No Escape

 

 

Sometimes there is simply no escape.

We sit facing our demons, our fears and our obstacles. We stare into the abyss too long and let ourselves sink too deeply into stagnation. We feel we’re not good enough, smart enough, qualified enough. We feel we’ve nothing to give, create or say that’s worth giving, creating or saying.

 

There is no escaping these things. There exist no back roads or side streets you can take to avoid these things.

Instead of trying to escape…

Quietly acknowledge these things. Sit with them. Be with them. Give yourself permission to experience the chilling fear and overwhelming uncertainty.

Accept that the parts of you which generate these things only want to keep you safe. These things are not to be fought against or struggled with. They are not evil nor are they out to get you. They are merely our precious and childlike egos trying to protect themselves.

What we resist persists.

So stop trying to escape. Stop resisting. Work through these things with the awareness of their intent. With forgiveness and compassion.

Then, once you have achieved a state of acceptance, once you stop trying to find the escape route, once you are at peace with the demons and fears and obstacles…get off your bum and go create what you were meant to create!

After all, no one else but you can create it. And I give you my word, the world desperately needs whatever that is.

 

Friday Round-Up: The Joy of Giving

Lots of talk this week about creating…and giving. We wonder what to create, how to create it and, if we want to sell it, what to charge for it. We worry about how much of ourselves to share with others, and whether we’re giving too much or too little. We want to help those in need, and do so with complete sincerity.

This conversation has been repeating itself in my life this week and as I’m pretty sure I’m not living in a vacuum, I thought you might also benefit from these discussions.

 

Providing Value

Seth Goldmine Godin wrote a blurb on the question of value and his take on how to market in this tough economy. The answer, of course, is how much can you afford to give away? How much value can you pack into one offer? Read more here…

Personally, I don’t think you’ll find a better example of over-delivery and high-value than Remarkablogger’s newest “How to Write an e-Book that Doesn’t Suck.” For less than the cost of a hotel porn video, you’re a fool not to check it out.

Remembering Our Awesome

Lest we forget about giving to ourselves, Rachael Acklin posted an insightful piece on our tendency to undervalue our true worth in comparison with others…and how to knock that silly shit off. Read more here…

Giving Freely

Speaking of giving, the CustomerLove for Japan 72-hour sale launches in just a few days! You are not going to believe the incredible package we’ve put together with a ton of products donated by awesomes such as GoddessLeonie, Tim Brownson, Jonathan Mead and Leela Sinha, just to name a few. Get on the list here…
[message type=”custom”]NOTE: All proceeds, as in everysinglepenny, are going to help the relief efforts in Japan. Direct Relief International, touted by Forbes magazine as being 100% efficient in fundraising for eight consecutive years, will be collecting all payments for the sale. There are no affiliates for this sale. Thanks to everyone for their generous donations![/message]

Authenticity…?

After a fantastic conversation with a very special lady, Peggie Arvidson, I decided to write a post on the word “authentic” and what that means to those of us who are building a personal brand. There seems to be a struggle with how much of ourselves to reveal…and perhaps more importantly, what not to share…in this age of social media and relationship marketing.

But even as I was writing it, Mark Silver published a great post saying precisely what I had intended. Bottom line? I couldn’t have said it any better (and you’ll rarely hear me say that…I really like the way I say things) so go read it here…

OK gang that’s it for this week. Have a kick-ass, balls/ovaries-out weekend and I’ll see you all again on Monday with the Spice Up Your Shite newsletter.

What?? You haven’t signed up yet? Follow that big yellow box at the top of the page!

Top 10 Reasons I Won’t Follow You Back

I try to keep my Twitter account neat and tidy. Twitter is not only an important rung of my marketing ladder, it’s also one of my favorite places to hang out.

A messy stream is something I simply won’t tolerate. Messy sock drawer? Sure. But I like my Twitter stream squeaky clean.

To maintain this without turning into a total snob who never follows anyone back, there are a few steps I take. One of the most important (but admittedly time-consuming) is to do a little reconnaissance before following people back.

10 No Follow-Back Rules

1. No Interaction

This is the first thing I look at. If there are no conversations going on in your history, I’m out.

2. Strange Interaction

Yes, I actually click the conversation bubbles and check to see if you’re TRULY interacting with others or are randomly leaving strange and irrelevant comments…because that’s just creepy.

3. Nothing But RTs

This is a new form of silliness brought on by some advancements in Twitter automation. So if you have your account set to automatically RT everything, I will automatically not follow you back.

4.  Silly Salesy Names

If your Twitter handle is “KickAssBiz” or “EZCashMachine”…fuck off. We have nothing in common and this is never going to develop into anything. Let’s not waste each other’s time.

5. Dumbass DMs

This is my second line of defense. If you send me a dumbass DM the deal’s off.

Here’s an actual unedited example:

[pullquote style=”left”]Following will be benefitial. High value content. Read 30 pages free workbook Understanding Emotions?” [/pullquote]

 

Because I want to learn how to understand my emotions from you?

 

Here’s another one:

[pullquote style=”left”]”Hi, thanks for the follow. I love to connect with you on twitter. Discover The Nine Secrets To Really Achieving Your Goals In Life! http://”[/pullquote]

 

Goddammit! This knucklehead isn’t aware he only has 140 chars and his link got cut off. Now I’m never gonna know the nine secrets…grrrr!!

 

 

[message type=”warning”]Smartass DMs that mock Dumbass DMs are brilliant for starting conversations with new followers but can get you into a bit of trouble.

140 characters are apparently too much for some people to read and often times new followers do not get to the end of my DM to see it’s a joke.

I’ve been yelled at, reported as spam, publicly ostracized…but does that stop me from being a smartass? Hells no. Because the right people get it and that’s all that matters.

Wanna know what my DM says? Follow me on Twitter [/message]

6.  Super Model Avatar

Black, white, Asian or alien…if your avatar looks like a super model I dig no further. I’m more than convinced you are actually a small, greasy salesperson on the other side of that account. You hoped I’d be lured by love and lust…and while I am known to be a Twitter whore…my stream’s worth more to me than just another anorexic-but-pretty face.

7. Eggs

I don’t follow eggs unless I know them personally. For example, there’s a friend who loves birds and kept the egg because it was appropriate. This is a very rare case. The rest of you, get off yer ass and upload an avatar.

8. Nothing But Links

This goes back to number one, really…if there’s no evidence you’re human I want nothing to do with you. Spewing out nothing but automated links is a waste of everyone’s time…not the least of which your own.

9. Miserable Sods

Once I do start following someone, if I notice they have nothing to spread but misery I unfollow. It takes so little effort to be pleasant and upbeat on Twitter…I’ve done it with a raging hang-over after a night of bickering and bag-packing…so you can do it too, at least every once in awhile.

10. You Smell Funny

I’m sorry, but I’m very heavily affected by the sense of smell. So if your feet stink or you don’t wipe properly or you haven’t bathed in a week I really can’t have you in my stream. Take care of yourself and get back to me when the “coast is clear” as they say.

 

Are You a Transpersonal Undoing Agent, Too?

Aha is a spiritual guru who classifies himself as a “transpersonal undoing agent” which doesn’t make much sense until you listen to his message.

[message type=”custom” width=”50%” align=”center” start_color=”#fffff7″ end_color=”#d7acd0″ border=”#d7acd0″ color=”#832674″]I was turned onto him while watching a documentary, The Nature of Existence.

I’m a whore for documentaries of every kind on any subject. So if you know any great ones feel free to suggest!

Back to Aha…[/message]

He is a massive man, literally. He has such huge man boobs and such a soft voice, I thought at first he was a bearded lady. He’s also quite beautiful. He says, with arms spread wide, the meaning of life is “to be radiant as fuck.” I ask you…what’s not to love about this guy??

When asked about destiny this was his reply:

“In all cases, whatever direction you go, whether you end up swept away by fate or recognized as some great hero of destiny…you’re gonna be fuckin’ forgotten. And to know you’re going to be forgotten…and to do it anyway…is the definition of courage.”

Courage

 

Courage, from the Old French word corage meaning “heart, innermost feelings” and replaced the Old English word ellen meaning “zeal, strength.” It is one of those gummilicious words with an allegorical meaning, inner strength, born from its evolution. The word itself becomes poetic.

Time and trade have transformed this word into so much more than its meager beginnings. In Middle English (c.1100 – c.1500) courage was used more broadly for “what is in one’s mind or thoughts.” These thoughts could be of bravery, but also pride, confidence, envy and lust.

A quick glance at modern quotes on the word courage shows the vast differences in interpretation from one person to the next.

For many of us, courage is what we seek. It’s why we meditate and/or communicate with our internal selves. It’s why we seek out coaches and therapists and mentors.

Courage gets all bound up in the depths of our egoic minds, twisted and ensnared by all our insecurities. And yet it’s the only thing that can really free us.

Aha’s assertion implies that courage requires action rather than search. That courage is not going to magically arise and dispel all our fears and roadblocks. These things will always be there.

That courage is in doing it anyway.

 

What small but courageous step towards your destiny can you take today?

More Aha:

Friday Round-up: A Day Late and a Dollar Short

Sorry guise, I got way behind this week and am posting the Friday Round-up a day late. But it’s been GOOD things keeping me busy and I’m bursting to tell you all about them!

Japan’s Troubles Continue to Unfold –

How We Can Help

CustomerLove for Japan

CustomerLove for Japan formed like magic before my eyes a few days ago and we are planning one kick-ass 72-hour sale-of-the-century (or year, sale-of-the-year is probably more like it.) Don’t miss out on this chance to pick up some amazing products AND help our brothers and sisters in Japan. All proceeds will be donated to support relief efforts there. Read more here…

Cranes for Japan

Laura Espinosa has set up a site where for a small donation ($5 minimum) you can purchase one of her folded-paper cranes. Proceeds go to relief efforts in Japan. (Bonus: You can buy an Impact Factor crane AND all cranes come with a custom message from you)  Her goal is to complete 1,000 cranes. Go buy one now…

Radiation Anxiety

The very sweet and always pink Dr. Lissa Rankin posted an interesting article that might help us stay calm during this difficult (and scary) time. Read her post here…

On a Lighter Note…Roleplaying (no not the kinky kind)

I came across two posts this week related to roleplaying and the things we can learn from it. As a former player myself, I not only ate these articles up, I had to post them here for you to nom on too.

Getting Inside Their Heads

Remarkablogger’s piece on how character development skills can be used to get into the minds of our perfect people is packed with priceless advice. (Did you just see that alliteration win? Sometimes I even impress myself.) Read his post…

Roleplay & Inspiration

The amazingly talented and smexy writer, Jackie Holt discusses how roleplaying enriched her writing skills. Plus you get to see a pic of her HELLAHAWT avatar. Gawk here…

 

Can’t Means Won’t

 

Me not letting them tell me I couldn't cook.

It’s sunny outside. A perfect spring day. This is a long-awaited treat and I’m finding it particularly difficult to stay focused. I feel distracted. I don’t want to write or work or even think anymore today…I can’t says the whiney voice in my head.

Then, just as quickly, I hear the familiar nun’s sing-song voice from grade school chirping:

“Can’t means won’t!”

She brainwashed me. All of us, probably. She repeated that phrase each and every time she heard the word “can’t” and in a classroom full of ten year olds who hate math, that’s a LOT OF TIMES.

Can’t means won’t has become so engrained in my psyche, to this day I still find the word “can’t” stuck in my throat.

And as I sit here, lusting after the spring air and putting off that which needs doing (and hearing voices in my head), I have to take a moment to appreciate what a wonderful thing that nun did for me.

Never again did I accept that I couldn’t do something. There were a whole helluva lot of things I wouldn’t do…but not anything I couldn’t.

In looking back, the times in my life when I’ve really risen to my full potential were those times when someone told me I couldn’t accomplish something.

Have you any can’ts running amuck in your brain, limiting your possibilities?

You can’t be a success.

You can’t handle this crisis.

You can’t stand out from the crowd.

You can’t make a difference in this world.

Or will you?

 

 

 

 

Is This You? …or is This a Cop Out?

I’ve been seeing so many of these pages lately: Is This You? But I have yet to land on one that says:

Is your name Jenny?

Do you live in Detroit and miss your kids?

Do you enjoy watching old X-files episodes?

 

‘Cause then I’d be impressed. Then I’d probably buy every motherluvin’ thing that site was selling.

Instead what I find is a bunch of questions or bullet points I’m supposed to use to determine whether I’m a good fit for the site and services offered there.

Huh?

Why you tryin’ to box me in, man? What’s with this pre-qualifying myself bit? Because I’m not sure if anyone’s clued you in on this yet…but I got to your site because of something YOU did to draw me there.

Maybe you optimized for the keywords I’d be likely to search for. Maybe you tweeted an awesome title I couldn’t resist clicking. Maybe you guest posted on my favorite blog. Who knows? But whatever it was, ultimately…YOU did it

If you have to ask a new visitor if your site is where they’re supposed to be, there’s a deeper problem at the core of your marketing.

So now it’s my turn:

Is this you?

[custom_list style=”list-4″]

  • Have you figured out who your perfect people are precisely?
  • Do you write everything you write only to those people?
  • Are you asking them what they need? What they want?
  • Does your content provide solutions to those needs and wants? Do your products and services?

[/custom_list]

If the answer to any of these is ‘no’ then you may need to construct an “Is This You?” page in order to clarify your business to your visitors. However, I strongly suggest and encourage you to take the longer route of addressing those deeper issues within your marketing strategy.

Putting up an “Is This You?” page may seem like an easy solution to a difficult problem (effective marketing) but to me it has a faint odor of cop-out.

The temptation is too great, once that page is up, to go back to writing as though we’re journaling. Writing to and for ourselves, leaving only that lonely page and your visitors to do all the work of figuring out if you’re a good match.

My suggestion is to take all the great information you have in your “Is This You?” page and simply inject that into everything you do.

Speak to that one perfect person, the one who’s all “YES! FUCKYES! This is so totally ME!” and they’ll hear you.

Best part? They won’t even need a checklist to know you’re right for them.

A little subtlety, a little finesse…and a lot of YOU…goes a long way in promoting your awesomes and drawing your perfect people to you. (And trust me, it’s not hard…you got this!)

 

 

 

Friday Round-Up: Kickass Conversations and Questionable Online Buzz

[message type=”custom” width=”100%” start_color=”#fffff7″ end_color=”#d7acd0″ border=”#d7acd0″ color=”#832674″]Today’s post could not be published without a moment to acknowledge the shocking tragedy unfolding in Japan right now. Please join me in sending healing light and love to all the families struck by this devastating event.

Donations can be made via RedCross.org and the Save the Children Federation.[/message]

 

 

Magical Conversations

 

This week has been filled with magical conversations for me, so it seemed fitting that “conversation” would serve as this week’s round-up theme.

First, and most exciting for us here at Up Your(s) are two great conversations springing from this very blog and they are dripping with win! Made my week and if you haven’t gone over to check these posts out you should…

Susan wrote The Beauty and Danger of Woo-Woo where she delves deeper into the connotations of the word “woo” and how she and a group of others addressed that from a corporate perspective. Their approach was fascinating.

Michael wrote an inspiring piece Are You the Only One who Does what You Do? where he discusses how to by-pass competition altogether by being the only one who does what you do, the leader of the pack, an interwebs pioneer…you get the gist…go read it now.

To tie up the magical conversation section (rather neatly too, I must say), my friend Claire wrote a great piece on Magic and Possibilities.

Helpful Conversations

I’ve been picking the brains of the smart people in my life with regards to the issue of SEO this week, a lot. I have a (perhaps irrational) distaste for anything SEO but I also know it’s the backbone of any successful site. So…maybe you have questions, too?

Here are two great articles, each written by the same smart chicky, Brankica Underwood:

50 Traffic Sources You Should Milk Like Crazy

SEO 101: The Beginner’s Ultimate Guide for On-page SEO

Questionable Online Buzz

This week’s White House meeting on cyber bullying has left me with a lot of interesting questions. The fact that cyber bullying is a national issue speaks to where we are as a society today and I find that encouraging.

On the other hand, some of the proposed solutions leave a big brothery aftertaste in my mouth. I’m interested to hear what you have to say.

Formspring Takes a Stand Against Bullies – With Help From MIT (Mashable)

SocialShield Fights CyberBullying With New Features (TechCrunch)

 

Right then, see ya next week! And if you haven’t already…don’t forget to sign up for the all the free awesomes: magical spells, potions, a Seer cat, the ebook which has become notorious for causing keyboard spew (so don’t drink while reading)…oh and TONS of marketing advice to help spice up your shite!

 


Strategic Competitor Intelligence…or Come Together, Right Now

Competitors have become a thing of the past and there is a fascinating paradigm shift taking place in marketing today, especially for those of us lucky enough to be marketing online.

It’s no surprise really, when we begin to look at the meanings behind the words. Everything in our universe operates in a cycle, even language.

Since around 1600, the definition of the word compete was derived from the Middle French (M.Fr.) word compéter meaning “be in rivalry with.”

 

This is how most of us are used to thinking of competitors: those with whom we’re involved in a rivalry.

People who need to be spied on. People who can’t be trusted. People who would steal our livelihood out from under us if we don’t keep a VERY close eye on them.

Wankers, basically. Right? People we envy, don’t really want to get to know but feel obligated to pay at least some attention to lest they steal one of our precious ideas. Which may seem to happen all the time, but it’s only because they got there first while you were worrying about what they were going to do next.

Competere: com – “together” + petere – “to strive”

If we look to the earlier 14th century Late Latin (L.L.) root competere I think we begin to get a better picture of who our competitors are today, in this new epoch of online marketing.

To compete, used in this context, means to come together. Strive together. Work together. Seek together.

 

[message type=”custom” width=”50%” align=”center” start_color=”#fffff7″ end_color=”#ffe387″ border=”#d7acd0″ color=”#832674″]…I have to stop for a quick moment to note the word together has just struck me as being so odd…don’t you love when that happens with words? When we pull our awareness to The Familiar it suddenly becomes The Extraordinary. And now, back to your regularly scheduled blog post…[/message]

 

Marketing online today requires an absolute belief in this not-so-new definition of competitor.

Here’s why:

We are all niche marketers at this point. At least anyone reading this post is. And each of us only needs a very small piece of the virtual pie to be able to make a comfortable living.

Let’s say I want to break into a new niche. I do some research and find there are 30 other people out there selling personalized purple g-stings and I decide to go for it.

If each of us 31 personalized purple g-string marketers keep to ourselves, we might sell a few panties but none of us is going to build an audience large enough to really make an impact.

Just ask anyone who tried to break into niche marketing hoping to qualify for Google welfare (a.k.a. AdSense revenue) when it first began. It all felt so very…competitive then.

But if all thirty-one of us got together…if we cross-promoted each other’s sites…if we collaborated on personalized purple g-string product packages…if we formed a personalized purple g-string marketing coalition to raise awareness on why everyone needs a special g-string in their life…well, the sky’d be the limit!

The real beauty in this approach is there’s absolutely no risk.
It’s. All. Win.

While there may be 30 other purple panty selling sites, there’s only one ME selling them. This means that even while we’re dealing with a limited market (people wanting personalized purple g-string panties), I can still focus on the even smaller segment of those people who really like ME. Those who get ME as opposed to the other panty guy.

 

[message type=”custom” width=”50%” align=”center” start_color=”#fffff7″ end_color=”#ffe387″ border=”#d7acd0″ color=”#832674″]Yes, I know. This isn’t the best analogy but I’m not a fucking poet, ok? Plus, I’m on a tight editorial schedule and my boss is a real bitch and so it has to be the purple panties. You get the point.[/message]

 

In short, when we rid ourselves of the old baggage tied to the word competitor, we create the space for unexpected and lucrative new marketing opportunities.

Suddenly we’re allowed to form friendships. We’re able to reach out to those other 30 purple panty people. We may even begin to collaborate and strategize together.

Above all, these friendships will keep us feeling nurtured and energized. They will serve to replenish our spirits, not just our wallets, as we continue together on this journey of world-changing entrepreneurship.

With that small shift in perception we are no longer an island unto ourselves.

We have help.

We have support.

And, goddammit, if you’re one of my friends, we have fun!

 

 

 

 

What’s Wrong With a Little Woo?


I’ve been hearing rumblings lately which I believe are a bit self-deprecating. Things like “I want to take the woo out of [insert topic].” or “How do I not sound too woo-wooey?” Things like that.

So I ask you, what’s wrong with a little woo?

There are intuitive coaches, sound healers and even silly-looking dances designed to bring about spiritual revelations…each experiencing great success online. People, myself included, eat this shit up like it’s chocolate-covered.

Face it, we like woo.

While I do understand not wanting to come off as some new-age hippy-dippy snake-oil-selling gypsy, watering down your message so you can fade into the mainstream is not only bad for business…it’s futile.

If you want to sell me a virtual chakra healing via Skype, you’re wooey. If you’re trying to convince me you can channel my dead dog, you’re wooey too. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want the chance to speak with my lost canine friend or have my chi flow more freely.

When we edit ourselves and our marketing message in the hopes we’ll attract a larger audience we risk losing everything. More often than not, we end up missing our target completely.

Figure out who your perfect people are and speak only to them. Use your message to draw them to you and ignore everyone else. Do not try to convince them you are something you’re not…or aren’t something you are.

Be who you be.

Everything else has been done and said before. You are the only thing that’s unique about your business. Market it. Celebrate it. Believe in it.