Sales Letter Case Study: The Numinous School of Intuition

Screen Shot 2014 04 18 at 6.54.04 PM Sales Letter Case Study: The Numinous School of IntuitionCarmen Spagnola (pictured here) is one of my favourite people in the world. 

We met years ago when she came to a workshop and we’ve been pals ever since. So when I was visiting Victoria to lead a workshop, I made sure we had some time scheduled together. I came over after my workshop at Victoria’s Sunset Room and Carmen and her husband Ruben kept my cup full of homemade Belgian style beer while I performed close up magic for them. A wonderful evening.

Over the course of the night, Carmen mentioned that she was launching a new program. I told her that I’d love to take a look at the sales letter for it. So, the next morning, with a far more severe hangover headache than I’d counted on, I read over her letter and tinkered on it. I was immediately in love with the simple and clean aesthetic of the page. So different than most sales pages I see. 

What follows below is the introduction of the original sales letter (with my commentary) and the rewrite I did (which she elegantly polished). It’s in the same format as last week’s post Sales Letter Case Study: The Coming Home Retreat. You can read the complete version of the letter here

Upon reading my rewrite, Carmen emailed me these words, “Tad, I re-read your re-writes dozens of times last night and I must say, the poetry, the language and phrasing…it’s such a tremendous gift you’ve given me. You captured exactly what I was striving for and it’s amazing how you mirrored what the course is like once you get inside. You are such a talented writer and storyteller! Thank you thank you thank you for this gift.” 

Sooooo… she liked it. It’s a rough job I did in an hour but I hope you will like it too. And maybe you’ll have ideas and reflections you could share in the comments below that will make it even better. I have no doubt that you will. 

You can find more info on her program here

 

ORIGINAL SALES LETTER

 

Me: “You know what I wish? I wish when I was starting out on my spiritual path, I’d had a better map. I wish there’d been something like…an orienteering course for the spiritual world.”

My Soul: “You should totally make that.”

I like this intro a lot. It’s charming and conversational. It’s creative. Starting with a conversation with her soul. Which also speaks to the content she’s about to get into. If people are turned off by the idea of a conversation with one’s soul, they certainly aren’t a fit for her. So the introduction both charms and filters in one deft move. 

I’m guessing you’ve been drawn here because you struggle at times with understanding the what and how of intuitive tools. I bet you’d like to have practical, tangible ways to tap into and trust your intuitive self.

This part feels a bit sales-lettery. And it’s in the second person, speaking directly to the reader instead of telling us a story. It’s personal, but maybe too personal and presumptive. I’ve written about this more in my blog post Nine Thoughts on Copywriting for Hippies.

I imagine you’d like clear action steps for how to actually do gratitude, meditation, angel cards or calling in help from “the greater forces”, or maybe some other thing you’ve heard can help connect you to your spiritual side.

Most likely you want someone to explain the foundational aspects of setting out on a path of spiritual growth, and breakdown the steps in detail.

Again. The above feels salesy. It feels like I’m being set up for a pitch. ‘I bet you want these things. And well, you’ve come to the right place!’ kind of thing. I feel resistant. She’s not offering or pushing but I’m already pulling back. I suppose part of it is that this feels suggestive in some way that I should want these things. I can’t put my finger on it but I’m recoiling subtly. And it feels generic. Non-specific. This feels like it could be anyone’s sales letter saying these things. This could lead people to say, ‘Been there. Done that.’

And I bet when someone pulls out their guitar for Kumbaya in the round, you die a little inside because New Age ‘woo woo’ stuff is just not your cup of tea. (And neither are materialistic “manifestation” schemes that dress up narcissism as spirituality. But I digress…)

I liked this! This had some spunk and personality and distinguishes her immediately from much of the new age crowd out there. 

BOTTOM LINE: YOU WANT SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE THAT IS GROUNDED IN PRACTICAL EVERYDAY LIVING.

Don’t you tell me what I want!

But you know what I think is really going on? I think you want clarity about how you can feel more traction in your life, have greater impact, and make the contribution you’re meant to in this lifetime.

Meh. This sounds generic. Traction? What is that? Greater impact? On what? How? Contribution? Everyone wants to contribute. Is this for me? I have no idea. What I’m not feeling laid out here is a clear sense that she really understands my problems or what I’m craving. 

I think you’d like to be less hard on yourself and more connected to your soul.

Hard on myself? Where did that come from? How is this related? And more connected to my soul. Sure? I guess?

I think you want to feel masterful with your mindset, energy, emotions, and evolution.

Whoa! Jargon alerts! And generic alert. What is she referring to? Where did the idea of being masterful come from? How is this connected to her approach and philosophy? What the what? 

I think you’d like to feel certain that you’re living this life the best you can and making the most of it.

Generic.

I think you’d like to feel satisfied that you’re giving all you’ve got and leaving nothing to waste. I want that for you, too!

I think you want me to buy your product. That’s what I think. This sounds like a generic motivational poster. Here’s where else I’m pulling back. She hasn’t mentioned that she’s selling something. But I know she is. So, it feels like a lot of set up right now that’s trying to build a rapport and connection… so that she can sell me. That feels a bit sneaky. 

 

END OF ORIGINAL SALES LETTER

 

She goes on from there to describe the program. Which sounds wonderful.

What follows are my tinkerings and her polishings. 

 

NEW SALES LETTER

 

Screen Shot 2014 04 18 at 7.17.11 PM Sales Letter Case Study: The Numinous School of Intuition

 

Me: “You know what I wish? I wish when I was starting out on my spiritual path, I’d had a better map. Better yet, I wish there’d been something like…an orienteering course for the spiritual world.”

My Soul: “You should totally make that.”

*

For many women I meet, and perhaps you’re like this too, spirituality and intuition play an important, and growing, part of their lives. With every passing year, they’re drawn to it more and more strongly.

I wanted to start with a story. The basic story of the women she meets and what she notices. We’re setting the stage for why she even feels a program like hers is needed. We’re foreshadowing where it came from – from noticing women like this. I also wanted to speak to the feeling of it growing inside of them. When we tell a story instead of pitching at people, they don’t defend. They relax. We give them a space to find themselves (or not) in our story. The words ‘and perhaps you’re like this too’ is an invitation not an assumptive description. 

I’m not talking about people into New Age ‘woo woo’ stuff or materialistic “manifestation” schemes that dress up narcissism as spirituality. Or those who use a language of spirituality to feel superior to others.

I wanted to move this earlier. In my blog post The Three Roles of Marketing, I wrote about how marketing is not really a seduction process as much as it is a filtering process. I want it to be so clear, immediately, who this is for and who it isn’t. I want her point of view and vibe start to show up. I want people to get that she isn’t flakey. 

The women I meet are drawn to ideas of making a greater contribution to the world, doing good work that’s in alignment with their values, simple living, sustainability, resilience, local food, community, the arts, and raising children as consciously as they can.

Again. We’re painting a picture of the kinds of women she most loves working with. We’re sharing her ideal client, perfect customers or avatar as many of my colleagues describe it. Instead of just saying generic things such as ‘they want to contribute and do good’ we list some of the key ways that would show up ‘simple living, sustainability, resilience, local food, community, the arts, and raising children as consciously as they can’. Details. We’re refining who she wants to work with. People who don’t resonate are starting to fade out. Those who see themselves in this description are beginning to lean in. 

These women see intuition not only as a tool that can help them make better decisions in their relationships, money or in their health but also, more profoundly, as a medicine that is deeply needed in this world. They suspect that if we all lived in a deeper alignment with our souls, that we’d take better care of our one, beautiful planet and all those who live on it. They long for the day when the world is full of people and cultures who revere the sacred and bring it into their daily lives, where it can guide them in their actions in meaningful and practical ways.

Again, we’re filtering. She is being clear that her program isn’t for women who are just interesting in learning to work with their intuition to serve themselves. She wants women who would resonate with the term ‘medicine’ (which evokes an indigenous perspective of the world) and it also begins to speak to the bigger why that Carmen is passionate about. She’s sharing what drives her. Women reading this who resonate with that bigger why will lean in more and resonate with the words. We bring in the idea of not only individuals but ‘cultures who revere the sacred and bring it into their daily lives’. She’s interested in women who think about the bigger picture. Women who might be interested in other cultures who live a different dream than the all-consuming American one. 

And many of these women, when they collapse in bed at night after a busy, productive day, say a silent prayer that they be shown some way that their lives can be the greatest contribution to this vision possible.

Here I am painting a picture and appealing to the senses. These are women who don’t just want to make a difference, they crave it. They yearn to find a way that their life can be of the most service possible. These women hurt at the world’s hurt. They don’t just want to learn intuition to make more money. They want to be living, walking, dancing medicine in their lives. They want to embody it daily. They want a world where this is true. 

May a good vision catch me
May a benevolent vision take hold of me, and move me
May a deep and full vision come over me, and burst open around me
May a luminous vision inform me, enfold me.
May I awaken into the story that surrounds,
May I awaken into the beautiful story.
May the wondrous story find me;
May the wildness that makes beauty arise between two lovers
arise beautifully between my body and the body of this land,
between my flesh and the flesh of this earth,
here and now, on this day,
May I taste something sacred.
~ David Abram

I added this poem because I love it and felt like it expressed the heart of her work. Consider adding quotes and poems to your sales letter. They often evoke emotions and feelings that most sales copy couldn’t touch.

They pray for signs. But, night after night, heartbreakingly, the signs don’t come. And so, when the morning sun rises their spirits fall and they find themselves walking back in step to the tick-tock world they were raised in. They begin to suspect that maybe it’s because there are no signs. And that no one is listening. 

This is where we’re trying to empathize deeply with their experiences and let these women know ‘we get it’. We’re giving them the important messages that they’re not alone and that they’re not crazy. 

Meanwhile, The Universe holds their vision close and precious, and tries its best to get through to them.

Carmen inserted this and I like it. 

SO I CREATED THE NUMINOUS SCHOOL

Boom. We’re getting to the point of the sales letter. The school. If you prolong the empathy piece too long, people can lose interest wondering, ‘what is the point of this?’ I tend to want to get to the point as fast as possible. 

It’s an online intuition development program, almost like a retreat, which I hope you’ll consider joining. It’s based on the idea that you have an important role to play in the unfoldment of a greater vision – and you already know, at a deeper, intuitive level – how to play that part. You just need to learn the language the Universe is speaking to you.

It’s designed for people like you who yearn for a world that embraces the sacred in daily living; who want to let their lives speak of that greater vision.

Simple. I think this is clear. 

The core issue this program addresses is a paradox most of us live with every day as we wake up in a world far, far different than the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible: we long to trust in Spirit, our souls, our intuition (however we define those things) but we don’t know how. We want to trust…but we don’t.

I think this is so much of the pain of our times.

I wrote this because it felt like the heart of her work and I wanted to state it explicitly. So much of marketing is making explicit and direct the things that, for us, are obvious. We imply them but don’t state them directly. In marketing, it’s vital to name the issue as we see it. 

Because, when we don’t trust ourselves we get drawn into someone else’s vision for us and for the world we live in. We forget who we really are and wake up one day living an unrecognizable life. We get stuck in unhealthy patterns in our families, our relationships, in our own heads. We take on too much. We miss opportunities. We wonder where the time is going and when we’re going to arrive someplace that feels more like home. We know something’s wrong, something’s missing, there’s something more…

And yet, we don’t trust ourselves to act on that knowing.

On my first reading of her sales letter, I realized that she was assuming that the reader understood the consequences of not trusting their intuition. And I wanted to make sure this was, at least, touched on. I would add a little more here on a future draft. Because, the real pain that Carmen’s work is addressing, the problem it solves, is not actually the lack of intuition. That’s her point of view. It’s her diagnosis of why they’re suffering. And distinguishing between the symptoms they experience and our diagnosis of that experience is so vital. The suffering has to do with the consequences of not following their intuition – naming those consequences is the difference between her course being relevant and irrelevant. 

Which is no surprise. We’ve grown up in a culture where guidance has always come from outside of ourselves; first from parents, then teachers and then our bosses. Intuition is a muscle that’s never had to be exercised – but it’s still there.

I wish when I’d grown up there had been a course on learning practical, tangible ways to tap into and trust my intuitive self. Oh the pain that would have saved me.

I wish I’d had mentors who could have given me clear action steps for how to actually do gratitude, meditation, divination, or maybe even things I’d never heard of before, that could help call in support from “the greater forces”.

I wish I’d had someone who could have sat down with me every day to explain the foundational aspects of setting out on a path of spiritual growth, and breakdown the steps in detail. Someone gentle and patient, who could have helped me be less hard on myself and more connected to my soul. Someone who could have helped me be more impeccable with my own mindset, energy, emotions, and evolution.

I wish I’d had spiritual guidance that was grounded in practical everyday living.

Here I did a fairly simple rewrite changing the ‘I bet you’d like…’ formula into a sharing of what she’d craved. Again, she’s telling the story of the craving that was alive inside of her that had her create this program. And that allows the women reading it to say, ‘me too. I’ve craved that too’. 

 

END OF NEW SALES LETTER

 

You can read the complete, finished version of this sales letter here.  

Sales Letter Case Study: The Coming Home Retreat

Russell Touched Up 1 Sales Letter Case Study: The Coming Home RetreatWriting sales letters is hard. 

I wrote a whole blog post on my thoughts on how to do it in a warmer and yet still effective way years ago called Nine Thoughts on Copywriting for Hippies. So, I’ve got opinions but there’s no denying that writing a good sales letter is one of the toughest nuts to crack in any business. A sales letter is the dojo of the marketing world. It’s where you find out exactly how clear you are or not. The best resource I’ve come across on how to write a good sales letter is by Carrie Klassen and it’s called Selling Sweetly

Writing a sales letter is especially hard when you’re writing it around very personal issues such as spirituality. How can selling spirituality not feel gross?

And yet, if you run these kinds of retreats (and it’s where your income comes from) it’s only fair you articulate what it is you’re doing. 

But how?

This was the conundrum of a colleague and dear friend, Russell Scott (the handsome rogue pictured here) who I recently worked with to reword his sales letter. Here’s what he had to say about the process: “I wrote a sales letter based on a copying template I had downloaded from another coach but I just couldn’t get it right. It was awkward. In some sections it was too clinical in some it got far too personal. I was totally stuck in getting it right. I gave what I’d written to Tad and he worked it over. When I read how he had re-written it I literally cried. The whole sales letter had come alive! It was as if Tad had reached into my heart and translated into words all the compassion, care and understanding I have for the people I serve and put it on paper.” 

So, what I’d like to do is walk you through the sales letter with my commentary and show you what I came up with as an alternative that Russell loved so much. I should qualify that this was done in a couple of hours and that there is likely much more that could be done by far better copy writers than I to make this sales letter sing. But I am pretty happy with what came out. 

Coming Home

-an enlightenment intensive -

So, right away, I don’t like the phrase ‘enlightenment intensive’. It sounds like it’s promising enlightenment. Which sounds like hype. 

Ending the search.  Living a deeper life.

Ending the search? That for sure sounds like hype. Like one weekend is going to end a search humanity has been on since time immemorial? Sounds too good to be true – and therefore untrue.

A lot of people secretly wish that they could let go of the pressures of living in the rat race and come home to a deeper peace… the kind that many of the great spiritual teachers of the ages have spoken of.

Meh. This sounds ok. But a bit generic to me. It sounds like a set up for a pitch.

If they could, they’d feel more alive, happy, inspired and fully engaged with others. They’d would feel a sense of harmony with life and be a lot freer to totally be themselves.

Generic promise. I’m already not feeling much of Russell’s wonderful personality.

But right now, you walk, talk, sit, drive, work, buy, eat, sleep and dream in an endless daily cycle. At the end of the week, you stare into the TV wondering “is there more than this perpetual treadmill?” and ask “What am I obviously missing here?” There’s restlessness like something is shifting or fragmenting. You don’t know what it is or what needs to change or even if it’s a good thing. Yet something deep inside is calling your true self to come out and play but you’re trapped in the social way you are supposed to be. You’ve come to the conclusion you don’t know the one that’s been living your life. Sometimes the emptiness is downright painful. You hide it well but it’s deep…slowly eating your soul.

Here’s where I start to pull back even more. It feels like a bit of an assault. A pitch. It’s trying to be empathetic and yet I feel defensive. I feel like I’m being set up. I don’t identify with everything I’m reading. I find myself leaning away. And part of this comes from the fact that he’s speaking directly to me. He’s saying ‘you’. Which is, ironically, how we’re taught to write sales letters. Speak directly to the other person. We’re admonished, wisely I think, to remember that every sales letter we write will be read one person at a time. So, we should be writing it to our ideal clients and no one else. Sales letters aren’t read by ‘the masses’. They’re read by individuals. So, let’s write to them. Fine so far. But it’s a very modern conception of sales and communication with others to imagine that every conversation with someone should be talking directly to them using ‘you’. We forget that, since time immemorial, humans have best communicated with stories. In a story, people can identify with the parts they do, and leave the rest. A story doesn’t get your hackles up. A story doesn’t make you defensive because it’s not about you. But, in a sales letter or video when we start saying, ‘Do you ever struggle with…’ it can trigger people’s shame around those issues and also ignore how vulnerable they might feel about the issue. It forces them to confront something they may not be ready to confront. 

You’ve tried the latest self-help books and videos about affirmations, positive thinking and “the secrets” but they don’t do the trick. They actually make you more confused. The hype hurts. Maybe you’ve explored the “isms” and different philosophies, crystals, chakras, gone to healers, etc.  Maybe you have tried a religious path for awhile. You’ve gotten calmer and more relaxed but the big promised “aha” just hasn’t happened. (you’ve been told it takes a long time). Or maybe the whole guru/student thing gives you a rash so you’ve tried being an independent non-follower for awhile. But you’ve gotten lost and alone.

This might all feel true enough but it also feels like it’s setting me up for the pitch, ‘and this will be the thing to finally solve all of your issues’. 

What you really need to do is give up.

This sounds flip and condescending. He’s already telling me what to do? How the hell does he know? It seems like he’s being clever with his language on an issue that isn’t ‘fun’ for me.

That’s right…give up trying to find the answers on the outside. These are just ideas, thoughts and concepts. They are in the head. They are like a menu. They are not the food. You need to take a 180 degree turn away from books and find a proven technique that will help you experience the truth for yourself. And let go of the ridiculous idea that awakening takes a lifetime. That’s just another belief to trap you.

Intellectually, I get where he’s going but I’m feeling a bit offended by the tone. Like it’s so easy. 

I know what it’s like

That sounds salesy come out of the set up I just went through. A bit too formulaic. 

In my twenties I spent 10 years exploring every religion under the sun and reading so many books I could have started my own library. I sat at the feet of so many gurus and instead of finding peace I got athletes foot. My head I was so much in the clouds I was no earthly good.

Again, that sounds clever. Like something he’s said a lot of times. It’s kind of funny. But the issue we’re talking about doesn’t feel funny to me when I’m the one suffering. 

I just got more confused about myself and life. One day I decided I didn’t really know anything and decided to find the truth for myself.

I’m feeling connected.

It was then I discovered a method of self-inquiry that changed my life.

And now the sales pitch.

I broke through my lonely shell and experienced the magnificence of my true self. Everyday I experience the greatest gift in life… being who I really am!

Every day? Every. Single. Day? He’s enlightened now? This sounds hyped up.

I trained in this method called the Enlightenment Intensive. Since then I changed the name of the retreat to Coming Home and have mastered over 65 retreats over the past 30 years.

Whoa! That’s a lot of retreats! Maybe the man has something to say.

What is Coming Home?

Coming Home is an accelerated process of transformation that takes you to the pinnacle of self-actualization –the direct consciousness of your true Self and Life! 

Pet peeve. Exclamation marks. I hate these in sales letters. Imagine you get three of these that you ever get to use in any sales letter for the rest of your life. Ever. All too often, they trigger hype. Mostly, I  suggest people cut them out entirely.

Second thing, this claim sounds like hype. Big time. This sounds like some flavour of the month spiritual technique.

This illumination is simple, obvious and indisputable, enveloping you with sense of wholeness, completeness, peace and lightness.

Obvious and indisputable? Indisputable? This sounds like he’s not very open to feedback or dispute. And it sounds like a generic, new age pitch.

It’s like coming home after you have been lost for many years… only you come home to yourself. 

I do like the idea of coming home. That sounds lovely.

The East/West Approach

Using a self-inquiry format inspired by Zen-style contemplation on a key question such as; “who am I?” or “what is life? combined with a paired communication structure drawn from relational psychology you silently contemplate your question and then communicate the result of your investigation to a listening partner. You alternate speaking and listening every 5 minutes. Every 40 minutes you work with a different person or go on a silent walk. Meals, snack, exercise and rest are interspersed in the schedule.

I like the specifics. Though there’s an abrupt tone shift from salesy to academic here that’s a bit jarring. But it’s nice to finally get to the nuts and bolts of this. 

The Structure

Within the structure there are agreements of non-interruption, non-judgement and deep listening that help you bypass the subtle influences of “normal” relating that have socialized you to deny what is true for you.

That actually kind of makes sense. I like it. Tell me more.

You connect deeply to yourself and others and let go of layers of false beliefs and experiences that have imprisoned you in years of suffering. There are no religious ideas, dogma or philosophy taught. You learn and practice the technique and I give you guidance. It is not psychotherapy.

I like this. 

In a renewed space of openness, within 3 1/2 days you can spontaneously awaken to the magnificence of your true self!

Bah! Another huge claim that sounds inflated. And an exclamation mark. Grrr. My trust drops. 

Awakening

This phenomenon in the west has been called by Abraham Maslow “Unitive consciousness” or “Self-transcendence”. In eastern traditions it is labelled as awakening, enlightenment, illumination, self-realization, cosmic consciousness or satori. Just as technology has advanced in modern times, so too have spiritual and transformation techniques.

Not sold. Sounds like a vague attempt to rationalize hyped up new age bullshit.

When safe communication structure is added to the eastern method of contemplation, the results are remarkable. Self-realization usually occurs to 30-90% of participants. You no longer have to spend months, years or even a lifetime to awaken. 

It’s promising I’m going to awaken. Blurgh.

Is this just another “You’ll be happy for the rest of your life” thing?

Yes. That’s what it sounds like you’re saying. I’m glad you’re self aware enough to see that.

To be realistic, awakening does not mean that you will no longer have any problems or you will be in a state of bliss or happiness for the rest of your life.

What? You said you had this experience every day. This now seems like the bait and switch. I’m feeling lied to a bit. 

What it does mean is that you will be living the rest of your life more from the inner strength of your real self and less from the insecurity of a social personality. You will be more able face and transform the obstacles of your life into valuable growth experiences and achieve the kind of success in life defined by who you really are, not others. Coming home to your true self is the most precious gift you can ever give to yourself. And because we all want to relate to others who are real, you are the best gift you can give to the world!

Exclamation mark. Vague platitudes. Interest fading fast. 

 “When you know who you truly are there is an abiding alive sense of peace. You could call it joy because that’s what joy is: vibrantly alive peace. It is the joy of knowing yourself as the very life essence before life takes on form. That is the joy of Being, of being who you truly are.”

Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart can not save this sales letter right now. 

After a Coming Home retreat participants commonly report feeling:

  • More authentic
  • Peace, contentment and lightness permeating their body
  • Totally embodied as if they have finally come home to themselves
  • Loving-kindness towards themselves and others
  • Greater self-acceptance
  • Psychologically whole
  • More inner strength and inner resolve
  • Freer to express themselves around others
  • Improved intuitive ability
  • Enhanced and balanced energy levels

That all feels a bit vague. 

Participants also commonly report having greater capacity to:

  • Be open and authentic in relationships
  • Persist and accomplish personal goals
  • Face and overcome problems and difficulties
  • Fully experience love, joy and happiness
  • Understand the deeper truths in traditional philosophy and religion
  • Achieve greater mutual understanding with others 
  • Be assertive and communicate their needs
  • Find meaning, inspiration and insight in daily living
  • Make rapid progress in their personal and spiritual growth

Again, a bit vague to me.

Why can’t I just do this on my own?

Good question!

This question can be answered with another question. If you were able to do this alone how come you are still searching? There is a paradox here: You have to do this by yourself but you don’t do it alone.

I love that phrase. 

There is a great power in coming to together as a group. The energy of the group is more than the sum of everyone’s individual energy.

That energy propels you to make much greater progress than doing this on your own within the ongoing distractions in life. 

That actually makes sense to me. 

But more importantly I’ve been guiding people for over 30 years on this journey to self.

That is indeed credibility building.

I’ve been up every blind alley there is and helped thousands of people in a very short time get through barriers they have struggled with by themselves for years.

Humility is nice. And credibility is building.

Why spend any longer being blocked?

That sounds dismissive of how much I’m suffering.

You’ve got to be kidding…enlightenment in 3 ½ days?

Now I’m so confused with what he means by enlightenment. How is he defining this?

Awakening is the “direct experience of the way you actually are”. You can come to the same awareness that many of the great spiritual teachers have had. After all they were ordinary folks just like you. The difference is that people like Buddha spent many years in meditation deepening and ripening their awakening to total enlightenment.  So once you experience your true self, that’s it. The search is over.

Wait. So you’re just offering me a taste of who I am? I’ve had some ‘peak moments’ before. Is this just another one? What happens when I come down from the mountain top and get lost in the valley again?

Then the next project is to start living from the real you.

Ah. That makes sense.

That will continue to deepen what you have come to know. You will be given instructions on how to do this on the last day of the retreat.

Very curious what advice he’d offer here. 

Who the retreat is for?

  • You are looking back on your life and wondering what it is all about?
  • You are feeling empty and you are asking “who am I really?
  • There’s a sense of meaningless about life.
  • You’ve been on a spiritual path for a long time and never had the big“AHA”
  • You are not interested in following a religion or taking on more beliefs
  • You are able to take 4 days away from your job and family

 Something about the bullet points here feels salesy but enough are specific enough (especially the last two) that these could really help me figure out if it’s a fit. 

Are there any pre-requisites to take the retreat?

If you have not done the retreat before I ask that people set-up a 10-15 minutes orientation interview with me. Together we will explore where you are at in your life and what you want from the retreat. 

I’ll explain the schedule, the guidelines and the self-inquiry technique used. I’ll go over any concerns you have about diet, accommodation and health challenges you may have and then you can decide if the retreat is a fit for you. There are no subtle sales techniques. I only want people on Coming Home who are right for it. It makes for a better retreat for everyone.

I like this. That feels personalized. I like that he says ‘no subtle sales techniques’. Huge building of trust. 

 

- END OF SALES LETTER #1 - 

 

So,that was what Russell sent me. Here’s what I sent him back as a rewrite. He’s made a few changes since.

Coming Home

Ending the search. Living a deeper life.

with 

Russell Scott

If you’re reading this, you already know something: life is hard. 

I wanted to start with the truest thing I knew that might resonate with the place Russell’s people are in.

It’s full of beauty and wonderful things – but it’s also full of heartbreak.

Life feeds us but it can also break us.

So, how do we deal with it?

I wanted to acknowledge the complexity of life and the experience of the person reading it. 

In truth, I don’t completely know. But I can share what I’ve discovered in the hopes it will be useful.

For me, when people admit they don’t know everything, it’s so credibility building. I trust them more. And it’s such an ‘anti-sales’ thing to say. I felt like his first letter simplified things too much. I wanted to complicate it a bit and bring more openness to it. 

It’s not an answer but a paradox I want to invite you to sit with as you read this (we’ll come back to it later): You have to do this by yourself but you don’t do it alone.

This is an old story telling trick of starting a story and then starting another story inside of that story while promising to come back to it. It grabs people in a bit closer. It’s a nice hook. Bring something provocative or compelling up as a tease and promise to get back to it later. 

If you’re reading this, then my guess is that you have been broken a down a little or a lot by life (maybe slowly over years or maybe all at once) to a point where you know you need to dig deeper. But there’s a good chance you feel lost as to how to go about that.

To me the key phrase is here is ‘my guess’. Not making assumptions.

And I’d like to talk about a different path to spiritual growth you may not have tried (or even considered). And to invite you to come to a retreat that’s coming up soon. 

This is the beauty of being direct. The other sales letter didn’t directly say it was about the retreat until the end. Be direct. Tell them that you’ve got something to offer and that you’re going to make your best case for it to help them figure out if it might be a fit for them.

A lot of people I speak with secretly wish they could let go of the pressures of living in the rat race and come home to a deeper peace… the kind that many of the great spiritual teachers of the ages have spoken of. They want to feel more alive, happy, inspired and fully engaged with others. They would feel a sense of harmony with life and be a lot freer to totally be themselves.

But right now, they walk, talk, sit, drive, work, buy, eat, sleep and dream in an endless daily cycle. 

At the end of the week, they may stare into the TV wondering “is there more than this perpetual treadmill?” and ask “What am I obviously missing here?” There’s restlessness like something is shifting or fragmenting. They don’t know what it is or what needs to change or even if it’s a good thing. Something deep inside is calling their true self to come out and play but they feel trapped in the way they are socially supposed to be. 

This is the exact same as the words above, but I changed it from ‘you’ to ‘they’. It’s more a story now. It’s less an accusation or pitch and it’s more of him relating what he’s experienced. 

Some of them tell me that they’ve come to the conclusion that they don’t know the one that’s been living their life. They just have no idea. Sometimes the emptiness is downright painful. Most of them hide it well (some very well and you’d never guess) but it’s deep…slowly eating their soul.

As Stephen Jenkinson said, “It’s in the nature of being human to forget how to be one on occasion.” But what happens when we forget for a long time? And how do we remember. Many of the people I have worked with are in the midst of the forgetting and don’t know how to get on track.

I wanted to seed the idea that we forget and that remembering is important. 

And it’s not for a lack of trying. 

They’ve tried the latest self-help books and videos about affirmations, positive thinking and “the secrets” but they didn’t do the trick. They actually made them more confused. The hype hurts. Some have explored the “isms” and different philosophies, crystals, chakras, gone to healers, etc.  Some have tried a religious path for awhile. For most, it’s helped them become calmer and more relaxed… but the big promised “aha” just hasn’t happened (they’ve been told it takes a long time). 

Again, I switched it from ‘you’ to ‘they’. No need for the reader to get defensive. 

And, for many of them, the whole guru/student thing gives them a rash so they’ve tried being an independent non-follower for awhile. But they’ve gotten lost and the truth is that the solitary approach feels incredibly lonely.

It’s not just that they’re alone. It’s that it feels lonely. It’s vital to remember that we’re talking to human beings. Their problems are not mechanical. They are deeply felt. I’ve written about this extensively in my blog post Empathy in Marketing

I’m guessing that, in some way, you can relate to this.

Again, guessing. Not stating definitely. Just supposing. This lets the reader confirm that it’s true. 

And if you can, this is what I want to say to you: What you really need to do is give up.

That’s right…give up trying to find the answers on the outside. These are just ideas, thoughts and concepts. They are in the head. They are like a menu. They are not the food. You need to take a 180 degree turn away from books and find a proven technique that will help you experience the truth for yourself. And let go of the idea that awakening takes a lifetime. That might just be another belief to become trapped in.

I left  this in because it didn’t feeling quite as abrupt and insensitive with a more sensitive intro. Reading it now, I’d probably still want to rework this. 

I know what it’s like…

In my twenties I spent 10 years exploring every religion under the sun and reading so many books I could have started my own library.

And I learned something very important – that the easiest way to avoid meditation… is to read books about meditation. A wise Hawai’ian Kahuna once said, ‘The shadow side of knowledge isn’t ignorance. It’s theory.’

This felt like another important premise to seed. The difference between theory and experience. He’s offering an experiential retreat. This distinction needs to be crystal clear. 

I sat at the feet of so many gurus and instead of finding peace I got athletes foot. I was so much in my head I was no earthly good. I just got more confused about myself and life. One day, I decided I didn’t really know anything and decided to find the truth for myself. It was then I discovered a method of self-inquiry that changed my life. I broke through my lonely shell and experienced the magnificence of my true self. Everyday I experience the greatest gift in life… being who I really am. I trained in this method (called the Enlightenment Intensive). Since then I changed the name of the retreat to something that felt more true to what my experience of it was: ‘Coming Home’ and have led over 65 retreats over the past 30 years.

Coming Home

What is Coming Home?

Coming Home is a simple but beautiful process that weaves together community and inner contemplation to bring you back to an experience of wholeness, completeness, peace and lightness. It’s like coming home after you have been lost for many years… only you come home to yourself.  

“community and inner contemplation” seemed like a simple way to put it. 

The East/West Approach

Using a self-inquiry format inspired by Zen-style contemplation on a key question such as; “who am I?” or “what is life? combined with a paired communication structure drawn from relational psychology you silently contemplate your question and then communicate the result of your investigation to a listening partner. You alternate speaking and listening every 5 minutes. Every 40 minutes you work with a different person or go on a silent walk. Meals, snack, exercise and rest are interspersed in the schedule.

It sounds so simple. But, I think that’s why it works so well. 

If you know that something you’re saying sound ‘too simple’ acknowledge that immediately. A good sales letter should read like a dialogue where you are making statements and then anticipating their responses and respond to them. A good sales letter is a wonderful experience where you find yourself constantly saying to yourself, ‘Yes. I was wondering that.’

“It’s like I did ten years of meditation in 3 days.”

Beth Clark, Kingston

Testimonials. These add so much credibility to this letter. If you say it, it could be hype. If someone else says it? Much more credible. 

The Structure

Within the structure there are agreements of non-interruption, non-judgement and deep listening that help you bypass the subtle influences of “normal” relating that have socialized you to deny what is true for you. You connect deeply to yourself and others and let go of layers of false beliefs and experiences that have imprisoned you in years of suffering. There are no religious ideas, dogma or philosophy to be learned. You learn and practice the technique and I give you guidance (if you need it). It is not psychotherapy. In a renewed space of openness, within 3 1/2 days many people (more than you might think just reading this) spontaneously awaken to the magnificence of their true self. Or that’s how I’d describe it. 

“Or that’s how I’d describe it.” Again. Taking the pressure out of it. Just sharing his experience rather than saying, ‘this is the truth’. More like, ‘this is how I see it’. 

What I see when I work with people is their eyes widening, broad smiles, tears of joy and their bodies melting as the thousand stresses caused by the expectations of who they think they need to be evaporate from their bodies. 

This is using the senses. When you’re describing the result you offer, paint me a picture. Help me see it. Help me hear it, taste it, touch it, feel it. Use all five senses. 

“Words are so inadequate when I try to describe the immense gratitude I feel. I am now moving through my life with new eyes, new ears, and a new voice; and feeling so much more peaceful, alive, and present in this world. Thank you for holding the retreat space in such a patient, gentle, loving, and compassionate way.” Sekoiaa Lake, Peterborough, On

To be honest, I’m not sure I understand it still. But maybe that’s the point. Some things aren’t meant to be understood. Some things can only be experienced and lose everything in the translation. 

Russell is a humble fellow. And I wanted that to come through. Admit that you don’t understand everything. Admit your limits. Admit your faults. And watch people lean in and trust you more. 

Again, ‘The shadow side of knowledge isn’t ignorance. It’s theory.’

If you have a core message that is central to your offer, bring it back again and again – make it a familiar refrain you return to. This message of knowledge vs. theory is vital to his workshops. If people don’t buy that idea, they won’t buy his retreat. 

I think what most of us need isn’t more theory. What we need is a dedicated space where we can be supported in doing the one thing we need most – go within. As the old saying goes, ‘if you don’t go within, you go without.’ And it’s the one thing we don’t actually do enough of. We think about it. We read about it. We talk about it. But when we sit down to do it, we get bored, lost or lose steam. We have to do it ourselves but, in reality, it’s hard to do it alone.

This is where I hit people a bit harder. More directly. I’m driving the point home and framing the foundational assumption and premise upon which this retreat is built. In Russell’s first letter, this premise is implicit. But sometimes you need to make these things explicit. Often times, we don’t even realize what the premises are; we don’t understand the point of view upon which our work is based. But a clear point of view is one of the key elements of people figuring out if we’re a fit for them or not. 

In my experience, we all have this internal compass, this part of us that knows the truth (and even more so, is the truth). And what’s causing so much of our suffering in our lives is the inconsistency between the will of our soul and the will of our personality. We need to bring the former out. As it says in the Gospel of Matthew, ‘That which you bring forth will save you. That which you do not bring forth will destroy you.’ And for many people, that experience of destruction is all too real. 

Awakening

But here’s my best take at explaining it: This phenomenon of ‘coming home’ in the west has been called, by Abraham Maslow, “Unitive consciousness” or “Self-transcendence”. In eastern traditions it is labelled as awakening, enlightenment, illumination, self-realization, cosmic consciousness or satori. Just as technology has advanced in modern times, so too have spiritual and transformation techniques. When safe communication structure is added to the eastern method of contemplation, the results are remarkable. That moment of ‘coming home’ usually occurs to 30-90% of participants. Many of them are caught off guard and amazed at no longer having to spend months, years or even a lifetime to have that moment of ‘awakening’.

Here I make sure to frame it as a ‘moment’ of awakening so it doesn’t seem like a bait and switch later. 

Eckhart Tolle says this about awakening; “When you know who you truly are there is an abiding alive sense of peace. You could call it joy because that’s what joy is: vibrantly alive peace. It is the joy of knowing yourself as the very life essence before life takes on form. That is the joy of Being, of being who you truly are.”

Is this just another “You’ll be happy for the rest of your life” thing?

To be realistic, awakening does not mean that you will no longer have any problems or you will be in a state of bliss or happiness for the rest of your life. What it does mean is that you will be living the rest of your life more from the inner strength of your real self and less from the insecurity of a social personality. You will be more able face and transform the obstacles of your life into valuable growth experiences and achieve the kind of success in life defined by who you really are, not others. 

For me it’s this: Coming home to my true self (the real experience of it in my body not the theory of it) is the most precious gift I have ever given to myself. And because we all want to relate to others who are real, you are the best gift you can give to the world. 

After a Coming Home retreat participants commonly report feeling:

  • More authentic
  • Peace, contentment and lightness permeating their body
  • Totally embodied as if they have finally come home to themselves
  • Loving-kindness towards themselves and others
  • Greater self-acceptance
  • Psychologically whole
  • More inner strength and inner resolve
  • Freer to express themselves around others
  • Improved intuitive ability
  • Enhanced and balanced energy levels

“Within one year of the retreat I left my business and took a chance on a new career…money is not important, nor is status. What is important is the feeling that I am now doing what I was originally meant to do with my life!” Mel Steiner -Toronto

Participants also commonly report having greater capacity to:

  • Be open and authentic in relationships
  • Persist and accomplish personal goals
  • Face and overcome problems and difficulties
  • Fully experience love, joy and happiness
  • Understand the deeper truths in traditional philosophy and religion
  • Achieve greater mutual understanding with others 
  • Be assertive and communicate their needs
  • Find meaning, inspiration and insight in daily living
  • Make rapid progress in their personal and spiritual growth

“I discovered a bond linking myself with others, that we are all beings trapped within our minds trying to communicate our fears and need for love. I am becoming more loving, more real, more open, truthful and trustworthy” Doug Tyler -Toronto

Why can’t I just do this on my own?

This question can be answered with another question. If you were able to do this alone how come you are still searching? 

And we’re back to the paradox: You have to do this by yourself but you don’t do it alone. 

Aaaaannd we’ve brought it back. Remember that piece I teased earlier?

There is a great power in coming to together as a group. The energy of the group is more than the sum of everyone’s individual energy. That energy propels you to make much greater progress than doing this on your own within the ongoing distractions in life. 

But more importantly I’ve been guiding people for over 30 years on this journey to self. I’ve been up every blind alley there is and helped thousands of people in a very short time get through barriers they have struggled with by themselves for years. 

You’ve got to be kidding…enlightenment in 3 ½ days?

I would define awakening is the “direct experience of the way you actually are”. This is my belief (as well as the experience of myself and many others): You can come to the same awareness that many of the great spiritual teachers have had. After all they were ordinary folks just like you. The difference is that people like Buddha spent many years in meditation deepening and ripening their awakening to total enlightenment.  

So once you experience your true self, that’s it. The search is over. Then the next project is to start living from the real you. That will continue to deepen what you have come to know. You will be given instructions on how to do this on the last day of the retreat.

But the first step is to find it. And, for most of us, that’s been a very hard first step. After all, many of us have spent a lifetime losing ourselves and being misled.

Step One: come home. This doesn’t need to take as long as many think.

Step Two: live in that home. This is a lifetime practice. This is where your life becomes a work of art, an ongoing practice of deepening and expressing who we are in the world.

Again, I didn’t want it to get lost that there were two steps here. 

As the old African proverb goes: “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it.”

Is there any support for me after the retreat when I meet the challenges of my life?

It’s quite common after any spiritual or personal development program for the retreat “high” to fade, after a few days or weeks. People are in a more open space and see life more clearly They can have difficulty bringing their new breakthroughs into their lives where their family, friends and work are still the same. All too often people are sent home after other retreats with little guidance and support. 

This is not the case with Coming Home.

The main self inquiry practice in the retreat ends usually on a Sunday evening. In the next half day you are re-introduced to your normal way of relating to others. You are made aware of the challenges you may face and given strategies to deal with them. You then “graduate” into the Enlifenment Program that is designed to help you live in a deeper connection to your true self. (as in step 2 above).

This program includes a guided meditation CD, two follow-up mentorship from me calls a month apart, a six week program of self-inquiry exercises paired with a fellow participant and 2 one or two day re-connection seminars through-out the next year. I am also available for one-to-one sessions (at an addition cost) for anyone that needs this. 

You can choose to become part of a non-dogmatic community of true spiritual friends who have shared deeply in your profound transformation journey. Once again, you have to do this by yourself but now you don’t have to do this alone.

Who the retreat is for?

  • You are looking back on your life and wondering what it is all about?
  • You are feeling empty and you are asking “who am I really?”
  • There’s a sense of meaningless about life.
  • You’ve been on a spiritual path for a long time and never had the big“AHA”
  • You are a seeker and not interested in following a religion or taking on more beliefs
  • You are able to take 4 days away from your job and family
  • You resonate with what you’ve read here so far and feel open to exploring the process for yourself. 
  • You resonate with the idea that, deep down, we know (or are) the truth. We just often need support in finding it.

Are there any pre-requisites to take the retreat?

If you have not done the retreat before I ask that people set-up a 10-15 minutes orientation interview with me. Together we will explore where you are at in your life and what you want from the retreat.

I’ll explain the schedule, the guidelines and the self-inquiry technique used. I’ll go over any concerns you have about diet, accommodation and health challenges you may have and then you can decide if the retreat is a fit for you. There are no subtle sales techniques. I only want people on Coming Home who are right for it. It makes for a better retreat for everyone.  

 

- END OF SALES LETTER #2 - 

 

So, that’s it. That’s my quick ‘redo’ of a sales letter to make it less salesy and more reflective of the wonderful man Russell Scott is. He’s one of the kindest, most unassuming, gentle and clear fellows I’ve ever met. You’d be hard pressed to find better as a mentor and support in your inner growth. You can learn more about him and his wonderful work (which I have directly experienced and can attest to) here: www.truesourceseminars.com 

‘So You Think You Can Niche?’ Contest – Win $100 Cash + Free Coaching + A Copy of The Niching Spiral for The Effort of a Tweet

15279911 vote election concept isolated word in vintage letterpress wood type 300x211 ‘So You Think You Can Niche?’ Contest – Win $100 Cash + Free Coaching + A Copy of The Niching Spiral for The Effort of a Tweet

 

Do you have a clear niche?

Are you sure?

I’d like to give you a simple and fun way to find out for sure (and it might put $100 in your pocket). 

arrow e1357681247481 ‘So You Think You Can Niche?’ Contest – Win $100 Cash + Free Coaching + A Copy of The Niching Spiral for The Effort of a Tweet

Many entrepreneurs I work with believe they do in fact have a clear, solid and effective niche for their business.

Until I begin to ask a few questions.

In my experience, 90% of entrepreneurs have an extremely fuzzy niche (and don’t realize it). But that’s just my opinion. And it occurred to me that you might be curious about how clear your niche is. So, I’ve arranged a quick and fun way for you to get some quick, direct and candid feedback from me and also dozens of other people. In my experience, honest feedback can be hard to get.

Backstory:

Last year, I ran a contest I called ‘So, You Think You Can Niche?’ where people submitted their niche in a little contest. There were some really good submissions. You can see the top forty winners here.

And, since I’m launching my new book The Niching Spiral soon, I thought I might run it again.

So, here it is – it’s totally free. But it’s only for the brave . . .

 

Submitting Your Niche:

Click the SUBMIT button below and it will take you to a submission form that will explain all. But here are the rules:

  • you must write your niche in 120 characters or less (say wha?!). That’s shorter than a tweet.
  • if you submit a niche, you must rate at least five other people’s niches (it’s only fair) but please do more if you can.

You are totally welcome to email your friends and rope them into voting for you as long as you ask them to be honest.

Once you submit, your photo will be put up in this album on my facebook page. You can select your photo and copy the link and share it as you like. 

 

In fact, here’s a facebook post and a tweet below:

fb ‘So You Think You Can Niche?’ Contest – Win $100 Cash + Free Coaching + A Copy of The Niching Spiral for The Effort of a TweetFACEBOOK: 30 second favour – Give me an honest rating from 1-10 on how clear my niche is to you in the ‘So You Think You Can Niche’ contest? #sytycn2014 [LINK TO YOUE PHOTO]

new twitter logo ‘So You Think You Can Niche?’ Contest – Win $100 Cash + Free Coaching + A Copy of The Niching Spiral for The Effort of a TweetTWITTER: 30 second favour – Give me an honest rating from 1-10 on how clear my niche is to you in the #sytycn2014 [LINK TO YOUE PHOTO]

 

How to Rate Other People’s Niches:

fb ‘So You Think You Can Niche?’ Contest – Win $100 Cash + Free Coaching + A Copy of The Niching Spiral for The Effort of a TweetFacebook: Go to the photo album with the photos of those niches. To vote you simply leave a comment underneath the photo with a number from 1-10 along with any comments you’d like to make. You can view and vote here.

To be clear on the rating system:

1 = Not clear at all. I have no idea what they’re talking about or what problem they solve for people.

10 = I can totally picture specific people I could send to them and I know for sure whether I’m in their niche or not. I clearly understand the problem they are solving.

You’re welcome to write some feedback too – but let’s remember to be gentle, uncompromising truth but also unconditional love as this is a vulnerable thing for people.

There is a prize for the person who gives the best and most insightful comments (read more at the bottom).

Examples of Niches I’d Rate a 10 in Clarity:

  • I help holistic practitioners attract more of their kinds of clients they want without doing anything that feels pushy.
  • I lead yoga classes for people with ’round bodies’ who don’t enjoy going to regular yoga classes.
  • Therapists who need an outlet to anonymously share all the secrets they have to keep from sessions with clients.
  • MD’s who are burning out or can see they’re heading to burn out if they don’t slow down and make changes.

 

Your Twelve Chances to Win a Prizes. What’s in it for you?

How to win: the winner will be the person with the highest total score. In the case of a tie, the one with the most people rating them. So get your friends involved if you want to be sure to win.

1st Place - 90-minute coaching session ($450 value) + you’ll be featured on my blog + $100 gift certificate at your favourite locally owned restaurant + free hardbound copy of The Niching Spiral

2nd & 3rd Place: 30-minute coaching session + electronic copy of The Niching Spiral.

4th – 10th Place: Win $100 off my next Niching for Hippies program (a discount you can use or pass onto others).

Best Photo: Your creativity and quality of presentation will be rewarded, even if your niche isn’t. You win $100 off the Niching for Hippies program.

The Best Comments Prize: the person who gives the best feedback to others gets $300 off my Niching for Hippies program because that’s the kind of person I want in it.

Good Comments Award: Anyone who gives at least five quality pieces of feedback (beyond just a number) will get $100 off off the Niching for Hippies program.

 

But, every person who enters a niche will receive a rating from me personally (from 1-10) and potentially some direct feedback and questions to help you dig a bit deeper.

Every person who enters gets to see a tonne of examples of how others articulate their niches in clear and fuzzy ways. And you’ll get feedback from (hopefully) dozens of others.

 

Contest Ends at midnight on April 30th, 2014

 

 

 ‘So You Think You Can Niche?’ Contest – Win $100 Cash + Free Coaching + A Copy of The Niching Spiral for The Effort of a Tweet

 

a blog post in which I discuss why the whole economy is toxic, destructive and suicidal and yet… marketing is needed to fix things?

397 a blog post in which I discuss why the whole economy is toxic, destructive and suicidal and yet... marketing is needed to fix things?This is a different sort of blog than I usually write  because it’s not just about marketing. It’s about the context that marketing happens inside of.
 
Namely, the economy.
 
Of course, most of us have some very justifiable issues with marketing. Some of us wonder if even the whole ‘conscious marketing’ thing is bullshit
 
But those issues are driven by something so much larger.
 
We live inside of an economy that David Korten coined as ‘The Suicide Economy’. For obvious reasons. If we let it, it will kill itself (and take a lot down with it as it goes). 
 
It’s an economy and culture that has led much of humanity to a point of a secret sort of self loathing. The sense that made, as William Gibson put it, ‘man is a bad animal’. Stephen Jenkinson illucidates on this brilliantly in the following video by Ian Mackenzie.
 
393 a blog post in which I discuss why the whole economy is toxic, destructive and suicidal and yet... marketing is needed to fix things?   
 
As David Orr so brilliantly put it, “The plain fact is that the planet does not need more “successful” people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every shape and form. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these needs have little to do with success as our culture has defined it.”
 
And most of us are fighting tooth and nail to create something more sane. Something more in alignment with what Judy Wicks of Phillidelphia’s White Dog Cafe expressed so beautifully when she said, 

“The Local Living Economies Movement is about: Maximizing relationships, not maximizing profits, Broad-based ownership and democracy, not concentrated wealth and power, Sharing, not hoarding, Life serving, not self-serving, Partnership, not domination, Cooperation based, not competition based, Win-win exchange, not win-loose exploitation, Creativity, not conformity, A living return, not the highest return, A living wage, not the minimum wage, A fair price, not the lowest price, “Being more, not having more”, Interconnectedness, not separation, Inclusion, not exclusiveness, Community and collective joy, not isolation and unhapppiness, Cultural diversity, not monoculture, Bio-diversity, not mono-crops, Family farms, not factory farms, Slow food, not fast food, Our bucks, not Starbucks, Our mart, not Wal-Mart, a Love of life, not love of money.”

In a similar way. this quote from The Necessary Revolution (shared with me by my colleague Julia) struck as right on theme for this theme of figuring out the deeper cause our business is about. It invites us to step back and consider the underlying cause of business itself:

“…the new generation of mission-based businesses builds on some very old ideas, ones that predate the Industrial Age. They seek, as an essential part of their purpose, to contribute to the health and well-being of living systems.  They reject the notion that the sole purpose of business is to make a profit and they regard the quality of relationships between members, suppliers, and customers as the true indicator of success.  In so doing, they are returning business to its origins.  The oldest Swedish word for business is narings liv, “nourishment for life.”  In ancient Chinese the concept is expressed by two symbols that translate as “life meaning.”   And the root of the English word company derives from the Latin com panis, “the sharing of bread”- the same root as that for the word companion.”  

Everywhere we look, we see the growth of this new Green Economy. But some of us wonder if it’s enough. Because, as it rises, so doesgreenwashing (in which corporations try to make normal things seem green instead of helping to make green things seem normal). But also because many of suspect that solar power and compact flourescent lightbulbs are not the complete solution we need. That we may need something more. Many of us are waking up to the reality that, even if we all did what Al Gore called for at the end of his powerful documentary ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ it wouldn’t be anywhere near to enough.

Silently, some of us wonder to ourselves, ‘What if the Green Economy is a wonderful means, but a terrible ends?’

We see the Occupy Wallstreet movement and the new economy it’s calling on us to imagine. 

395 a blog post in which I discuss why the whole economy is toxic, destructive and suicidal and yet... marketing is needed to fix things? 

David Korten invites us to go even deeper than critiquing the economy but to question the very stories that have, for so long, underpinned it. And he invites us to consider what the economy might look like if it were inspired by a different set of stories. What if we shifted our stories from those of building empires (which never end well) to building and sustaining villages? What if instead of growing big and selling we could be small and enjoy the beauty in that? What if endless economic growth was not the drum we marched to but that love and justice were the drums we danced to? What if there were models of creating change that didn’t all rely on money?

What if indeed.

So, what does this all have to do with marketing?

So much really. 

The word marketing is full of such heavy connotations. But let’s say it in a different way.

We need to find a way to articulate the problems we face as a culture and the potential solutions with such a powerful eloquence and clarity that it awakens something in people. 

If people don’t know about the alternatives you offer the world, they, functionally, don’t exist. And we need people to know they exist. Desperately. The solutions are out there (e.g. holistic medicine, permaculture, solar power, local economies and currencies, slow food etc.) but what good are they if no one knows? And people finding out about things is another way of saying marketing. 

As Antoine de Saint Exupéry put it, “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”

And that’s marketing.

We need to educate people about what new things are possible that could be restorative to both the planet and ourselves. And that’s marketing.

We need to lift our rhetoric to a level of relevance and clarity than is unmistakable. 

We need to get people’s attention, help them understand if our particular solution is a fit and then make it sweet, gentle and easy to try it (because we know asking them to change everything overnight will never work). 

We need to find ways to not seduce people, but court them into living their fullest lives. Imagine if everyone in the world offering hopeful and positive solutions awoke tomorrow with this kind of irresistible eloquence that inspired the best that humanity has to offer. Imagine how many fewer people might find themselves on their deathbed full of regrets

We don’t just need more conscious marketing. We need a whole new economy. We need to reimagine the culture we live in. But, to get there, we need to be better marketers. 

Most of us get most of our money, directly or indirectly, from the Suicide Economy. We’d love to make all of our money from the more Conscious Economy and spend all of our money there… but most of us haven’t been able to do that. Most of us are, like this culture, in transition. Most of us are trying to make our little conscious venture financially sustainable.

And a mighty piece of whether or not we can pay the bills comes down to marketing. 

If you’re needing more help with finding the eloquence to express what you do I’d like to remind you of somethings.

My website is full of free things. There’s over three hours of free video. Five hundred blog posts. Case studies.

I have a 195 ebook that you should have gotten when you signed up for this email list but, in case you’ve lost it, you can download it here.

If you feel drawn to work with me one on one, you can find more info about that here.

Thanks for being on my list. I hope you get good things from it. 

warmest,
Tad

p.s. I’ll be in touch soon about some breakthroughs I’ve been having around this whole question of finding your niche, plus a contest around niching I think you’ll love.

p.p.s. On March 11th, I was the witness to a man taking his life by jumping off of Edmonton’s High Level Bridge. It was a deeply traumatic event from which I’m still recovering but recovering well with the help of a lot of good friends and support. I wrote a song about it and was able to go to the funeral and sing it to the family. It would mean a lot to me if you could share it with others. Yu can find the song and the story here: http://www.miguelitoslittlegreencar.com/blog/paying-tribute-tad/

 

Guest Post: The Secrets of a Killer Blog Post

by Marlon Gallano II

The Secrets of a Killer Blog Post.

That is the title of the infographic and it is a great example of what a blog post 101 is all about, as a killer title is one of the vital components needed for success. Research shows that the post title is the only part of a blog post that the reader is guaranteed to see, so the pressure is on to come up with a snappy and interesting headline that makes someone want to read on and find out more.

Grabbing the reader’s attention and persuading or tempting them to read more is the probably the ultimate goal when it comes to writing a killer blog post and the holy grail of blogging is finding the right formula or words in the title to give the reader an idea of what you are covering without giving too much away at the same time.

Having cracked the killer-title part of the equation and persuaded someone to read the blog post using some of the tricks shown, you then need to hold the reader’s attention and engage them with maybe a shocking statistic, a bold claim or a question that gets them thinking about an answer.

There are plenty of do’s and don’ts when it comes to mastering the secrets of writing a killer blog post so what are you waiting for? All is about to be revealed…….

 

How to Write a Successful Blog Post 1 7 Guest Post: The Secrets of a Killer Blog Post

 

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