“Live as if you were living a second time, and as though you had acted wrongly the first time.” – Viktor E. Frankl, Born Mar. 26, 1905.
Vic was giving advice on how to live a fulfilling and satisfying life. It's a neat avenue of thought.
But this isn't the Cult of Philosophical Warm Snugglies.
We are here to gaze at the abyss, baby! So I'm here today to tell you that this is the exact stance to use when writing copy from the POV of a trusted advisor.
You've been through the jungle. You've sunk in the quicksand. You've been stung by insects. You've got trench foot and malaria and your porter was eaten by crocodile-worshiping cannibals.
You've made a few mistakes. But you've also hacked a machete trail through the rough to reach the hidden temples and lost treasures within. You've rediscovered the secrets of the ancients, but it cost you dearly…
And so the prospect is not just a potential customer. They are your protege. Your student – your chance to do it all over again but WITHOUT the mistakes. They can be your proxy – following in your proven footsteps, but with none of the “falling off the path” parts that left you wounded and wheezing.
Not only does it set you up to be in a position to sell shortcuts, but it lends you an aura of authentic altruism.
You messed up. Maybe you lost something you couldn't get back. Maybe you traded something away that you wish you hadn't. Your willingness to help is born out of a twinge of regret and loss that you earnestly want to help your followers avoid.
You want them to get all the reward, and none of the harm. You want them to get all of the benefit, without needing to sacrifice what you did to blaze that trail.
Get people to believe this, and they'll follow you into the maws of the wilderness – trusting and eager.