Power of the Pen

Power of the Pen

What can you do to distinguish yourself, to set yourself apart? What is your goal, how badly do you want it and what will it take to get there? These are questions that driven individuals ponder on some level all the time but should also have application to what we do everyday. You don’t have to be creating a startup business in your basement or dissecting a corporate merger to think about these things. You can have a similar value proposition as the next guy or gal, yet your unique tactic or slant can make the difference.

Let’s get out of the clouds and into something practical that you can wrap your hands around. It’s a small yet powerful example that has made an impression on me in the last year. When was the last time you received a handwritten note? It doesn’t matter the occasion – a thank you for a gift; an appreciation for a visit or going the extra mile somehow; an out-of-the-blue acknowledgement for something you worked hard on – or, even better than these, just because. What made that special and different? From my perspective, those same sentiments may have been communicated in other ways, but they took on a new level of meaning when I held the paper and read the words.

Can I let you in on a little secret? This blog post is as much for me as anyone who happens upon this space. I’m on the laptop all day, so why can’t I just send an email? They know I love them – does it really matter if I write it out? You’re just being sappy and dramatic. My handwriting is chicken-scratch anyway. Handwritten notes are for grandparents. Here comes the big one. I just don’t have time to sit down and write out handwritten notes. They’re busy; they’ll understand.

So, here’s my small exhortation to take those big questions/thoughts from earlier and choose a simple, practical way to apply them. Be intentional. Don’t use it as a sneaky sales tactic. Be genuine. I was talking to a reporter a month or two ago, and he brought up a client by name – “Got a handwritten note from [so and so]; boy, you sure don’t see those much anymore.” I’ve had a boss who excelled at this characteristic, as well as a father who modeled this as well.

I don’t know about you, but it’s high time I picked up the pen and paper.