I consider authenticity one of the highest values in my business and in my life. Ever since I was a small child, I told it like it was, even if it meant getting punched by my older brothers (who were always trying to control me!) “You’re not the big boss of me!” was my favorite saying, and I said it often.
When I got older, I spoke truth to authority. I may have even been known as a ‘bitch’ to some. Surely a rebel to others. Maybe just a weirdo to yet others. And simply, “ex-employee,” to my bosses!
Yet later I became a bonafide revolutionary activist and journalist, interviewing revolutionaries from freedom movements all over the world. I developed some original theories around sexuality and revolution there were unpopular even among my own group. I was very ‘out there.’
So when did I decide to keep quiet?
I think it was around the time I started my own business. That was when … just a little bit here and there, I let fears about my potential clients being turned off come in and start controlling my actions. I became less of a rebel.
I didn’t discuss my beliefs and fears about politics or the state of the world. And it’s not like the world was getting any better. There was a lot I was trying to ignore for fear or turning off my following. Maybe for fear that I couldn’t do anything about it. And for fear that someone would decide not to hire me if they knew my political beliefs. When I was just scraping by, that was a HUGE concern for me.
One of my clients quoted me the other day, something I didn’t remember writing. “Sometimes it’s been so long that we’ve had certain desires, we decide it’s less painful to repress them than to continue to hope they can come true.” My desire to contribute to the creation of a totally new, totally human, socially just, earth-honoring society was suffering in silence.
Sort of. At home and with my friends, I was still a revolutionary visionary and obnoxious debater when challenged. Even with my clients, it would turn out we were totally aligned (like attracts like) and I was free to discuss these topics.
It was just that in my marketing was, as my friend Suzanne Falter put it, “milk toast in comparison to what you really believe.”
So I’ve been slowly coming out of the closet over the last three years. I titled my book “Branding from the Heart: How to Share Your Purpose through Marketing that Attracts Your Tribe and Inspires a Revolution,” and I began featuring photos from my revolutionary activist days in my webinars. I began to own who I really and and why I’m here on the planet.
So the other day I was working on the slide show for my free webinar “Attracting Your Soul Tribe Online.” I was following a thread of “Why are you here, on this planet, at this time? Isn’t it time to really share your purpose with the world?”
[You can get the replay to that webinar HERE BTW]
I thought of what’s going on in the world right now, and how much I want to do something about it. I thought I could share a photo of something that’s going on, something I care about, to help folks get in touch with why we’re really here.
I found this photo of the Syrian refugees and I brought it up on my screen to contemplate it.
I thought of these people who have lost everything, who have no place to go. And we have so much, we even have our own businesses, and yet we are not really talking about it. How is our being silent helping these people? As I looked into the faces in this photo, I wept.
And I decided this was too intense for a marketing webinar. I was worried that folks would be too upset and leave the call. I was concerned that folks would think I was pulling their heart strings so I could sell them a website. I was afraid that I’d be seen as a manipulative marketer, and that I’d be misunderstood. And most of all, I was embarrassed that I don’t have a solution.
So I didn’t share this picture.
The webinar was still powerful. It’s important to hear that you can be yourself in your marketing and attract soul-aligned folks from around the world. Just that is enough to change someone’s life for the better. And that’s good.
The question is, at what cost did I not share this photo? Rather than hope beyond reason that I could have an impact, I chose to repress it. The main reason I’m sharing it with you now is because my revolutionary coach said, “you have to tell it like it is. Follow your gut and say, ‘this is what I stand for.’ “
And I realized she was right. I thought I was protecting you, my peeps, from this horrifying truth that we don’t have a solution for. But really I just was hiding out.
Where are you hiding out? And why are you doing it? What do you care about that you haven’t been sharing?
I truly believe we must begin integrating our beliefs and what we stand for in our marketing, even if we are afraid to turn off potential clients. Or we’re worried about being too pushy. Or we’re uncertain of the solution. The first step to real change is to speak out.
Are you with me?
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