It’s My Birthday: Enjoy Your Present!

 

Time for our Annual Birthday Special!

I turn 56 this month. Being alive on the planet is a huge gift I celebrate. And I love my birth-month: May! So green and gorgeous where I am, such lush blessing. I very naturally (that’s a pun) want to give away in thanks. The best I can give is my time. My time is usually $100/hour so for the entire month of May, it is $56/hour. You can share this offer with anyone you choose. Bonne anniversaire!

Fire Sail

11400977_449542775204492_8443523281671313050_nOne year ago yesterday I sailed out of a fire with my very own life. I am still trying to live the learnings from that life-changing event, equaled only by homebirthing my daughter.

The fire was another home-birth, in an important sense, a rebirth of a much deeper self I am increasingly brave enough to show the world. I want to remember and live its teachings and so I give them away to you.

To keep things, we give them away; that’s something the fire taught me. After it, a number of actual tangible objects I had given others were returned to me as though I had placed them with others for safekeeping. I think this also works with intangible objects.

Thanks to our soul-colleague BJ Appelgren for thinking to create this graphic from our learnings as we heard them at the time. BJ is not only an author, she’s a visual artist, you remember her collage post this Spring.

Assume the Positive of People but not of Non-Racism: Post #21 in Our Series, What One (White) Person Can Do

1087_BeyondFear-TwelveSpiritualKeysToRacialHealingLast month, I promised we would revisit the “split” inside us whites caused by whiteness.

Here is one way to heal the split.

This is a story from my personal experience. I’m indirectly involved in a performance which will (briefly) feature this song from the anti-racist, Civil-Rights-Era musical Hairspray, which notably contains the lines, ‘Nice white kids/Who like to lead the way/And once a month/We have our “negro day!”‘ satirizing racist TV dance shows of the era.

Taken out of context, the song is easily misconstrued as supporting racism. And there’s no way we are so much less racist now as a society than we were then that misconstruing it would be unlikely for anyone who doesn’t know the musical well. Quite the opposite. There is a serious risk of alienation, confusion and much worse: a kind of everyday ordinary violence to people of color that whites commit just by assuming the positive about ourselves. It’s clear to many of us–people of color and whites–that assuming the nonracist positive just doesn’t work. This is what award-winning writer Marlon James means in his video on The Guardian’s website about being anti-racist rather than non-racist. Anyone can do it; you don’t have to be perfect first. It’s a great explanation.

Actions NOT to take (in no particular order because inner chaos is not stepwise)
  • Freak out.
  • Assume the worst.
  • Get angry.
  • Tell no one.
  • Feel powerless.
  • Then defensive.
  • Stew.

Those were the actions I took initially about being indirectly involved in this situation. Fortunately, I was careful not to harm the situation by sharing them. So giving yourself quiet space for them I’ll include them as Step 1 of actions TO take.

Steps to take
  1. Give yourself plenty of space to freak out quietly. This demands self-compassion, clarity and contemplative practice. It is not for the faint of heart, so please: work it! work that meditation practice, that silence, that cup of tea you sit with and just sit. Regularly! Allow what comes up to come up, including hatred, including self-hatred. Including the deep desire to do freaking nothing and wish it would all go away on its own. Observe our reactions, observe patterns, learn something. But know that these things arise and pass away if you let them. What matters is what you attach to. Start noticing what you attach to; this is your identity. You can change your identity by changing what you attach to/learning detachment. What would you like your identity to be? I want mine to be peacefully, productively, anti-racist. I bet you do too.
  2. Unless you have a close anti-racism buddy, committed not to judging each other and helping each other take action, you don’t need to share your process thus with anyone. It’s just meant to give you some detachment and clear your mind to take an action not motivated by fear or anger or hatred. Actions motivated by those–including anti-racist actions–can end up perpetuating fear, anger and hatred, which seems counterproductive over the long term.
  3. Remind yourself of a few basic principles of anti-racist action. You can reread some of our blog posts in this series but I encourage you to get a copy of Beyond Fear: Twelve Spiritual Keys to Racial Healing, by Aeeshah Ababio-Clottey and Kokomon Clottey, with a foreword by Marianne Williamson. Totally action-oriented starting from totally soft heart. It’s based on the principles of A Course in Miracles but don’t let that stop you if you’re not an ACIM kinda person. I’ve read a lot of anti-racist source material and this is one of the very best places to begin. Browse the book here. Buy the book here (scroll down). Hear an interview with the authors here. Three of the book’s twelve principles that helped me that stormy night of my freak-out:
    • “Health is inner peace, and healing is letting go of fear.”
    • “We can become love finders rather than fault finders.”
    • “We can always perceive ourselves and others as either extending love or giving a call for help.”
  4. Apply your basic principles inside yourself or with your trusted buddy initially.
  5. Experiment quietly with ideas and options of what to do. You can write them down or just think them through. Picture the outcome(s) of your ideas and options. I found this step very important. I took a LOT of time with it and I encourage you to think through the possibilities, even/especially the unintended possible outcomes, of your ideas and options.
  6. It helped me as I evaluated carefully what action to take to remember that the other people involved want to do the right thing. That was simply the truth in my case. No one was overtly or intentionally racist, quite the opposite–they were so nonracist they had a hard time seeing the racist implications and potential of the song being featured.
  7. Remember that trying to stop or silence or nip in the bud the problem without discussion may make it worse. What’s better in my opinion is to support it going forward WITH DISCUSSION, bringing up and talking about what whites seldom want to talk about. The cutting edge of anti-racist work is making everyday racism we participate in OVERT and AWAKENING to it and TALKING ABOUT IT. This right now is what “perfection” looks like, to me.
  8. Remember that if you take the lead in bringing the problem to discussion, and if you remember other people want to do the right thing,  YOU may want to come up with not just how to address the problem, but solutions to the problem. Simple and direct are good. Early on in my freak-out, I’d come up with a simple solution: a note in the program explaining the song’s context. In my freak-out however, I believed I would not be heard with this simple solution and believed it would not be accepted because nothing like it had ever been done before. After I worked through my feelings, I could see that I had no grounds for those beliefs, and decided to trust Beyond Fear and the other people involved–plus my own basic goodness and my connection to the other people–and I offered my simple solution.
  9. My simple solution was easily accepted, with a lot of thanks, and some excellent discussion much more widely than I could have hoped during my freak-out. It was all so easy compared with the storm it started as inside me. I affirm that be your experience as well. Do the hard work inside yourself so you are ready to be there for others quietly when you raise the problem for discussion without a lot of attachment to their not freaking out. (Although in my case, no one did! I think they could feel I was out for a solution and not out to make anyone wrong or look bad. Important.)

Conclusion

What emerges for me in writing up my experience for this post is to assume the positive–but of people, not of “non-racism.” Assume the positive of people wanting to do right and learn to be anti-racist but having too few models.

I humbly offer the above 9 steps for your own anti-racism learning and action. It takes experimentation. Here’s mine! Please share your comments, suggestions, critique, actions, readings, results. Love.

 

 

 

 

Recommended Reading II

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Bouquinistes on the Seine River, Paris. Image by and uploaded to Wikimedia Commons by Jebulon.

It’s a new season; time for more books! Here are another four, a follow-on to our first “Recommended Reading” post. The categories are suggested by our soul-colleague J:

Money/economy book suggestions:

Cheating only somewhat: rather than a book, I’m suggesting you read the website of Pipeline Angels, a feminist investment and money-mentoring group. They are as passionate and ethical as nonprofit funders–which they refuse to be! I found out about them reading the Financial Times,which interviewed founder Natalia Oberti Noguera:

In 2008, after completing one of two masters, Oberti Noguera launched [an earlier venture,] New York Women Social Entrepreneurs, a group formed to support “the next generation of women change-makers”. As she built the community from six to more than 1,200 members, a surprising truth surfaced. “I bumped into societal preconceptions of what changing the world looks like,” she says. “Whenever these women who had super-interesting disruptive business models were sharing their ideas, people were excited and asked where they could donate.”

Yet investors balked when it was revealed these were for-profit ventures. It is a double standard that is embedded in our collective consciousness, Oberti Noguera says. “If a woman is saying she’s going to change the world, the assumption is she’s launching a non-profit.”

I’ve always made that very assumption (about everyone)! I love being proven wrong by the social entrepreneurship movement. One last quote from Oberti Noguera:

“People say: where are the high-growth women-led companies? What I want to say is: where’s the runway? It’s about creating that safe space to experiment and try things out.”

It only takes $4500 to get into their bootcamps rather than the zillions you might think. These bootcamps teach women how to invest through education, mentoring and practice.  Then you invest $5000 in a start-up your bootcamp chooses together.  (Check out the profiles of women entrepreneurs funded.) Entrepreneurs are invited to apply to a “pitch summit,” where as you might expect, you get to make a pitch for investment by the Pipeline Angels.

Well-being and how to be in life suggestions:

Natural Bravery by Gaylon Ferguson, hands down. I found this through the Naropa University newsletter (their blog is here).  There are lots of cutting-edge folks who teach at or visit Naropa to speak I learn about in this way. Ferguson is on the Naropa faculty, so he knows how to convey subtle information with juicy, experiential language. He’s an experienced meditator, so he knows the layers of his own mind and can talk convincingly about our monkey minds’ chattering.

It really WORKS to assume basic human bravery in approaching fear. Fearlessness thus begins by getting to know our fear very well. Ferguson practices in the Tibetan Buddhist Shambhala tradition of Naropa’s founder Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.  Shambhala Buddhism finds we are not only naturally brave, we are intrinsically good: “our basic goodness” is a thread that runs throughout the book, which is divided into transforming four kinds of fear: of ourselves, of others, of space (!), and of manifestation. Love it, right!? See more detail by clicking on the little open book symbol that says, “Browse inside” you will find under the cover picture here. And here’s an author interview.

Fiction:

I’m still on my Walter Mosley kick! Thank goodness that–like James Baldwin–he has written more books than I will be able to read in my 150-year lifetime. I’m devoting myself currently to the Easy Rawlins detective series. They are immensely enjoyable: open-minded; richly, diversely, humorously charactered; deviously plotted. Devious also is the way they give you an education in racism from World War II to the present; they’re beautifully described and situated historically–in Los Angeles with flashbacks to swampy Texas and Louisiana, where Easy grew up. Black Betty is especially moving, if I had to pick one. But you could start from the first, Devil in a Blue Dress, which was made into a film starring Denzel Washington. (Preview the book Devil in a Blue Dress here.)

Authors and thinkers I’m following:

See above, and below!

 

Social change:

Annihilation of Caste, a speech that was never given. Author  B.R. Ambedkar is known for disputing Gandhi publicly and convincingly for the rights of and as a representative of India’s “untouchable” classes. I remain reverent of Gandhi after reading this book–but I see that the man with the halo was wrong about some important stuff, and has feet of clay just like I do. The parallels between caste in India to racism in the US are strong; you will be shocked until you realize this is what (for example) African-Americans face every day in the US; if you are white, you may find yourself more open to the issues of power and violence raised in this book because whites aren’t the bad guys.  This edition in particular is beautiful and useful, with an introduction by Arundhati Roy (best known for her recent novel The God of Small Things), with polymathic notes by S. Anand that are easy to understand for newbies like me.

A stakeholder is nothing special–just everything

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“In the ground.” Photo by and uploaded to Flikr by Oakley Originals, accessed via Creative Commons Search. Thanks to all you gardeners and farmers who keep all my ag references real, and for indulging this soil-less gardener!

Here’s another post whose inspiration was provided by a client conversation with someone who is rapidly becoming a soul-colleague. I asked her to identify her stakeholders in her business. She sounded uncertain. I realized how organic it is for me nowadays to think in terms of stakeholders, and reached wayyyy back into my 20s when I was learning grassroots community organizing and grassroots (read: relationship) fundraising–and I thought stakeholders were those things maybe in the ground in the photo above.

“Stakeholder” was something of a buzzword at one time–maybe it still is. But it’s also a real word, with a really important meaning. It does not matter if you are a for-profit or a nonprofit entrepreneur: your stakeholders are everything to you. And in a way, they are nothing special.

That’s because a stakeholder is “just” someone who shares your interests and aims.

You see what I mean: we talk about them like having stakeholders is just a normal thing we have. But when you really think about who in your life shares your interests and aims, it’s probably a pretty small list!

In fact, the word interest contains a challenge: an inter+est is something that “is+between” you and someone else. To interest someone else means to get them to agree to put their attention where you have put yours.*

You see that you do this all the time. You agree to put your attention on stuff, it doesn’t just happen.

How do you decide to do that?

It’s worth asking yourself.

Now how do you get others to agree to put their attention on your stuff–your project, your company, your healing practice, your farm produce, your coaching and consulting practice (just for example)?

This is also worth asking.

And it’s worth comparing:

  • what makes me agree to give my attention to something?
  • what am I doing to get others to agree to do the same?
  • how can I make the second thing more effective? (assuming people are like me, which basically, they are)

This is the heart of relationship-building which is the heart of marketing, fundraising, and investment-raising. Why should they care? If you care, there’s a good chance they should…but why do you care? and what helps others care?

I recently sent a Valentine to some of RAISING CLARITY’s long-time stakeholders. In fact, the Valentine idea came about because we blogged about what a great idea it was for a soul-colleague of ours to do–and then realized we haven’t ever done it! So we did it. In the process, we realized there were a whole bunch of newer stakeholders we could not honestly send the same Valentine to…but we are working on a new one, a “mini-Valentine,” we’re calling it.

And we are next month going to offer both groups of stakeholders + our blog subscribers something special because gosh darn it, they are everything + special in this world to us.

What about you? and your work? Think on these things and write in to us in a comment to this post.

What Makes You Unique is What Your Brand DOESN’T Do

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Two paths north from Bentley Lane into Reeds Wood Park. Image uploaded to geographer.uk by Jonathan Billinger. Accessed via Creative Commons Search via  Wikimedia Commons.

This is a follow-on post to our last one featuring brandmaster Kurt Bartolich of GUTS Branding. Kurt is emphatic about the importance of being objective about what you DO do. Asking OTHER people what you do is part of being objective. Surveying them works, and having a third party do this for you helps.

I’ve always had a hard time explaining what RAISING CLARITY does. But the other thing Kurt told me when we worked together and tells us in his post is that you can use contrast and opposition to help you identify what your brand DOESN’T DO and thus, see your brand’s unique offering more clearly.

The importance of this approach came home to me after working as an editor with Kurt’s post. I began thinking about my recent job searches in other areas of my life beyond RAISING CLARITY.  I’m a masterful copyeditor, book coach and translator of published works from French to English; I’m just as intuitive, passionate and precise about commas and energetic flow of someone else’s work through my hands as I am about RAISING CLARITY’s coaching and blog posts.

I had been shoving those other gifts of mine under the RAISING CLARITY rug. For example, I quite often write and publish blog posts that have little or nothing to do with RAISING CLARITY’s brand mission on this very blog! I do this because writing them feels so satisfying. But they feel that way because I’m not giving them a proper outlet. And it makes marketing RAISING CLARITY a lot harder: it’s like showing off your gorgeous rug with these weird bumpy things stuffed in under it! And continuing to stuff the unrelated work I do under the RAISING CLARITY rug continues to sap me of the authentic satisfaction of honoring these other aspects of myself.

These other aspects give SUCH a wonderful light by which to see that THEY are simply, truthfully NOT part of RAISING CLARITY’s incredibly incisive, precise, insanely intuitive work helping people vision and resource their new work, heal wounds getting in their way of abundance, sculpt their time, and love themselves through wise practices. Wow! I’ve never had such an easy time saying what RAISING CLARITY is and does!!! (And that’s what RAISING CLARITY blog posts should address–and only that.)

What a way to raise unclarity–and now clarity!  I embrace RAISING CLARITY’s unique work BEST by seeing how it is different from the rest of what Beth Raps does. Beth Raps does a bunch of things. RAISING CLARITY does ONE THING.  I’ll  create another website: “Beth RAPS in French and English,” export blog posts unrelated to brand mission there, and have a much easier time promoting with integrity two distinct things rather than one mushy bumpy thing. “Integrity” means wholeness! I can’t fragment RAISING CLARITY and affirm my own integrity! (If you will miss our unrelated-to-RAISING CLARITY posts, email me. I’ll add you to our new list).

Have you been doing any similar (un)clarity-making? What will you change? Spring is a time for proliferation–and for pruning and thinning!

You Can’t Ride Two Horses with One Ass: A Guest Post by Kurt Bartolich of GUTS Branding

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Kurt Bartolich of GUTS Branding is the reason we are RAISING CLARITY. Kurt is the branding specialist who studied what we offer and then created a brand from what was just a lot of potential. (That he studied and then created is important, as you’ll see in this interview.) Kurt’s work runs very deep. I am not satisfied with how I explain it to others and that is because after all this time, I am still very much learning how he thinks and what he does. But I hope this interview helps you get it–it sure helped me! And if you have questions for Kurt, I know he’d love to answer them. Ask them in a comment to this post. Finally, Kurt has written a book! I want to promote anything he touches. So meet him and see how brilliantly he thinks about stuff you might never have thought about before. (And if you have thought about it before, you’ll get even more out of this interview.) (If you already know you want the book, go here.)

RAISING CLARITY: How would you put in a paragraph or two at most what is so different about your approach to brand, so unique and unusual? (This isn’t a challenge, it’s an invitation–I totally see your work in this way.)

What sets GUTS BRANDING apart in creating, evolving or repositioning brands is rooted in these three intrinsically-linked ideals:

1. A brand position should be excavated objectively, not created subjectively.  I only work with clients who will allow me to conduct attitudinal research  with their consumers. Why? There is always a chasm between what the company perceives and what consumers perceive or need. To what degree varies but even a small gap can hurt an organization’s/company’s ability to connect with their consumers consistently and meaningfully. Think about it this way: If you were flying to the moon and were just one little degree off course you’d miss the target by over 4,100 miles. (I hope you have extra fuel!)

Here are a couple of specific examples to illustrate this point: I just finished delivering consumers insights for a regionally based ice cream brand that is number two in a market competing against national brands. The company believed that being “locally-made” was its advantage but when consumers were queried they rated it as one of the lowest motivators for purchasing ice cream (even its own partisans found it irrelevant). In another example, a county in Central Kansas we worked with on repositioning believed “ history” was what attracted visitors but in actuality it was the restorative qualities (body, mind and spirit) of the majestic hills and wide open spaces that drew people in.

Far too often, people—including, agencies and marketing firms—are simply guessing. I believe in knowing and use facts not fiction to guide brand positioning.

2. A brand position should be built first from inside the organization out to your customers.  It’s the only way to ensure that the promise of your brand and the payoff your consumers expect are always one and the same. It’s why we focus on creating a brand mission first—the  organizational compass that bridges company purpose and customer brand, ensures every person, process and platform is true to the brand and becomes the True North for  every business, operational, marketing, personnel and identity decision.  This is critical because a position IS what you do, not just what you say you do. This inside-out approach is so essential to creating a “true” brand that I’ve even stake my firm’s name—“GUTS” BRANDING—on it.

3.  Brand IS your strategy. Period. Far too often, people inside organizations & companies—even at the highest levels —misunderstand brand. They confuse it with labeling (affixing your logo and slogan to everything) or treat it as an activity or department. Not only does this create incongruency in how the brand is executed by your team and experienced by your consumers, it fosters a business-over-brand climate. The disconnect is  consumers don’t buy businesses, they buy brands. Do you go to the store to get Unilever Ice Tea and P&G toothpaste or Lipton and Crest? Changing the ethos of your organization to be driven by brand decisions first, business decisions second (like Southwest Airlines, Ritz-Carlton and Apple, to name a few) is more important than what you actually do in the market place.

RAISING CLARITY: What is different about working with “spiritual” brands?  Is that even a thing? Does the question make sense? I mean brands like mine where there is not a product, and where we may have a somewhat challenging time distinguishing what we do (period, and from others who do something similar).

Great question and something that’s going to take a little unpacking to address…and make sense (hopefully).

Yes, it is a thing, though I speak about brands without a physical product as its foundation as being “concept-driven” brands. Yet, no different than product-driven brands, concept brands too need something more tangible to clarify who they are and what they do. I refer to it as a “mental handle.” Think of it this way: A stick and a string could  represent something different to you than to me. But once you attach a handle, now we are both likely to see a fishing pole.

When you look more closely at concept-driven brands vs. product-driven brands, there’s a paradox. Concept-driven brands need to find something more “tangible” to provide a distinctive mental handle and product brands need to find something a bit more “conceptual” to differentiate their widgets. For example, Apple, at its core is a product-driven brand yet it needed the more conceptual “intuitive” to clarify its unique value and stand apart from the competition. Otherwise, it’s just another keyboard and screen. Conversely, (no political agenda here), Bernie Sanders would be just another candidate for president if wasn’t for his more tangible, “socialist” platform. Being a “socialist” in essence is his product.

Your brand is a good example of a concept-driven brand that needed to find a mental handle. What if you had settled on the idea of “abundance” to represent what you do? Would people have understood what it meant and what you did? Unlikely because it’s too subjective. Besides, abundance is a “result” not a “reason.” A more tangible mental handle provides the reason to choose you!

Which leads us to “clarity”—an idea that is easier to grasp. But why is it easier for people to understand than abundance?  While true that clarity can mean different things to different people (and you have to provide context to how you define clarity), it has a more overt opposite—unclear. Sure, abundance, has an opposite in non-abundant but it has many other potential opposites like poverty, scarcity, inadequacy, etc.. With clarity, it’s essentially either clear or unclear.

I find thinking in contrasts helps any brand—but particularly concept-driven brands—find their mental handle. For example, GUTS BRANDING’s mental handle is “inside-out”—as in helping clients build their brands from inside their organization out to their customers and prospects. This is in contrast to most “brand” practitioners and agencies, which take an overtly outside-in approach (proliferation of slogans, campaigns, logos, etc.) “Inside-out” is my reason and also is a strategy rather than the tactics peddled by others.

RAISING CLARITY: If “inside-out” is your brand, why are you GUTS and not, say, “Inside-Out Branding”?

The answer is both pragmatic and strategic. Inside-Out Branding was already being used and trademarked. So, I did explore it. However, even if it wasn’t taken I would have had reservations about adopting it because a position doesn’t always make for a good brand name. Would “Search” have been a good brand name for Google? Would “Photopost” have been a good brand name for Instagram? Would “Clear” have been a good brand name for your position?

My criteria for a good brand name in order of importance:
1. Strategic (as in it conveys—doesn’t necessarily say—what is your position)
2. Unique
3. Simple
4. Memorable

GUTS BRANDING ticks these boxes and it expresses my methodology of from the “guts” or “insides” of an organization.

It also serves as my elevator pitch. When asked, what I do I simply say, “I’m the founder of GUTS BRANDING.” Inevitably, it leads to “Why the name GUTS BRANDING?” That opens the door to telling my story. I’m also introduced more as GUTS BRANDING than Kurt Bartolich. I know a lot of businesses with brand names so benign they’re background noise so they’re referred to by their given names. Unless you’re Oprah, Warren Buffet or Al Ries (in branding) then you’d better have a powerful brand name for your company, organization, product or service.

RAISING CLARITY: Last question, why did you write this book?

I’d like to present my motives for writing the book, You Can’t Ride Two Horses With One Ass, on two fronts: goals and reasons. My goals for it include marketing my brand and opening doors to more client and speaking opportunities. Having a book under your belt does create a credential that can impact all. But those goals can also be achieved in other ways. I actually see those as results not reasons. If none of those things happen for me as a result of the book I’m okay with that. More important, I felt called to write a book advocating for the misinformed and as a referendum against unsubstantiated yet universally accepted brand bullsh*t.

Much of what people believe today about brand comes from supposition, conventional thinking and best practices. Much of it is propagated by business consultants, bloggers and advertising professionals. For the record, I’m not anti-agency. I’ve worked at agencies and I still partner with some on research and brand positioning. I meet smart and talented people at agencies all the time. Yet, most of what an agency does is tactical in nature—campaigns, SEO, social media, websites, etc. While these are necessary in today’s world, far too often they’re passed off as strategy or branding—neither of which they are or ever will be. All are tactics to a brand strategy.

My book presents evidence that creating a successful and enduring brand requires objectivity over subjectivity, brand over business decisions and authenticity over expansion. This runs counter to today’s corporate climate that pushes scaling, innovating and disrupting. But more than a manifesto against others, You Can’t Ride Two Horses With One Ass is really about what goes on between your ears and how changing your ethos is the first step in transforming your brand. I hope my book fulfills this purpose.

Thank you for the wonderful opportunity to participate in this blog!

The Spiritual Things You Suspect About Money Are True

Everything You Know is True

In my humble estimation, whatever you believe about money comes true. And also what you suspect. What do you suspect about money?

That its flow in your life has something to do with how you flow with Life?

Yup.

That “what goes around, comes around”?

Yup. Have no doubt. (Even when it doesn’t look like that to us at first.)

That “how you do anything is how you do everything,” so any problems with money are reflected in your health, your relationships with other people, your work-world?

Yes.

That it’s spiritually meaningless and has to do only with how hard you work or who you know?

That too. I prefer seeing it with a wide-angle lens because I get more information for myself and my clients that way. But you can relate to money strictly based on how hard you work or who you know.

That what you believe about money is self-fulfilling?

Exactly.

Believe or Suspect?

If you want to know the difference between what you believe and what you suspect, look at what is going on with money in your life that you didn’t expect. Pretend you created it. Now observe what is different from what you expected–whether it’s more positive or less positive. That, I submit to you, is what you suspect.

Interesting, right? This is one reason I love moneycoaching. It helps us integrate beliefs and suspicions. You can take the money archetypes test here free to start learning yours. I would love to work with you further once you do. Let me know your questions regardless, and help me write a further post on this topic!

 

 

 

 

What Counts as Marketing?: Building on Your Own Great Bones

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Walking skeleton from Andrew Bell, Anatomia Britannica (1770s-1780s). Uploaded to Flikr by the University of Liverpool Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, accessed via Creative Commons.

 

One of the most interesting client meetings I’ve had recently was about what really counts as marketing.

My client wanted a marketing plan, including timeline, like we create for RAISING CLARITY. This post tells you a lot of what he received from us (though none of his details). Our first question was what are you already doing right? What you are already doing right is the most important first question a coach or consultant can ask. Why pay someone to tell you what you are already doing right?

Turns out that–among other things–our client (and long-time soul-colleague) was already

  1. crafting and emailing a great newsletter to his whole list.
  2. traveling to visit clients face-to-face to deliver to them.

Those two things alone gave us pages of ideas for him about marketing, along with guidance on how to timeline them into a marketing plan. Marketing activities + Timeline = Marketing Plan, Demystified! Below are some of our best ideas. You can see how they build on his “great bones”–the things he’s already doing. At the end of this post, we help you think about what you are already doing you can simply  build on for a fleshier Marketing Plan.

  1. If you travel, keep record of where the people live who are on your email list. We are not telling you how to keep record.  Ask us for ideas  but IF you are tempted to over-technologize it, stop. Do all tech tasks in the simplest way that meets your need. We routinely trim our email list to ~400 and we simply remember where everyone is located. If we don’t, they probably don’t belong on the list so we remove them. (Technology is supposed to make your life easier–not the lives of tech companies.) Your email address book may have a spot on each person’s address “page” to record their town or zip. Then, when you travel,
    1. email people from that region telling them you’ll be in the area and could meet–whether or not they plan to buy something and even though you would not have time to visit 100% of them if they all said “yes.” It’s not cheating to offer a meeting to all of them and fill up however much time you have with the ones who said “yes” first. (Relationship is everything in RAISING CLARITY’s school of marketing. It’s the essence of marketing. Everything else is an approximation of actually meeting your people face-to-face.) OR
    2. hold an event in a café or teahouse where everyone buys their own and they get to sit down and talk with you. Email everyone in advance of the gathering to invite them. (This counts as marketing because everyone gets an invitation to something cool from you, not because they all come. People love sincere invitations. They will remember you did this. Some will also write you back and this will build your relationship.)
  2. Without traveling, hold a virtual meet-up or meet-ing (whichever you call it, depending on what generation you are!)
    1. online so you can see each other OR
    2. on the phone using a free conference calling line because frankly most of the time visuals are distracting and pointless anyway AND
    3. chat on a topic in which you shine. Do it once a quarter; do it once a month. This is such a good idea we are going to start doing it!
  3. Have a core list. Once in a while, email one thing to your core list instead of your newsletter containing many items which you send to your whole list. Email a love-letter, a true confession or a perk. It keeps your mail and your heart opened. (“Core” comes from the word for “heart.  Ask: who  on my list would cry if I closed down tomorrow? With actual tears, or “just” inside? That is your core list.)

Notice that none of this costs almost anything. And every bit of it is so basic to human nature and common sense you are probably already doing variations of it but you just didn’t count it as marketing.

What makes it count is when you do it with intention. What makes it a Marketing Plan is when you Timeline It. *You literally make an appointment with yourself to take the next step of your Plan. Each time you meet with yourself, you make an appointment with yourself to take the next step. I italicize “with yourself” because some folks only schedule meetings with other people. RAISING CLARITY Gives you permission to schedule meetings with “just” yourself.

If you know how far in advance you need to plan something like a special email or a newsletter or a trip on which you hope to meet many people,  you make appointments (with yourself) for each stage of the planning. If you find you have over- or under-estimated the timing, be sure to use that as good information that will help you integrate changes into your timelining next time. This is our all-time best post where we have poured everything we know about chunking up a big task into timelinable steps.

Keep to your timeline. When you get to the end of your Marketing Timeline, repeat. Think up new stuff to offer. Then timeline those things–and do them.

First, though, think: what am I already doing to contact my people? Especially the things that work–the things that really reach people. I don’t care how many or how few. Those things you are doing that work are your “great bones.” Now think about how you can do more of what works. Spend time doing more of what works and develop it–into an art form. Set aside time in your timeline for writing/creating and disseminating. But most of all, set aside time for experimentation with intention and regularity. Become consistent. Timeline it!


*No need to over-technologize your your timeline. We use a pen and paper datebook with whiteout tape for changes. We track everything this way, backed up by email folders for each correspondent/activity. And we are very organized.

Seeing Whiteness as Our Woundedness: Post #20 in Our Series, What One (White) Person Can Do

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“some romans, glyptoteket museum, Copenhagen.” Image by and uploaded to Flikr by seier+seier, accessed via Creative Commons Search.

For white people, learning to see whiteness is a feat. (People of color can see it quite easily, however. One reason to listen and read what they say and write about it.)

Whiteness is the unreality attached to having white skin and certain other behavioral and ethnic markers in a racist society. Racism exists because whiteness exists but whiteness also exists because racism exists. There is nothing G0d-given about whiteness or racism.

Racism = hatred. Whiteness = self-hatred. All hatred originates with self-hatred.

Learning to see whiteness as woundedness comes with self-compassion. This s–t hurts. If you start to feel it hurting, you are on to something. Keep feeling.

A few days ago, we included whiteness in a list of blocks to abundance. To find the absolutely amazingly perfect image accompanying this post, I searched on “broken white people.” It’s all right there in front of us:

  • our inner split, our brokenness severing us from ourselves and others
  • our dominator voice telling us we are smart(er), pur(er), worthi(er) of abundance–and when none of this turns out to be true, being so snarly, scary and pervasive we forget it was never true and think instead we have to work our butts off to be smart enough, pure enough, worthy enough–of what?  This is an inhuman race.
  • our vacant pretense: it’s fine, I’m ok, this is normal.

This is how whiteness destroys white people. And our prospects for abundance.

None of this is working: it’s not working for others, and we feel bad about that. (We feel impure, stupid, unworthy, even when we don’t know what to do about it.)

Take off the mask you put on others as you take off your own. Let’s unlearn whiteness as part of unlearning racism. Let’s learn to see it first. Start looking: it hurts worst at first while you are just beginning to heal. You won’t believe what you see; see it anyway. Seeing is believing. Pay attention to stuff you do and think that has nothing to do with what you really want to do and think. (You can also pay attention to what you say, buy, approve/disapprove, for starters.) Who’s talking? Is it the dominator voice? The one who tells you quietly you are worthless, unclean, stupid? The same one that gets in the way when you try to make money, receive gifts, or give them? Hm….

No one can tell you anything about racism that really means anything until you experience what whiteness feels like–and what you really are.

You are divine. You are perfect. Guess what? So is every one else.

If you take up the unlearning whiteness challenge, your humanness and your divinity start breaking through on their own. A hint of the joy and riches in store for you are in my last two posts in this series. I also really liked this video as advice about a basic stance to take: non-racist? or anti-racist. This post also helps us.

We’ll come back to this next month; keep noticing. Let’s heal the split.