At a marketing conference five years ago, in the late evening after the formal sessions had ended, there were two gatherings that just kind of happened.
In one corner of the hotel, a group of people came together. It was a largish group and a bit on the noisy side. There were the usual guys. Some in untucked dress shirts and others in garish t-shirts. There were little guys talking loud about this or that recent achievement, with a listener or two looking to escape.
They were drawn to this corner because of the handful of “big names” at the nucleus. If this group had a banner it would read “The Wannabes.”
Far away on the other side of the large hotel was another informal gathering. This one was smaller and quieter. If they had a banner it would read “The Becomings.”
The Wannabes are drawn to stories of sudden riches. Of brilliant product launches. Of overnight success. Of flashy cars and volleyball on the beach. On their banner would be a picture of the hare.
The Becomings tell stories of slow but steady. Of real human beings overcoming life’s everyday obstacles to become someone. On their banner we’d see a smiling, winking – and yes perspiring – tortoise.
The Wannabes look to their “big names” to know what to do. Their guru shows his latest trick and they all go off to copy his performance.
The Wannabe looks for shortcuts. The Becoming seeks mastery.
The Wannabe’s model is a plagiarist. The Becoming’s model is an apprentice.
So the Becoming seeks out the best mentors he can find. He works to understand principle, not just practice. He then implements what he learns, assimilates and before long, he’s the master.
The Wannabe is driven by fear. He’s scared, but he puts on a macho face. He fools only himself, mostly.
The Becoming is driven by a deep knowing that he was put in this world to make an impact.
The Wannabe has a sharp eye for quick tricks. Something he can just deploy and it’ll work. Push-button simple.
The Becoming has a psychological aversion to mindless immitation. The mere thought of it hurts his pride. What’s it all worth if he doesn’t add his own soul and spirit to his work?
The Wannabe looks down on the Becoming. ”You Becomings aren’t cool. You’re not on the inside with the Big Names like I am.” He still believes that flash equals cash and that money rubs off by association.
The Becoming doesn’t care. He looks at the Wannabes and knows that few will ever amount to anything. And the few who do will probably follow the Angry Bird Arc – up with a glorious squack and down with a colorful crash.
The Wannabe friendship is built on expedience.
The Becoming friendship is built on mutual respect. It’s a brotherhood of two fellows couragiously covering for each other in one of life’s many battles.
The Wannabe leader, the “Big Name,” holds a secret disdain for his followers.
The Becoming leader has a deep respect for his. Often, he sees and cultivates a power in his apprentice that the apprentice didn’t know was there.
The Wannabe wants to be comfortable and taken care of.
The Becoming wants more and more responsibility.
The Wannabe wants to arrive already.
The Becoming wants to master the journey.
It’s five years on. What stories are the members of each group telling today?
I’m proud that here in The Alchemist Entrepreneur’s Oasis we are a certified haven for Becomings.
We’re like a five-star restaurant with a plain facade and a simple sign. Those in the know come by and come in. The others walk by without a second glance.
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