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Crystal Clear Impact

design outcomes strategy success

The problem is not your product

Let me try to remember what your core 'thing' is- you're the one who wants people to experience more freedom in their lives. Or, was it that you want to help them unlock their true potential? Oh wait, no- you want them to find their best life now. No, that's not it- you're all about helping people chase their ambitions. Sorry, I got you confused with the other 'thought leader' that looks like you and sounds like you.

The problem is not your heart for people. It's not that you lack integrity or that you don't have something important and relevant to say. It's just that you're stuck in cliché-speak. Sure, you have a central theme. You picked a big idea and everything you produce revolves around it. Your process or your curriculum or your service or your formula works. It changes lives. It's just that you haven't really defined what you mean by that...yet. You haven't provided enough clarity.

(If you only have one minute, read this part) The best communicators and content creators take the time and energy to think through what impact would look like in 3-D, high-definition clarity. Tempting to skip or shortcut, it's not until you truly clarify what a transformed life would look like on every level that you'll be able to present ideas effectively. Fortunately, although it does take time and brain calories, there's a simple process to get to the clarity you need to make the most impact with your message.

I (also) run an education company called The YouSchool and have for the past decade- it's my heart and soul. Primarily, we work with teenagers, helping them wrestle with the most important questions in life, and walking them through a process to find answers to those questions. Why? So they can realize their potential and tell a great story with their lives. Doesn't that sound lovely?

But unless I define what I mean, the statement is way too vague, ethereal, and abstract. I haven't done a Google search lately, but I'm pretty sure we're not the only program that wants to unlock potential in kids. There's an organization that wants the same thing apparently- they teach inner-city kids how to code. That's cool, but a very different set of outcomes, right? For years I spoke to groups of parents promising if they spent money on our program for their kids, their kids' potential would be unlocked. Seriously, I said that. With a room of 100 parents, I'd be lucky if two or three parents took the opportunity. Why? They had no clue what I was really offering.

To be clear, I had something transformational for their kids, something they really wanted. Our program works- the potential of kids completely opens up after going through it. The problem was my clarity, not the product. The problem was the message.

I had skipped the most crucial part- I hadn't taken the time to really define and describe what I meant by a kid unlocking their potential. Sure, I used a few big ideas: they'll be more self-aware, more confident, and make better decisions for their future. But even those are too vague.

What do I mean by self-aware? What does a kid who's 18 years old do differently when they have more self-awareness? Does that mean they're more aware of their emotions? Does it mean they understand their unique strengths?

What do I mean by confidence? What does a confident teenager say to their friends when they get invited to do something they don't think aligns with their personal values? Will they cave in for fear of rejection and ridicule, or will they confidently decline the offer and share why?

See, defining what you mean by transformation happens. It not only helps with marketing- the clearer the picture you paint not with clichés and big concepts but in practical, real-life scenarios, the better. It also helps with shaping your core product, whether it's a curriculum or a process or a service, or a key idea. The more you help people picture the life they could live if they trusted you and followed you, the greater interest, motivation, and resilience they'll have to do the work.

The clearer you define what impact and transformation you offer, the more effective your message will become. You'll see more people respond more authentically to your message.

So, now the question becomes even simpler: how do we define what we mean by change and transformation?

There's a simple process. We'll show you how...


You need to take the time to describe what a person will experience at every level of their lives if they go through your process and really embody your message. What will change quantitatively and qualitatively? What will they be like? Specifically, what will they say differently? What will come out of their mouths? What will they do differently? How will they act in situations under stress or when they're going through a conflict with someone or when they get their paycheck or when they get negative feedback from someone? What will go on inside their heads? How will they think?

Here's the short form: What will they say? How will they think? What will they do?

Now, that sounds simple and straightforward, and in many ways it is. But, the process can take some time. If you're working with other people as part of a team, everyone should go through this exercise. If you've already worked with people before, you should spend time asking them these questions and observing them in their real lives. For each question, you might have 40, 50, or even 100 unique answers. Yep, you read that right. That's the first step.


The second step after you've really, truly defined what their lives will look like is to take a step back and look for repetitions, themes, and priorities. What do you notice about everything you wrote out? What sticks out to you? What sticks out to someone else? How would you categorize some of those aspects and attributes? How would you summarize them?

Now we're cooking! The work you do through this process will give you content and copy for years. If you wrote out 40 different ways someone will be different in terms of how they think after they've experienced the freedom from your message, you now have the start of 40 different social media posts and you can make at least a dozen articles from it. You can write a talk using the comparison and contrast between current life and the future potential reality of their lives.

Here's the thing I've realized: this isn't a one-time exercise to complete and move on from. Honestly, I forget sometimes the very thing I'm selling. I lose sight of what I'm trying to do and what successful outcomes really look like. About once a month, I pull out my Moleskine and do this exercise all over again. Every single time I do, I can't tell you how fired up I get. I re-focus, double down, and get back after it.

Get in touch with us via email to get access to a nifty little worksheet you can use to help you define your message's clarity in HD quality ([email protected]).

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