I've just had an eye-opening conversation with Emotional Mastery Expert and Demartini practitioner, Bruce Conrad Williams, who managed to get me to see something that was hiding away in my blind spot.
The world of publishing is quite transformed these days as so many self-publish rather than waiting for the external stamp of approval of a traditional mainstream publisher. There are obviously pros and cons to this scenario: on the 'pro' side, the barriers to publication are fewer than ever and writers are able to claim the profit from their book sales rather than just a ten percent royalty; on the 'con' side, more and more publishers are opting to not pay for contributions (one publication that used to pay me one and a half times the going rate now pays nothing at all because they are flooded with material) and many traditional publishers are redirecting applicants into their own self-publishing companies (establishments that used to be known as vanity presses, where the writer pays a fee to have their book published). The traditional publisher will watch the author's stats and if the results are good, pick up their work and publish it themselves. No risk to the traditional publisher, all risk to the author… It’s a brave new world.
Another feature of this brave new world is the modern miracle of the ‘make-your-book-a-bestseller’ campaign. This is a marvellous strategy whereby the author creates joint ventures with people who have big email lists who agree to email all their subscribers offering great gifts and bonuses if their subscribers buy the author's book in a particular window of time. The resulting spike in sales causes our happy author to be listed as a bestseller on Amazon, for instance, even if s/he only held that place for a few minutes.
I've always been wary of these arrangements, declaring that I would rather achieve bestseller status naturally, like JK Rowling - authentically, organically, through word-of-mouth recommendation and referral - rather than engineering my success in so calculated a form as a bestseller campaign…
When I mentioned this to Bruce he immediately pointed out that JK's publishing success was a tad more engineered than I was giving her credit for – after all, she had a major publishing company's marketing budget behind her, while I have sweet me and the hubby. (This is a little like our belief in 'natural talent and genius', and our tendency to overlook the hours that are actually invested in mastering a skill – some 10,000 hours to be classed as an expert, apparently, and young Mozart had already studied music for some 3,500 hours by the time he composed his first work that was considered to be a masterpiece. But that's another subject - maybe a future blog.)
At any rate, in the process of putting authenticity and honesty up on a pedestal and shrewd marketing practices down in the pit, I had quite lost sight of the fact that there are times when pretending really serves us – like when we are 'acting as if' while we build the courage and resources to truly 'be' something. (This was the case for me when I sold my first corporate training. I spontaneously rang a very large, international company in response to their old-fashoined, non-user-friendly literature, and claimed that I could help them bring their material into the modern age. I was amazed when they agreed to meet with me, and headed into their city office in my power clothes, quaking in my shoes… The meeting resulted in a training, which was a great success and I was invited back. So my efforts to market myself as the expert I didn't actually feel I was, was actually the growth step I needed to take, and it served all parties.)
But the real clanger of an insight for me was when I realised that engineering one's success is another way of taking responsibility for achieving one's goals and dreams, which just happens to be what The Mastery Club books and programs are all about.
This ‘engineering’ is another form of visualisation, you could say, rather than waiting passively for one's success to fall into one's lap. So all this time I had been taking the moral high ground that I was 'above' such calculating strategies, and simultaneously shooting myself in the foot as I clung to my fantasy about genuine, authentic, 'deserve it' success…
We deserve our success when we are resourceful and take conscious, deliberate actions to create it!!!
That insight effectively pulled back the curtain on my blind spot, and suddenly all the times that I had already 'engineered' my success tumbled into my awareness:
Where I've 'engineered my success':
- crying as a baby (to get attention/needs met - it worked!);
- studying hard at school (to get good results; I was a straight A student, Dux of Humanities…);
- selling my writing skills corporate training (it worked - I was invited back to train another group);
- managing my family dynamics to achieve certain outcomes (we've gone from falling apart to very close);
- arranging for my husband and son to attend a rite of passage together (they considered it to be transformational and it brought them much closer);
- creating a rite of passage event for my daughters so they would make this transition consciously and appreciate their womanhood (yep);
- submitting The Mastery Club to competitions (it won Bronze in the 2007 Independent Publishers Award, Youth Fiction);
- participating in joint ventures (not so effective but I had a go);
- all the marketing material I've created to put my best foot forwards in business (you tell me!);
- all the time spent preparing for talks, workshops, developing my Mastery Club programs (I'm often described as one of the best speakers the group has experienced, my programs are expanding around the world…);
- maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle (people often comment on how young I look);
- controlling the food in the pantry at home so the whole family eats well! (they're all pretty healthy and share this value);
- honesty and self-disclosure in relationships (when I do, I experience greater depth and fulfilment);
- visualising and affirming my goals and dreams (achieving many of them, and many more in process…).
I'm very grateful for this insight. Watch this space as I get up to some real marketing villainry!
And thanks again to Bruce.