“I am a Senior Vice President at one of the nation’s largest base operation support service contractors. I manage every functional department within the company except IT and Finance. I am a two-time graduate of CSU, most recently receiving my MBA. I live in Fort Collins.”
Boy – I really believed that elevator speech. So much so, it WAS my identity.
After walking away from a lucrative career last year, I lost that identity. It was lost because my elevator speech was no longer valid. Nothing in that speech was really about me. I was bullshitting myself with my own elevator speech.
Most elevator speeches sound the same: I am a (INSERT BULLSHIT TITLE), at (INSERT BULLSHIT COMPANY). I lead (INSERT BULLSHIT PROJECT EXAMPLES). I went to INSERT COLLEGE (btw – that is never bullshit). I live in (INSERT TOWN).
Do we do this because we don’t necessarily like exactly who we are – out loud? Or can we not articulate our own persona?
Well, I would just like to say – this is bullshit. Narrowly framing ourselves, putting our personas in a convenient bucket for others to identify with, causes us to lose ourselves. It has an immeasurable opportunity cost to it. To not being you. To not proudly telling the world exactly who you are. We have to give up something when we bullshit ourselves. What you believe. Where your passions reside.
Many of us do a fabulous job of writing out, in an honest manner, our elevator speech. But I challenge you to ask yourself, is that really what you verbally express to people?
What are your opportunity costs for not sharing your entire you?
Composing a New Elevator Speech
One of my goals from week one of my altMBA was to really establish my verbal identity, so here is my first stab at a new elevator speech.
My passion is rescuing homeless pups.
I will never be done traveling the world.
I only read books that will expand my perspective. Or break my heart.
I’m the kind of friend that would help you bury a body.
I love beer. And my mom.
I fund these passions by being a rock star at marketing, operations, and finance. A full-stack executive. Shovel and all.
What better way to start a real conversation? Show our true selves. Saves a lot of time, especially when you realize, they don’t get it. It means they don’t get you. Shine your awesomeness toward someone who does.
While I need to work on honing it in a bit, this is me. No opportunity cost. No guilt. No lost art. No wondering if being myself will attract or deflect others.
Now, go write one helluva elevator speech.
“I’ve been accused of vulgarity. I say that’s bullshit.” ― Mel Brooks