As the holiday season ramps up we're officially going to place our learning resources on our website on hold until at least springtime. Thanks for understanding.
Your Most Valuable Asset
"Secrecy is the mark of false doctrine" - The Buddha
I want to tell you what I know to be "Your Most Valuable Assest"! That's right you there reading this article I want to shower some light into a potentially dark corner. However, before I unpack this good news I need to begin by exposing some nasty things about marketing: by pointing out the three of the greatest lies that unfortunately trick people all the time. These lies keep us from living heart first and recognizing your most valuable asset. I call them the three F words of marketing: Fear, False, and Formulas
Firstly, and I deeply resent this one: the "fastest way to sell an idea is through fear". This one sours my stomach. However fear is a tactic people use to make others respond in the most impulsive and scary ways. From religion to politics to beyond it really draws out the worst in people. I can't stand fear based idea sales, no matter what the subject! An obvious example is every year here in America we celebrate a tradition that I personally find shameful. And I apologize in advance if this rubs you the wrong way. Every year the night of Thanksgiving is the bargain savers hay day - Black Friday sales begin! I know you might be thinking, but Jesse you work in marketing how can this bother you? Well as a person that has had earlier career points in retail I know first hand how ravenous those discounted items can turn sweet old ladies into bloodthirsty gladiators! The fear of missing out! Side note if you're working in retail I consider you a saint of the highest order! If you can work in retail and not become jaded you're a wonderful human that can endure anything! Fear based decision making transforms people into a mob mentality which is never healthy.
The second lie in marketing I can't stand to the core is when people use "false hope" to sell an idea! Claiming they have a cure all for your problems but they never have to stand up to the legitimate pressure to deliver. Promising a nirvana like results that breeds strange lotto-minded behavior. Wishing won't solve your problems! Yes there is always room for hope, hope is a beautiful thing. Yet when you deliberately use false hope you're actively injuring people in some way. Let's examine this and again I might ruffle a few feathers. I'm not a fan of lotteries or gambling. I understand there are always risk vs reward decisions you must take in life - however that isn't the same as the predatory behavior of using false hope to prey on desperate and weak willed indiviuals. This one heavily ties into the first lie where someone uses fear to catch your attention then selling you false hope as the solution. I don’t think I need to illustrate this point further - if you’ve lived long enough you’ve seen this take place time and time again.
Lastly the cruelest lie in marketing is the lie of "secret recipes" or secret formulas. These are always lies. First and foremost if something is always a secret formula that mean you must not bring anything to the table! It's all in the sauce so to speak! Wrong! The Buddha has this interesting dialogue where he is talking to a monk that he doesn't believe in the "tight fisted teacher", the teacher that reveals one message for outsiders and a different message for insiders. While I'm sure there's many metaphysical layers to this story I like to interpret it as that you should beware those that appear as gatekeepers to knowledge, truth or wisdom meaning things like secret formulas are a myth!
Creating relationships and connections with people isn't about controlling others out of fear, false hope or perceived "secret formulas". It's about knowing what "Your Most Valuable Asset" is?! It's simple too! You! You being so uniquely you that nothing could be anything other than you! It means taking the time to get to know your clients as a person. To empathize with them. Really listen to them. It means telling the truth - the radical truth and how you can honestly add value to your clients, not trickery or gimmicks. I’m sure theres people out there that’ll bawk at this idea but that’s honestly an indicator that they’re so used to lying to themselves or so greedy they’ve lost sight of what really matters. People!
Well how do we detox from all these marketing lies that are making it more difficult to just be you?! This is a difficult process. Why? Because we're so busy that unfortunately we take a lot of decision short cuts. Statistically speaking we are more likely to tell the truth earlier in the day because as decision fatigue takes a hold lying isn't always about being deceptive it's about not having to work at a decision. However, here's three steps that have helped myself and many others: Recognize, Remove, and Restore!
Recognize: attempt to recognize the lies! Is a product or idea or speaker or organization offering something that seems untruthful?
Remove: remove yourself from this equation. Stop using these ridiculous marketing F words yourself! Sometimes the best way to change things for the good is to not allow yourself be part of the problem.
Restore: restore your self worth! Your job is to help serve others. Not move the imaginary needle by looking busy, saying silly jargon and pretending you have it all together. You're a person with wants and needs and it's ok to distinguish the two! Wants are ok but needs are necessary. You're always going to bring an experiences that is uniquely you. Don't try to change yourself into an idol of success. Allow yourself and your personal passion and story to connect with people on a real level.
Thank you so much for reading, do take care and remember to...
VULNERABLE & PROUD
"The wound is the place where the Light enters you." ~ Rumi
I have perhaps a radical idea! Something that's changed my life for the better in all aspects! This idea put into practice is that of being vulnerable and proud of it. Let me explain. I'm no social scientist or psychologist. I'm a student of life and of people. What I've discovered for both myself and others is I have a down right knack for making myself sound far more put together, important, successful, intelligent, the list goes on than I am in reality. Equally I've also discovered that I have a surgical skill in dismantling my self-esteem, confidence and successes better than anyone I've ever known. Why is that? Why are these little gremlins rolling around our heads telling us to embellish the truth? Why is it so easy to be unhappy with both our wins and our losses?
This isn't just a 21st century phenomena. The Protestant reformer Martin Luther was known for confessing that he enjoyed sleep to his Priest. Saying "Father I've sinned! Last night I slept for 4 hours and I enjoyed it". The priest replied (all paraphrased of course) Martin, buddy calm down it's ok to enjoy sleep! Then on the opposite spectrum when the prolific writer Oscar Wilde came to the United States and asked if he had anything to declare he said "only my genius". Now both Wilde and Luther were well educated and famous in their own lifetime for the work that they did. Why was it that they were so distorted in their own eyes? Sure this might be a heavy question to try and unravel in a less than empirical manner. Yet, my hypothesis is that we as humans struggle with vulnerability. It's as if we just can't accept our limitations and be comfortable with our weaknesses. Now how does this relate to being vulnerable and proud of it, or the radical promise made earlier? Well you see when we're being vulnerable we're being human and be that a business relationship or a colleague or even our closest friends - when we're comfortable with our own warts we can stop pretending and just connect with the people or the task in front of us.
How does this relate to me? Or rather where's your warts Jesse?! You see I struggled a lot as a student. I'm dyslexic and when I started school my parents were in the throes of a divorce. I was also the middle child so I was very much overlooked. This is where I started to develop anxieties about asking for help. Teachers would force me to read out loud - and I had a particularly cruel 1st grade teacher that would make fun of me and other students if they stammered. It wasn't until a few years later when I was homeless that reading became my lifeboat. I remember going to the library every single day sometimes twice a day if possible. It was that time when I was homeless as a kid that all those anxieties, limitations and everything that had been a deterrent to learning were ignored. The library was and is to this day still a sanctuary to me. Now as intriguing as that might sound the question remains how does this relate to others. Here's a simple thing that I do that I believe many people are to afraid to do. I ask a lot of questions. And I mean a lot of questions! Furthermore I'm not bashful about it either! I know I often don't have a great deal of the answers, especially on the fly. And that's ok. While for years I was ashamed to tell people I was homeless as a kid yet it was an education in vulnerability that gave me a grit for learning. I'm not advocating you need to be homeless or libraries need to be your personal sanctuary, though I think everyone should frequent libraries. What I'm saying is for you to be proud of your vulnerabilities, or whatever your socially perceived weaknesses is! We're human - we have flaws and that's ok! We delude ourselves with white and not so white lies. However when our skin becomes our most comfortable attire then we can connect with ourselves and others! And that's what life is all about! Making connections!
Last thing, there is a belief in some native South American cultures that knowledge is considered a key and that you don't just give your keys to strangers. The idea being that some things require a proof of labor or worth in the hearer. Side stepping the dangerous elitism potentials in this idea - sharing a vulnerability with someone or a client is scary but it's a risk that reaps ten fold! Now not everyone is worthy of your vulnerable pearls but that too can be incredibly insightful. If someone doesn't respond well to you being human, say asking a lot of questions, not knowing an answer at the moment, or whatever the quirk, then that's a clear indicator that that person has a bloated sense of self importance. And such people will always struggle connecting with others, their customers or audience. All expressions and efforts can be insights into ourselves and others. And when we are vulnerable we're truly authentic! There's a saying among especially creatives that "they would rather be unsuccessful and true to themselves than successful and have lied to themselves”. I believe that anything worth having is worth working hard for! There is a labor to wisdom that needs to be made. While there's hardly a one size fits all scenarios I truly believe that sharing our vulnerabilities are the closest we have to a skeleton key in connecting with people. So when we're vulnerable and proud of it we set the stage for a radical encounter that's more truthful and sincere than you can ever imagine! We open the doors to connect with people in the deepest and most human way possible by letting the light shine in through our wounds. So let us make real connections with people not just contact and as we challenge ourselves to live "Heart-First"!
Thank you for reading and please do feel free to comment below.