Marketing is a lot like making tea.
We need to ‘steep’.
I just finished a marketing weekend in Edmonton with the loveliest bunch of people. And it kept coming up for me that there are some things that just can’t (or shouldn’t) be rushed. Creating your platform or figuring out who’s a perfect fit for you doesn’t happen over night.
Tea isn’t like instant coffee. It take a little bit for the intensity of the heat to release the flavours. It would be foolish to pour a cup of hot water and then dunk the bag in for two seconds and pull it out and expect to have the perfect cup of tea.
It’s the same with business.
Sometimes the water gets hot and we get frustrated with not having everything totally clear. But if you can relax and let the heat and intensity in a bit, it might just draw out our your deepest, inner flavours that could infuse the water of your business and make everything more delicious.
If you can let yourself sit in the fire of not knowing, sit with the right questions, give your marketing some time, attention and focus (heat) and then keep sitting with it . . . it can be amazing what comes.
I’ve seen so many workshop participants who beat themselves up for not knowing their niche, not knowing what they’re doing. So much hard work and effort. And, often what’s needed is a little less yang and a bit more yin. A little less speed in the dipping the tea bags in. A bit more patience and slowness. Doing less but doing it better. And not just always doing doing doing but also time spent in reflecting and wondering. Sometimes our minds get like a know and the harder we pull on it the tighter the knots get. Sometimes it’s only in relaxing that the know can unwind.
And, when we take the time to steep we have something wonderful to offer the world. When we reflect, our actions become more effective. When we rest inside of our own skin, we become more comfortable there and then our marketing becomes more authentic. And people who are a perfect fit are drawn in.
There is a pervasive form of contemporary violence to which the idealist …most easily succumbs: activism and overwork. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence.
To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence.
The frenzy of our activism neutralizes our work for peace. It destroys our own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of our own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.
— Thomas Merton
Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, Doubleday, 1966, p 73
Steep yourself until you feel done and then take yourself out for a while. Enjoy the tea. Enjoy the fruits of your labours. It will inspire you to make another cup tomorrow.
Eight Ways you can steep:
- get out of commitments: the place to start is to notice what’s preventing you from steeping in the first place. It’s often because we’re over committed. We’re doing too many things. And we’re exhausted. Most of this either comes from collapsing or posturing. Sometimes, before we can delve into our inner work we need to create a bit more outer space in our lives and schedules. Practice saying, ‘no’ and enjoying it.
- journal: ask yourself the right questions. Reflect through writing on what’s next for you. Make this a regular practice. You’re brilliant. You might shock yourself with your own ideas.
- meditate: sit with your relationship to your business. What feels good? What doesn’t feel good? Make notes of what emerges. You are wise. You might shock yourself with how clear your guidance is if you really listen to it.
- hire a coach: coaches know the right question to ask. Sessions with a coach are like little mini steeping sessions where you shut out the world and just steep and reflect inwardly.
- attend a workshop: there’s something wonderful about finding just the right workshop for you to help you grow. Workshops allow you to carve time out of your life to steep. So valuable!
- get an ebook: I’ve got some products. I’ve got friends who have some wonderful things too. If you’re feeling DIYish these can be perfect to get you much of the way there. Setting aside an hour or two to work through a work book or read thoughts about how to make your own journey can be so encouraging and clarifying.
- get a marketing buddy: why not meet regularly with a colleague of friend who can ask you good questions, reflect what they’re hearing and brainstorm ideas for you. It’s easy to say, ‘I’ll go to the gym everyday.’ and then not do it. But if your buddy is coming to pick you up, you’ll do it.
- do that thing you’ve been putting off: sometimes we just need to schedule a couple of focused hours and make things happen. Sometimes we spend so much energy in avoiding things and, if we were to just free that up we’d suddenly be filled with inspiration again. What’s the project you know you need to do, the one you’re really inspired about? Just start it. Spend 5 minutes on it. Make some progress, you’ll feel really good and it might lift up things to think about and steep with faster than abstractly thinking about your business.