Balancing action and non-action proves an elusive goal for most of us.
We know from our spiritual study and training that the greatest gifts often come to us in ways that seem almost miraculous.
And we know the concept of “let go and let God,” or whatever word you use to point toward that ineffable force that permeates all that is with infinite potential.
Perhaps we have even taken the radical step of deciding to no longer keep the idea of our spiritual life separate from the idea of our work/business life.
Yet when it comes to marketing, somehow all these ideas go right out the window. In their place come marketing plans, and social media campaigns, and email lists, and webinars, and on and on and on. We become obsessed with all the ideas about what we SHOULD be doing, if we are to be considered serious about our businesses.
And I confess that I have fallen into this too. Part of it is that I’m a business consultant, so I really do need to try out new ideas, if only to be able to speak about them intelligently with clients and answer their questions from personal experience.
I’m not someone who is going to say, “follow your bliss and the money will come.” It will if you set up effective pathways the money can take to reach you, and keep those pathways healthy. But it takes some skill to set up effective pathways in the first place, and business development activities like marketing (as well as operations, finance, contact management, etc.) are vitally important aspects of any profitable business.
It’s that balance thing again.
Learning how to dance with sound business structures as the basic “style of dance” you are doing, yet still let the music move you across the floor, as your own spirit inhabits the dance—this is a real art form. It is one that only develops with practice. Since you are basically practicing with your livelihood, it also requires a great deal of courage.
I’ll admit I am still learning this art form. My most recent lessons came with respect to public speaking and guest blogging. Both are great ways to get the people who would be interested in what you’re about to know about you. Creating a means that people can use to possibly find you is definitely part of your job, no matter how much you’re turning over to spirit. But at what point have you done your part and need to turn over the reigns?
Spiritual Marketing 101
I put about $2,000 for a virtual assistant (VA) and 3 months of considerable effort into trying to get my paid speaking off the ground. That’s in addition to thousands I’d wasted before than on a charlatan I found on Elance. Not one speaking engagement came out of any of that.
In the end, my first paid speaking engagement came about from offering to do a workshop in a friend’s high school economics course, in response to which the kids campaigned to have me be their commencement speaker. I just had to say yes, and now prepare the speech. And I do feel competent to deliver the speech, because I prepared so much back when I was trying to actively promote myself as a speaker. I know the art of delivery.
Something similar just happened today with guest blogging. I was part of a 30-day list-building challenge and a marketing training program about 6 months ago that both put a lot of effort into convincing me I should be doing guest blogging. It was just a fact. I did set up a spreadsheet for managing the blogs I would approach, tracking when I had approached them, with what topic, and their responses, etc. But I never could get myself to send out even one submission. I felt too much resistance each time I thought about it.
Thankfully in that case I didn’t pour money into getting a VA to do what I didn’t want to do. Instead, I largely ignored it and did other things. But it remained at the back of my mind.
Then last Friday I saw that someone in the list builder challenge said they had just been published on Elephant Journal and what a big deal that was. To be honest, I had never heard of Elephant Journal before, but something about it intrigued me. So I decided to visit their site, sign up, and read a few articles.
By my fourth article, I knew that the way I write and the topics I write about were a great fit for EJ. I wrote an article that very day, and sent it off 2 hours later. That was 4 days ago.
Today I received an email notification that my submission has been accepted. I’ll be published in about a week!
Now that’s how you do guest blogging. And public speaking. And whatever other form of marketing you feel called to do. You do it in response to inspiration.
You prepare yourself with ability (the ability to deliver a good speech or write a good article), you collect information and participate in the public conversation, and then you wait. You let either inspiration or opportunity find you, and then you just say, “Yes.” You respond with enthusiasm and full commitment, going from 0 to 100 in three seconds flat, as I like to say.
Well, this is my marketing lesson at least. I encourage you to give it a try and see what happens for you. I’m still coming to terms with how I teach this to my consulting clients.
I feel an obligation as a business consultant to provide them with all the “know-how” I’ve collected in a way that is streamlined for their business. This saves them all the time and effort of starting from scratch with the entire world of marketing possibility weighing on them.
I’m thinking I’m going to still present that information, but with a caveat, which is to draw from that body of knowledge according to the lead of your spirit, not some timeline or plan we’ve devised. We make the plan, yes, but that must always be nothing more than the style of dance we are dancing. The groove is the gift of spirit.
How have you reconciled your commitment to spiritual living with your business’s needs for marketing outreach? I’d love to hear your insights in the comments.