Gifts and tools are different things.
Gifts are those things that come to you naturally. Those capacities, inclination, tendencies and abilities you were born with. These are the things you do that feel effortless for you where you lose track of time. We are, in some mysterious way, born with these. They are woven into who we are. Identical twins can be born and yet have such different gifts – one a good listener and the other a good speaker. Same DNA. Born into the same when and the same where and yet… so different. It’s one of life’s most enduring mysteries.
If you are thwarted in the expression of your gifts, you will suffer. If these are identified and fostered and you’re given chances to express them, you will thrive.
Tools are an entirely different beat all together. In the context I’m speaking of, a tool might be a modality you use in your healing practice (e.g. massage, reiki, NLP, yoga therapy, Non-Violent Communication, The Work of Byron Katie, life coaching etc.)
While I was in Iceland for a session of the Orphan Wisdom school, Stephen Jenkinson was sharing with us his understand of what a ‘tool’ is. The gist of it was that a tool is something basic, small and simple with few moving parts. It’s something primitive. It’s not complicated. A tool extends the grasp of the hand, augments the strength of the grip (e.g. plyers) but it does so in a way that the hand recognizes itself in the extension – in kind not degree. A tool makes the hand more able. The work you do with tools is a devotional act. You can see this in the incredible care that people took of their tools in traditional cultures and the veneration they gave them. They treated them as ones who are just alive as they were. A tool is a sacred thing. But not a ‘thing’. A sacred ‘one’.
And so the techniques, skills, processes and modalities we learn are tools and they extend, strengthen, magnify and enhance the grasp of our gifts. They allow the capacity for more detail and nuance in our work.
And so our tools are in a deep relationship with our gifts.
If you are doing work that isn’t built around your natural gifts and you have no tools you’re using, this is called ‘winging it at something you’re mediocre at.’ Your work will only ever be functional. It’ll be okay at best.
If you are doing work that isn’t built around your natural gifts and you have a lot of really good tools you’re using, this is called competent. You’ll only ever be ‘good’.
If you are doing work that is built around your natural gifts and you have no tools you’re using, this is called ‘winging it at something you’re naturally great at.’ Your work will only ever be good but unpredictable. It’ll be inconsistently amazing at best. This is the mad genius, the unpracticed artistic genius, the untutored savant.
If you are doing work that is built around your natural gifts and you have plenty of tools you’re practiced in, this is closer to the neighbourhood of mastery or, better yet, a deep devotion to the expression of your gifts in this world in the most skillful and articulated way possible.
And so, this is the goal, to find the right tools to help you express your gifts and become skillful in using them.
This is how you become trustworthy.
Most of the people who come to my Marketing for Hippies 101 workshops feel like failures in marketing.
Some because they tried everything and it hasn’t worked out the way they were told it would.
Some because they’ve tried nothing at all.
But many of them seem to come through the doors feeling like something about them is defective that they struggle so deeply with their marketing.
They should be able to promote themselves better. They should be able to articulate what they do better. They should be able to sell themselves with more confidence at networking events. They should be better and more compelling public speakers. They should blog more. They shouldn’t be such a technological luddite. They should believe in themselves more. They should have a better website (or a website at all). They should have more clients.
All of those phrases lie heavy in the air at these workshops. They are unspoken but, more importantly, unquestioned.
Weaving them together is the thought, “Something is wrong with me.”
The thought, though unnamed, seems obvious enough. If you should be able to do something and you can’t seem to get yourself to do it. What other conclusions could be drawn but that there’s something defective inside of you or something missing or broken?
But what if there was nothing wrong with you at all?
And, of course, this goes far beyond marketing. Most of us walk around our lives with this story whispering in our ear and, with an unerring capacity, finding us evidence to support this idea everywhere we look, constantly adding legs under the table top notion of our inadequacy.
I mean look at the evidence. Look at the notches on our belts for all of the seven deadly sins that find their way into our lives every day. For some of us, it’s wrath and anger. For others, it’s sloth. For others, it’s lust and lechery. Despite our best efforts, we can’t seem to clean up our acts.
You’ve gone to all of the workshops and you’re still an asshole.
You’ve meditated for years and you’re still the most uptight, miserable bastard you know.
You eat so healthfully and yet you keep getting sick.
You’ve learned so much about marketing and selling and you’re still failing to get anyone to sign up and pay you money.
We are visited over and over by that most painful of thoughts, “I can’t believe I did that again.” and its partner, “I should know better by now.” But the unclaimed child of these thoughts is, “There’s something wrong with me.”
The evidence seems overwhelming and inarguable.
But, what if there’s nothing wrong with you?
This might seem impossible to even consider when you’re in the depths of shame but consider this question to be a rope thrown down to you from above.
How could it be that there’s nothing wrong with you in the face of such overwhelming evidence?
Imagine you are at a networking event. In your two front jacket pockets of the suit you put on begrudgingly, in a half-hearted attempt to appear professional, you have fifty business cards. One hundred cards in total that you give out throughout a long night of networking driven by a dogged commitment and financial desperation to get clients. By the end of the night, your pockets are empty. One hundred new potential clients are now in possession of your business card.
But, as the weeks go by, no one calls. No new clients come from it.
Surely, there must be something wrong with you.
Or, perhaps, you stood there at the bar talking with the first person you met for the whole night because you’re so terrified of introducing yourself to strangers and because you have no idea what you’d say and you leave feeling like a failure.
Surely, there must be something wrong with you.
Or, perhaps, you didn’t even make it that far. You saw the networking opportunity and marked it in your calendar but were too overcome with anxiety to step out the door to go to the event.
Surely, there must be something wrong with you.
That’s the refrain I hear, unspoken, over and over throughout my workshops. I could give you so many scenarios where this appears.
But what if none of them are a sign of anything being wrong with you?
What if that’s not what it means?
What if they are table legs of evidence but propping up the poorly chosen table top of ‘There’s something wrong with me’?
What else could it mean? What other table top might better hold the feast of your days and harvest of your business no matter how meager it might seem?
No doubt there are many but let me offer one here for your consideration: what if all of the evidence you’ve gathered isn’t a sign that there’s something wrong with you but that there’s something wrong with the approach you’ve learned?
What if most of what’s taught in marketing is so profoundly dehumanizing, terrible feeling and, frankly, ineffective that we either don’t do it or are bound to get poor results from it if we do?
For example, many marketing workshops will tell you to network to get clients.
But what if the core approach to it that is commonly taught actually doesn’t work? What if stress and pushiness are built in? What if those approaches are doomed to fail? What if the promises made about those approaches aren’t based in anything that might be considered ‘reality’?
This is so hard to see when there is no alternative given. When it’s all you know, it’s hard to imagine there might be another way.
So let me offer you two ideas on networking that I got from the good Bill Baren.
The first is to give up on networking for clients at all but to rather orient your networking towards connecting with hubs (who might be the source of dozens of clients). Remember this: Babe Ruth, one of the baseball greats, only hit homeruns twenty percent of the time. So, why do we think that we should be able to convince everyone with whom we connect to become a client? Where does that insane notion come from? And why is it that we think, when we fail to get many, if any, clients networking in the ways we’ve been taught, that the failure is with us instead of in the approach itself? What if networking for clients is inherently a dead end, exhausting approach?
If you shift your networking away from trying to get clients to trying to connect with hubs you might be amazed at how much more effective and better feeling it becomes.
But there’s more.
What if you stop going to networking events alone to network for yourself and, instead, went with a colleague and networked for each other? What if you each walked in with a solid understanding of each other’s work, how to best articulate it and who might be the best fits as clients or, even better, as hubs? What if you stopped trying to do the inherently uncomfortable work of promoting yourself and, instead, focused on hustling for your friend who you love?
When I lay these two ideas out at workshops, I see eyes open wide. I see relief. I see the unspoken thought, “I can’t believe I never thought of that. Of course.”
For years, they had felt like failures for trying and failing at networking or simply failing to try but then I see them begin to consider that it might have been that the whole approach, itself, that was wrong not them.
What if there was nothing wrong with you?
“Why can’t I stand up in the front of the room and be magnetic and powerful in my presence?” Maybe because you’ve got a quiet and quirky charm that doesn’t easily fit into the molds given out by marketing coaches.
“Why can’t I introduce myself with more confidence at networking events?” Maybe because a lot of those events end up being shitty and contrived and because you haven’t learned how to talk about what you do in a way that feels good.
“Why do I feel such a deep resistance to charging more money? It must be some deep money wounds I have needing years of therapy and expensive coaching packages.” Yeah. And maybe you’ve also got a political and spiritual conscience and you find yourself genuinely troubled by the economic system and how money works in this culture at this time and you really have no idea how to relate to charging for what you do in a way that feels right.
“I host these regular gatherings but I have no idea how to follow up with the people who attend them. It must be that I don’t believe in myself.” Possibly. But more likely it’s that you’ve never identified or been shown a low-pressure way to do just that.
What if there was nothing wrong with you?
Why can’t you market? Why are you so bad with money? Maybe it’s just never learned an approach or perspective that felt good. Maybe it’s because you’re doing the best you can given the overwhelming pressures of your life as a parent and caregiver to your parents. Maybe it’s not because, as a commenter in this blog post said, “because you’re stuck in fear and won’t take a risk.” And if you’re not rich maybe it’s not because “you haven’t learned to unblock your innate powers of manifestation” (side note: have you noticed that most of these manifestation coaches are broke?)
Maybe it’s because you’re doing the best you can given the very limited time you have and the overwhelming pressures of your life as a parent and caregiver to your parents and you only have so many hours in a week. Maybe it’s not about you being lazy. Imagine that.
And yet, in every workshop I do, I see people who have learned techniques and approaches to marketing that feel off and they assume it’s a personal failing. They assume that the fault lies in them, not the techniques they were taught.
As a side note, these is the unintended consequence of hype.
“Learn these stealth networking tactics and have everyone you meet practically beg for your card!”
“Learn these hidden dating hacks and have the hottest girls in the bar begging for your number!”
“Using these three techniques you’ll never lose your man.”
“This little-known investment strategy can double your money in 90 days guaranteed.”
“The pounds will practically melt off your body when you do these three simple things (in only 15 minutes a day!).”
When we read and believe these false promises and then can’t seem to achieve the results they were offering, it can be easy to assume that the fault is with us.
But, what if there was nothing wrong with you?
This is not new.
In his paper, “Beyond the Four Waves of Colonization” Darien Thira points out that there have been three waves of colonization of indigenous people.
The Colonization of Aboriginal peoples has generally been considered to have operated in three waves:
1. legal – legislation to identify and control the Aboriginal population through the suppression of legal rights, based on the view of Aboriginal peoples and communities as ‘savage’;
2. administrative – a reserve system designed to isolate Aboriginal groups and claim their traditional lands, based on the view of Aboriginal peoples and communities as ‘heathen’; and
3. ideological – the Residential School and Foster-parent System which were originally intended to assimilate and later separate Aboriginal people from the non-native mainstream, based on the view of Aboriginal peoples and communities as ‘deficient’ (Chrisjohn, Young, and Mauraun 1997; McCormick 2002; Milloy, 19999).
However, a fourth wave of colonization is currently oppressing the Aboriginal community, a medical wave, made up of professional caregivers, treatment centres, and others which encourage and provide so-called healing, based on the view of Aboriginal peoples as ‘sick’ (Chrisjohn, Young, and Mauraun 1997; Thira, 2005)
And this fourth wave is vital because it has indigenous people thinking that something is wrong with them. It has them walking around thinking that they are the sick ones. Thira continues,
The Fourth Wave of Colonization: Western ‘Healing’ In response to these consequences, a fourth, medical, wave of colonization and genocide has been created–a social welfare industry made up of therapeutic foster homes, treatment facilities, and consulting mental health and social service professionals (not to mention researchers and academics) who have shifted the label from ‘savage’, ‘heathen’, and ‘deficient’ to “sick” Indian and/or community (Milloy 1999; Ward 2001). Aboriginal people and communities are victims who now require help form the very colonizers who harmed them. So-called ‘Residential School Syndrome’ (RSS) provides an excellent example. RSS has been proposed as a form of mental illness with symptoms that include the intrusion of terrifying memories and dreams, the avoidance of anything that reminds one of Indian Residential School, and an unrealistic fear of danger (anxiety), among others. It also suggests that many of the problems currently experienced by Aboriginal communities, such as addiction, violence, unemployment, family problems and suicide, are a result of this mental illness (Brassfield 2001). However, by placing the responsibility for the problem on the individual, implying that it is caused by their failure to ‘adjust’ to their traumatic personal past, RSS can be viewed as a tool that labels survivors a person as ‘sick’, rather than someone who is living with ongoing social oppression (Chrisjohn, Young, and Mauraun 1997). Thus, it as been argued that a better diagnosis for the problems just described is ‘Acute and/or Chronic Response to Colonialism’ (Duran & Duran 1995). From this socially aware perspective, it is not the Aboriginal individuals who are ‘sick’, but those who oppress them. It is the colonizers, not the survivors, who should be diagnosed with RSS. The symptoms must be revised to be: the desire to steal children from their parents and to rob a people of their language, culture, and land (Chrisjohn, Young, and Mauraun 1997).
What if Residential School Syndrome was a human response to oppression?
What if that’s how you’re supposed to react as a human in those situations?
What if the dysfunction was in the way we looked at the dysfunction.
What if there’s no mystery here?
What if there was nothing wrong with you?
“The resistance to the disturbance is the disturbance.” – Vernon Howard
“So, you might have noticed this already but I’m certainly somewhere on the Asperger’s spectrum.” said a woman at my workshop. She was standing at the front. A woman in her late fifties, conservatively dressed, shy and sweet. She considered herself a spiritual and psychological failure. Undiagnosed for her Aspergers she’d gone to see therapists to figure out why she struggled so much. The help offered focused on the assumption that something was wrong with her, that there were parts of her in conflict that needed some resolution. But what was actually happening was that she was just wired differently; she processed information differently. There was nothing wrong with her.
She then practiced meditation with deep devotion and yet something remained untouched. Finally, she found a spiritual modality that profoundly shifted her life for the better.
She wasn’t a psychological or spiritual failure. She’d been psychologically and spiritually failed.
I think of LGBTQ young people who spend their whole lives thinking there’s something wrong with them.
I think of people of colour thinking they’re inferior because they don’t look white enough.
I think of men and women both ashamed of their genders and those who don’t fit neatly into either gender ashamed of their inability to slide gently into place anywhere.
I think of those students who don’t learn well from sitting in a classroom and slammed with the ADHD lable and put on drugs.
I think of all of the young men in this culture who were never, at a young age, initiated into adulthood and who end up wreaking so much havoc on the lives of those around them. Men behave shittily because of this programming and poverty and are convinced there’s something wrong with them personally. “But you don’t understand! I’m a monster!” they say. Sure. This culture affecs every single man, but you. You’re the one who’s just rotten to the core. You’re the one. You’re just the bad seed. The Devil made you and snuck you into existence somehow. Nothing redeeming here. You are separate from all of Life. Got it. This story is so deep. There’s something wrong with you. The rest of the Universe seems to be working well, but not you.
I think of all the young women who are never welcomed into their adulthood either and how both spend the rest of their lives with this unspoken feeling that something important that was supposed to happen never did.
I think of the parents who struggle to balance everything and feel like they’re constantly failing at being a parent and likely scarring their kids for life.
I think of entrepreneurs building their teams and failing because they haven’t identified what their strengths and weaknesses are. They’re doing many things they’re actually incompetent at, though that’s not what kills the business. What kills the business are all of the things they’re doing that they’re competent at but that still isn’t their particular area of strength or genius. And so they feel like there must be something deeply wrong with them.
I think of weeds and how they’re wonderful plants just growing in places we wish they wouldn’t. The way we talk about them, right to their faces, I wouldn’t be surprised if maybe they began to think there was something wrong with them too.
Ian Mackenzie writes beautifully about this is his mini essay, On Black Holes and the Loss of Village:
In 1967, Princeton physicist John Wheeler coined the term “black hole” to describe an object in space so dense that not even light could not escape its gravitational pull. This is caused when a massive star dies, leaving behind a small, dense remnant core.
Scientists cannot directly observe black holes. They can only infer their presence by studying the effect on nearby matter, such as drawing in interstellar dust or tearing apart stars. Let me say that differently: we only know black holes exist by their effect on everything else.
I’ve come to understand the loss of village in the same manner.
For most of human history, humans have lived in nomadic tribes. Around 10,000 years ago we shifted into settlements (towns and cities), and very recently, fragmented into nuclear families. This is a blink of an eye in cosmic time and, understandably, we are still reeling from the calamity.
Most modern people suffer from rampant anxiety and a constant lack of self-worth. Mass media, the pursuit of happiness, and the meritocracy of religion ensure we are never allowed to be enough. When we can’t keep up, we’re told we are the problem. The prescription for sanity is written by the insanity: “You must love yourself first.”
Most of us have never lived the true richness of mutual life. Therefore, how could we recognize the ghost at the core of our culture is the longing for village?
What if there was nothing wrong with us? What if there was something missing in our culture?
“It’s no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti
I once held a workshop called The Things We Can’t Forgive Ourselves For. It was a workshop for men who were wrestling with shame in their lives.
We all have something we’re ashamed of something we’ve done. Wayne Dyer once pointed out that we should never become too cocky because there is almost certainly someone who is in therapy because of us.
And, in this culture, this is often held to mean, “Doing ______ means I deserve to be punished.”
In other words, there’s something fundamentally wrong with us. We did something bad and therefore are bad.
But what if what it actually meant might be something closer to, “Doing ______ means I needed more support.”?
And what if we began to learn to ask for the support we really needed?
What if there was nothing wrong with us?
I’m going for a walk with a new friend of mine – a young woman full of promise for her community. She is crying. She’s so jealous of the relationship that her boyfriend has with his sister and so deeply ashamed and embarrassed that she’s jealous of this. There must be something wrong with her. This is the unspoken thread of the conversation. I invite her to consider that her jealousy might just be a sign of her being human and that it might deerve a seat at the table as much as any other part of her.
“But it’s so dark! How could it have a roll?” she says.
One block later we’re standing in Ezzio Faraone park looking up at the Blood Moon.
“There it is,” I say. “The Earth’s shadow covering the moon. It’s so dark. And it’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen.”
What if there was nothing wrong with you?
Of course, this conversation, if it stands true for us, must also stand true for our clients. “Why aren’t people buying from me?” is a question I hear asked, directly or indirectly, often. The underlying message seem to be that there is something wrong with our clients for not signing up for our offers. Perhaps it’s that they aren’t ‘ready’ or that ‘it’s too confronting’ or that, ‘they aren’t evolved enough’.
When clients come to us with their symptoms and pains the way we hold it may have a large influence on our capacity to help them. What if we looked at their struggles with absolutely no sense of anything being wrong with them or their situation? How does it help to see them or their situation as ‘wrong’ or ‘not supposed to happen’? What if we met their victim energy with a spirit of ‘yes’ instead of ‘no’? What if we let them be victims for a while?
“You know, people come to therapy really for a blessing. Not so much to fix what’s broken, but to get what’s broken blessed.” – James Hillman
Of course, this could all sound like I’m lauding victimhood or encouraging people to avoid responsibility for anything.
But it’s not that.
Understanding that there might be nothing wrong with us isn’t a get out of jail free card, it’s the beginning of the real work. Because, if there’s nothing wrong with us and we’re still struggling to do something then clearly there’s more support needed. If we have bad habits or struggles that impact others and we’re able to sustain our gaze on those things and their consequences without the lens of, “there’s something wrong with me” then the reality becomes that more is asked of us, not less.
Last year, a young woman had RSVP’d for my potluck and then no-showed. She expressed that she’d been a bit down in the dumps. I empathized and asked that, in the future, if she could let me know she wouldn’t make it I’d appreciate it as the potlucks often fill up and that means someone else is turned away.
She unloaded on me for being so insensitive to her depression.
In my words, she heard, “There’s something wrong with you.”
What I was asking for is something else: for her to take responsibility for her struggles. I was asking her to ask something of that part of her that struggled.
If you’re always late for meetings it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you and… the courteous thing to do might be to let people know you’re always late. I have a friend who is a chronic over-committer and late for everything. But he refuses to see it. It’s likely because he’s one of the sunniest and most optimistic people I know. But it doesn’t let him off the hook for the consequences of being late. Were he to say, “Here’s the deal. I am terrible at time lines. If we’re going to work together then I need regular check ins and for you to schedule meetings thirty minutes before you need me there because I’ll always be late. That just seems to be a part of who I am.”
If my friend had said, “Tad. I’d love to come to your potluck and the truth is that I’ve been struggling with depression lately and so… it’s a crapshoot. I’m not sure I’ll be able to leave the house that night. I can’t confirm my RSVP. I’m a maybe.” then that would have been wonderful.
What if there was nothing wrong with us? And what if we could take responsibility for the places we struggle?
“But I’ve done terrible things!” people say.
Of course you have. We all have. But why did we do those things?
It is 100% to do with what we were believing at the time. And sometimes as humans we get confused.
“But I was the one who was believing those things! It’s still me!” Sure. I’m not saying there’s no accountability. I’m just inviting you to look deeper. I’m saying that guilt can be a form of collapse, a way that the meaning of event concretizes and becomes essentialized and frozen in the past so that that’s all it means and all it will ever mean. And what is the meaning we all too often end up landing on like a moth attracted to a flame?
“There’s something wrong with me.”
But what if there was nothing wrong with you?Given what you were believing at the time,
Given what you were believing at the time, however little sense it makes now or how ridiculous it seems to you now that you could have believed that, was it possible for you to have done anything else? And are you the source of all of your beliefs? If not, where did they come from?
If we’re willing to let go of the idea that there’s something wrong with us then suddenly we find ourselves in the middle of a story that’s much bigger and wilder than we imagined. It’s bigger than us. It’s beigger than our lifetime. Suddenly the dysfunction, drama and destruction didn’t begin with us. Suddenly, we find ourselves in the enormous river of history fed by countless tributaries. Suddenly, we find ourselves curious about how it might all have come to be rather than thinking that the flaw is with us.
“You’ve been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” – Louise Hay
If there’s nothing wrong with us you might think that I’m inviting us to blame the culture.
But it’s not really that either.
I’m not particularly inviting us to blame anything or fix anything.
I’m inviting us to see how it is and suggesting that adding the dark, glass filter of “something’s wrong with me” may make it impossible to see what’s so with anything bordering on clarity.
I’m inviting us to see how everything that’s happened was, to some degree, inevitable given the circumstances but that, in the seeing of what’s really going on, it’s not inevitable that it need continue that way. As soon as we see it as it is, there’s a chance for it to be different. But looking at reality and taking the lazy approach of ‘well, something must be wrong with me’ guarantees that we never really see it which condemns us to repeat the very thing we profess to want to change.
I’m inviting us to sustain the gaze on how things have come to be and then to grieve what we never got (and never will get). I’m inviting us to come to know the poverty of our situation and then to be willing to do the adult thing and become the source of the culture we never got; to plant seeds to trees we’ll never enjoy the fruit of.
If you struggle with marketing, it’s not your fault. It’s not you. You just never learned how to do it in a way that felt good to you. Your struggle with it might actually be a sign that something is right with you. It might be your conscience, integrity and intuition showing up for duty to let you know that something is ‘off’. It might actually be a sign of your goodness and love of other people and of community. It might be a sign of how finely tuned your own intuition and conscience is to bullshit. It might be a sign of what’s right with you.
But it’s possible to feel that something is wrong and to not know what to do instead. It’s possible to feel like the approach you’ve learned to selling if ‘off’ but not know what would be ‘on’. It’s possible to feel uncomfortable with the way you’ve been doing it (when you can get yourself to do it) but have no idea what might feel comfortable in its place.
That’s why I do what I do.
I do what I do because…
What if nothing was wrong with you?
Guest Post by Marcia Yudkin
You want to run an honest business, right? It’s easy to lose your moral compass when you hear prominent marketers talk up shady marketing tactics and see them hail the results they get through fakery, verbal sleight-of-hand, or outright lying.
So here’s a handy list of marketing moves to rule out when you want to have the trust and respect of long-term customers and the public at large.
1. NON-EXISTENT SCARCITY
One well-known information marketing guru laughingly told a conference that he gets lots of last-minute orders by telling prospects that only, let’s say, 5 product sets are left, when in fact, he’d gladly sell 500 more. Fake scarcity also crops up when someone says the price will go up after the next X units are sold, yet the marketer doesn’t raise the price, or when a sale is supposed to end Saturday, and it’s still there on Sunday. Clearly, all these examples show a lack of integrity. Even if you think “everyone does it,” you have the option of taking the higher ground.
2. EMOTIONAL MANIPULATION
Certain phrases enrich marketers by triggering guilt, shame, confusion or fear in customers. One marketer says you can reduce refund requests by saying, “and if you’re not satisfied, I’ll refund you out of my own pocket.” This implies the refund comes from the marketer’s money and is that right, to make the seller suffer because you weren’t happy with your purchase? Actually, it’s really the customer’s own payment that would be coming back to them when they return something for a refund. Don’t perpetrate twisted tactics like this.
3. FALSE FRONT
The classic move in this category is getting photographed beside a Rolls Royce parked in front of a mansion. The car is rented, though, and the mansion belongs to someone else. Inflating your lifestyle, your credentials, your depth of experience – it’s all wrong and can boomerang on you disastrously when an ex-friend, investigative blogger, a lawsuit exposes you.
A whole industry flourished for a while devoted to the aim of achieving something that would be technically true yet highly misleading to the average person. If you engineer a relatively small number of sales in a short period of time, you can reach the #1 rank in an Amazon.com category and call your book a “bestseller.” The intention here is to deceive people into thinking thousands or tens of thousands of copies sold when the actual tally might have been less than a hundred.
5. OVERBLOWN PROMISES
Take a cold, hard look at your headlines. Are you promising results that your buyer desperately desires and probably will not get? “From Couch Potato to Beach Bikini Goddess Without Diet or Exercise!” “Become the Talk of the Town With Your Google Places Listing.” A little bit of drama to get attention might be okay, but over-the-top promises have no place in a respectable business.
6. REFUND OBSTACLES
Someone selling thousand-dollar home-study courses once gleefully described a new technique he’d come up with, designed to make it harder for people to return his products for a refund. It was impossible to open his mailing package without shredding it, so any customer would have to find or buy a box to send the course back in order to invoke the money-back guarantee. When your goal is having happy buyers rather than lots of unhappy ones who never ask for their money back, this kind of chicanery makes no sense.
7. COMPETITION AS BOOGEYMAN
Here the pitch warns that if you don’t buy the product, competitors who do will leave you in the dust. Do you have any genuine basis for that kind of a prediction? If yes, explain. If not, then it’s nothing but hot air, hype, and hoopla. Don’t go there.
8. SLOPPY WORK FOR FAST MONEY
When a marketing guru says you’re foolish to care about quality and that “good enough” wins the day, shut your ears. Never deliberately leave mistakes, oversights, glitches or holes in your work. If you have something you’re tempted to apologize for, fix it before you go to market. Remember that with today’s ubiquitous online reviews and social media, complaints are easier than ever to post.
9. DELIBERATE “OOPS”
Sometimes you’ll see two or even three emails in a row from the same source, with the second and third correcting an error in the link in the first email. Unfortunately, some marketers have figured out that those second and third emails get more attention for the message than the first one, and they occasionally create this sequence deliberately. Do this on purpose and then make a genuine error you have to correct, and you begin to look hopelessly incompetent.
10. SALES PITCH IN MASQUERADE
Ever grind your teeth because you signed up for a webinar or conference to learn the featured content only to suffer through an extended pitch for a new product or event instead? Call a preview a preview, so customers understand what they’re getting into. Don’t invite visitors to your website to download a “report” that is little more than a promotion. Earn trust by setting up accurate expectations.
11. NON-FREE FREEBIE
When you describe something as “free,” that means it has no cost. Period. Something that the customer receives only when they buy something else is not free. Marketers often fudge this because they understand the power of the word “free.” Customers get disgusted because they were attracted and then fooled by the word “free.”
12. NUMBERS RULE
Testing helps us determine what works better than what. However, some marketers go beyond the usefulness of testing to claim that whatever gets a better response is always the better tactic. A little voice inside you worrying that maybe a headline, a selling technique or a marketing spiel goes too far is irrelevant, they say. On the contrary, giving that little voice a fair hearing can often keep you from getting customer backlash and negative media attention. It also helps you maintain your self-respect!
All in all, if you wouldn’t feel comfortable having something be exposed on the front page of the newspaper, engraved on your tombstone or part of your entry interview at the pearly gates, don’t do it. Guard your reputation. Treasure your conscience.
Marcia Yudkin is a copywriter, marketing expert and business coach, as well as the author of 6 Steps to Free Publicity, now in its third edition, and 15 other books. She particularly works with introverts, social entrepreneurs, health educators, coaches and consultants. Learn more about no-hype marketing through her No-Hype Marketing Academy.
Guest Post by Leah Lamb
Crowdfunding is one of the more powerful initiations and rites of passage into actualizing your vision. And while it is exciting and inspiring to hear of so many people’s successes, it is equally powerful to learn from their mistakes. Below I have outlined 12 big mistakes it is oh so easy to make, and 11 tips to developing an effective and efficient crowdfunding campaign.
1. Thinking Too Small When It Comes to Long-term Relationship Building
Most of the people who are launch crowdfunding campaigns are maker-types. And most likely that means that there will come a day when you will want to make something again. So don’t think of the people who participate in your campaign as disposable…consider them epic allies that are joining your team for the long haul.
- Super Stealth Tip 1: Get Personal: You are building relationships that have the potential to last a lifetime and could potentially see you through many projects. Along with sharing information about your project, be authentic about who you are and what you care about. Reach out to people after they donate with a personal email where you thank them; you may even want to tell them what they funded. For ex: “Thank you for donating $10, you paid for 10 pages of my book!
- Super Stealth Tip 2: Just because your campaign ends doesn’t mean that your relationship ends. You can continue to message people through most platforms, and you can also download the contacts list and integrate that into your mailing list. You can use that mailing list to maintain contact with people over time, keep them engaged with what you are creating, and make them part of your tribe/family/pods that actualizes cool things in the world.
2. Not Realizing That Your Main Job Is To Inspire People
I realize you thought that your main job was to get people to give you money. But atlas…it is actually to inspire people. One of the very first winners of project runway actually called her fans to see why people were watching. Turns out her fans watched because they loved watching someone accomplish something. You are DOING something amazing… you have taken a bold leap, put yourself out there, and are manifesting your dream. So flaunt that, and know that people are inspired by you.
- Super Stealth Tip 3: Share Your Vision. Don’t be shy about sharing your big vision. Maybe it’s as fabulous as bringing more joy into the world by making people laugh, or as serious as feeding the homeless, or as practical as telling a story that will inform people. Connect people to your big vision for change, and tell them what inspired you to create this project.
3. Not Preparing for Taxes
Taxes and crowdfunding are for real. If you raise more than 20K you will be reported to the IRS and you will be taxed on what you raised. So make sure that you run your campaign early enough in the year so that you can spend as much of your funds as possible to avoid large tax bills.
4. Ignoring the natural cycles of online behavior:
August, September, and December are historically the months with the highest amounts of campaign failures. Don’t become a stat. Know your facts.
- Super Stealth Tip 4: If you find yourself feeling the impulse to begin your campaign in one of those months, make sure that it is timely and irresistible OR use that time to your advantage for doing all the campaign planning…
5. Rewards: bad, boring, and costly
So many things can go bad with rewards… but the top pitfalls are: 1) Not budgeting for the time it takes to assemble and distribute rewards 2) Not budgeting the cost of mailing.
- Super Stealth Tip 5: Develop as many digital rewards as possible.
- Super Stealth Tip 6: Take every talent and gift you and your best friends and allies have and think about how they can be made into rewards. Rewards don’t have to be a literal representation of your project, they just have to be inspiring and result in something that people want. Extra points if you create a pick up location where people can get their gifts so you don’t have to mail them.
6. Lacking an eagle eye when it comes to the details:
There are a lot of details that can bite you if you aren’t paying attention. Such as the fees that crowdfunding platform charges, taxes, and the time, energy, and cost involved with fulfilling rewards. You don’t need a super stealth tip to tell you to read all of the fine print.
7. Making a crappy, boring, or really long video
Enough said. Your video reflects on the quality of product you will ultimately deliver.
It doesn’t have to be Hollywood quality, but it needs style, good sound, good editing,
and great messaging.
- Super Stealth Tip 7: Consider using the following recipe while writing your script: 1) Build credibility, tell us who you are and why you are the person who can do this job 2) Be your authentic self…in front of the camera. This isn’t as easy it sounds. Get someone to stand behind the camera and talk to them. 3) Deliver a concise and inspiring vision for what you want to do…and why you want to do it. 4) Inspire us with your idea! 5) Ask us for money. I know…it seems so obvious and so many people don’t do it. 6) Keep your video under 3 minutes. 2:45 seconds is even better.
8. Avoiding Proper Planning
So many people think they can whip out a campaign in a weekend (ehem, I was one of those people once upon a time). The truth is…doing it right means setting yourself up for success. Give yourself the time you need to develop the strategy, rewards, and copy for your campaign page. Schedule time to and write and rewrite your video, gather your production team, and schedule an editor. Reach out to your network to develop an ambassador program. Coordinate with friends or partner organizations who would want to throw a launch party… all of this takes planning and time.
- Super Stealth Tip 8: Give yourself 4-6 weeks to develop your campaign.
9. Creating Financial Goals That are Out of Your Reach
This one speaks for itself. You need to assess the size of your network, and assess the size of your friend’s networks, and then do the math.
- Super Stealth Tip 9: Around 1/10 of the people who visit your campaign page are going to make a contribution. The average contribution is $50. Now develop the math equation (or use the one I created in my 23 page Action Guide (see below).
10. Not Treating Their Campaign Like A Job
You know that saying, “If you build it they will come.” That doesn’t apply to your crowdfunding campaign.
- Super Stealth Tip 10: Plan on treating your campaign like a part time job. It will require you to be relentless and persistent. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the weekends off, because you need to treat it like a marathon, not a sprint. But doing a little bit of promotion on the weekend couldn’t hurt.
11. Ignoring Your Special Sauce
There is something unique to you and your project. It might be your sense of humor. It might be your epic persistence. You might be able to do a handstand like no other. What ever it is…make sure that you thread your campaign with the specialness of you. I realize this concept is abstract, so I’ll provide an example. One of my goals in life is to strengthen and build community. So when I did my second campaign I became aware that there were a lot of entrepreneurs and artists, and I wanted everyone to know about each other. I started flaunting my awesome tribe in my email updates, and I celebrated people on facebook. It was one of my ways of giving while receiving…to celebrate the people who joined my mission to put a story into the world that I believed would make a difference in the lives of youth. So I posted links to their work, and bragged about the amazing skills and talents of the people who were joining my project’s community. People still mention the impact that had on them. That’s my special sauce. What’s yours?
12. Not making a mid-campaign strategy
Every campaign has a natural cycle: lots of attention at the beginning, lots of attention at the end, and a flat line in the middle. You need to create a strategy before you launch your campaign for how you are going to enliven your campaign in the middle.
- Super Stealth Tip 11: Don’t announce all of your rewards when you launch. Keep a few reward that you can announce in the middle or end of your campaign that will encourage people to increase their reward. In other words: plan all your rewards at the beginning, and then post a few halfway through your campaign when things get slow. Cause they will.
Want more help? YOU ARE IN LUCK!
I will be hosting an Online Workshop October 4th-Oct 8th Everything You Need to Rock Your Crowdfunding Campaign where you can study with myself and other experts who have successfully raised 100’s of thousands of dollars through crowdfunding. When you take the course live you have access to me for live Q&A and you can even sign up for the bonus package to have me review your materials. I know. It’s an awesome and crazy affordable program. I made it this way because I wanted the makers, creatives, burners, and more to have easy affordable access and support so they can build kick ass campaigns.
Can’t take the class but want to dive deep into the topics touched on above? You can get the recorded version or you can Get this 23 page DIY How To Launch Your Campaign Action Guide. (Of course it this comes free to everyone who signs up for the online course)
Leah Lamb is a Writer, Producer, Transformational Storyteller, and Multi-media innovator. Her work plays with a lexicon that weaves myths, archetypes, and the hero’s journey into our modern world. Leah weaves her love of theatre, wilderness, film, and social justice together into her work as a storyteller and crowdfunding expert. Her first novel The Whale Dreamer, is almost finished. For more info: leahlamb.com
On September 28th my new Marketing for Hippies 101 program begins.
This program serves two purposes:
An introduction into my work. If you’ve never attended one of my Marketing for Hippies 101 workshops then this program is a fine chance to learn the basics because you get the video version of that workshop when you sign up.
A chance to apply the concepts. If you have attended my day-long workshop and are hoping for some support in integrating it and figuring out how it applies to your situation, this is best thing I’ve got going. The calls will not be me teaching the content. I will assume you’ve already got that walking in (because you’ve already attended my workshop or watched the video).
But why should you consider signing up?
Well, if it seems like a fit, there are seven, compelling reasons…
Compelling Reason #1: You Get the Full Footage From my Live, Marketing for Hippies 101 Workshop the moment you sign up.
While I was in Victoria, BC in 2014, I had Canadian film maker Ian Mackenzie record the latest version of my workshop so I could make it available to those who have never had the chance to attend my workshop and to whose cities I may, sadly, never come.
Before the program begins, you will be expected to watch this full two-and-half-hour video of this live workshop (and, for extra points, dive into the Bonus Materials you’ll learn about below).
When I do this workshop live, participants don’t get the advantage of being able to pause, rewind and watch it over again. And they haven’t gotten any of the bonus materials listed below. You can watch, streaming online or download to your computer.
Small Disclaimer: We forgot to mic the audience. For the most part I restate what they have said, but I miss it a few times. You’re not missing anything vital and it doesn’t happen much but I know this sort of thing can drive some people crazy. :-)
Compelling Reason #2: Your Private Marketing for Hippies 101 Facebook Group
Built into this program is a private Facebook group where you can connect with others who are going through the same program. You’ll be able to share your wins and put out requests for support in where you’re stuck. We’ll also use this group during the Office Hours calls as a virtual poster-board.
Compelling Reason #3: Customized, “Get-Your-Questions-Answered” Weekly Office Hours.
Each week, you’ll get to partake in a 90-minute group call where we will dig into the content you learned. These calls will be structured entirely on your questions. We will cover whatever aspects of the content were most interesting and/or confusing to you. You’ll hear my personal thoughts on how those principles might apply to you and your situation.
From September 29th – November 2nd, 2016, you’ll be able to phone into the Office Hours group conference call and speak to me personally to share your progress and get reflections from myself and everyone else on the call about how to work on the areas in which you might be stuck. I’ll communicate with as many people as I can in the 90 minutes. Think of it as a group coaching call.
These calls will all be recorded.Weekly office hours from 12:00pm – 1:30pm PST/3:00pm – 4:30pm EST every Wednesday from September 28th through November 2nd. So that means six calls on Wednesdays September 28th, October 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th and November 2nd. Make sure you double check the time zone to make sure you’re able to make the calls. Calls will be recorded if you’re ever not able to make the call or want to re-listen to it.
Compelling Reason #4: Three Carefully Crafted Bonus Materials to Help You Deepen Your Understanding
Not only do you get the full footage off the core content from my Marketing for Hippies 101 workshop, you’ll also get these three extras.
PLUS: you’ll also get the complete 25 page transcript from this workshop.
Bonus #2: The Complete Marketing for Hippies 101 Transcript
Don’t find watching videos the easiest way to learn?
You’ll also get the complete, 53 page written transcript (in PDF format) of the Victoria workshop to review, highlight and scribble on (if you print it out!) at your leisure.
PLUS: you’ll also get the full digital audio files in case you want to just listen to this workshop.
Bonus #3: The Marketing for Hippies 101 Workbook & Bonus Reading
Want to dig deeper into the material?
Then you’ll enjoy this 44 pages of bonus reading and exercises to more fully explore the content you’ll learn in the videos.
Compelling Reason #5: Lifetime Membership – Audit for Free Whenever I Hold This Program Next
I’m planning to run this program at least once a year for a while to come. Whenever I run it, you’re welcome to join in gratis. No charge. Fully on the house as if you were a full paying member. Your signing up for this makes you a lifetime member of this program.
Compelling Reason #6: Spread Out Over Six-Weeks
When people attend my live workshops, they get all of this content but they don’t get all of the additional support you’re getting here to help them integrate it. I run that day-long workshop on a pay-what-you-can basis meaning people give me a $25 deposit to confirm their spot and then pay me whatever they want to pay at the very end based on what they thought it was worth. I’ve received as little as $5 (with an incredibly kind note about how this was genuinely all she could afford) and as much as $600.
But, when people ask me what I would charge for this day-long workshop, I feel very at ease in saying $200. For most people if they were to get even one repeat client from what they learned it would mean at least $200 and likely much more. So you’re getting the content plus additional support and coaching in integrating it into your business.
Compelling Reason #7: Cheap Like Borscht
I am pricing this program low for a few reasons. On the selfish level, it’s pretty simple.
I want this to be a no brainer for you to sign up.
I don’t want to have to spend a lot of time marketing this or convincing anyone it’s a good idea.
So that’s the main reason.
Plus, if you like this material, which represents my core “take” on marketing then you’ll be more likely to sign up for other more expensive programs of mine and maybe want to hire me one on one. You’ll be more likely to buy my eBooks. You’ll be more likely to spread the word about me to your colleagues.
On the altruistic level, this is material I simply want to see out there. If you get a handle on your marketing, not only will you make more money, you’ll show other people that making money doing what you love is possible. You’ll also, because you’re savvier about marketing, be better at helping your friends with their marketing. I dream of a movement of marketing savvy social entrepreneurs who are able to make green, sustainable and holistic things seem normal instead of making normal things seem green, sustainable and holistic.
Plus, I’ve had so many people tell me they want to attend a workshop of mine but that they couldn’t travel to Canada to attend. So, I’m trying to make this material more accessible to a wider audience.
I recently recorded a 71 minute interview with Australia’s Natalie Kent of sacredbusiness.com.au and I thought you might like to check it out.
The focus on the interview was on Point of View Marketing. As you know, I’ve written a book on the topic but this is one of the only interviews I’ve given that delves into it.
Some interviews feel like I’m retreading a lot of old ground but this one was cooking with gas and we both found ourselves breaking some new ground. I found myself saying things I’d never said before. I think I also swear more in this interview than I’ve tended to do. This was one of my favourite interviews I’ve done in a long time.
I don’t know how long this video will be up for free.
In this 71 minute video you’ll learn:
- Why the 3 key elements of point of view can transform your business
- Why you need to create a marketing map for your customers (+ a live critique of Natalie’s new map)
- How to craft your offerings in a way that creates a sense of safety
- How the integrity of your offering is intertwined with your pricing
You can watch the whole thing for free at the link below:
Rebecca Tracey has just launched her Uncage Your Business program and there are three lessons I think it’s worth taking from it that might be able to help you in your next launch.
1) Use Case Studies: Rebecca did three case study interviews with past UYB Grads. You can watch those here.
Whether you sign up or not, you might consider the power of what she’s done as a marketing technique with these case studies by interviewing people a while after they took the course, so you can really see the results they have gotten over the long term (and not just that post-course glow that most testimonials have).
They show an accurate portrait or what someone can expect with her course – real results for a new business owner. Things like getting your first few paying clients, stopping working hourly and creating leveraged programs instead, and finally having the confidence to tell people what you’re doing in your business.
It’s something you might want to consider doing with your own programs to market them.
Note: Case studies like this are so much more powerful than testimonials because they tell a story. Also, I find that Rebecca’s conversational style in these has them land as more real and authentic that something that’s very well produced. The approach is free (just get on Skype and record it) and down to Earth. Testimonials carry 10% of the impact of these.
Another excellent example of this was done by Verge Permaculture who, instead of making a promo video about themselves made a bunch about the grads of their programs. You can watch them here.
2) Let People Spread Out Their Payments. Rebecca just opened up the possibility of a six-pay, meaning you will be able to pay for the program over six installments rather than all at once. You can take advantage of that here.
So many people don’t offer this up to their people and yet, by offering it, you can get a much stronger response. Try it in the next launch of a program you run – give people the opportunity to pay in terms and you may find that you get a lot more sales than you might have.
3) Provide Pink Spoon Content: You can learn more about Rebecca and her take on things in a blog post I just wrote entitled Eight Business Building Thoughts from Rebecca Tracey. This blog post is full of smaller pieces of content that Rebecca has been releasing throughout the launch as a way for people to get to know her without a huge time investment. This is a solid idea.
Another example of this was created on the fly last month, when I recorded a 12-minute walk-and-talk video with Rebecca while I was visiting in Toronto. Click on the image below to see it. It’s entitled “Summer Tour: Day Two – A Late Night Walk With Rebecca Tracey of TheUncagedife.com”
If people have never heard about you before, it’s foolish to expect them to sign up for your program and spend hundreds of dollars with you. Safety is vital in marketing. The more ways you can give for people to safely check you out from a distance the better.
Of course, there are many ways to be strategic about this. Danny Iny has some brilliant ideas about this that you can watch in the video below.
If you’ve been struggling to get yourself out of the gates in your business, Becca’s Uncage Your Business program closes on Friday. You can learn more about it at the link below:
Note: The link above for her program is an affiliate link. That means that, if you click on it and then sign up, I will get some money for that. It’s a part of what helps sustain my business and allows me to keep offering my live workshops on a pay-what-you-can basis at this point. I’m grateful for it. And I know the uneasy feelings that people have about affiliate deals. If you’d like to learn more about my approach to affiliate deals, you can read that here.
If you click on the link below, it won’t be tracked and I’ll receive no money if you sign up. Either way is fine. I hope you’ll check it out regardless.
Guest Post by Craig Filek
Fall is in the air. Can you feel that back-to-school vibe?
This time of year supports “New Year Resolutions” better than the dormancy of winter’s long night.
Whether you’re fresh out of school, or catching your second wind via your school-age children, we’re all entrained to make major behavioral shifts this time of year.
If you’re like me, you’re feeling both relieved and excited to settle in to some autumn productivity.
How can we use back-to-school momentum to lay down a new rhythm track of daily and weekly routines that fortify our success?
Stephen Covey loved the metaphor of ‘putting in the big rocks first.’
Success, he explained, comes most easily when we schedule our big rocks (priorities) first. Gravel and sand naturally fill in around them.
Filling our calendar buckets with gravel and sand (small, unimportant activities) leaves no room to add the big important rocks, resulting in a hectic, mediocre life.
Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is a habit.”
Hab·it /?hab?t/ noun
1. an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary: “the habit of looking both ways before crossing the street.”
Habits come from repetition.
The alternative is drifting. Drifting leads to failing (in identity-damaging ways), and ultimately flirting with compensatory habits, a slippery slope toward stagnation and even addiction.
To establish healthy habits, we need regular repetition with scheduled time to practice.
The big rocks, the big priorities, are the things we want to make second nature. Involuntary. This means they go into our daily and weekly schedules before anything else.
For instance, every morning I drink a mason jar full of organic green glop. I love it. I literally watch myself making this green wonder on auto-pilot every morning, without fail.
That’s a habit; all but involuntary. (Wasn’t always that way, but about 3 months in, the auto-pilot switch flipped for me and I never looked back.)
What Habits Will You Build Your Schedule Around This Fall?
Ken Wilber describes 4 Quadrants, or primary areas of life. I find these to be the most succinct framework for a well-integrated life.
Grab your calendar, and by the end of this post, you’ll have a healthy “rock” scheduled for each quadrant. They are:
Like any 80/20 assessment, one of these areas will contain your BIG rock. The rest will be supporting rocks, while everything else is gravel or sand.
What we’re after in each quadrant is the One Thing that, if you do it consistently and predictably, making it an involuntary habit, will make everything else easier… or unnecessary.
So, let’s identify a habit you can develop in each quadrant, and make sure you get the big rocks in place.
Before we do, a quick disclaimer:
It takes 2-3 months for a new practice to become a habit.
Using that time-frame, it’s far easier to start with ridiculously tiny, no-fail habits and work your way up to something you feel proud of, which changes your life in measurable ways.
For example, start with 10-seconds of meditation every morning, and win! vs. shooting for an hour and failing right out of the gate.
Then the following week, bump that up to 30-seconds, and so on, until your’e doing 5, 10, even 30-minutes consistently. This rewires your brain and makes the practice an involuntary habit.
Consistency is the key. So if you’re already doing 10-minutes of meditation a day sporadically, try 5 or even 2-minutes every day without fail and build from there.
Self-practices could include things like:
- Meditation which is my current focus, but I do all of these more or less habitually now (after years of practice). Try apps like Headpace if you’re just starting out, or Insight Timer if you’re looking to build consistency in your existing practice.
- Journaling is not as scary as it sounds. Just scratch out three shitty, stream of consciousness, never to be read again ‘Morning Pages’ first chance you get each day. Use cheap $0.99 memo notebooks and burn them once they’re full! (I use a Moleskine for my coaching / workshop / business notes and I don’t burn those.)
- Gratitude Lists have been proven to bump your dopamine levels, resulting in a significant mood enhancement, especially when stabilized through daily practice. Start by writing 3 things you’re grateful for every morning when you first wake up.
- Reading, or listening to Audible.com, even podcasts… anything that feeds your mind is a good Self practice. Most people never read a book after college. If you read one a month, you’re doing great. One a week, and you’re on fire. You’ll feel it, too!
Start by putting one of these practices, or some equivalent Self-enhancing practice on your calendar. Ideally, daily. Pick one and start with regular, no-fail doses.
Use apps like Momentum habit tracker to support you in gamifying your new practice.
Make it fun!
Before you start getting antsy over going to the gym, let’s slow things down and look at some foundational Body practices that will support you to create a life and business that feels deeply nourishing for you.
Body practices I’ve seen work miracles include:
- Sleep because the science is in, and it’s just non-negotiable. You need 8 hours, on average. So, cut out caffeine after 4pm (or switch to green tea until you restore your adrenals). Dim lights after 9pm and get Fluxio on your computer to aid in melatonin production. And avoid sleep medications – the sleep is low quality.
- Exercise in a way that works for your body, start slow and build. Try walking around the block, or hiking for a start. A little cat-cow yoga or tai chi movement to get the spine lubricated in the morning. If you’re more advanced, consider hiring a personal trainer. Get consistent. That’s the key.
- Multi-Vitamins every day because food just isn’t what it used to be. Get a good food-based multi like MegaFood, MyKind, VitaminCode or whatever you like that’s food-based so your body doesn’t just eliminate it, undigested.
- Green Drinks are a genius way to start your day. I don’t love veggies, which is why I LOVE my green drink. If I get nothing else green in body each day, at least I’ve got this checked off.
Here’s my morning Green Drink recipe:
1 Organic apple or pear (chopped, seeded, and put at bottom for better blending)
Handful of Greens (I used the organic, pre-washed field mix + some kale or chard)
1/2 Avocado (for fats and oils… add half the pit for the best soluble fiber ever)
1/2 Lemon (or lime if it’s hot that day… this is a great way to alkalize your body)
Water (just enough to get it to blend, then add more until prefered consistency)
If you want to get fancy, try adding coconut oil and cilantro in summer, ghee and ginger in winter, unhulled flax & chia seeds for protein and enzymes, seaweed for all those nutrients, collagen powder for joints, or add ¼ cup aloe vera gel to keep things flowing smoothly in there.
Adjust everything to taste and monitor your body for sensitivities. Give your body time to adjust and notice how the taste you may dislike at first becomes a craving. That’s a great sign!
Getting some version of all these body practices going is the best basis for health to sustain you in every other area.
For now, pick one, or create your own, and start small with tiny, no-fail repetitions. Build up over time.
This is where I’m personally putting in my big rock first this fall.
My daughter is 15 1/2 and if she needs anything right now, it’s a strong father showing up for her no matter what. (Much easier said than done.)
So for me, the big rock is a daddy-daughter date every week. I’m scheduling it right after yoga when I’m nice and grounded. I rescheduled her violin lesson so her mom drops her off, and I pick her up from the cafe next door where I can leave my phone in the car, and give her my undivided attention for 20 minutes or 2 hours. Whatever it takes for her to feel seen and nourished by my presence.
Knowing that’s on the calendar every week, in addition to all our other regularly scheduled days and overnights, communicates more to her than words can ever approach. That’s putting the big rock in first, and aligning the supporting priorities (yoga, violin, pick-up/drop-off times) around it.
Relation practices I recommend for friends and clients include:
- Date Night, if you have a partner, this is such an overlooked no-brainer, and one of the most potent ways to ensure your relationship has what it needs to thrive. Block out the time, every week, and hold that sacrosanct for connecting with your partner. Or daughter. If you have multiple kids, rotate 1-on-1 time. It will work wonders for family dynamics.
- Imago Dialogue ensures both partners feel heard, seen and ‘gotten’ which is the essence of real communication. The steps include Mirroring, Validating, Empathizing and offering a Gift. My friend John Wineland encourages couples to practice this every day for 40 days just to make it a habit. I couldn’t agree more. Get the book or just google “Imago Steps” to get started.
- Men’s/Women’s Group is such a valuable support structure for your life. If you’ve never experienced a regular, weekly container for going deep without the distractions of the opposite sex, I can’t recommend this highly enough.
- Singles Practices could include anything from journaling about your ideal mate, doing therapy to prepare yourself, or creating an online profile and committing to date at least one person each week to get yourself into a rhythm until you find the one.
Again, we’re looking to start small and build consistency. That’s what rewires your brain and turns a practice into an involuntary habit.
Your habits define you.
You are already a cluster and pulse of habits. With this back-to-school momentum, you’re consciously choosing practices you want to become the habits that define you, and your relationships.
So choose wisely!
There are two types of systems:
- Your Environment includes your ecosystem at the macro level (Vancouver is different than Boulder is different than Topeka), and your home, office, even the chair you sit in and mattress you sleep on
- Your Contribution system involves what you’re contributing into the marketplace and what you are receiving back (usually monetarily, but not always).
Systems practices you can score big wins fast with include:
- Clean Out Your Closet because all the stuck energy is holding you back in your life. Believe it. Try Marie Kondo’s book The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up. Hire a professional organizer if needed. Especially as you spend more time in doors this season, you’ll be amazed at how much flow this frees up in your space and your life.
- Upgrade Your Systems is there something you use every day that you feel dissatisfied with? Like that old granny blender? Try upgrading to a Vitamix or Blendtec and you’ll be amazed at how your morning green drink seems to make itself. How about your chair or your computer?
Winners understand, environment is the better part of strategy.
- Structure Your Space for the different types of work or activities you do. This is especially important if you work from home. Once I separated my financial space from my creative space, they both felt so much better, and the work got done more consistently. Make a list of the 3-5 highest priority things you do, and identify one activity that would feel so much better if it had its own space. Carve out that space and support your practice at the structural level. It doesn’t have to be its own room, just a station.
And the grandaddy of all Systems practices…
When my Purpose Mapping® clients discover their Purpose, the thing they were born to do… the thing that puts them in flow… they pause for a moment and glow, and then their very next question is always:
“Great, I know my purpose… so how do I make a living with this?”
My answer is:
- Build Your Contribution System Around Your Flow State because anything less will leave you dissatisfied. The way to do this is slowly, through small experiments and lots of course-correcting repetition. Pick something you love to do and would do for free because it makes you feel so alive. Then give it as a gift to someone. Get paid in dopamine and endorphins. Then do it again. Get paid in testimonials. And again, and again… until someone says, “Hey, can I pay you for this?”
- 80/20 Your Business if you’re already getting paid for doing your life’s work, then it’s time to take stock and dial in on the things only you can do, with an eye for how you can delegate, automate or eliminate everything else. Make a quick list of everything you do in your business, and circle the top 3 most profitable, flow inducing things that you do best. Make a plan to start paring away everything else on the list. One item at a time. Your increased productivity will astound you.
By now you should have enough clarity to understand what the 4 Quadrants are, and why it’s important to have a practice in each area.
It doesn’t matter what practices you choose. But choose something, and put it in your calendar.
Then, monitor and adjust and correct your course continuously you hit your target. You need to understand that your target is fulfillment in life, and giving your unique gifts in powerful ways. That requires focus and FOCUS is an acronym for Follow One Course Until Successful.
Use the social momentum of the back-to-school season to make some quick, high-leverage changes in your routine, and stay the course.
Little changes now, well practiced, will result in habits that can carry you swiftly toward your goals with a lot less friction.
NOTE: Got a great idea for a habit-practice? Share what’s working in the comments below!
About the Author: Craig Filek knows success and significance are not the same thing. After building a 7-figure business, he walked away from it all to focus on what matters most — raising his daughter and living his purpose. With over 20 years experience coaching and facilitating deep, transformative work, Craig developed Purpose Mapping® to bring his own life into alignment. Now, he guides High-Achieving Misfits to reclaim their authenticity and find true fulfillment by using their talents to full capacity in service to a larger mission.
Executives, entrepreneurs, investors and professionals in the US, Canada, Australia and Europe seek Craig’s support when making life-changing decisions. If you’re ready to unlock your full potential without blowing up the success you’ve already created, request an invitation to speak with Craig.