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  • Writer's pictureCarli

Can’t Croissants Be a Pair of Flip Flops?

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

A point that Sam had brought up in the workshop that had stuck with me is the question “Who are you?” He mentioned that the majority of people he had coached were unable to answer the question. Despite them being in big organizations or senior positions.


Sam started off the point with an example, he had used to demonstrate his point was that if you needed to buy a pair of flip-flops on a hot summer day there was a Starbucks and corner store around the block. Which one would you go into to look for a pair of flip-flops, as they have a higher chance of selling the product? Chances are, you would head into the corner store to test your luck and see if they do sell flip-flops because they have a variety of products. Whereas Starbucks only sells bakery food, drinks, cups, etc. Sam then asked why we wouldn’t go into Starbucks to see if they sell a pair of flip flops… “can’t croissants be a pair of flip flops?”


Due to the Starbucks branding, we all know that they would unlikely carry any flip flops, whereas the corner store probably would. While it’s a good thing to be a jack of all trades and be good at everything, it’s even better to hone in on certain skills so then people would know your capacity and what you’re capable of. Sam reasons that individuals in the industry are busy and wouldn’t have the time to go and look for people who can help and support them. Therefore, they are looking for people that they know can execute and complete tasks. Sam used himself as an example, he talked about how people would reach out to ask him about career development or guest speaking opportunities because that’s what he is capable of. No one would reach out and ask him about finances or accounting-related topics because those are not components that are a part of his brand.


To conclude, Sam’s two examples help us visualize that we as individuals need to know what components make up who we are and start thinking about building our brand. Even though being like a corner store can be compelling as you have more skill sets under your belt, it’s better to be like Starbucks and be proficient at certain things so opportunities would start to arise. Quality is better than quantity and this is a point in the Illuminate x Sam Thiara’s Effective Communication workshop that has stuck with me.


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