I have an upcoming book, Bring Your Worth: Level Up Your Creative Power, Value and Service in the World, breaking down how we undervalue ourselves as creative professionals, independent hustlers and intrapreneurs. It arrives on February 7th.
And trailblazer Shonda Rhimes did the exact same thing with one tweet. Specifically, four words.
Why do reporters always say writers were "lured"? Like we're children following a trail of candy. I created a $2B+ revenue stream for a major Corp with my imagination. I do not follow trails of candy. I am the candy. https://t.co/3qGZKI4bhf-- shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) December 20, 2018
I am the candy, indeed. Here's what her and I are talking about.
We undervalue our relationships
It doesn't matter if it is a billion-dollar corporation or a local mom-and-pop shop, every contract you enter is a partnership. Not 30/70. Not 49/51. If they didn't need you, then they wouldn't work with you, would they?
I just spoke to Target's lead innovator Minsok Pak this week and he shared the same sentiment:
With startups, I love the energy they bring. They understand that there is a risk that they won't succeed, and that's very helpful for us. We firmly believe you have to be able to fail in order to scale. It's a good part of the culture.
We lose something when we go into business relationships thinking that our partner is giving us a break or doing us a favor. No, we are partners. It's worth remembering how one of the most powerful pop stars of our time fought to reclaim their independence (and lost their catalog along the way).
We undervalue our financial value
Shonda Rhimes created her own wave and made television (Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder) with powerful female leads, very diverse casts and specific cultural references. It was a vision that she had to see, and fight for, as mainstream mediums weren't seeing the changes happening in the audience.
As I talk about in Bring Your Worth, we can't wait for permission to serve our audiences. Otherwise, we can undervalue our financial worth by letting gatekeepers decide what we are worth. To paraphrase War of Art author Steven Pressfield, our life is in the fight. It wasn't meant to be understood by everyone at once. And that sometimes means going independent, creating your own wave or building love directly with the audiences before getting that corporate cosign - and will often lead to better money in the long run.
We undervalue our gift to the world
Steve Jobs said all dots in our life eventually connect. True wisdom, though, is knowing which dots matter the most as you are living your life. I found this through serving people, as I shared with entrepreneur Will Lucas during my last book launch.
There has to be a Why, not just a What, and that drives you forward. I know people who made a financial killing, and who are in high demand in the market, but are miserable because they know there is something higher, something more important, for them to do with their lives.
The movers and shakers we admire today - the Shonda Rhimes of the world - knew that they had something to offer before people were literally throwing money at them. You have to understand that before someone tells you. Otherwise, you're just waiting for someone to say "Yes" - and that could be a long time.