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/

 

What the Food Revolution Summit Can Teach You About Marketing

Ocean Robbins 2012 What the Food Revolution Summit Can Teach You About MarketingThere are few pleasures greater than seeing friends succeed. 

And even fewer pleasures greater than when it’s two of the dearest people you know succeeding in one of the most beautiful projects.

My dear friend Ocean Robbins and his father John Robbins (author of Diet for a New America, The Food Revolution and many others) are now working together to create, for the second year in a row, The Food Revolution Summit – a tele-summit dedicated to exploring the cutting edge of what’s happening around food issues globally from the lenses of health, politics and philosophy (and from the most trusted advocates and experts of our time).

Ocean and I have worked together, on and off, for the past 18 years with the group he co-founded Youth for Environmental Sanity. He started out speaking to hundreds of thousands of students in high schools across North America, and then lead summer camps, and then gatherings of leading young changemakers and now is focusing almost entirely on growing this new social enterprise with his father. I couldn’t be happier for them.

This is a fine example of how to become a hub.

You can get more info on the summit here

And what follows is my interview with Ocean about The Food Revolution Summit from a marketing lense.

Screen Shot 2013 04 09 at 1.47.07 PM What the Food Revolution Summit Can Teach You About MarketingWhat’s the response been so far?

More than 30,000 people from 100+ countries participated in the first Food Revolution Summit, and response was amazing. Our affiliates were thrilled with the results, too. One person mailed to his list of 50,000, and wound up earning more than $10,000. And since the summit, our list has continued to expand. Popular blog posts and an online petition calling for labeling of GMOs have drawn us lots of attention. Our list is now more than 80,000.

What’s the story of how this came about? What was the need you saw in the community that it emerged from?

Our food chain is in crisis. Big agribusiness has made profits more important than your health — more important than the environment — more important than your right to know how your food is produced. Large-scale industrial agribusiness is controlling an expanding share of the world’s food supply. They have huge advertising budgets to market highly processed, genetically engineered, chemical-laden, pesticide-contaminated pseudo-foods. Meanwhile, people keep getting sicker. Disease care is now eating up 20% of US GDP, and more and more people are chronically ill.

But beneath the surface, a revolution is growing.

From rural farms to urban dinner plates, from grocery store shelves to state ballot boxes, people are rising up and taking action. We’re reclaiming our food systems and our menus, and we’re taking responsibility for our health.

Today there’s a huge and growing demand for food that is organic, sustainable, fair trade, non-GMO, humane, and healthy. In cities around the world, we’re seeing more and more farmer’s markets, and more young people getting back into farming. Grocery stores (even big national chains) are displaying local, natural and organic foods with pride. The movements for healthy food are growing fast, and starting to become a political force.

Can you share a few examples of how your project works?

The Food Revolution Summit: Over the course of nine days, we gather together leading insights from some of the world’s brilliant scientists, doctors and nutritionists. We conduct 24 inspiring, galvanizing and deeply informative interviews, and broadcast those interviews worldwide. Folks can listen for free to the interviews, online or through teleconference. They can also purchase an optional Empowerment Package that gave them downloadable recordings, transcripts, and a whole collection of bonus items, for a fee. Sales of the Empowerment Package cover program costs and also inspire affiliates to promote the summit to their lists, since they can earn up to 50% of any resultant downstream sales. We offer a free service widely, we earn enough to make the program profitable and to make it a win for our promotional partners, and we offer real value every step of the way.

Who do you find it’s working best for?

A survey found that our 2012 Food Revolution Summit participants were highly motivated, and the majority were 40 and 50-something women. There was strong international representation, with a majority in the United States and Canada. Many of them already know that our food system is messed up, they’ve already eliminated most junk food, white bread, and trans fats from their diet. They already know that their food choices affect animals and the planet. But they’re frustrated with the world around them. They want to be armed with the facts so they can become effective spokespeople and advocates. They want to know how to influence people, how to help their families and loved ones be less sick, and even how to change government policy to stop tilting the playing field to favor the pesticide and junk food companies over family farms and healthy foods.

How did you promote this in the beginning? What were the top three most successful approaches at the start of it?

We lined up great speakers. That was enabled by the fact that my dad and colleague, John Robbins, is a bestselling author in this field, and literally wrote the book, “The Food Revolution”, in 2001. So we had strong content and some degree of prominence to start things off.

Then we created strong, authentic and effective landing page and sales copy. This is not something that came easily to me. I needed a lot of help, and was lucky enough to find good people who could offer it. It doesn’t matter how many people click on your page, if it doesn’t motivate them to sign up and to take the next steps. Also affiliates won’t want to promote a page unless they think it is well done.

Third, we reached out to affiliates who had shared values and big lists, and invited them into partnership. By offering them the chance to promote a great project, that was smartly presented, and giving them half of any resultant revenues while offering to do all the followup sales path work so they could just promote the free summit, we made it easy for them to say yes.

What are the top three most effective ways you’ve found to market this?

Affiliates.

Good copy.

Focusing mostly on content with our list, so we offer lots of stuff for free, and are clearly driven by mission first. This is our integrity, and it’s also building trust.

What have you learned about ‘affiliate marketing’? What’s worked best for you? Any blunders along the way?
 
What I love about affiliate marketing is that it turns competitors into partners. We share a stake in one another’s success. If one of our partners gets a bigger list, that means they can do a better job promoting our work.  If our event is a hit, then to the extent that they invested in it, our affiliate partners reap the benefits. I also like the models in which folks offer lots of free content, with paid content on the backend for participants who want to take a deeper dive.  As an affiliate for other people’s ventures, I like being able to offer our list free stuff they will find useful, and I also like being able to share in the profit if they go on to purchase something they think may be of value to them.
 
My biggest mistakes have been agreeing to promote things to our list that I thought sounded cool, but that were not what our list wanted.  Our list didn’t sign up to hear about “everything Ocean thinks is cool.” They are on board to learn about healthy, sustainable, humane and conscious food.  We can broaden that a bit, but for the most part, we get the best response when we stay focussed on our core brand.
 
I have also met a lot of potential partners who want reciprocal promotions.  They’ll promote our work, if we will promote theirs — and we’ll both be affiliates for each other.  This can work really well when we are offering resources of mutual value. But I have to be careful, because while the potential value of promoting something that “converts well” and getting a strong reciprocal agreement from someone who will promote our work is appealing, I can’t let it lead me to compromise on the integrity of knowing what I should send to our list.
 
You’ve spoken about the importance of having good sales copy on your website. I’m curious how that feels for you to be writing a compelling sales letter when you’ve primarily been a speaker, activist, executive director and community builder your whole life.
 

Writing compelling copy that doesn’t come across as icky or read like a “sales letter” is a tricky business and I am still learning about it.

 
Ronald Reagan once said, “sincerity is everything in politics.  If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.” I’m not interested in faking anything, and have at times felt so grossed out by the way that everything, from sex, to love, to God, to even social justice, can be used to market stuff.  
 
But I’ve also been learning that effective copy writing is a means to an end. Like any tool, it can be used for good or bad.  But I want to use it for good.  It doesn’t have to feel slimy to be effective.  But I also have to be willing to employ some of the tools that have been proven to work, if I want to be effective.  If I’m not effective — if our landing page (aka “opt-in page”) doesn’t generate opt-ins, and if our “thanks for signing up” page (aka “sales page”) doesn’t convert into sales, then our affiliates won’t be happy, our operation won’t have the money it needs to continue, and our potential customers will lose out on some valuable resources that we think can change their lives.
 
So it is an art, I think, to learn how to use the medium of emails and websites to generate clicks, to create action — and to do so in a way that feels filled with integrity and that is aligned with our values.
 
And can you give some examples of how your copy changed and evolved from the start and what you think people can learn from that?
 
My email mantra now is: “informal, urgent, connected.”  I make my messages shorter.  In fact, I imagine that my audience is at a 7th grade reading level. I use short sentences and short paragraphs.  I make sure to have only one call to action per message (occasionally one more in a P.S.), and I pay a LOT of attention to the subject and the first sentence.  If those aren’t good, I’ve lost 50% of my audience already.
 
I avoid use of words like “free”, “diet”, weight loss”, or, God help us, “viagra” (not that I would be writing about viagra anyway — but those words will all get you killed in spam filters).  I write in the first person, using the word “you” freely. I need to make sure that I address the problem / need / urgency, the benefits that they can derive from connecting or engaging, and stay warm and personable.  I want to value connection over information.  And I also want to make sure thre is something of value in every message, even if the reader never clicks on a link or opens anything.
 
Can you give five examples of the kinds of emails you’ve sent to your list? I think you’ve done a great job of sending out high quality content that I know I am personally excited to receive. They’re always things I can take action on or share on social media. And I’d be curious to hear your thought process on how you choose content because, in the world of health, there must be so many options.
 

Five of the most popular emails I have sent our list have been:

 
1) How is John Robbins holding up? — This was shirtless pictures of my 65-year-old dad, who has been a health author for decades and who is RIPPED.  A picture is worth a thousand words, they say.  Or in our case, 10,000 clicks.
 
2) Our last chance to stop the Monsanto Protection act — This was a call to action, to try to stop President Obama to veto a bill that gave legal immunity to the biotech industry.  The effort failed, but our list responded big-time.  People want to take action on the issues that matter to them.
 
3) Look who’s in bed with the junk food industry — This was an email teaser linking to a blog post I had written, exposing links between the Association of Nutrition and Dietetics and the junk food industry.
 
4) What your doctor never told you…  — This was promoting a free video of Dr. Joel Fuhrman, and we were an affiliate for a promotion in which folks could opt in to receive the video for no charge, and then would later be invited to dive deeper into nutritional programs in keeping with his philosophy.
 
5) Huge Revelations Totally Embarrass The Diet Industry — We wanted to announce a film launch, which was available for free on an opt-in basis.  We were also serving as an affiliate for the promotions that would follow.  Instead of some lame title likeL “Announcing an awesome film”, we went with “Huge Revelations Totally Embarrass The Diet Industry”, which was also a part of the film’s message – and watch opens and clicks go off the charts.
 
Out of necessity to make this summit go, I’ve seen you dive into the marketing world so hard. Are there any other marketing or business tips you can share as a hippie who has gotten into marketing in the past few years?
 
Don’t be afraid to succeed.  You can use the tools of the world to change the world. But remember also that the smell of greed can be seductive.  Stay connected to your mission, and never lose site of that.  Hopefully you are working for a lot more than money.  Keep your eyes and your heart on the prize — the change you want to see in the world.  Integrity is everything in business, and when people can feel your integrity, they will trust you more.  I also advise to steer clear of over spending. Only scale up as you can afford it.  Overshooting can lead to vulnerability to external forces that can pull you off your center.
 
In the world of online tools, widgets and geekery – what are the coolest things you’ve come across that you’d recommend to other entrepreneurs going about building their business?
 
1shoppingcart is great for online affiliate marketing and list management if you are starting out small.  
 
If you get bigger and need more customized sophistication, I suggest Office Auto Pilot.  
 
I like http://www.timetrade.com/ which helps with booking interviews and appointments, and http://easyseminar.com/ which is great value for the price for teleconferences and online seminars.  
 
And I do love my google calendar.
 
You’ve also written a number of pieces for Huffington Post over the past year or so. How did this happen? What’s been the impact of it? Is this something anyone can do?
 
The success of my pieces on HuffingtonPost has had a lot do with with our list launching them, strong topics of interest, and a combination of strong research and pithy content.  I think blogging is a great tool if you love to write and have a gift for 500-1,000 word pieces that really move people.  But I do not recommend it for nearly everyone.  Huffington Post will use a strong viral reaction to a piece, and your own promotional efforts, to draw views (and advertising dollars) to their site.  
 
They also provide some promotion of course – though for most posts, not as much as you might think. So sometimes you may be better off posting on your own site, if you have a platform for launching it, and then you get the traffic of all the readership the ensues.  Blogging can be a great way to build brand recognition for your message, and to make an impact on issues that matter to you.  
It is not a great way to generate opt-ins or any other direct call to action, though it can help with those things a bit.

What are the three biggest lessons you’ve learned along the way?

Writing good sales copy is a skill set. There’s a lot that’s been learned about it. We aren’t born with it, and for most of us, it doesn’t come intuitively, either.

Combining awesome free content with a strong opt-in hook is a great way to build a list. A big list of engaged, inspired, and interested people is a powerful force for social change and for business success.

Affiliates represent an awesome way to turn the competition into partners.

At its heart, what is this project/business really about for you? (beyond money, status and such).

Large-scale industrialized food production is wreaking havoc on our forests, topsoil, air, water, and climate. Farm animals are being treated with tremendous cruelty, and farm workers are often exploited. Genetically engineered “Frankenfoods” are being released, inadequately tested, into the food supply on a vast scale. Meanwhile, people are eating more and more artificial food — and getting fatter and sicker. In fact, more people are chronically ill today than at any time in the history of the world.

Our goal is to offer a diverse, gourmet, tasty and nutrient-rich powerhouse of resources that’s designed to help people move from being medical time bombs to health superstars, and from frustrated spectators to empowered agents of change.

I’m also motived by the fact that I love food. I love eating it, I love preparing it, and I love sharing it with other people. Throughout the world, “breaking bread” together, or sharing a meal together, is an act of connection. Food bonds us to the world, to culture, and to one another.

When we bring more consciousness to our relationship with food, we improve our health, and we contribute to a more healthy, humane, sustainable and beautiful world.

What’s the next level for your project? What are you most excited about that’s coming up?

The 2013 Food Revolution Summit runs April 27-May 5, and it’s going to be our best one yet!

We’ve compiled a book of interviews from the Food Revolution Summit, and edited them to make for a strong and cohesive flow. Voices of the Food Revolution will be published in June, 2013.

We’re also developing online courses, and offering free weekly emails to our growing list, with action alerts, practical tools, inspiration and information to contribute to the food revolution.

If people want to find out more about your project, support it or get involved – what should they do?

Join us at http://www.foodrevolution.org, or sign up for our free 2013 Food Revolution Summit at http://www.foodrevolution.org/summit

Anything else you’d like to add?

We wish you radiant health, abundant joy, and a life filled with meaning. And we wish you good, delicious, nourishing food. If you’d like to become an affiliate and earn a modest amount of money while helping spread the word, you can sign up here: http://www.foodrevolution.org/affiliate

Bon Appetit, food revolutionaries!

Wealth Inequality in America

If you’ve followed me at all, you’ll know a big issue for me are notions of ‘conscious wealth‘ and ‘abundance’ and the ways these notions have been hijacked by capitalism to justify mindless consumption. This powerful video is a great example of marketing for social change and may just blow your mind on issues of wealth inequality in America. Please watch and share.

The Banksy Manifesto

Banksy is a world famous grafitti artist who has this to say about advertising . . .

 

A letter from Banksy.

People are taking the piss out of you everyday. They butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear. They leer at you from tall buildings and make you feel small.

They make flippant comments from buses that imply you’re not sexy enough and that all the fun is happening somewhere else. They are on TV making your girlfriend feel inadequate. They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it.

They are The Advertisers and they are laughing at you. You, however, are forbidden to touch them. Trademarks, intellectual property rights and copyright law mean advertisers can say what they like wherever they like with total impunity.

Fuck That.

Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It’s yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head.

You owe the companies nothing. Less than nothing, you especially don’t owe them any courtesy. They owe you. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you.

They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs.

Banksy

 

bansky bottle The Banksy Manifesto

 

guest post – Planting the Seeds of Good Karma to Enrich Your Business and Life

  guest post   Planting the Seeds of Good Karma to Enrich Your Business and Lifeby Angela Croft

Planting the Seeds of Good Karma to Enrich Your Business and Life

When I was first starting my coaching business, I heard one of my mentors at the time say that there’s no better personal development plan on the planet than starting your own business, and I couldn’t agree more. Building a business is not for the faint of heart. It has the potential to inspire at the highest levels and also raise from the depths our most potent hidden shadows of fear and doubt. 

As I’m sure is true for many of you, one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced on this journey has been to integrate my desire to serve and make a difference with the necessity of making a profit. Before launching as a coach, I’d spent just over a decade working as a counselor and therapist in various arenas of mental health. In these arenas, money and service don’t mix easily and as an employee I rarely had to give it a second thought. When I became a business owner, it almost felt wrong to charge money for helping people and it’s been quite a quest to find a path in business that happily marries service and money. I often wondered if it was really possible to create the kind of success I desired in business without sacrificing integrity, values, meaning, and fulfillment.

I also found that the constant preoccupation with generating self-employed income began to lead me in a direction of self-focus that started to become tedious and insular. At a certain point the relentless focus on MY business, MY money, MY projects started to feel really tired. 

A little over a year ago, after coming to an end of a lucrative contract with one of Canada’s top five banks, and with no new prospects in sight, I had the opportunity to learn an approach to business that finally satisfied my longing for a path that embraced both the deep ethic of service and the healthy need for profit. While shopping for a meditation cushion, I discovered an advertisement for a talk being given by Geshe Michael Roach, author of the books “The Diamond Cutter: The Buddha on Managing Your Business and Your Life” and “Karmic Management”. My husband had read “The Diamond Cutter” a number of years before and I remembered that he found great inspiration in it. So, I put it in my calendar and excitedly anticipated the event. It turned out to be a major turning point in both my business and life.

In the talk, Geshe Michael Roach shared his experience of creating a hugely successful business from scratch using ancient Buddhist principles that are rooted in the understanding that we are all One and that we create success by shifting our focus out of the “me, me, me” and into thinking about helping other people become successful first. He refers to this approach as “Karmic Management”. 

I was so inspired by the talk that I bought and devoured the books and then introduced my friend and coaching colleague Tom Rausch to the work. He was so lit up by it and the results he was experiencing, that he suggested we launch a Mastermind. And so we did. 

After almost two years of walking this path and taking other people through the process of learning and implementing it, I can say that it’s one of the most powerful paths of personal and business development we’ve each experienced. It’s enabled us to clear out some major blockages and evolve into the next level of expressing our purpose, attracting incredible new opportunities, and creating a level of peace, ease, clarity, and confidence that we didn’t know was possible. We’ve also had the joy and privilege of seeing others do the same. 

I find it’s rare to get that much out of one approach, and so I’m both honored and excited to have this opportunity to share with you some background on it and give you a quick tour of the major components to get you started.

A Good Karma Success Story

In the talk I attended, Geshe Michael Roach shared his story of being a young Princeton grad many years ago in search of greater spiritual meaning and understanding. This quest led him to study in a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery for twenty-five years and become the first white person in six hundred years to achieve the title of ‘Geshe’, which designates him as a Master of Buddhist studies. The final assignment given to him by his teachers was to start a business since they felt that this would be one of the best ways to demonstrate the powerful and practical value of the ancient wisdom.

By his own description, Gehse Michael Roach had absolutely no interest in starting a business and he put it off for over a year before deciding to move forward. When he finally accepted the challenge, he was guided to start a business in the diamond industry, which is no small accomplishment in itself. In this highly guarded business sector it’s typically only those whose families have been in the business for generations who have any clout or opportunity to start a company. Yet, in spite of the barriers he encountered, he persevered, studied gemology, and eventually found a business partner that was willing to take him on in the venture of starting a new diamond company.

He diligently applied the karmic principles and practices and it soon became the fastest growing manufacturing company in the history of New York City, often doubling their profits every year, which is virtually unheard of in the diamond industry. At the same time that he started the diamond company, he also established a charity that assists Tibetan refugees and preserves their ancient Buddhist texts. He attributes the success of the diamond business in large part to the fact that he channeled the fruits of his labor into this charity. A few years ago they sold the diamond business to Warren Buffett for $250 million dollars (not too shabby!) and Geshe Michael Roach continues to share the karmic principles and practices with people around the world by offering training and talks at a very minimal cost.

What Exactly is Karma and How Does This All Work?

“Karma” is a word that gets tossed around a lot these days so let’s start by clarifying what it actually means. 

Firstly, it’s not some distant and mysterious force that punishes you! It’s simply the accumulated effect of everything you say, think, and do… and the overall quality of your life experience in this moment is a direct reflection of your habits of thought, action, and speech (or karma). 

I’m guessing that, like me, most of you are fairly mindful of how you conduct yourself, but in spite of this, I was still amazed by how profoundly I had underestimated the consequences of what I say, think, and do. I was also surprised to learn how even the smallest, seemingly insignificant ripples of thought, action, and speech can manifest in quite powerfully unexpected and unpleasant ways. 

Drawing on over two thousand years of observation and insight, the Karmic Management system outlines in detail the correlation between specific negative karmic habits and how they manifest as specific types of problems in your business and life. The correlations are not often what you’d imagine them to be and it’s worth studying this material for these insights alone!

The good news is that with the awareness of how to strategically and effectively take charge of your thoughts, actions, and speech, you can awaken even more of your potential as a powerful change agent and cultivate an even richer and more fulfilling life that you can be thoroughly happy and proud to call our own.

Planting and Weeding Your Karmic Garden

The overall process of putting karmic principles and practices to work is like planting a garden. With every thought you focus on, word you speak, and action you take, you’re planting the seeds that become your reality. So, this is ultimately a path of radical personal responsibility in which you assume the role of chief gardener by consistently weeding out negative seed-planting habits and consciously cultivating positive ones instead.

If you want to create more positive outcomes in your business and life, think of yourself as a karmic seed detective, forensically investigating the results you’re experiencing for clues as to which habits of thought, word, and deed are negatively influencing your reality. From there, determine which seeds you need to plant instead and get on a plan (pronto!) to start consistently planting seeds for the kind of reality you want to experience. This is a really essential part of the process and you can find loads of great guidelines for doing this in “The Diamond Cutter” and “Karmic Management”. It’s also an area we spend a great deal of time focusing on in the Karmic Mastermind.

With this basic understanding of karma and planting your karmic garden in mind, let’s move on to some additional core principles and practices to help get you started on the path of gardening for your success.

Cultivating Your Karmic Garden

All of Karmic Management rests on the First Law of Karma which says, “Whatever you want from life you must do for someone else first.”  

In this tradition, this is a law that governs all of life and if you choose to live by this principle you will experience true, lasting, and fulfilling success.

Ultimately, this law is connected to the underlying truth that we are all deeply interconnected and that the idea of a “me” that is separate from “you” is ultimately an illusion that creates disharmony and suffering. From this understanding it also follows (since we’re not as separate as we think) that the success of others is also our own success and this frees us up from a sense of being in an isolated, competitive, or comparative business mindset.

To illustrate how this works, let’s pick the example of wanting to grow your business so you can amplify the positive impact you feel inspired to make in the world. In this model, you’ve got to first focus on helping other people do the same. The main idea here is that you get what you give, and you must start with giving and not see it as something you’ll get around to doing once you’ve “arrived”. If you don’t have a lot of money, you can give of your time, energy, and talents. The point is to get started on giving what you want to receive and helping others who also want to expand their business and impact. 

As a heart-centered, socially conscious business owner, this first law of karma resonates deeply. I also find that it has challenged me greatly to take my commitment to service, generosity, and trust to a much higher level. 

Since it takes a radical shift in outlook and a new level of inner discipline to consistently approach success from this mindset, I’ll wrap up by giving you five additional key components that are integral to making this shift and following this path effectively.

1) Take Very Good Care of Yourself and Stay Healthy in Body, Mind, and Spirit.

The aim here is to maintain the energy you need to consistently plant positive karmic seeds and minimize negative karmic habits, so you can serve others at a higher level. This is a powerful, sometimes even magical process, but it requires energy, commitment, and focus.

Most of us are typically about one negative circumstance or one bad day away from getting triggered back into the habit of unconsciously reacting, planting negative seeds, and letting the first law of karma fly out the window (I speak from experience here!). Effectively managing your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual fitness gives you the energy and focus to stay alert and persevere in planting the seeds that will generate the kind of soul-satisfying success you desire in business and life.

2) Choose Your Karmic Partners 

This involves setting up what’s called a karmic project and selecting karmic partners. Your karmic project is grounded in a main objective you have in your business and life, let’s say for example, to grow your business so you can amplify the positive impact you’re here to make. 

Your karmic partners are the customers, suppliers, colleagues, and charitable endeavors that share a similar goal as you. These are the people who you’re going to focus on making successful first. 

Every day you start your day thinking about how you could support your karmic partners to be successful in one small way or another to grow their business and expand their impact. This may mean doing something for just one or two karmic partners, or all of them depending on what inspiration you receive and what kinds of opportunities you have to serve them. This is not only a fantastic way to begin the day but it’s also a really effective way to focus your habits of thought, action, and speech, and plant the seeds for the reality you want to experience.

3) Set Up Daily Practices to Maximize Success

Once you have your Karmic project set up, you also do the work to consistently clean up your karmic ‘bugaboos’– meaning the negative, sticky patterns of thought, action, and speech that are creating unwanted results in your work and life.

Once you determine your top bugaboos, you track them daily. You set up a plan to bring them to mind every morning and you think about ways you can break unfruitful habits, respond differently, and plant more effective seeds.

In addition to this practice, you’re also starting the day thinking about how you can help your karmic partners. The combination of these two practices- tracking your bugaboos and contemplating how you can serve your karmic partners- keeps you focused on minimizing negative habits and maximizing positive seed-planting opportunities.

At the end of the day, review how you did. This end-of-day review keeps you focused and accountable to your seed-planting efforts. As you review your day, celebrate your successes and bring to mind the joy of serving others.  It’s very key to focus on what you did well since this strengthens the mind and heart with a sense of accomplishment and positive momentum. Also compassionately note ongoing challenges. By bringing compassion to any areas you need to strengthen, you avoid planting the negative seeds of getting down on yourself. Thankfully, beating up on yourself is no better karmically than doing it to someone else!

4) See Your Problems As Your Friends

This is a critical piece but it’s also one of the toughest to actually do since it runs so contrary to much of our social training, not to mention our lightening fast defensive reactions.

It’s often very challenging to not resist, feel defeated, or fight back when challenges and conflicts arise. In the karmic view, your problems are a gift because they give you direct feedback on what kinds of negative karmic seeds you’ve been planting, and they also give you the opportunity to stop, examine your habits, and take charge of choosing new ones. As an example, if you keep encountering angry or irritable  people in your life, the solution is to take an inventory of all the big and small ways in which you get stuck in angry/irritable thought, action, or speech, and start cleaning up these habits.

When you fight and resist a problematic person or issue, you generate more negative karmic seeds that then manifest later into further (and usually larger) challenges and problems. So, the idea here is to increase your capacity to use every circumstance, no matter how negative, to clean up your karma and plant the seeds for a better reality.

5) Re-Invest the Karma

This is the process of funneling the positive karmic results you receive back into your project. When your business generates profits or other benefits, you distribute them amongst your karmic business partners as a way of cultivating a cycle of generosity and sustainability.

This could mean sending a special thank you note or gift to your customers or suppliers, treating your colleagues to a nice meal, and/or making a donation to a charity that you’ve selected as one of your partners.

Going back to the analogy of planting your karmic garden, it’s a common practice in the farming business to set aside ten percent of the seeds generated by each crop yield to ensure sustainability. It’s the same principle here when you allocate a percentage of your yield to distribute amongst your karmic partners. If money is tight, simply share whatever you can of your funds, time, energy and talents as an offering of thanks. The most important point is to celebrate any success, no matter how small, and include your karmic partners in that celebration, because after all, your success is their success!

Taking it Further

The Books

If you’d like to learn more about how to plant the kind of karmic seeds that will create the results you desire, we recommend that you pick up the books, “The Diamond Cutter” and “Karmic Management”. You can find Amazon links to purchase these on our “Resources” page http://karmicmastermind.com/resources/. If you are Canadian you may prefer to access Amazon.ca

“Karmic Management” is a great way to get started since it’s a short and easy read that pulls together the core principles from “The Diamond Cutter”.   Some of you may want to take the deeper dive from the get-go, in which case, “The Diamond Cutter” would be the best bet. We personally refer to both depending on whether we want a quick reminder or more in-depth understanding.

The Karmic Mastermind

Karmic mastery is ultimately a technique and with all techniques you only get good results when you use it effectively and consistently.

We’ve witnessed powerful transformation and results from the support and accountability our group members receive in the Karmic Mastermind, and if this is calling you, we’d love to take the journey with you. 

You can learn more about the karmic Mastermind and sign up to receive a powerful guided meditation at… www.karmicmastermind.com

I’ll also be hosting a No-Fee 90-minute training call on Tuesday February 12th at 3pm Eastern/12pm Pacific.

“Harnessing the Power of Good Karma to Take Your Business and Life to the Next Level”

The goal of this call is to share principles and practices that you can implement right away. 

 

On this call you’ll learn… 

  • How it helped me (Angela) to break through hidden barriers that I would never have imagined were holding me back and how it can help you too.
  • The mechanics of how we create our own roadblocks to success and what to do to clear them.
  • How to set up your own karmic project and get started right away.
  • Why creating community and accountability on the journey of mastering the art of good karma is so essential and what you can do to support yourself. 

 

Screen Shot 2013 02 08 at 3.29.22 PM 58x60 guest post   Planting the Seeds of Good Karma to Enrich Your Business and LifeIf you attend the call live, you’ll have the opportunity to win an individual coaching session to help you move forward on the path of Karmic Mastery.

The call will be recorded, so be sure to register even if you can’t attend live so that you can access the recording.

To register go to: www.karmicmastermindcall.com

This is powerful, transformative work and if it’s calling you we encourage you to listen to that inner voice.

Wishing you abundant karmic gardening and much soul-satisfying success,

Angela Croft,

MSW, CTA Certified Coach

cartoon bears educate you about sugar

Such a great example of using social media, animation and video to market for social change.  Wow. That song is really catchy.

 

caged hens in your bus stop

marketing caged hens in your bus stopThe Coop grocery chain put out a great ad at bus stops that educated it’s customers (and prospective customers) that it was doing a good thing. And it did it in a funny (but poignant) way that helped people relate to why they were doing it.

I think a great indirect consequence of this kind of ad is that it’s not only the kind of thing people will share on social media because it’s so simple and clever but it also raises the bar for what people expect from any grocery store.

After seeing this ad a few times, people might be a bit more likely to ask their own grocer if their eggs are from caged hens.

follow the frog (and save the rainforest)

A three minute video that does an awesome job of empathizing with people’s experience (guilt for not doing enough) and then giving them something simple they can do to help them get the results they’re after (making a difference and saving the rainforest). Also a great example of offering up a new alternative solution to a problem (their certification process). It also communicates a clear point of view about how to solve the problem (don’t ditch your whole life) and does that in a funny way.

So, in that regards, it’s brilliant marketing.

But not everyone is convinced that it delivers on its promises. On Wikipedia it’s noted that “Rainforest Alliance agricultural certification has been criticized by a range of academics and media sources. The Manchester Evening News notes that critics have dubbed the Rainforest Alliance “Fairtrade lite”therefore offering companies such as Chiquita and Kraft a cheap way to tap into the ethical consumer market.” In other words, greenwashing.

The program has almost come under attack for not offering their farmers a minimum or guaranteed price, not prefinancing the crops and for allowing the use of the seal on coffee containing a minimum of 30% of certified coffee beans and for targeting large and medium coffee plantations, unlike Fairtrade‘s focus on independent coffee farmer cooperatives.

If they really delivered on their promises – this would be a fully brilliant piece of honest marketing.

 

Joel Solomon: “The Unlikely Revolutionary”

Solomon Joel 10 15 2011 LisaHartley Joel Solomon: The Unlikely RevolutionaryI recently went to the Social Venture Institute hosted at the Hollyhock Center. It was an amazing event. And one of the people responsible for it happening is Joel Solomon. And I also met marketing genius Aaron Vidas. Imagine my delight to see this new, beautifully done video of Aaron interviewing Joel about the notion of social entrepreneurship.

 

What if we advertised buses like we do cars?

Just saw this short commercial that applies the tools used to sell cars . . . applied to buses. Very cool results. I think it’s always great to learn from ads you see that inspire you or produce real world results. You can check out more of the ones I’ve collected here.