What is value?

It is common to think that value is the thing we give and receive as part of a transactional exchange. You give an item and receive money for it. But limiting value to this means furthering the hurtful notion that life is nothing but a series of transactions we have to tip in our favor. Nothing could be farther from the truth. True value is the lifeblood of expansion. It’s what fuels happiness in you and others. True value expresses emotions and it spreads emotions. Transactions don’t have this power as they are limited to their bargaining power.

When two people meet for the first time they have the choice to engage in a transactional value exchange by promoting features that the other person might find interesting, and which might result in a favorable outcome, or they can opt to share their truth and express what they truly care about. Something which is not aimed at winning, but at celebrating oneself. “This is who I am, this is what I stand for. If it resonates with you, I am willing to share it with you.”

This is quite a paradigm shift from what the world teaches us- to sell ourselves. Offering your true value is not about selling, it’s about offering. You only put selling first when your value is limited to the benefit you expect from selling. But when the benefit is the joy of sharing your personal value, we stop selling and we start offering, giving and celebrating.

In a restaurant business, this is the difference between hosting (celebrating) and connecting people with food inventory (selling). What comes from this is an experience that is either emotional or transactional. An emotional experience means that someone catered to our hidden needs, gave us something we didn’t expect but secretly wished for, exceeded our hopes and dreams and nurtured our own desire to find and express our value. It creates a memory, an indentation in our timeline.

It makes us smile and makes us emotionally involved. We ask questions, we investigate and become involved. 

We are not just the passive consumer and onlooker that transactional restaurants and hotels ask us to be. When you stay at a hotel that shares real personal value, you stay at someone’s place, you get exposed to someone’s personal view on the world and you get to share that view with that person for a moment.

In a time where offerings are becoming more and more generic and exchangeable, we have lost the ability to cater to hidden needs and to express our deepest desires in our work as value. This has resulted in the Amazons, Hiltons, McDonalds and Walmarts of the world. All of which are undermining our emotional experiences on the daily, turning wonderful opportunities for discovery and growth into mere transactions.

If you know who you are and decide to express this truth as value via your work you can finally start painting your world in your favorite color and allow for those who long to see this color to experience it wholeheartedly. Stop going for the ever same hues just because you think they will sell, because there is evidence for it and because everyone is using them. Find your own color and splash it on every wall you can find. 

True personal value is not for everyone, and this is a good thing! We cannot have the entire world as our friends, we cannot serve everyone, we cannot agree with everyone. Our house is only so big, and true value requires us to pay attention when we give it. Stop wanting to supersize your businesses. Make your business small enough that your value remains connected to you, but big enough that those who need it can see it in its entirety. And true value is ALWAYS seen!

Lastly, don’t doubt yourself. True value is a powerful drug, Its effect is highly intoxicating. The one who follows it is much like the painter who’s feverishly creating a masterpiece because she has to. They don’t do it to satisfy a crowd but to bring out what’s inside of them. It makes them unstoppable, self-guided, uninfluenced and self-reliant.

Doesn’t this sound like a very enticing proposal for work? Know this: the world is waiting for you to do it and will repay you for your courage in doing so.


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