“Our most important decisions are discovered, not made.”
– Anne Wilson Schaef
Not too long ago I saw duct-tape marketing guru John Jantsch speak at the Social Media Club of Dallas. I really do admire these entrepreneurial guys in the social media marketing space who have managed to morph their marketing savvy and strategy into an actual, lucrative businesses. Chris Brogan wrote something recently in his blog about a tangible tool called “booth tag” by Bill Finn —sort of a social media commodity that impressed him as a proof-of-concept for trade show interaction.
“Marketers are service providers. They make
things that stop the moment they stop (normally).
Yes, they make ads or whatever, but those
are in service of other people.”
Brogan is right on target here. Monetizing services is tough. It’s really only sustainable if the service in question enjoys a very high perceived value, and the gigs keep coming. Attorneys and doctors have managed to ratchet up the hourly rates historically, but even they are feeling the pinch of the limping economy. I have come to believe that so much of business and even success, in general—is directly related to “discovering”—a precise brand of enlightenment that allows one to see when and how to leverage an idea, product, relationship, or service into a broader application. It’s a canny awareness that positions you at the right place and right time with the right preparation. It may even be unconscious. Theologian Frederick Buechner talks about this on a much deeper and spiritual level. “Listen to your life,” he counsels. “See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. For in the end, all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”
We all tend to go through our moments, our days, or months, and our years—and sometimes, even our lives on auto-pilot—numb to who we are and disengaged from our own realities. We become so caught up in “doing” that we often stop “being.” Only when something major, even cataclysmic, occurs that rattles us to the very core do we start to examine our raw, vulnerable, exposed souls in the harsh light of the storm’s aftermath or in the ongoing tumultuous sea of stress and upheaval. Then, we may ask, “Who am I?” “What am I here to learn?” “How is this series of events informing my journey?” More important, “What the heck should I do now?” “How can I make the money I need to support my family and still care for critically ill parents?” These are all understandable questions, but it’s frightening to feel so uneasy in your own skin at such a seasoned age—when you are supposed to have it all figured out. What’s that schmaltzy song about clowns—“Isn’t it queer? Losing my timing this late in my career. . .”
Socrates said, “Beware the bareness of a busy life.” How timeless is that? How apropos for 2010. And how easy it is for feelings extreme loneliness to engulf us in the waves of hubbub and chaos—even with so many well-meaning people around. There always seems to be so much to juggle, so darn much that demands our attention—especially as a single mother of two teenage boys (one college-bound, I hope); a herder of a dog and two cats; a niece of an 86-year old infirm aunt, who is all alone; an ex-wife, still engaged in an awkward tango—and the daughter of two recently incapacitated parents. The sandwich generation, a double-decker, and I’d definitely say I’m in a bit of a real pickle.
Back to the paying attention part . . . Just where do we start? How should we be? How have you handled the most difficult transitions and challenges in your personal or business life—as individuals, as family members, and as communities? How did you get through? How can we support each other in these difficult times when the path seems so unclear and the outcomes so murky? Share your thoughts.
Elaine Gantz Wright writes about social media and self-discovery. Contact her at elgantz()yahoo.com.