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Share Your Vision, Not Your Stupid To-Do List

Informing is ok, but inspiring is better.

Information leads to knowledge, but inspiration leads to action. | Magic Room Brand

We recently celebrated our son Penn’s 4th birthday party. It was a great day spent at a few of his favorite spots around town. It naturally made me think back to when we were planning his first birthday party. For that party, we rented one of those outdoor shelters at a park nearby and invited a bunch of family and friends to come spend a few summertime hours with us. His name being Penn, like the tennis brand, we decided to go with a tennis theme. Tennis court cake. Green table covers. Yellow balloons. I know, right?

I’m a weirdo about details, so for that one final detail, I wanted to get a bunch of tennis balls to give out to kids and to help with decor. As you might know, tennis balls — like golf balls — are numbered so people know which one is theirs when mixed with others. Penn brand tennis balls come 1 through 4. I wanted to get a case of Penn 1 balls because it was his first birthday and I am clever as hell, you guys. Right? Right.

But here’s the thing, you can’t just get a case and have them all be numbered the same. It’s not like that. So, one day, I sat on the floor of Sports Authority and went through the entire shelf of Penn brand tennis balls putting aside all the canisters (three balls each) of Penn 1 balls.

It took about 10 minutes of a sales associate to come give me the, “Hi, ummm finding everything ok?” which I immediately and accurately translated to, “Hi, ummm what the f**k are you doing?”

My mistake: I only told him WHAT I was doing

I told him I was looking only for canisters containing Penn 1 tennis balls. He said he would help and I expressed my appreciation. So there we were, two dudes sitting on the floor going through each tennis ball canister looking for Penn 1s. I calculated I needed around 20 canisters so we were there a while. Looking back, I think we were there for about 15 minutes…then it happened…

I started getting the vibe that he was immediately regretting helping me. Poor guy was just trying to be a helpful employee, going above and beyond and all that shit that I am sure is in bold type in the employee handbook that only he read, and now he’s sitting on the floor helping someone that’s acting like a sociopath with an obsessive-compulsive disorder.

I realized that he’s been helping too long to stop, but not long enough to know what the hell I was doing. He looked freaked out.

But then I told him WHY I was doing it

It took me 15 minutes, and I’m embarrassed by that, but then I told him that my son’s name is Penn and we’re preparing for his 1st birthday party and I thought a bunch of Penn 1 tennis balls would be a nice touch.

I saw the wave of relief fall over him and he laughed, then agreed that it would be a nice touch, then laughed again.

It was another few minutes until we went through all of them. I didn’t think we had enough, but this guy told me to hold on, went to the back room with extra inventory, and pulled out more cases of tennis balls. After a few more minutes, we had what I needed.

I made sure to let the manager on duty know that he was awesome and super helpful.

Lesson: Share your vision

Sure, he was helpful when he didn’t know why we were doing what we were doing, but once I explained to him my vision and why we were there, then he really got into it. He felt a part of it and seemed a little more invested in helping make my kid’s party great.

Building Magic Room Brand has been fun, but in the “busy-ness” of things, sometimes it’s easy to just tell people the “what” you do. It’s easy to understand and that’s it. Fine.

But it’s when I tell people the “why” I do it that really reaches people on another level. It’s one thing to know something, it’s another to “get” something. “Getting” something implies that there is a shared feeling involved.

Information leads to knowledge, but inspiration leads to action.

“So what do you do?”

But, for whatever reason, people only ask what you do. Weird, right? Starting today, let’s see if we can add a, “because” in that answer and then explain why you do it.

“I do ___ because I’ve found that ____.”

Inviting people into what your vision is can inspire them to do things: make a strategic introduction, collaborate, or get up and go to the back room to check extra inventory. Whatever it is, assume that’s what people are asking you and maybe they’ll soon realize that that is, in fact, the better question.


Vijoy Rao || Founder // Magic Room Brand
Eco-friendly music accessories for today’s musicians. Sound — Strength — Sustainability.

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Vijoy Rao

Vijoy Rao

Drummer • Painter • Father • Founder of @magicroombrand • Lover of records, ballpark nachos, and bad puns — sometimes all at once.