We all want more of something in life.
Money, time, customers, influence, respect, responsibility, free time, love, sex, happiness.
And one word gets us all of that. It’s not luck, it’s not passion, and it’s not hard work.
leverage (n): to use (a quality or advantage) to obtain a desired effect or result.
Leverage is the force you exert to get the result you desire, but not all forces are created equal. If you apply the force in the wrong direction, the proverbial crowbar is never going to get the door open.
Until we are able to leverage something in our lives (our voices, our writing, our knowledge, our tenacity, our connections, our kindness) so that it can be used, hired or enjoyed by others, we will continue wondering why our results aren’t matching our efforts.
The world wants something from you. It’s a transactional existence. Sorry.
From selling Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups to getting a raise, one side is willing to give something for a price, but it has to be a price the other side is willing to pay, otherwise leverage (and therefore, the transaction) doesn’t work.
Of course, it doesn’t have to just be about money, but if someone is investing love, time or energy into you or something you’re sharing, they are going to expect something in return: an emotion, a solution, a product, a feeling, or an expectation.
Why does the company that writes hand-written thank you notes get more repeat buyers than their competitors, regardless of price? Because they make their customers feel prestigious, special and wanted. That’s leverage.
Leverage is derived from the word (you guessed it) “lever,” which is itself derived from Latin as: to lift, or to lighten.
Recently, I was doing work for a client who told me after I helped him through a maze of uncertainty, “Bassam. You can’t ever leave. You make me look too good.” That’s lifting his status. That’s lightening his stress. That’s leverage.
You can have all the hopes and dreams you want, but without leverage, you have not given the world reason enough to align their wants with your efforts.
We can all leverage something. What is your (or your company’s) quality or advantage that is going to lift or lighten someone else? What’s in it for them? And what do they owe you to get what you’re giving away?