In this Ted Talk, Rick Sapio from Business Finishing School, lays out the foundational premise of how to distinguish your business from all the others by using one simple phrase.
JOIN RICK SAPIO IN DALLAS FOR HIS 13TH BUSINESS BOOTCAMP
FEBRUARY 23-25TH IN DALLAS TEXAS
CLICK BELOW TO LEARN MORE
Transcript from Purpose 2.0: Using a Catalyzing Statement to Transform Your Future: Rick Sapio at TEDxBocconiU
What I’m here to talk about today is Purpose 2.0 because I believe we have a huge problem in the world. How do we get messages to people when we’re inundated with so much stuff? All of us are buried in a blizzard of information. How do we get everybody on the same page quickly to produce the desired outcome? So I’m here to introduce you to the catalyzing statement. What is a catalyzing statement? Well first, let’s look at the word catalyze. What does the word catalyze mean? The word catalyze means by introducing this agent something else happens. It’s an agent for change so as an example if you wanted to have water boil, what catalyst would you use. You would probably introduce a hot flame, okay. So that’s a catalyst. A catalyzing statement first and foremost is a meme. What’s a meme. A meme is a viral idea that spreads instantly. Think about it. When 200,000 people gathered at the Lincoln Memorial to hear Martin Luther King, did they get an invite? Did they? They didn’t. It was a viral idea. It was a meme that spread rapidly. So then what is a catalyzing statement? A catalyzing statement is a meme that is willfully created to connect to your stakeholders so that they help you achieve the desired outcome. That’s what you want, isn’t it?
So let’s think about some of these catalyzing statements that changed the world and hopefully this presentation plants a seed in your head about being a catalyzing agent in the world. When John F. Kennedy inherited the Space Program in 1960, he inherited a purpose. So we’re going to tell you now on Purpose 2.0 and connect it to a catalyzing statement, which is the goal. The purpose he inherited was what? We want to beat the Soviets in the space race. Isn’t that what we want? That’s the purpose of the Space Program. But John F. Kennedy knew that that wasn’t enough. He needed to create a catalyzing mechanism to catalyze massive action and then on September 12, 1962, he said those famous words and I’m going to summarize: “We will send a man to the moon and return him safely to earth by the end of the decade of the ‘60s.” Think about that. That is a massive human achievement. That would not have happened without that catalyzing mechanism. Think about it, 7-1/2 years later it happened.
Did you know that there were materials and machinery and mechanisms, all kinds of stuff, that were invented that didn’t exist before? In 7-1/2 years. It takes more than 7-1/2 years to get approval to put a building here. It took 9 years to get a park built behind my office. We all have the ability to string together a group of words that will cause massive action.
My relatives come from Italy and I often think, “Wow this beautiful country with its passion and its love of culture and all these incredible things. Who is going to step forward and take on a catalyzing statement, put a stake on the ground for what Italy could be and pull it back up into world prominence.” A catalyzing statement can do that.
I’m going to give you more examples. Bill Gates, when he started Microsoft, what did he say? “I want to build the most recognizable software company in the world.” That’s a pretty cool purpose, right? But then he said those famous words. What did he say? Catalyzing statement. “I envision a world…” What? “…with a computer on every desktop.” What did that do? It caused massive productivity, an explosion of productivity. What did it do? It catalyzed the best programmers in the world to help him.
Let me give you some more examples of catalyzing statements, and they come in all shapes and sizes. When it absolutely positively has to be there overnight. You know that more 250,000 people work for FedEx and it didn’t even exist until 1974 or ’75. Think about that. They took on the US Postal Service. They said, “You know what, do you mind if we ship a package for 10 bucks overnight?” and the US Postal Service said, “Pffft, you can have that niche,” and it exploded. Why? Because they had a compelling catalyzing statement.
Ideas worth spreading. We wouldn’t all be here if Ted didn’t have a compelling catalyzing statement to catalyze action to put events like this on all over the world. We build the safest cars in the world. A little Swedish company became a local brand and now how many millions of families, what’s the first thing they do when they find out they’re having a baby? They rush out and they want to buy one of the safest cars in the world. That catalyzed massive action. It catalyzed engineers to come forth and create these cars. It catalyzed families to help build this company ‘cause they believed so much in what the company produces and if they get away from that as a company I think it’s a massive mistake. What was in the declaration of independence? “All men are created equal,” and that unleashed incredible power in the world of human potential.
And here is one that I like a lot. “30 minutes or less.” 30 minutes or less, what does that mean? You know that Domino’s Pizza was like every other pizzeria with one store and that one line, 30 minutes or less, took it from one store to 10,000 stores. That’s the power of a catalyzing statement. And I believe all of us need to look into our hearts, find our purpose and then convert it into a compelling catalyzing statement because I will assert that if you don’t do the grueling work to find out what you’re purpose it, then you’re ripping off the world. You’re ripping off the world, why? Because the world needs what’s in your heart. The world needs it. The world wants to know what’s in your heart and it wants you to express it. And if all of us do that, wow! What an incredible world this would be.
There’s another component to this story and that is most of us look at the world from a vertical, limited, hierarchical perspective where things are ranked one above the other. That’s how we look at the world. All of us do, especially here. That’s how we look the world. We need to look at the world from a horizontal radiant point of view. What’s a hierarchy? A hierarchy is when we rank things one above the other. That’s so limiting. When we have a hierarchical view of the world we say things to ourselves like, “Is he taller than me? Does he have more money than me? Does he come from a better family than me? Does he have more hair than me? Does he have bigger muscles than me? Is she skinnier than me? Is she more beautiful than me? Will she get a bigger promotion than me? Or a bigger diamond ring?” When we look at the world from a hierarchical perspective, what are we saying? We are saying that we don’t matter, that our purpose isn’t relevant, and I’m here to tell you that you need to flatten that view because when you make it horizontal what happens? That’s when you can get your catalyzing statement into the world and that’s when you can have an impact. And that’s when someone will step forward in this great country of Italy and put a stake in the ground and make it stand for something again. It’s all about us looking here to find the answers, not looking out there.
There’s a quote I heard a long time ago that says this:
“If you want something bad enough, the universe will conspire to give it to you.”
I believe that if you want something bad enough, it’ll be a hell of a lot easier for the universe to give it to you if you have a compelling catalyzing statement. I want to put this on the ground for you. I was in New York City and I was in a coffee shop and I was waiting for a client who never showed up. And while I’m sitting there waiting, I noticed a girl was on her cellphone over there talking to her friend. She seemed frustrated about a presentation she was about to make. So I had nothing to do and I waited for her to hang up the phone and I went up to her.
I introduced myself and I said, “Do you mind if I help you?” It was kind of an awkward moment. I’ll never forget her name. Her name was Meredith. I said, “What do you do?” She said, “I sell insurance,” and she said it like sheepishly. You know I kind of sell insurance, I’m gonna get another job later but right now I sell insurance. So I started talking to her about this thing that I’m talking to you about right now and we got into an animated conversation. We started talking about purpose and what’s in her heart and what her catalyzing statement is and I said, “Meredith, do you sell insurance or do you create freedom and wealth for widows?” and she started jumping up and down and she said, “That’s it, that’s it! I create freedom for people. That’s why I’m doing this job!” She got incredibly excited. Now I don’t know how long that excitement lasted because I never saw her again. But think about that. A short conversation like this catalyzed action in her and if we can imagine, maybe she went home and it catalyzed action in her family because now she was motivated to have higher income. And maybe it catalyzed action in her friends to give her referrals because now they were proud of what she did.
I have learned in life that there are really only two kinds of people. There are those who make things happen and those who watch things happen. Which one are you going to be? Which one are you going to be in the organization that you work for? Which one are you going to be in your family? Which one are you going to be in your city, in your church, in your country? Are you going to be somebody who stands by and watches? Or are you going to look into your heart, make a conscious willful choice to choose your purpose. Notice I didn’t say wait for your purpose to hit you over the head? You have to choose your purpose. I was giving a talk to a group of stay-at-home moms; not this large smaller group but stay-at-home moms and we’re talking about purpose and we’re talking about catalyzing statement and one of the women raised her hand and she said, “Rick, what’s your purpose?” and I said, “My purpose in life, the one that I’ve chosen is to inspire entrepreneurship,” and someone else said, “What’s your catalyzing statement?” and I said, “I envision a world with a successful entrepreneur inside of every family. What would that do for the world?” And another woman said, “But how does that help us? We’re just stay-at-home moms.” You know what the definition of entrepreneurship is to me? It’s taking responsibility for outcomes. And it was like the whole room shifted, like an electric shock went through everybody. You are responsible for the most important outcome on the face of the earth, our children. And these women got so motivated they started talking about ideas and how they could be better moms, how they could they be more entrepreneurial. And so I have a question for you, and you, and you, and you, all of you. Are you willing to do the grueling work necessary to figure out by looking in your heart what your purpose is then converting that purpose into a compelling catalyzing statement for you or for your organization. To orient your shareholders and your stakeholders and all the people that that catalyzing statement matters to, so that you can create an outcome that is a self-fulfilling prophesy. Thank you very much.
Rick Sapio is a lifelong entrepreneur who started his first business, a bicycle repair
shop, after the death of his father, when he was just 13 years old. Since then he
has founded more than 20 companies. His life’s purpose, which is to inspire entrepreneurship. Rick learned that business growth and success are accelerated when a few key principles are applied. He found that by learning “The 12 Foundational Principles of Business,” which he teaches in an online program called Business Finishing School; that virtually any individual or company can be put on the path to prosperity.