By Robert Middleton – Action Plan Marketing
Many people wonder why marketing themselves is such a struggle. They experience marketing as hard and unpleasant. Is that simply the nature of self-marketing? Or can it be easier and more fun?
I've said many times that the essence of marketing is communication – the simple but powerful act of sharing ideas and possibilities with others. Whether you're writing articles, emails or web copy or talking to people in presentations or one-on-ones, there's one thing that is always true:
Effective marketing communication happens in the NOW.
That may seem obvious, but look to see where your thoughts and attention are when communicating. Most of us are everywhere else but in the NOW.
Instead, we are in the past or in the future.
We're in the past when we're thinking about how hard it is to write or communicate effectively. All our thoughts and feelings of not being good enough – or not being as good as others – tends to emerge. We may feel inadequate, believe we're not good communicators, or think we are not appreciated or accepted.
We're in the future when we're thinking ahead of ourselves and imagining the results of our communication before we've even started. We may think we'll be misunderstood, rejected, or ridiculed. But no matter what we're thinking about, were are not in the NOW.
When we are in the past or future we lose access to our natural intelligence and abilities. The dream-like images and thoughts of past and future floating about in our minds are like static, obscuring clear thinking and present-moment awareness.
There is no flow; there is only a sense of resistance.
When you are in the NOW, things are different, very different.
My experience of communicating (writing and speaking) in the now is that I simply let the words come without effort. I don't judge whether they are right or wrong, let alone perfect. When writing, I know I can always go back and edit and fine-tune later. When speaking, I know I can just talk like I do when having a conversation with a friend.
When I'm in the NOW, my marketing voice is authentic, clear and simple.
Now this doesn't mean I don't prepare or think ahead about what I'm going to say. But I don't force that preparation. The only way to prepare is in the NOW as well. Before starting to write this I was reading in bed. I got up, and the idea for this article popped into my head. So I just let the ideas run and see where they took me.
Half an hour later I was at my keyboard and finished the first draft an hour later.
If communicating in the NOW is so effective and powerful, why are we so bad at it? Why do we seem to be so stuck in the past or the future? It's pretty obvious, isn't it? It's the conditioning of past experiences that have become habitual. This kind of thinking has worn a groove in the mind that's hard to escape.
The only way to market ourselves in the NOW is by practicing being in the NOW. Here's a very simple but powerful exercise that can get you there.
First of all, don't try to be in the now all the time. It's impossible. Relax, you can do this a few seconds or a minute at a time throughout the day. Like exercise, the results tend to be accumulative.
1. Right now (as you're reading this) notice that you are already in the NOW. There is no past and future, only the present moment. You are reading this in the present moment and you are thinking in the present moment.
Just let this sink in slowly. There's nothing to figure out. You are in the present moment right now.
2. Now notice what you are seeing, hearing and sensing right in this moment. Your computer screen, your desk, the window and the chair you're sitting on are all here right now. The background sounds are also all here right now. And the sensation of your back against the chair, your feet on the floor and any other body sensations are here and now.
Let yourself be simply aware of what is happening right NOW.
3. Don't' try to get anywhere or achieve any kind of state. In the now, notice the state you are in. You may be feeling anxious or happy, frustrated or calm. And all of these are noticed in the NOW.
Don't try to change anything or get anywhere. This is IT, right NOW!
You might call this simple exercise "Aware-Here-Now." You don't even need to schedule a time to do this. You can just let it happen.
When you notice that you are not in the now, when your mind is racing, or you're struggling, if you're judging or anything else that puts you in the past or future, stop for just a moment and practice Aware-Here-Now. Again, just for a few seconds or a minute.
Will this improve your marketing? Well, improved marketing comes from understanding certain principles and practicing them over time, just like anything else. But if you get more adept at being in the NOW, all of that becomes much easier. You'll get stuck less often; you'll enjoy marketing more.
Imagine sitting down to write something and it's not so agonizing anymore because you are able to be NOW in the moment. Imagine other marketing activities that you usually resist or avoid and, instead, you jump in with a sense of adventure and openness, simply because you're not caught in past fears and future uncertainties.
Now, before you go on to do anything else today, just take a moment to be Aware-Here-Now.