Be a Sponge: You Bought It, But Do You Own It? | Darren LaCroix

What? Yes, exactly. Think about it. This is important in all aspects of life, and I just relearned it. Let me explain this by example. 

OK, if you are anything like me or know anyone like me, we get excited when a new piece of technology comes out. The emotion multiplies when that new piece of technology can be a tool to help with a goal you are striving to meet. When that tool can be a means to the end, it is a sure thing that I will invest in it. Good or bad, I develop an overactive “justification” gland. Done. We buy on emotion.

Now, this can be a great thing. I bought it, but I don’t own it yet. Let me explain this with a real-life example. As you may have heard, I decided a couple months ago to launch a podcast, Unforgettable Presentations with Mark Brown. When I dive into something brand new, the first thing I do is go to successful people I know who are doing it. My friend, Stormie has an entire podcast studio and allowed me to use it to get started. He’s a techie lover, and one of his favorite pieces of equipment is the Rodecaster podcasting soundboard. This is a recent release and perfect for podcasting. Stormie was so excited to show me; and once I used it, I loved it. It was my speed, which is simple to use and allows recording right into the soundboard. I also justified the investment because I could see where it would help run the sound for our live Workshops. It was cool. I knew I would use it constantly. I had to have one.

So, I used Stormie’s for a few weeks while saving up for my own and was even able to use my AMEX points to buy it. When it came, I was excited. I bought it, but I didn’t really own it yet. I knew some basics. I could open the box and plug it in and turn it on, but I didn’t know everything I needed to set it up properly. I had to wait until Dawson, my right hand tech man, came to work to set all the levels and make the necessary adjustments for my own set-up. All was good once Dawson came in, but what if I had a question? What if there were things it could do that Dawson was not aware of? I bought it; but until you know your purchase inside and out, you don’t own it.

I made a decision. I made it a priority to dive in and learn everything I could about this new tech toy tool. I forced myself to block off the calendar and watch “how to” videos about my new purchase. I would watch a video and then follow along on my Rodecaster and make sure I could do what the video showed me. Then I would watch another video. I kept it up until I knew it inside and out. That is owning it. Often we dive into using something and miss some time-saving features or capabilities we would have never stumbled upon. 


I liken this to when you come up with a new story for your presentation. You know the story is good, and you start telling it. You get a good reaction so you keep telling it. We’ve got a new story, but we don’t own it yet. We have to take the time to go deeper into the story to really make it world class. Get inside to look more closely at the emotions of the character and get clear on where the emotion shifts. We also need to make sure the audience clearly sees the transformation of the character. We have to see if we can go deeper into the conflict and escalate it when possible. Don’t just find a new story, own it. Work on it until you know it has deep, memorable audience impact. Most of the time to truly own a story, we need a coach because they will see things we will not. We are too close. I’ve had Michael Hauge help coach me on one of my stories that I have been telling for years. He could instantly see what I could not. I still can hear him confidently saying, “Oh, this is going to be one of your funniest stories!” He was right.

Another quick example is I recently hired a professional image consultant, Pati.  I know I need help in this area. She looked in my closet and helped me see what I could not. One of my aha moments was that some of my sleeves start too low on my shoulders. It looks sloppy. Until she pointed it out, I would have never even known that was a thing. It made perfect sense. We need seasoned pros to help us see what we do not, in order to own it.

You also can’t listen to something that is content-rich and absorb it all in one listening. I listened to an audio book, Building Your Story Brand by Donald Miller. I loved it. Although the ideas were well presented, I could not own it by hearing it once. I have listened to it at least ten times and hired one of his consultants to help me with web copy. I made a decision to own it.

As I continue learning about podcasting, there are other tools I need to own. Although we host our podcast on Libsyn, I have on my list to own their hosting services. I have a post-it to remind me, and next on my list is to completely understand the platform, even if I have to hire someone to teach me. I’m using it now, but don’t own it yet.

What tool have you bought that you need to own? What story do you tell that you need to own and dive deeper into? If we want to get the most out of our tools, we need to schedule the time to know them inside and out. That way, we will not only save time but often multiply our efforts and use features some aren’t even aware of. Good enough, isn’t. Own it!

What do you take from this?

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