“Of course I remember you!” she exclaimed, smile serene as any of the adjoining room’s Buddha statues, “You’re Curry Laksa.”
Coming out of a brilliant seminar run by Slow School’s very own Kath Walters about the keys to effective blogging, I’d found myself near my old office in downtown Melbourne. More importantly, this is also near my old favourite lunch spot: a vegetarian teahouse run by a small Buddhist temple and art gallery.
So naturally I couldn’t resist. I’d walked in, marveling at how familiar it still felt three years later, and asked for my former usual: curry laksa. Breathing in the rich bouquet of spices, incense and the dozen types of tea wafting through the room, I contemplated the seminar. I contemplated the importance of cultivating an online presence that spoke of who I am and what I offer. I’d always struggled with that – with the idea of trying to encapsulate something so vast into a memorable catch phrase or a 10 second elevator speech. It invariably caused a knot of defiant resistance to form deep in my guts. What’s my message? Who am I, and why would you care?
Seated there thinking, I let the familiar sights and sounds take me back to earlier times. I’d struggled with identity then too, planning a career shift towards something more meaningful than the frantic hamster wheel of a 9-5 office worker. This little teahouse had been my oasis in the midst of hectic days.
The last time I was here, I’d known I wouldn’t be back for awhile and had felt I should let them know how much I’d appreciated their hospitality. So I’d given the lady at the till my thanks, as well as a card for the whole teahouse team. It was signed not with my name but as my “usual” which I thought was both funnier and more meaningful. After all, without meaning, what’s the point?
Heading up to the till this time I saw a familiar face, and was surprised she still remembered me after so long. “Of course I remember you! You’re Curry Laksa.”
And it dawned on me. My message isn’t meant to encapsulate something that’s vast, ever-changing and fundamentally undefinable. That’s not what I’m supposed to be doing. Rather, my message and what I offer are about giving meaning to others.
What makes me special isn’t about me at all. It’s about what I can make special for everyone around me.
Community Manager – The Slow School of Business