Outside the Norm

Image courtesy of photopin.com and linked to originating site

I am currently enrolled in several classes, learning skills to better serve my clients. In one of them, I am learning about sales techniques and the power of strong copywriting for sales.

Having been a Wordy Wordsmith for as long as I can remember, I innately understand the energy of words and the power behind using words that pack a punch to achieve a specific desired result. For instance, gargantuan portrays a very different image than big; emerald provides more specificity than green; and refreshing adds more depth to the experience than cool.

The other day, we were discussing the difference between “here” and “get.” The facilitator had offered the example of “here is your free report” versus “get your free report.” She queried the class to see which statement had the better response. Interestingly, of the 10 or so participants, only 2 chose the first statement with “here” – so only 20% of the class felt drawn to “here” when 80% of the class was drawn to “get.”

Once our results were in, the facilitator commented, “Most of you chose the second one with ‘get,’ however, research shows that the first one crushes the second. Online, ‘here’ gets clicked over 7% of the time, while ‘get’ only gets clicked 2.2% of the time.” While I can see that her original test results showed that “here” was more powerful of a draw than “get,” the results of the test we had just taken showed the complete opposite.

Thing is, I can see the logic of the “here vs. get” game. “Here” indicates it’s a gift and nothing has to be done to receive it other than clicking that button, so in a way it feels more inviting. “Get” seems to imply that you’ve got to actually do some work other than clicking the button, although there is nothing more required of you. And I can also see that “get” is an action of “taking” rather than “receiving” so there is that energy involved in it as well. I see these valid points, but our test results were in direct contradiction with the point she was trying to make.

So, I have wondered about this for over a week now because I have often found myself in the “test results” that were contrary to the majority. I have often been involved in groups where I could see the value of the option that the least amount of people were choosing and I went that way instead. I have repeatedly chosen to go against the current, rather than with the flow because I could see something that was upstream that I desired to reach. There isn’t a lot of coaching about swimming upstream. More often than not, the best coaches and mentors will teach about going with the current. So why do I insist on being outside the norm?

What I have come to discover is there are many benefits of going with the norm and allowing the current of the moment to sweep me along gently – benefits like needing to expend less energy, begin carried along by the energy of the crowd, not needing to reinvent the wheel or come up with a plan when someone else has already perfected it. I have also discovered benefits of being outside the norm – benefits like being the one that sets the ‘norm’ by which all things are measured, being able to create the path and all the excitement that is involved with the process of discovery involved with that process, being able to do or create something that has never been done before, and even, in a way, there is something so empowering about going against the current because it  actually takes less work to achieve strength.

I know that last bit may sound wonky, but stay with me for a bit. According to an article on health.usnews.com, “Strength or resistance training is vital for many reasons; besides the obvious muscle-building, it can help burn more calories and shore up bones, among other benefits.”  (For an even more extensive list of benefits, visit emedicinehealth.com) As I was saying, resistance produces greater results in a shorter amount of time.

There is a part of me that understands this concept and it is that part of me that often leads the show. I step onto the path with the intent of getting to my destination, focus on what is happening in that moment, and sometimes enter the forest because I can see a way through that will reduce the time for others if I but only clear the way. This is the process of being outside the norm. I am frequently clearing the path for others to follow; I am trying new things; I am trying old things in new ways; and even, sometimes, I am choosing to go with the flow, but I’m often doing it in a raft that is painted with glittering paint and nymph bells.

I find much joy in not going with the crowd, I must admit. I find that being in the middle of the crowd to be disorienting and stuffy – mostly because that is my physical experience, given that I am so short. *giggling* But, in truth, that is my energetic experience as well. If I am choosing to be with the crowd, then I often lose sight of my own light and I become absorbed in the energy of the crowd, growing dim until I finally realize I have doused my own flame.

It boils down to what kind of experience you want to have. Being outside the norm develops “muscles” in different ways, produces unique outcomes, and sometimes it means that you are standing outside, in the middle of a field, alone. But, if you’re willing to be brave, sometimes there, in the middle of the field where you are all alone, you will turn and discover that you are on the edge of a reflective lake and are there to witness a full-on, explosive display of the Aurora Borealis because you chose to “get” on a different path.

photo credit: Håkon Iversen Photog – On and off Flickr via photopin cc

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I always welcome your thoughts, questions, and comments.
Feel free to jot down what you’re thinking in the comment box below.

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