Are you the steward or the star?

2011 08 Michael Buble 23
Creative Commons License photo credit: marbla123

Just a simple question for you this week, and I’d love to hear your feedback:

Do you see yourself as the steward or the star in your speaking business?

One definition of steward, according to Merriam-Webster, is “one appointed to supervise the provision and distribution of food and drink in an institution.”

I like that, but it’s not food and drink you’re distributing, obviously. It’s your message. So…

What if, for speakers, we change the definition to “one appointed to supervise the provision and distribution of an inspiring, empowering message among the people”?

With this definition, the attention shifts from you to your content, or your message — a message that, while not quite as essential as food and drink :), you believe people need… right?

Your job, then, is not to position yourself prominently in the marketplace… not to make sure you look good on stage… not to make sure you get all the praise…

Instead, your job is simply to propagate your message and make sure it is consumable by as many people as possible (within your target audience).

You are an essential piece of this puzzle — don’t get me wrong. You are the one who has been inspired with your message and you have unique gifts and talents for delivering the message.

But does this slight shift in thinking change anything?

Now what is your objective when you market to prospective clients? Not just to get a booking and collect a paycheck, but to “distribute provisions” to a hungry, thirsty audience.

What is your objective when you write articles? Not just to add another credit to your list or get exposure, but to help even more people.

What is your objective when you create products to sell? Not just to diversify revenue and create “passive income,” but to make your content consumable for more people, and to make sure there are funds to support the further spread of your content.

Am I being too idealistic? Too dramatic?

Or, is it possible that seeing yourself as a steward could transform your business? (And is it possible that it could, coincidentally, result in you becoming a star?)

Comment below and tell me what you think!

6 Comments on “Are you the steward or the star?

David Humes
August 23, 2011 at 1:15 pm

EXCELLENT! Get off of SELF/ME focused (ego) and onto THEM and your MESSAGE focused. Everyone wins. Reminds me of “The greatest servant among you shall lead.” Deliver value to others and you will be valued by them.

August 23, 2011 at 1:20 pm

David Humes:

Deliver value to others and you will be valued by them.

Well said, David! Thanks for reading and commenting.

August 23, 2011 at 1:26 pm

People want head and heart. That means simple language deep ideas.

not easy but you know it when it’s right.


August 23, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Hi Michael! Good to see you on here. Thanks for chiming in.

Jerome Mayne
August 23, 2011 at 1:59 pm

I’m glad you said, “…distribution of an inspiring, empowering message…” instead of, “…the dissemination of information…”.

I am definitely not the premier expert on business fraud and ethics – but that’s what I speak about. That said, I’ve had success being the “fraud and ethics” speaker. I attribute this success to the fact that I’ve developed the ability to connect with my audiences, bring them with me and show them the world (my perspectives) through my eyes. I have found that then, and only then, will they walk out of the room more inspired than the were before they walked in. I believe that if we concentrate solely on positioning ourselves as experts in our fields we can loose sight of perfecting the presentation part of what we do – connecting with our audiences.

I realize that this is a bit of a digression from the gist of the article, but I feel it is an important point and one worth mentioning along with this Steward or Star post.

August 23, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Good stuff, Jerome, and thanks for sharing a bit of your story here!

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