Monday, December 5, 2011

The Experience of You

Trophy from Buddah's Golf Tourney
What do you and I have in common with the reason why Starbucks can charge $5 for a grande-nonfat-with whip-white mocha or Apple can charge $600 for an iPhone?

If you said because we are delicious and pleasing to the eye you are only partially right...

The bulk of the price of the items is for one thing:

The experience of the product.

I received the unfortunate news of a dear family friend passing two weekends ago, which sparked loads of memories and subsequent reflection.  In short, "Buddah" was an amazingly gracious man that touched an incredible amount of people in his time on earth and will continue to do so in our memories as we live on our days.

The more I thought about Buddah, the more I realized my memories centered around the experience of being with him versus any particular event. Whether it was around a dinner table, on a golf course, or on Christmas morning when he would show up at our house in full Santa gear (a perfect match!) there was something about the mood that would consistently change for the better.

The concept of the Buddah experience got me thinking about how others experience me in my daily life in different environments.

Pre-cancer I was absorbed in the popular concept of personal branding from the perspective of what I wanted my target audience (boss, client, friend, or even family member) to take away from an interaction with me. These takeaways were often generic traits of what "experts" from books and magazines believed were necessary in our current society.  The problem with this approach is that it frequently involves trying to be something you think others want to experience versus who you really are as a person.

Better known as acting...

Or, as I like to call it, the antithesis of authenticity.

Anytime I am forced to face mortality time slows down, priorities shift, and my daily approach to life changes for a period of time. It happened at Buddah's funeral this past Thursday, and it happened on April 9, 2010 when my oncologist told me I had cancer.

It's at these crossroads that one can choose to continue on the path they were on, or make an adjustment based on the lessons they learn. Shortly after my diagnosis, I chose to adjust by hanging up my acting career and starting to live life in a manner consistent with my true self.

Over the past (almost) year of blogging on and 300 consecutive days of sending out Daily Lift Tips on my Twitter account (@LiftLiving), I've attempted to chronicle this new approach to life and the lessons I've learned along the way.

It wasn't easy to make this shift, but as I continue on in my daily life I am confident that I am delivering a true experience of me in everything I do and every person I encounter.

And the best part is I will never forget to "act" a certain way as I am simply being me.

At its core, authenticity is built from consistent interaction. Whether it was a joyous occasion such as Christmas or after a crummy round of golf, Buddah was Buddah. He showed up as his authentic self in everything he did and as a result had a profound impact on all he touched through his life.

So, next time you are waiting in a Starbucks line checking your iPhone don't just think about the consistent experience Starbucks or Apple is presenting to you, remember that you also leave an impression on everything you touch and with everyone which you interact.

Make the experience of you a consistent one in line with your true self and you will lift your life to a whole new level.

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