My first book, Living with a Seal, started as a blog.
I didn’t know what I was doing, but I knew I wanted to document the experience.
It wasn’t until a couple of years later that I realized I wanted to turn it into a book.
But I didn’t know anything about becoming an author, so I sought out others who did. And the first thing I learned was "Show, Don’t Tell".
It’s the number one rule in writing. You need to show the reader, not tell the reader.
An example: "Seal walked into the diner and was angry." That’s okay, I guess, but I’m telling you he was angry; it’s flat.
Here I show you: "Seal stormed into the diner, threw his keys down, and pounded his fist on the table.” It’s infinitely better when I show you the anger.
This principle holds beyond writing. In business, don't just tell customers about your product's features—show them the value in action. Demonstrate how it solves problems or enhances their life.
My wife, Sara Blakely, had one of the all-time best show don’t tell moments when she started selling Spanx. She felt like the pitch meeting was going sideways, so she brought the buyer into the bathroom to show her how great the product was.
Sara closed the sale right there in stall number two. Brilliant!
Similarly, my partner and I closed NetJets when we decided not to present; instead, we brought our own focus group of potential clients to let them talk about why they would use a Marquis Jet card. We showed them why!
As a leader, don't just espouse values—live them. Let your actions speak to your integrity, work ethic, and empathy.
This authentic demonstration of value and values can deeply resonate with people, forging lasting connections and driving success. Show Don’t Tell.