I tried to shorten the title of this post, but anything less expansive would be selling short the importance of the message.

There's a single rule that apples to everything in business and life, a rule that guarantees long term success and a joyful journey along the way. That rule is:

Rule #1: It is not about you.

Hardly an hour goes by when I don't get emailed press releases and pitch letters that are all "I am famous for...", "I have accomplished...", "I want to...", "I'd like to", "Our product has...", "We are the first that...", "I am excited to...", "We are happy to..."

And on and on and on and on.

I ignore them or delete them. Why? Because I've read and heard the same stuff thousands of times already.

We're living in a world where we're all surrounded by thousands of people, all of them (us) screaming "LOOK AT MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"

The more connected we become, the louder that screaming gets, as everyone gets more and more frantic to cut through the noise and force, force, force their unique wonderfulness down everyone else's throats. They're all forgetting

Rule #1: It is not about you.

Your brand isn't about you. It's about how other people feel about you. It's THEIR emotions that make or break your brand, not how loudly you can spout your tag line.

Sales isn't about you. Nobody cares about your quota, your commission, your enthusiasm, or even your reputation. All they care about is what you can do for them.

Marketing isn't about you. Nobody gives a flying donut about your features, your functions, your product or your company. All they care about is what you can do for them.

Engineering isn't about you. All too often engineers blather on about technical issues without realizing it's all wasted energy if nobody wants to buy your product.

Management isn't about you. Management is all about making other people successful. If you don't get that basic fact, you'll be a terrible manager.

Are there egotists who become huge successes? Yeah, sure. But for every Steve Jobs in the world there are a million egotists spinning their wheels. They don't get

Rule #1: It is not about you.

And that leads to the more general subject of happiness. If there's anything I've learned in life it's that the more you think about yourself, the less happy you'll be.

Yes, it's worthwhile to understand your processes, your quirks and foibles. But being self-aware is wasted effort if you remain self-centered.

Happiness emerges when you forget about yourself and start caring about other people, listening to other people and helping other people. Happiness comes from

Rule #1: It is not about you.

Stop talking about yourself. Stop thinking about yourself. Stop trying to be unique. Put yourself in service to the world. Figure out how to help other people.

Make that your message and you will have a strong brand, become more skilled at selling, marketing and even engineering. You'll be a better manager, for sure. And you'll be happier.

It's really that simple.

Published on: Oct 24, 2015