they will be much more likely to stay with you for years to come.
Legend has it that Thomas Jefferson locked himself in a room for 17 days, writing and re-writing the passages that would eventually combine to form the Declaration of Independence.
Instead of spending a few minutes writing the “about us” section of your website, your email auto-responder, or the caption on your next Instagram post, consider spending an entire day (or 17!) thinking about what it really means to do the work you do, believe the things you believe, and serve the customers you serve.
How can you express in words (and actions) your commitments to your co-workers, your industry, and your customers?
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