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The Power Of "What": Opening the Door to Value Exchanges

Updated: Oct 17, 2023

The Orientation of "What"

"What can you do for me?"

I have never forgotten that question, it is the ultimate business question.

I encountered it during my first sales job.

I didn't realize it until later in life, but all businesses are built from answering this question.

Who you are, and why you do what you do, are courting types of questions.

Figure out what your service or your product can do for someone.

This is the very first step to creating a value exchange, the first part of my value equation.

A note of caution here, do not ask yourself "What do I have that people want?"

This type of question is imprisoning and will guide you into becoming a business SIMP, forever waiting for the needs of others to direct your potential.

Figure out what you have to give, see your own value, and empower yourself to define the expectations that you can deliver on.

What Do I Have to Give?

To build value you must start with this thought process.

This simple shift in our thought process leads us to acknowledge that we are part of a community.

Begin to view your business actions as contributions to help those in need of what you have.

Instead of fixating on personal success ask, "What do I want to give to my community?"

A community is simply a group of people who regularly exchange value.

Sometimes your local barista, or a connection made through social media, can be a part of our community more so than our third aunt whom we only see during the holidays.

It does not matter if it is a digital community or one in the real world.

Common answers to "What do I want to give?" can center around, time, talent, skill, experience, research, product, or a sense of humor.

By starting here you are more likely to create unique services and products directed by you.

After considering what you have to give, consider what it does for your customer.

You've seen these types of formulas before: " I offer (x) to help you with (y)!"

Its basic algebra, solve for x and y!

This is how you achieve personal fulfillment and live a life of creation and accomplishment.

Ensure that you offer something that you are capable of delivering upon, and that will meet real needs.

Do this well, and continuously, and you will become the go-to source in your community for the value that you provide.

No matter how talented you are, if what you sell isn't fixated on helping others, it will eventually fail.

What Do You Want From Others?

Yes, business is an act of service but it is not one that is sacrificial.

We exchange our value for value that is equal to or greater than what we have.

So after defining what you have to give, it is natural to define what you want in exchange.

We all know that profit is a motive for business, but think about what you want in addition to profit.

Defining "What do I want?" encourages us to contemplate our own desires.

Exploring "What do I want?" also directs us to find value in what others have to give.

Common answers can include, their time, their endorsement, their skill, their resources, their partnership, or their help and expertise in a new area of exploration.

What you ask for should always foster your growth.

Confidently articulate your needs and expectations at the exchange and beyond.

Think thoroughly about what your business needs to thrive, it will create better communication.

In personal relationships, answering, "What do I want from my partner?" can lead to healthier, more fulfilling experiences.

By openly discussing expectations and desires, we enable our loved ones to better meet our needs, leading to greater happiness and satisfaction for both parties.

The same is true for business.

Value Exchanges: The Building Blocks of Relationships

Once both parties have agreed to what each other wants, it results in value exchanges.

These transactions are the currency of human interaction, the give-and-take that supports all relationships.

In business, value exchanges are the bedrock of successful ventures and interpersonal relationships.

Create value exchanges with your customers and your network.

Money does not need to be a part of every value exchange.

Often use it as a tool to understand your interconnectedness with the world around you.

That understanding could help you create your next piece of content, product, or service offer.

Answering, "What do I want to give to others?" and "What do I want from others?" is the only way to create value exchanges that form healthy relationships, whether in business or in our personal lives.

It then requires you also, to listen to what the other person asks of you.


Leading with "what" is not a solitary exercise.

Consciously and silently asking yourself this question will simplify and transform your day-to-day interactions with those around you.

So before you engage with someone on X, Instagram, Threads, Facebook, TikTok, or YouTube, ask yourself:

  • What do I have that I can give them?

  • What do they have, aside from money, that I would want?

  • What expectation am I creating with my offer or my request?

Remember that your journey of growth is not just about yourself.

You're also uncovering the intricate web of value exchanges that connect us all.

These value exchanges directly lead to expectations for every product, service, and brand.

The rewards for meeting expectations from your value exchanges will be a reputation of trust and reoccurring revenue that will help you thrive.

We will explore this more in my next post: Banish the Slacker Mindset: Embrace Expectations for Growth

For now thanks for reading my notes.

Good Luck!


  1. Note for yourself three things that your brand/business offers to others.

  2. Note for yourself three things that you want from customers, aside from money.

  3. Note for yourself three expectations that you are currently creating with your clients/audience.



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