Note: In case you missed it, I've been published over at elephant journal! Please stop by and check out my post on "the shape of practice". Also, if you like it, please recommend it. I avoided using flashy words and subjects in lieu of honest, passionate sharing on a topic I felt called to share but did so at a possible risk of losing readers. I simply want the opportunity to connect with as many who are moved by the sentiments shared as possible - thanks!
An event last night prompted me to expand on the affirmation I posted yesterday.
Usually I try to avoid naming persons, sites, etc. - but this time, I feel that I am coming from a place of pure heart. I feel absolutely no malice towards the person, organization, nor situation. I share the following details only because they are relevant to my story and because I am certain that I am not intentionally harming this person in any manner.
There were approximately 15 minutes of information on habit creation and avoiding pitfalls. After that, there was at least a 20 minute pitch and promotion of an upcoming class that Leo created (with a discount for those on the call if purchased in the next 24 hours). They moved into Q&A but to be honest, I hung up before the call was done.
I do not doubt for a minute the value of the course. What piques this conversation is the discrepancy between what was promoted (a "webinar" and a page detailing a call of sharing valuable information) and what actually occurred (promotion of a course and hurried marketing).
Yes, it was free. But time has value as well. I was fortunate to have been home and just listening in without rearranging my schedule. But I know of another friend who hurried home from a party hoping to gain valuable information over the hour - only to be presented with information that is already available on Leo's site...then pitched to. Needless to say, she was/is frustrated.
I will state again: Leo offers valuable information and (at least in the past - I have not been visiting his site as often recently) has been very generous with his experiential wisdom. But this situation is an example of something I see happening more and more frequently over the web - something that will harm not only the customers but, eventually, the business owners as well.
We are operating from a place of lack and fear. We all assume there is not enough (money, time, customers, ideas...) and thus we rush to copyright, protect, buy, sell, and promote.
We do not trust that our ideas or products have innate value so we try to ensure their sale by promoting the heck out of them.
As business owners, we do not trust our customers. We do not believe that what we are offering (coaching, e-books, wisdom, art, etc) has enough value that someone would want it regardless of our marketing. We believe people must be hit over the head with information, coaxed and persuaded. We must find the "right" words to use in titles, the most effective sites to market, the most blingy, pressure-filled tools to sell.
It is exhausting to the seller and to the buyer.
Instead, I would like to propose a terrifying path: that we trust.
As business owners, leaders, teachers (which we all are), we trust in ourselves that our messages have value.
We take the time to go deep enough into ourselves (beyond our fears and stories) to hear the inner callings and passions. (i.e. NOT that which we think would sell. That which we feel called beyond reason, pushed beyond fear to create and share...ideas, tools, art, expression...)
We return to the world and learn the tools necessary to share those callings and passions. Whether this is language for story-tellers, paints for painters, carving techniques for wood-workers, or so-on, these tools are simply the method used to share the voice that is uniquely ours to hear.
We then share.
(I don't know if I'm ready to say we don't sell, we share....but it is certainly something to ponder.)
We trust that our messages will reach those they need to reach and that, in gathering the energy we shared, the energy will be returned to us.
We do not try to make others believe they want what we have to offer. If we have to convince them, they don't really want it or need it at this point in their lives.
We do not try to pressure or tease. Allowing someone to see something (or part of something) prior to buying it is one way to determine if the buyer actually wants it. But offering something for free and using anything more than the power of the product/idea itself is baiting.
I have long had trouble with this. Bombarded with messages that if I don't market a certain way or write a business plan or at least set goals then I will not connect with anyone, not be taken seriously, not make any money, not succeed. And I believed it because, well, it was reality. (By believing it, I made it real.)
(Side note: my recent experience has been the opposite, actually - the more I listen to and flow from those voices within, the more people with whom I seem to connect, the deeper and easier we connect, and the more opportunities have come my way.)
Live In Alignment
But what I missed was the most important part of the affirmation, after "I will do -- to the best of my ability in that present moment -- that which I feel deeply called to do":
And life my life aligned with the energy that is returned from that doing.
That is where most people freak out (myself included).
This means that when you've done what you can do, the best that you can do, from the deepest most vulnerable places of your being...you then live your life according to the energy that is returned.
This is freakin' terrifying.
On the surface, we fear that money may not come in. (And it may not.)
On a deeper level, we fear the ridicule that comes from sharing those vulnerable places. When you tap into messages that are uniquely you, that spark your passion, they are often not what everyone else is saying. When you put them out there, you must be able to live your life humbly, courageously, and with gratitude - regardless of what others are saying.
So we trust.
We trust that even though the money may not be there, energy will be returned. This may mean that other people provide love, support, shelter, and basic needs while we continue our pursuits. We humbly rely on that support, knowing that it is energy returned in a different form. We offer deep gratitude.
We trust that our stories, our ideas, our passions, are valuable. We do not negate those who disagree. We acknowledge that they have their own stories. We celebrate theirs knowing that, by so doing, we keep the pathway open that they may one day recognize our own.
We explore the world, listen to and follow the callings within because they are uniquely our own (and will be otherwise lost).
We share our stories in the form we feel called to share (improv, dance, scientific study, robotics, drawing, etc.) and do so by playing over and over with the techniques and tools of that form until we are able to adequately convey our messages.
We listen to the stories others are sharing and return the energy they offer to us.
And we align our lives with this practice, from this place of abundance and trust.
And to those who practice otherwise, we offer love. We thank them that they provide an opportunity for us to fall from or stay true to our own path (i.e. getting caught up in the frantic buy-now-ness and lack or allowing ourselves to promote and purchase from a place of pure interest and abundance)....that they allow us to practice. We acknowledge that their stories have value as well.
And to all, especially to ourselves, we continuously practice seeing and listening beyond the fear.