Sometimes I have a voice in my head that goes, “What is the point? Why bother?” when it comes to self-promotion, and sometimes it even grows to engulf doing anything creative.
I met with my MasterMind group yesterday and we worked on this voice in regards to self-promotion. It says: “What’s the point? Nobody cares what I do anyway. There’s all kinds of other stuff out there and a lot of it is better than mine. Blah.”
I could identify that there is some kind of fear there—fear of disappointing people, fear of being judged or disliked. But I wasn’t getting very far focusing on the fear.
The Suggestion: Work with the voice. Ask, What IS the point?
When I tried that, I got something completely different:
The point of me talking about What I Do (or Doing it in the first place) is to remind people that they are not alone. That there are many people out there working on their “stuff” and trying to live a more conscious life, and trying to build a successful business too. That there is help and support available if we let ourselves ask for it (and give it to ourselves). Especially I want to reach people who might feel like they are weird or don’t belong or are too ______. I want people to feel OK about wherever they are in their life and empowered to make choices that work for them. It’s OK. We’re all just muddling along figuring things out. I’m not a guru and I don’t want to be. I’m just another person saying “Hey, this is do-able. You’re OK. Let’s play with it. Try this.”
Writing this changed my whole perspective on self-promotion. Suddenly it’s not about ME and whether people like ME and follow ME and think I’M the best thing since sliced bread and ohmygosh what if one day they DON’T like me—ugh.
Instead, it’s about what I want to give people: a sense of confidence in themselves and their own abilities and choices. Tools and resources that might help. Permission to experiment and find their own way. A reminder that underneath the fear and confusion is a pure, clean stream of wisdom and clarity that we can access and is always there waiting for us when we are ready to turn inwards and find it.
Re-orienting to what I want to give feels so much better. More grounded, more clear, and more free to create and give and share.
Lesson #1: Critical voices are wise owls disguised as rats.
That voice asking, “What’s the point?” was really trying to get me to see that I was missing the point.
By thinking of self-promotion as …well, as self-promotion, I was missing that it’s about something much deeper. The heart wants to give. Self-promotion is about tapping into that desire to give and sharing from that place. It’s not about getting people to like me—it’s about getting people to like themselves. That’s what I want to give.
Thank you voice…(and thank you friends for reminding me to hang out with it).
Lesson #2: Promotion, and marketing, is best done from a connected place.
When I start feeling like I’m just tweeting to get retweets, or blogging for comments, or that I’m creating in a void and shouting into the wind—I need to reconnect with what I want to give. Not what I want to get from my promotion efforts, but what I want to see others get. Then I’m out of my head and back into the stream of living, of giving, of loving.
This is a new section I’m adding, inspired by my brilliant friend Larisa.
I want to encourage more comments. It gets lonely in cyberspace, and I’d love to hear from you.
Do you have a “what’s the point” voice? Or maybe it says, “I don’t care anyway”, or “It doesn’t matter”, or “Why bother”. Maybe it’s just a sense of apathy or anxiety that creeps up.
What helps you remember that there is a point, that you do care, and that it does matter…what helps you reconnect?
In all the buzz and hoopla and the jungle of strategies for marketing and promotion, how do you stay connected to your desire to give?
Provocative post, Emma. I always appreciate the depth of your articles. I think I could write a book in response to your questions. I’ll try to keep my reply sweet and succinct. 🙂
I’ve struggled with this voice over the years and despite my best efforts to ignore it, stifle it with happy thoughts, or talk back to it as rudely as it talks to me, it continues to exist. And here’s the reason why I think we need to accept the fact that this voice is sticking around for good…we all want to be validated and we want to be understood. We want to know we matter and we want to know we’ve been heard. Even when we’re coming from a place of givingness and goodness, we still desire to know someone cares about what we’re doing and saying.
And so we hope and hunger for communication from others which reassures us we matter and make a difference. It’s the nature of the beast; the beast being our ego, but I also believe the voice is an important part of our humanness…we want to relate to and connect with people in honest and meaningful ways. (Notice your request for comments at the end of your article? It really is a natural thing.)
Case in point…I just sent out my newsletter yesterday after not writing one for months. I was pleased with its content and as I pushed the send button, I looked forward to hearing back from some folks. So far, I’ve received six emails. Three were automated responses saying “out of office” and three were from “live” people, one being my sister. I’ll admit I’m disappointed in my “return rate”. I’ll admit I want more. The voice is speaking loudly this morning. Once again, I find myself acknowledging it and just allowing it to be there.
What provides me comfort and confidence is sitting with this question…Would I still do what I do regardless if people liked me or not? Regardless if I never received feedback and support from others? The answer is, without-a-doubt, YES!. I would continue to write. I would continue to dance. I would continue to speak my mind, share my heart, invite others in, and give my time and talents to the world because damnit…to offer up any less is just not playing my life full out.
What helps me remember there’s a point, that I do care, and that it does matter…what helps me reconnect? I keep on doing what I do. And this morning I take the time to write a really long comment on a blog of a friend who matters to me.
Mary Joy says
Hello Emma ~
I went to sleep last night feeling out of sorts and confused about what I was doing
by starting a new business and going back to Graduate school when so many of my collegues are getting ready to retire. I felt like I was following an inner sentient sense but was also having worries and fears. I asked for some guidance and support to help me get back my center.
In my life, I try to follow the Tao and I awoke to find your post in my mailbox. Yes I would call that a sign, perhaps even one with a sense of humor.
Thank you for reminding me why I am doing this all and for helping me to also find alignment with my core values.
THIS –> “That voice asking, “What’s the point?” was really trying to get me to see that I was missing the point. ”
Makes me wonder just what tidbits of wisdom my what’s-the-point voice has to offer. I’m really grateful you took the time to listen to *your* what’s-the-point voice and share it here.
Thanks, Emma. 🙂
Lindsey B says
I also struggle with the “what’s the point” voice, it also says “everyone is doing this, already, do something else”
What’s funny is I notice it’s always there, it was there in my last job, while I wished I was doing this. Now I am doing this, the voice has followed me. So, I think I know that whatever I am doing there is a big what’s the point component. I am so good at persuading others that they have something valuable to give, not so much persuading myself of that. Your reframing works well. Concentrating on what you want to give I think will help a lot. I sent this quote from Martha Graham to a friend once
“There is a life force – that is translated through you into action. Because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost to the world forever.”
I think I need to email it to myself. Regularly.
Emily Dickinson says
When our neighbor’s kitty Chuck came in after a scuffle with an apparently larger animal, and he was bruised and banged up and dirty, cleaning the muck off of his fur really connected me to the joy of giving. So, in a way, giving connects me with my ability and love of giving itself. To know I was alleviating Chuck’s pain or discomfort one iota was very gratifying, because I love Chuck.
Matt R says
I’ve been asking myself what the point is of my blog. I’ve been lost the past couple of weeks until I figured out my vision. And it helped me when I knew of “Instead, it’s about what I want to give people” It really is how I want to benefit others.
So I made a vision to help myself AND others. Eliminate fear -> Opportunities Arise -> Make a difference to the world ->Eliminates more fear/doubt, good feedback loop.
This is just the post I needed because I’ve been thinking what is the point? And it’s to stop thinking about the fear. Write that vision anyways! Laugh the fear off if you need to.
Thanks for this awesome post.
Thanks for the great comments everyone!
@Lisa – I agree, getting feedback really helps. Without my MasterMind group I would be one lonely business owner. I’ve always struggled with blogs as a format for getting feedback, since it’s not as guaranteed as a group I sit down with in person where we all get a turn. I think having that regular source of connection around my business has helped me relax around the blog providing that mirror–and now I’m finding myself more open to building community here without that edge of desperation. That is, I’ve found some sure-fire ways of getting feedback, which lessened the expectations I put on the blog, which, after awhile, gave me a new relationship with comments and feedback.
@Mary Joy – glad I could be a reminder for you. That’s my highest goal, really. We all know we are brilliant, we just forget again…and agian.
@Larisa – yes! Thanks for helping me get there. =)
@Lidnsey – Great quote. And yeah, the voice follows us around, until we listen I suppose.
@Emily – Yes. My kitty has taught me a lot about how simple human needs can be.
@Matt – You’re welcome. =) Love the “good feedback loop” concept – it’s so essential to create that kind of structure to move forward. It’s like creating positive inertia/momentum instead of negative. I think it’s a really powerful idea. Awesome!
Tiziana Bezzi Tai says
when I think that in that moment people is not interested in what I do I focus immediatly on why I do what I do. Give me an answer helps me to ground and to be more concentrated, even if the world around seems like it is not taking care at all of what I’m doing. I’ve been working in “Wellness”, “Dance” “Beauty” since many years ago, trying to share something good with others. This is not possible if a person doesn’t want to do some steps in that way. You can explain what is wrong about food, for example, about being lazy regarding your fisical discipline, but….if there is no will, no step in the way of better living. So I try to listen more deeply and somewhere, inside me, there is another voice, besides all the other voices. This voice says: FLOW. Just flow and be besides all old thoughts. Go on believing that giving something of you to people who really need is the best thing you can do in your life. Happiness has no answer to the question: ” How much?”. Thank you for giving a moment of reflection.