Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: Knowing When (and How) to Let Go

By Tea Silvestre, aka The Word Chef

Building a thriving small business is a little like dancing.

Okay, it’s a LOT like dancing.

When we begin, we dance solo much of the time. Tentatively learning the steps — by ourselves (with a homestudy course) or with a teacher or a mentor.

Eventually, as our confidence and skill level builds, we begin to dance with others — our clients, our community, our vendors and our peers. If we’re lucky, the dancing (usually) turns into something that looks a lot like a party.

But have you ever felt like you were dancing too much? Too fast?

Sure, you may be doing something you love, something you’re passionate about — at least, that’s how it started. But now, you’re more dizzy than ecstatic.

It happens to the best of us.

Finding Your Own Rhythm

Typically, at the close of any year we take time to reflect. On what we’ve accomplished over the previous months. On the goals that we turned into reality (or that fell by the wayside). We look at what went sideways. And most importantly, we ask ourselves what we’d like to create next year.

What if you also spent some time thinking about what you’d like to give up?

Mark Silver, of Heart of Business, wrote about just this topic in his post, Preparing for December.

He begins with the story of a client who told him she wanted to quit her entire business. That she was done. Finished. Kaput.

He thought it was definitely time for her to quit. But not in the way she thought.

He’s got a few recommendations for thinking about quitting. (Go ahead and read his post. I’ll wait.)

Did you just feel your heart expand?

It’s good to remember that sometimes we need to slow down the dancing and consider who we are and what we really want.

Releasing the Wrong Dance Partners

Very recently, I had the privilege of quitting something BIG myself: an old vision of who I was and what I was meant to bring to the world.

This quitting was huge for me because, well…it was/is woven into a massively large project.

When I began the planning of it, it looked grand and beautiful. I was excited about the possibilities and couldn’t wait to see it debut on the world-wide-web.

But over time, my perspective about my role and purpose shifted. And before I knew what happened, I found myself depressed and annoyed with this big awesome thing.

I no longer believed that my project was the wonderfabulous offering it first was. In fact, I was sure that I was dancing the wrong dance with the wrong people for the wrong reasons.

Simply put, I wanted to quit. Quit the whole darned thing. Just chuck in the towel and move on. Get a J-O-B.

When I confessed all of this to my mastermind group, they held that quitting space for me for a few moments and then lovingly challenged me to see — surprise, surprise — that the reason they believed in my dancing was the reason I was there in the first place. That I could re-focus, re-work and re-invent my project to be in total balance with who I am now.

I didn’t need to give up the project. I just needed a realignment.

What about you? What projects or roles are you ready to set down or reinvent? What dance partners are you ready to let go of? Share with us in a comment and let’s celebrate your new dance steps together.

This post is part of the November Word Carnival. The topic is Letting go: How and What to Trim to Keep Your Business Lean and Focused. Come read the rest of the genius ideas and join the carney fun. 

photo credit: jbhthescots via photopin cc

About Tea (the Chef)

As a marketing coach/consultant, Tea loves to help her clients find and share their Secret Sauce with the world. She’s also the founder of the ground-breaking reality web series, “Prosperity’s Kitchen” and the author of “Attract and Feed a Hungry Crowd.” Connect on Twitter: @TeaSilvestre.

Slow Marketing is Spiritual Marketing

This is a guest post by Susan Living

Three years ago when my business “failed” I was in a very dark place. I was hard, shut down, cynical, obsessed with my work, constantly comparing myself with others and coming up lacking. I was neglecting my man, neglecting my body and neglecting my Self in almost every possible way. No time to honour the unseen, no sense of reverence for the mystery and magic of life and no connection with what was natural and authentic to me. Every day was filled with trying and effort to be something I was not, to be successful, to BE something.

I had fallen into the biggest trap there is for conscious, heart-based entrepreneurs: forgetting what life is really about.

The reality is sometimes, no matter how badly we want something, it just doesn’t happen. This is the hard stuff. The stuff rarely spoken of in public. The stuff we wouldn’t tell our children. Right before I made the agonising decision to leave my business, a spiritual healer told me that it “wasn’t the right time for me…” I could continue working 60 hour weeks and it still wouldn’t be the right time for me. It rang true. My heart broke. I laid down my soul and surrendered my ego completely to something far, far bigger than myself.

Thus began an intense period of grieving and inward journeying to rediscover my unique creative expression, my truth and my ability to love myself. Thus began a lifetime’s enquiry into how heart-based, conscious, spiritual and authentic business practices can change the world…

Slow marketing is one of those practices. It invites us into connection with Spirit, the bigger picture that powers the entire universe — the Great Mystery itself…

In business, this challenges us on the deepest level to breathe, take action, let go and breathe again. It asks nothing less of us than complete surrender, a release of tight-fisted control over the outcomes of our action. It asks humility of us and to trust the divine timing that right now is impacting our choices, our relationships, our business, our customers and every situation we find ourselves in.

This path is not for everyone. In fact there’s a whole world of big business and multi-national corporations out there based on ignorance, self-sacrifice, hard work and retirement dreams. It may even be working for them (I’m not so sure Mother Earth, divorce rates, developing nations and our ozone layer would agree though)…

Some high-achieving folk actually thrive on being pushed and an internal sense of pressure. For many, deadlines and other’s expectations are the only things that ever spurn them into action… And YES, some of us are here to leave a massive legacy, an international movement, something REALLY BIG and lasting that will serve the planet for generations to come…

For those mentioned above, slow marketing may not be the most fulfilling and rewarding path to business salvation and success.

For others though, heart-based businesses, yoga teachers, healers and lightworkers, pressure does not serve – it contracts. The focus on linear cause and effect, personal effort, striving and one dimensional achievement leaves us feeling empty, dissatisfied and depressed. We’ve seen through it.

Instead, we trust in the cumulative effects of our efforts and the divine timing that flows through us. We believe in the Law of Attraction. We work firstly on ourselves so our external reality is reflected from an unhindered space. We live in expanded beingness and the eternal nature of who we really are. We have smaller dreams that are no less bright and worthy for their size. We simply want to be good people, enjoy our work, support our local community and make enough money doing what we love in the world.

To support us in abundance, embodying slow, spiritual marketing is about asking ourselves the really BIG questions; who am I, what really matters to me in my life, what is my purpose here and what would it take for me to die happy, knowing I gave it my best shot while I was here?

When we meditate on the big questions, we find the answers are often profoundly simple and universal in their application. Below are my answers (please note, these may evolve and develop over time but I highly doubt they will journey far from the central themes given):

Who am I?

I am love. Love is who I am. All that is not love is not really me.

What really matters to me in my life?

Relationships. Conscious community. Love. The love that I’ve given and received in the world.

What is my purpose here?

To experience love and this present moment as completely as I can.

What would it take for me to die happy, knowing I gave it my best shot while I was here?

Knowing I have given love and made some small difference in the life of another human being. Knowing that love is the only thing I will leave behind me when I die.

Without an awareness of spiritual marketing and the principles of slow marketing, our business runs us rather than the other way around. We lose sight of knowing we are free to create every aspect our business to serve both us and the world.

Are we choosing to be at peace, easy with the gentle unfolding of our marketing or do we seek success so badly we forget what really matters in life, becoming slaves to our work, victims of our own busyness?

Slow marketing attunes us to divine consciousness, the perfection of what is — a flower opening in timing aligned with the rhythm of creation. Slow marketing attunes us to the natural flow of energy moving through us and our business, trusting that opening and blossoming will occur in it’s own time — while we take inspired action every day.

How would you live your life from this place? What if your answers to the questions above informed every act you made in your business, every phone call, conversation or money exchange? How would it feel to use your business and marketing as a reminder of what you’re really here for?

I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

Photo Credit: Antar Atma | Dreamstime

Susan Living is a devoted yogini, writer, living room dancer & ukulele playing cat-lover. Business From The Heart supports yoga teachers & healers to create abundance doing what they love in the world with authentic marketing & websites of beauty & grace. Susan lives in the lush hinterland of eastern Australia with her man & rather fluffy Himalayan Persian cat. Read more about her story here



Marketing Lessons from the Greenhouse

This is a guest post by Loran Hills.

In March of this year we started planting our new greenhouse. (Last year we didn’t finish building it until the end of June, so we were excited to get an early start.)

We planted seeds of all kinds: flowers, vegetables and herbs.

After thirty days most of the plants had barely sprouted. Some of them never came up, a few were mere seedlings, but the cucumbers took off like magic.

Why such wildly different results?

Turned out there wasn’t enough heat underneath most of the seeds to get them started.

Two months later we started over and replanted.

We also prepared the garden as soon as the weather allowed and transplanted the cucumbers.

In the greenhouse, the purple tomatillos and peppers looked awesome. The tomatoes were also promising.

By July, aphids had taken over the greenhouse. Millions of tiny bugs consumed our tomatillos and peppers. Disappointed, I pulled the plants out. My petunias, bought and transplanted from the nursery, were riddled with black spots.

We dumped chrysanthemum powder all over everything in an effort to organically stem the invasion. Ladybugs would have been a reasonable solution but it turns out that the chrysanthemum powder also kills ladybugs.

The cucumbers didn’t survive in the garden. The tomatoes flourished in spite of the aphids. Onions and potatoes were our most successful crop. Next year we’ll make some changes and try again.

Seeds grow in their own time and under their own right conditions

And just like seeds, a business will only grow under the right conditions specific to that business.

When I launched my business a little over a year ago I didn’t really know what I was doing but I was willing to try anyway.

It’s taken a year to even begin to figure out how to define what it is I do and who my target audience might be.

The directions on seed packets leave out a lot of information. So do all the PDFs and blog posts on marketing.

What grows in your garden might not grow in mine. We all live at different altitudes and in different climates.

Authenticity Takes Time

Shortly after launching my business, I developed a material product with a friend. We tried to put it all together within a month’s time. It was a really good idea but in no way, shape or form were we ready to produce a tangible product and market it.

The aphids ate it! It was spotty and brown and ultimately we transformed it into a simple PDF on self-care.

Building an authentic voice in business takes time. Learning the ropes is like learning how to manage a greenhouse. Expecting fantastic instantaneous results is unrealistic. Seeds take time to grow and sometimes the conditions aren’t quite right.

Most of us are familiar with Aesop’s tale about the tortoise and the hare. The moral of the story is slow and steady wins the race.

Hares compete to become #1. They run, rush, dash, spring, bolt, hurry and hustle. This kind of race dominates our fast-paced society and a lot of marketing promotes it.

On the other hand, constant or monotonous perseverance doesn’t have quite the same glitter, does it?

Plodding, clumping or trudging like a tortoise is much less glamorous. Waiting for a plant to produce fruit is slow, but when you get it right, the results are delicious!

What are your goals? How do you define success? Our answers will be as varied as the seed packets on display at the garden center.

No matter what, though, the plants will need the right conditions and a certain amount of time to grow, just like our businesses.

Remember: Whether you race to succeed or not, your goals will take time to achieve.

Loran is a spiritual coach on the spiral journey of life.  Her business, Loran’s Heart, is filled with journaling prompts, nature photographs, and inspirational products for imaginative women who want to dive deeper into creating a more meaningful life. Having suffered through a large portion of her own life, she is now older, wiser and motivated to reduce the suffering of others.  She enjoys painting rainbow trees and creating an otherwise enchanted existence.

The Slow Marketing Movement: How We Do This

Last night, I finished an important chapter in a book called, “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business.”

The chapter in question focused on how movements begin — and why some flourish successfully while others die an uneventful death.

It used the Montgomery Bus Boycott as a case study in what elements need to exist in order for massive change to happen.

Did you know that Rosa Parks wasn’t the first African American to get arrested for refusing to give up her seat?

That’s right. Scores of others before her had taken a stand against the unfairness of segregation on public transportation and been locked up just like her.

But Rosa was different. She was well-respected and well-connected across a wide array of social networks in her community — both white and black. And she was friends with an attorney who’d been looking for a way to challenge the local segregation laws.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was new on the scene as well. And what you might not know is that he really didn’t want to get involved with the boycott. At least, not initially. His decision to participate was really a matter of influence — the kind you find with folks who have some to wield.

The timing was right. The people were there. But it still took many many voices and days to get that law overturned.

And the thing most responsible for its success? According to the author: Peer pressure (the good kind). The kind that helps spread an idea and create positive change. It’s what we might call social influence, or social proof. Kind of like this:

We all have this kind of power.

Will you use yours?

Will you tell your stories and share your experiences?

And will you invite your friends to join us as we move forward?

If you’d like to see a more balanced world of marketing, then here’s my call to you: Get involved. Share your voice. Tell the world what you want to create and how you want to create it.

It’s time we used our marketing powers for good instead of evil!

photo credit: contemplative imaging via photopin cc