Have you ever been at a party, talking to someone about an idea that gets you all fired up, when suddenly the person gets a cunning look in their eye and interrupts you to exclaim:
"Do you know Sandy So-and-So?"
You stop talking mid-sentence. There is that name again.
"No," you say slowly. "I can't say we've met. But I've heard of her."
"Yes," the person says excitedly. "You two should ABSOLUTELY meet. From what you're saying, I just KNOW you two would have SO MUCH in common. You should REALLY connect with her. I'll introduce you by email."
You smile and nod, thinking of the five other people who have gushed to you about the mysterious Sandy in recent months.
"And what does Sandy do, exactly?" You ask cautiously.
"Oh," the person responds, "it's really hard to describe. But, she's TOTALLY changed my life. And she'll change yours, too. Seriously, she's revolutionary."
The person keeps talking, but now you are somewhere else, transported by intense curiosity and mild annoyance. Who IS this Sandy person, and what does she DO that is so life-changing, and why can't anyone TELL you what that is? And how IS it that all the same people who know Sandy... are somehow also finding YOU?
Here's the thing: How you feel about Sandy, is how I feel about the Landmark Forum.
In the past 6 months, I have found myself in conversation with at least half a dozen different clients and colleagues who have GUSHED to me about this 3-day seminar, and how much what I teach aligns with what THEY teach.
And yet, not ONE of these people has been able to articulate what the course is actually ABOUT.
Instead, they resort to telling me stories of how it changed their lives:
"All I can tell you is that my wife and I both attended Landmark, and it is the foundation of our 30-year happy marriage."
If you go to their website, you'll see that Landmark is "designed to bring about positive and lasting change in your life." Anyone looking for a more detailed story beyond "redefining what's possible," however, will be sorely disappointed.
Without yet knowing anything about it, the Landmark example highlights the power of meta-story:in other words, the truth of you as told by your actions.
The story you tell is what you put on your website. Your meta-story, on the other hand, is what OTHER peopletell their friends about what it's really like to know and work with you.
If you wonder which is more powerful, let's just say that after hearing six different accounts of personal transformation at the hands of the mysterious Landmark, I finally forked over a chunk of my professional development budget to attend.
Which is where I've been sitting all weekend, from 9am to 10pm, three days in a row.
Will I come back with a story to tell you about it? Perhaps. Who knows -- maybe the reason for everyone's vagueness is that they make you sign a non-disclosure. But Landmark and Sandy aside, the question I invite you to reflect on is this:
If you were to imagine the ideal story that others would tell about what it's like to know or work with you -- what would that story sound like?
And what would you have to DO, to create the kind of experience that would inspire them to tell it?