Almost everything we are exposed to in our daily lives (at least in the western world), is engineered to keep us consuming. From YouTube and Netflix binges to loyalty programs and addictive fast foods. It becomes very easy to slip into a consumer coma. It is also one of the most dangerous things you can do.
Earlier this year, I started “urban sketching”. Going out for a stroll in interesting neighbourhoods, and sitting down to draw and paint whatever captures my attention. It only takes about 15 minutes to finish a sketch — and in that time, there is nothing else. I’m able to be fully present, notice small details and movements, and completely let go of any anxieties and worries I may have.
I come back from my sketch-walks rejuvenated, often with new content and business ideas. It’s like having a happiness stimulus package delivered right into the brain — elevating mood, reducing stress and boosting creativity (without the political consequences :).
I’ve been a terrible marketer.
One of the most important elements of building a platform, and creating deep relationships with your community is to create valuable content. Consistently.
Well, I’ve been slacking. I haven’t posted a new article for over 4 months now, and my “publishing anxiety” level finally met my procrastination level.
The problem wasn’t that I had writer’s block, or that I somehow became illiterate since then. The problem was that I didn’t feel confident about my writing, and how that writing would serve my greater purpose.
So, I went back to the cave (newly renovated home office), and dug in. Fuelled by copious amounts of caffeine, lack of sleep and a driving desire to deliver value for my readers and listeners — I came up with a solution. And I’d like share it with you.
Looming deadlines. Never-ending to do lists. Being creative on-demand. Dealing with constant change as well as an overflowing inbox. This is reality for most marketers and entrepreneurs.
It’s also the cause of burnout, fatigue and anxiety. This is why good ideas die before they see the light of day. Our minds are too busy dealing with these stressors, to muster enough power for creative thought and meaningful action.
I don’t talk about it much, but I often battle anxiety, fear and melancholia even after 8 years of running a pretty successful business. Just two weeks ago, we had another bout.
A few months ago, on a Thursday evening, I got a call from a friend. He was part of an organizing committee for a WordPress conference to be held in Calgary that weekend. It turned out one of their morning speakers had to cancel at the last minute and now he was looking for a replacement that would speak on something related to blogging in 2 days time.
And that is how I came to give the most naked and vulnerable talk of my speaking career. In front of about a 100 bloggers, developers and entrepreneurs.
What I’m about to share with you is a powerful exercise. It provides you with clarity in life and business. Some of my e-mail subscribers who were here from the beginning even had their husbands, wives and kids go through it.
This exercise came out of necessity: to clarify who I am, what I stand for and who I work with. I’ve been digging into my brand for over two years now, trying to make it clearer to myself and to those considering working with me. Ideally, we would share similar beliefs and values.
I work in marketing, and sometimes… I’m ashamed of our industry. If you were to judge the marketing field by the articles and books being produced, consumed and promoted these days you’d think we’re all parasitic wastes of skin.
From oversimplified, vague and useless content like the “Top 5 ways to increase your followers” and “3 things you didn’t know about Kim Kardashian’s ass”, to books on using the latest psychology and neuroscience to manipulate customers into buying MORE STUFF – it’s hard to believe marketing hasn’t been outlawed yet.