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Hero's journey (6): "Leap of faith" - I'll just jump away.

"Screw it, let's do it!" This is one of Richard Branson's favourite sayings and the title of his book on "Lessons in life and business".

Anyone who takes action knows that at some point the time will come when you simply have to jump into the cold water. So it's best to do it now, because in two minutes the water won't be any warmer and the ditch you have to cross won't narrow by itself.

The most dangerous, daring and thus heroic jump, however, is neither over hill and dale nor into icy waters, but over one's own shadow. Compared to this jump, the path over glowing coals feels like a foot massage through peacock feathers.


In the blogcast, I read this recent blog article to you. With emphasis, of course!

Richard Branson himself has jumped often and often. In risky stunts for spectacular advertising appearances in the service of his Virgin companies, in no less risky stunts as a multiple company founder, entrepreneur, businessman, philanthropist, mentor. Richard Branson's business is "... like rock'n'roll", Sir Richard plays live and loud. And he always jumps over the long shadow of doubt that gets in his way under the low sun of uncertainty.

Excuse me? Someone like Richard Branson has self-doubt?!?

I'm going on the assumption that he's not crazy! But at least he is crazy enough to push the boundaries of what people thought was possible, especially for him, the dyslexic and school failure. Richard Branson has pushed his limits and thus the limits for others. He set off for new, unknown shores, brought what he had discovered home to his old world, which was thus transformed into a new world. And he opened up this new world for all of us.

A hero's journey in its purest form, with many decisive steps and the all-important leap: The Leap of Faith.

Take a leap of faith.

If you want to make a difference, whether in business or in life, you have to move. Get out of the comfort zone, out of the safe haven and into the unknown. Understand the "Stop!", "Stop!" and "Don't go!" cries of others as encouragement and realise that when someone tells you " You can't!", what they really mean is " I can't!

Be reasonable? - Reasonable is like dead, only before.

Yes, control is good, but trust in the future is a thousand times better. By the way, there are no facts about the future anyway, especially not in business, even if we like to convince ourselves of this and want to prove it with many studies.

The Bastille was probably not stormed because of the pretty cake graphic on the 37th PowerPoint slide. What counts is justified hope. "We have hope. Rebellions are built on hope," says Jyn Erso in Star Wars: Rogue One . We need hope and confidence that tomorrow can be better than today, will be better if ... yes - if ...: I'll just jump away ...

At some point you have to shoot the arrow, and at that moment it takes a path that you can no longer influence. A gust of wind from the side, and your arrow misses its target; or hits the bull's-eye for that very reason; or misses by an arseful - but to everyone's surprise, this point even turns out to be the better target?

All you can do is give it your best, then jump with a spirited "Screw it, let's do it!" and above all: have faith.

Trust needs courage.

Do you have to be as foolhardy for that as Richard Branson has been time and again? No.
But it does take the courage of a Richard Branson. Courage does not mean being free of doubt or fear. On the contrary: "Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway", John Wayne knew, and God knows he's one hell of a guy. That much is certain.

The Leap of Faith - the leap of faith. This is the station on the hero's journey - that is, on the way out of the safe harbour and through self-awareness into a new world in which we continue to live our lives as a truer version of ourselves in a more meaningful way than we have been able to do so far - where we take the decisive step. From now on, there's no turning back.

When you have something to sell, your clients are on their personal hero's journey to a better world. The Leap of Faith in this version of the Hero's Journey is: "I'll buy it!

"Yes, it's a lot of money, and the cheaper thing would do, but I want this, and ..."
"I've never had the confidence to wear trousers like these before, but ..."
"I have no idea if I'll ever be able to use this software, but if ..."
"In the election campaign, everyone promises you the moon anyway, but if they really ..."
"Am I happy in my job? No. - Will I be happy in this new job? Quite possibly, and if so, then ..."
"Screw it, let's do it!"

We buy what we want to be.

We do not buy products and services, but what we want to be. For that, we need the confidence that we will be it with it.

When we buy, we don't pay for the thing, we actually write a cheque for the leap of faith on what we want to become as a result. Here's to improving our status, being able to talk about it and, best of all, even being approached about this feat of ours.
"The iPhone XII is just something for people who think differently ..."
"Pants like these are for those with a special style ..."
"With this app you could also do what I can do ..."
"We are the good guys - and now finally at the helm ..."
"Wow! Your work has meaning and impact ..."
"Screw you, I did it!"

Trust is something you experience.

The act of purchase is a decisive moment in the relationship between brand and audience, because it is at this moment that the delicate bonds of fresh trust tighten into a knot - or immediately fall apart again.

Trust is built through the shared story of brand and audience: through the shared values, through the shared aspirations. The shared story is the springboard for the Leap of Faith . Into pleasure, into trust.

Confidence manifests itself in real experience when the story becomes tangible, experiential truth - or not. Brand Experience is the name of the now hip rock band, and they play best live and loud like Richard Branson.

Brand Experience is also the big opportunity for so-called brick-and-mortar retail as an answer to the question: "How can we stand up to the greedy online store monster, from whose very greedy mouth it smells like Amazon?"

Now, when the sacred retail trinity of Black-Friday sales, XMas shopping and St. John's exchange daysprovide tons of opportunities for real brand experience, it becomes apparent who understood what - or still doesn't.

Leap of Faith as a backflip.

Recently I had a little experience that André Heller had been preparing for 35 years. That's how long it took until new song material from the firebrand Viennese poet was finally thrown onto the market again: "Spätes Leuchten", you can say out loud.

Release date Friday, 15 November - El Story Duderino knows what to do to make sure his weekend has the right soundtrack. And on vinyl.

The last remaining record shop in Vienna's city centre, beste Riede, is entered, the artwork is found on the 2nd floor, and it is the only available copy. A special edition, supplemented by a signed Heller graphic and therefore at a handsome price for an LP. The resulting phimosis would undoubtedly have inspired even Andreas Gabalier to write a useful song lyric. But so be it: "Leap of Faith, Baby! Screw it ...!" After all, it's about a much sought-after LP, the weekend, joy, early pride of ownership, and a bit of madness too, in other words, everything that is beautiful. The wisdom "You have to suffer for beauty" sometimes comes across more broad-legged than one understands at first hearing.

At the cash desk sits a young lady who does not associate customers' payment requests with her presence. Next to her is her colleague in a stained T-shirt that won't be able to cover his protruding belly much longer if this keeps up. Unlike his colleague, who is more likely to be a regular on Team No-Tasker, he is a true multi-tasker and could do many things at once:
- hold his smartphone with one hand and type in a long text with his thumb at a crazy speed
- not looking at the customer and not making any communication noise
- collect the amount a little bit grumpy
- not offering the customer (=me), who is standing in front of him with a trolley and a travel bag, a shopping bag.
- embodying the fact that Heller's and Qualtinger's "Heurige und gestrige Lieder" have lost none of their timeless beauty since 1976 and that those words in particular are also kept warm by the younger generation:

With me you are all in the Oasch daham
In the Oasch there is Eicha Adress
With me youare all in the oasch daham
And I am the Oasch's abscess
- Showing what a single person can actually change.
- Turning the stink of Amazon into fragrance

What positive experience could have happened there if the guy had known his own personal story of his usefulness at work (= his hack'n in Viennese) and understood what I just bought?

Is it really sooo difficult to create what is always gargled as a "positive shopping experience" as an advantage against the online store? That costs exactly - if I do the maths - yes: € 0,-.

As a retailer, you would only have to understand your own story and share it internally first, so that the team gets it and also understands what people are really buying here - see above.

This much is certain: countless LPs, CDs, DVDs, singles, cassettes etc. have been paid for there, but not a single one has been bought. None, zero - but beautiful weekends, enchanted hours, pride of ownership, joy, prepared joy, inspiration, connoisseur conversations, memories, anticipations - everything was bought there, but not a single sound carrier.

We do not work for money.

If Mr. Multitask had known his story, he would have known mine - because it would have been our shared story. With three sentences he would have turned any unease I had about the expensive LP into a unique triumph and also knotted an inseparable bond of trust, because the two of us - the last record shop in the centre of Vienna and I, the André Heller vinyl buyer - shine in the sea of soullessness as the last lighthouses of poetry and are therefore the heroes in the first place who, side by side like Plato and Socrates, keep the true, the good & the beautiful alive. And all this with a good old new long-playing record! Charged in this way, my way home would have turned into a triumphal procession, which I would have ploughed through the knee-high but very dense wave of the Far Eastern tourist, completely free of pain. Later I would have proudly posted something and, who knows, maybe even reported on it in my blog this time.

I'm not doing that now, of course.

But I report that yesterday I passed a book(!) shop in the centre of Vienna, where a shop window was lovingly illuminated by "late glow" and inside also has many things to offer that remind one of Khalil Gibran's prophet and what he means by "work is love made visible", while outside the fug of Amazon is moving towards the record shop.

It's quite possible that I'll drop by there one day for a Leap of Faith, and those who know me know: I won't go home empty-handed.

You don't have to work elegantly and prestigiously in a record shop or a bookshop in the centre of Vienna to find fulfilment at work. You can always do that, and in my experience you can even do it as a rubbish collector. I have written down a few more thoughts on this here.

The leap of faith is a highly sensitive micro-moment in an act of purchase, in the hero's journey of a potential customer, an employee, supporters. Whether it is a service, software, food, fashion, books, cars, consultancy, votes, jobs or LPs that are the subject of the act of purchase, in these split moments everything that is available in terms of trust comes into being or goes out of existence.

Trust grows on why, for what, why.

Those who know how to score points here and generate enthusiasm strike the well to the source of earned media, from which the community greedily draws because it can tell about itself in this way and loves to do so. Kurt Tucholsky told us, "As is well known, one is so proud of nothing as of what one has known for two minutes." What we are proud of, we like to tell others. If it's convenient, on the shop tour or before the shop door on Instagram.

Who knows, if Kurt Tucholsky were alive today, he might not pick up a pen but a Fender , probably a Telecaster, and tell us things like Bruce Springsteen:
It takes a leap of faith to get things going
It takes a leap of faith you gotta show some guts
It takes a leap offaith to get things going
In your heart you must trust ...

Trust needs courage. And courage comes when you know what for, why, why. Then the how & what come all by themselves.

Those who know and live their story transform a concern into a concrete experience, hope into trust and customers into like-minded people. Concerns, values, hope bring movement into people and people into movement - with a little luck even into our business.

Confidence that life on the new, unknown shore can be better for us than staying in the safe harbour and the hope that we will reach it, nourishes the motivation at the beginning of every hero's journey.

That's what Story does for and with us. That's why story makes us strong - as people, as companies and brands, as a society. With Story we lead our lives, we lead our organisations and we lead into the future - if we find it, recognise it and share it. Every good (brand) story shows the values it stands for, that you stand for in your business, behind your work, behind the cash register.

Regardless of whether you are a global corporation, an SME or a heroic lone fighter as an EPU: every person, every brand, every company has and needs at least one archaic value and the story activated by it, which is worth the leap of faith. If you don't have a magnetic value as a living theme, there's only one other thing left: price. And price here is just another word for brand value sell-off due to business dissolution.

So to all those who say, "It doesn't apply to me, and it certainly doesn't apply to my brand," I would urge you to consider those words that my grandmother, old Story Dudette, calligraphed on the door of Virgin Records with a dazzling pen from the magnificent wheel of a peacock's tail: "No Story. No Glory."

P.S.: The links to Amazon are meant as a service for your first snoop and in case you want to feed your Kindle right away. Every stationary bookseller is happy about a purchase and will get you any book in no time, even those in independent publishing. Sometimes you have to turn your hand over two or three times ... The extra reward: when you visit your favourite bookshop, there is always a lot to discover. And you will be found by the very best books, but only if you go into their territory ...

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