Once upon a time, there was a young woman walking along an almost-deserted beach (my favourite place to be). She came upon an old woman surrounded by starfish struggling on the sands.
The young woman stopped, because she was curious as to why the old woman was painstakingly and gently picking up the starfish one by one, and tossing them back into the waves. So she asked.
“Why are you picking up those starfish and throwing them into the sea?”
“Because they’ll die if they stay stranded out here on the sand. They need water.”
“But you can’t possibly save them all. There are so many of them. What’s the point? You’re not making any difference, are you?”
The old woman picked up another starfish and cradled it in her hands. Then she threw that one into the waves, too.
“I made a difference to that one.”
There are so many things in this world that need our help: starfish, elephants, people, forests, children, business owners… one person can’t possibly help them all. So it’s easy to think that we can never make a difference.
But we can.
Good things are accomplished with tiny steps. Good is done one person at a time, and your version of good is no better or worse than anyone else’s. Choosing to do something about this particular woe doesn’t mean you care any less about the others. And finding joy in the good stuff doesn’t make you an uncaring person.
We’re all capable of greatness through small acts of kindness – and through working to be the very best we can be at what we do. In life and in business. And there’s nothing wrong with being paid well for doing so.
Choose your starfish. That’s what marketing should be.
Vicky Fraser is a copywriter, author, and entrepreneur. She really did run away with the circus… but when she’s not swinging from a trapeze, she’s showing other copywriters and small business owners how to work with better clients, make more money, and stop missing bathtimes, first words, and dinners with angry partners. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Get your copy here.
PS Speaking of being paid well for what you do, here’s a question for you: when’s the easiest time to get someone to spend money with you? Hit the comments and let me know. I’ll tell you if you’re right tomorrow.
PPS I heard this story from Tania, one of my Inner Circle Superheroes. Thanks Tania 🙂