Not Exactly Business as Usual
C.J. Hayden, MCC
In the wake of the Sept. 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, I hear a
lot of question marks in the air. My clients, students, people from around the world who correspond
with me, and my professional colleagues are asking many things, of themselves and others.
"How can I help?" is one common question.
"What will this economic downturn mean for my
business?" is another. I also hear people asking,
"Is what I am doing really meaningful? After
all, if I don't know that I'll be alive tomorrow, is this work where I truly want
so many of my waking hours to be
It all adds up to a time of doubt, rethinking,
even total confusion
about where you are headed and what to do next. For me, what uncertain times
require is the assurance that only comes from being firmly grounded in your personal values and a sense of purpose.
What does that have to do with marketing your business, you might ask? I think it
to do with it.
If you want to sell someone else on something,
you had better
believe in it 100%. If you're having doubts; if you're no longer sure that
the business you are in is the right one to be in, how can you possibly be sincere in your marketing?
We've all been sold to by an inauthentic
salesperson -- and hated the experience. As an independent consultant or professional, what you are
selling is you. You HAVE to believe in yourself or no one else will. If you find yourself now in a place of
questioning, perhaps it's the time to better align what you do for a living with what
you want to do
for a life.
So many people have told me lately that they
want to be of service
in some way. I don't think there is any more
powerful way to be of service than
to earn one's living at it. Why? Because it's where your vocation meets your avocation, your labor intersects
with your values, and the purpose of your day joins with your purpose for being alive.
This is the concept of right livelihood,
well known to Buddhist
teachers and modern writers such as Marsha Sinetar, who describes it as work "consciously
chosen." She also assures us that it doesn't have to mean vows of poverty.
Here's what I know. My own work is consciously
chosen to honor
some of my highest values: being of service, creative expression, human connection,
and independence. Until I found this work almost ten years ago, I wandered from one career and business enterprise
to the next, with minimal success at any of
them. Marketing was always a struggle. I was afraid to do it and procrastinated to avoid it.
When everything turned around for me was
the moment I declared
I would start a business that honored my values. As soon as I did this, marketing
became effortless, and more than that, overwhelmingly successful. I could speak authentically about my belief
in what I was doing, and people I had never met suddenly believed in me.
Some of you reading this are working in a
business you don't believe in. My prescription for you is simple: get out,
and find something
else. You want a competitive edge in a tight
marketplace? Finding and following
your right livelihood will give it to you. (I'm speaking from experience -- we were sliding into a recession
back when I redirected my career path, too.)
For my other readers who believe they truly
are on the path of right livelihood already, I gently invite you to look again. What action have
you not taken, what territory haven't you entered simply because of fear? Please notice that the
fear is still there whether you take action or not. If you have to be afraid anyway, wouldn't it be
better to be moving in the right direction?
Copyright © 2001 C.J. Hayden
This article first appeared
in the Get Clients Now! E-Letter, Oct. 2001.
You may reprint this article in its entirety, as long as the copyright notice
and the following source information appears:
C.J. Hayden is the best-selling author of Get Clients Now! and Get Hired Now! and a
frequent speaker on topics of right livelihood, service to others, and social entrepreneurship.
Read C.J.'s blog at www.howtobecomeahero.com.