Home Blogs Is your role functional or is it vital? Chances are, you’re kidding...

Is your role functional or is it vital? Chances are, you’re kidding yourself.


As you can imagine, I get sent books all the time. It’s one of the perks of being ‘Mr Anthill’. Despite being a prolific reader, only a few ever capture my attention. And an even smaller number capture my imagination.

Several weeks ago, I was sent the Australian edition of ‘Become a Key Person of Influence’ by Daniel Priestly. I read it in an afternoon. And, several weeks on, my imagination is still buzzing.

Below you will find an excerpt from this book (published with the author’s permission). And, as of tomorrow, Antmart will be selling this book for $1, delivered in hard-copy form to your door (following some smooth negotiation by our friends at Antmart).

To ignite your imagination, let me ask you, “Are you a vital person? Or a functional person?”

Vitality is more valuable than functionality (By Daniel Priestley)

What’s the difference between a ‘functional’ person and a ‘vital’ person?

Most Key Persons of Influence fall into the ‘vital’ category.

Let me explain.

Functional people might be great at what they do. They might talk the talk and walk the walk but, at the end of the day, the sad fact is that they are replaceable.

If you can find a cheaper option you will take it and a functional person is usually just one solution to a problem.

Functional people see themselves as executing a set of processes. They try to get better at those processes and they make marginal improvements. Functional people worry about being downsized or overlooked. They are fearful that someone might come along who can ‘do it’ better.

A vital person doesn’t have these fears. Vital people align themselves to the result rather than the process. No matter what, they will always be okay to adapt and change dynamically if it gets them towards a better result, or a faster result.

This is because they feel like they own a specific piece of turf and no one could replace them.

They see themselves as redefining the game in some way. They have their own unique take on things that makes them almost impossible to replace or overlook.

“Functional people like to associate with people who reaffirm that life is tough. They like to be reassured that the economy is affecting others too and that times aren’t what they used to be.”

Functional people are scared to take a holiday. They worry what will happen while they are gone. Will they have a job to come back to? Will their clients find someone else?

Will they lose opportunities they really need? A holiday is a scary thing to take when you are functional.

Vital people love taking holidays. They know that part of what makes them vital is that they have a certain spark that few people have and they have fresh ideas that people want to tap into. For a vital person a holiday is a place to get re-energised and to stimulate ideas. It’s also a great reminder to everyone just how vital they are.

A vital person knows that while they are gone, people are worried that they won’t come back!

Functional people like to associate with people who reaffirm that life is tough. They like to be reassured that the economy is affecting others too and that times aren’t what they used to be. A functional person loves the comfort of their friends who don’t push them or inspire them to step up to a whole new level.

A vital person likes to be seen and challenged by their contemporaries.

They welcome debate and stimulating ideas. They want people to push them, to bring the best out of them and to stay true to the idea that there’s always a new level to play at. A vital person will leave a group of people who slow them down for a group that stirs them up.

A Functional Person wants to get more
… A Vital Person wants to produce more.

A Functional Person wants to learn more
… A Vital Person wants to share more.

A Functional Person wants to be shown a path
… A Vital Person wants to create one.

A Functional Person is worn out by their functionality
… A Vital Person is re-energised by their vitality.

Want to see what a person of vitality will do (even after they have the money and the fame) in order to keep pushing the boundaries? Check out this video of David Blaine telling you what he’s willing to do in order to make “magic”.

David Blaine at TED

So, are you a vital person or a functional person?

There is really only one way to answer this question. If you had all the riches in the world, would you still be doing what you’re doing now? Think about it. Are you making magic?

To get the full 188-page hard-copy book for $1, visit Antmart.com.au.

Get unlimited access to our FREE business tools…

Need to raise capital? Want to become a more persuasive presenter? Want to master social media? Is it time to overhaul your website? Unlock the library to get free access to free cheat sheets and business tools. Click here for free business tools.