by Maisie Smith on November 6, 2014
I’ve been listening to the soundtrack from ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’ for a solid week. On repeat. Sweeping, epic music has a way of getting me dialed into my work. I’ll write for a bit and then inevitably get caught up in thinking about Frodo’s quest… not so much about the perils along the ominous path to Mordor, but about the power of one person. I think about the Hobbits back in The Shire, going about the business of growing their potatoes and drinking their ale, never knowing that a quiet journey of legendary proportions was underfoot to save their world.
I relate to Frodo. He was simple. Unfussy. Entrusted with a difficult task.
Frodo didn’t have a pitch. He didn’t “soft launch” his journey or crowdfund his way through Middle Earth. He didn’t stop every few minutes to take the “most awesome selfie” or send a “quick tweet.”
He simply set out to be of service.
Someone asked me this week, “What’s your elevator pitch?” To which I responded, “I don’t have one. I prefer conversations over pitches.” Rote memorization that sums up who I am? Clever wordplay that leaves people scratching their heads? No thanks. Usually when someone asks that uninspired question, “So, what do you do?” I’ll reply back with, “I’m all about rocking small corners.” It opens up the door to telling them more about my desire to serve.
What does that mean?
Every business owner, at one time, will need to decide whether they want to be big… or small. Do you want everyone to know your name? An email list of 300? 3000? 300,000? Do you want a large army or a small community?
I choose to stay deliberately small. Deliberately intentional. Boutique-y. I don’t work with just anyone. I simply serve the small number of people on this earth that need my voice.
The hustle doesn’t interest me.
I’m good with my small corner. A corner where I work tirelessly to write good stuff for a very specific audience. A corner where I help adventurous businesses tell better stories. A corner where black and white turns to color… like going from Kansas to Oz.
Not everyone likes Oz. And that’s okay. I don’t like Kansas all that much, either. My corner may not be your corner.
Here’s the thing… I’m not polished. I swear a little too much. Sometimes I eat candy for lunch. My use of ellipses (…) has hit an all-time high. And I care way too much about my hair.
I’m also a spanking-good merging of grace and badassery. It’s an interesting blend, like chocolate-covered bacon. I will respect the shit out of your opinions. Your goals and dreams matter… and I’ll do whatever I can to make them happen. I’ll also kick your ass if I deem it necessary. And I’ll call you out on your crap over and over. Because I know you, I adore you. I’m not afraid to do what it takes to make your business better.
Small corners are like that.
I’m a benevolent disrupter. Good stuff happens in that space where the status quo is stomped on.
I’m the quiet storm, that wind that blows through and ruffles the papers on your desk. And maybe your feathers from time to time.
I prefer small not because I am afraid of big, but because staying small is the place where I can make the most difference. Impact isn’t about the size of your audience. It’s about creating purpose and spreading a message. For one person. For one business. And having that ripple travel through a much larger pond.
“Even the smallest person can change the course of the future,” voiced Galadriel to Frodo when he told her he was afraid, that he couldn’t possibly make a difference, that he was only one person.
Small can be mighty. It’s time to own that.
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How do you want to show up in the world? I’d really like to hear about it in the comments.
You might be interested in the first blog post I wrote about small corners. You can find it here.