Dream logic, marketing and the most unskippablest rule

Startrails over the Autumn foliage
You and I are holding hands and standing on the edge of the universe, watching the stars whoosh by. One of them is made of sponge cake and is spitting tiny crumbs out behind itself as it flies by. A sponge cake meteor.

I turn to you and say I have had a realisation again, and it’s pretty embarassing.

“What is it?” you reply.

So, I think we often create the resources we need for ourselves. Sometimes for our past selves – the thing we wish had existed two years ago – but often we’re creating them for us, as we are right now. Trumpets play the Macarena, off somewhere in the distance.

“And you’re embarassed about that?”

No, I’ve come to accept that. But it becomes a bit odd when I’m relaunching a resource I created nearly a year ago and the process makes me go through the lessons again.

“Dude, you’re the one who talks about spirals all the time.” You move sideways quickly as the floor has become snakes.

Trufax, no denying it. But there’s always this one little voice…

I pull you into a jellybean car and we drive through the stars to a ceramic prison with Delftware bars. Behind the bars a woeful Catherine moans the blues. She says, “How can you teach that when you just did that wrong? You don’t know what you’re talking about, a woah woah woah…”

The me that is holding your hand grins ruefully. She’s wrong, of course. I’m teaching these lessons from a few spirals up. But it’s still embarrassing to realise sometimes that I have to relearn them every damn time.

I present you with a bouquet of bees (non-stingy) and we drive on.

The car breaks down inside a surgical suite and we sit on the anaesthetist’s chair.

You play cat’s cradle and ask, “So, are you going to share this lesson?”

Yes. Absolutely yes. I drag in a chalkboard and begin to write in yellow chalk. So this is my model for marketing:

1. Understand what your Radiant Work is.

2. Identify the people who would treasure that work: your Brilliant Clients.

3. Offer them your Radiant Work.

“Okay, sounds fair enough. Is that the lesson?”

Nope, the lesson is the bit that it’s easiest to forget. I turn over the board and written there is:

4. Make sure that this process is enjoyable enough that you will keep doing it consistently.

“Enjoyable? Why does it have to be enjoyable?”

Suddenly I’m wearing a mortarboard and gown and I enunciate:

Consistency is more important than efficiency.

Consistency is more important than optimal.

Consistency is more important then everything.

There’s a limit to how much we can shove ourselves into doing work we don’t wanna do. The more we eliminate the gottas and focus on the yee-haws, the less shoving we have to do. Thus, more consistency. Science!

“And what happens if you forget rule 4?” you say as you pat a small golden dog.

Well, for me I know what happens is that I start going through the motions. Write the article. Email some people. Have to tweet something. Blegh. I wrestle with a small anthropomorphic pretzel.

“But don’t you like Twitter and writing and all that?”

Not intrinsically. I like doing them in specific ways – like writing articles that came to me at 1am while I was half-asleep, full of totally random imagery.

“So why don’t you do it like that all the time?” You’re wearing a flamingo. It suits you.

It’s easy to forget Rule 4. Sometimes I get too involved in how my heroes and mentors do things. Sometimes I set out to improve a system and accidentally squeeze out the joy. Sometimes I really really want something to happen and all my attention goes there. And every time that happens, I have to relearn the lesson that Rule 4 is not just a nice idea. It’s mandatory for excellent marketing.

“And it’s ironic that you’re relearning that right now.”

Yep, it sure is. Because the reason I got derailed this time is because I deeply want to fill both cohorts for The Pilot Light this month with amazing revolutionary business-builders.

“And why is that ironic?” You say, as the flamingo sues for divorce.

Because The Pilot Light is a framework on how to create a marketing plan that rocks all four rules.


Oh indeed. It’s a wee bit embarrassing. I water the potted plant with Proust’s coffee mug.

“I didn’t notice!”

You’re very lovely. But my last few articles have been a bit flat and lacklustre. And the rest of my marketing has been likewise efficient, but missing its heart. I’m about magnificence, transformation and play, and that needs to permeate every single atom of my marketing work.

I fold a perfect origami crane from maple leaves.

Usually I have no problem with this, but I’m going through the spiral again and I’m at the point where my plan needs to be refocused, refined and revitalised. So, it is both lucky and embarrassing that this is the time when I’m relaunching The Pilot Light.

“Do you think it’s a coincidence?”

No. I’m now wearing a steel-covered sari. I think it’s shitty and irritating and necessary.

“So, uh… why is this story so crowded with random stuff?”

Creative logjam has broken. It tends to make a mess.

You eat a bouncy donut. “And you don’t want to clean it up before the others get here?”

Nope. Remember, I’m about magnificence, transformation and play. This glorious mess belongs. And my Brilliant Clients will get that.

“And sign up for The Pilot Light?”

I would like that very, very much. But I’ve enjoyed writing this article, and that’s a reward of its own.

“Rule 4?”

Rule 4, baybee.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Gadget_Guru

Interview: Stacy Stone and her Big Realisation

This is Stacy, and she’s a marketer.

She knows squoodles of things about the how-tos and the wherefors of launches and marketing campaigns – if you need an extra 10% sales for your widget, then she knows how to make that happen.

But knowing how to get things done isn’t the whole story; Stacy experienced some deeper realisations about marketing during our time working together.

I’ll let her tell you about it. This is the stuff that all the recipes and “Seven Steps To” don’t talk about… but they should.

Audio MP3

(You can download the interview for laters here, if you prefer that. It’s just a hair over 20 minutes long.)

During that interview, we mentioned The Pilot Light a few times, because we both love it deeply.

Stacy loves it because she’s now working on a new business that inspires her, that flows with ease, that’s attracting amazing – high-paying – clients, and that comes from her best self. (Go have a look at Ethical Launch.)

I love The Pilot Light because it creates revolutions in the businesses of amazing people. Over and over, I’ve seen the lightbulb go on as my clients realise, “Not only do I actually understand what everyone’s been blathering about in doing your best work, but I know what mine is and how I can make it happen! Holy shit!”

If you want to join the next revolution and start making money and meaning in your business, then you should most definitely learn more about The Pilot Light.

If you’re ready to blaze, I’m here with a torch and an arsonist’s grin.

Are you coming?

What are the fundamentals of marketing?

Practicing for the circus
Singers spend hours on hours singing their scales.

Basketball players sink a thousand thousand balls from the free throw line.

Pilots run simulations through their entire career.

Drummers play to a metronome.

Nurses practice injections on fake arms.

Football players – every kind – run wind sprints.

They practice the fundamentals.

The well-nigh invisible skills that underlie their creative amazingness – the stuff you must be able to do unconsciously as part of a greater work.

And I’m wondering: does marketing have those fundamentals?

And if so, what are they?

I really want to hear your thoughts on this.

P.S. The Pilot Light, my absolute bestest work, is opening again soon… and you can nab your seats early! Go learn more about how it could transform your business and then fill in the application so we can have a very excited talk about it. 

P.P.S. How adorable does the juggler with the open mouth look? I just want to pinch his cheek.

Creative Commons License photo credit: lrargerich

the spiral of businesses

The Business Spiral, part 2

Hey there! The first part of this teeny weeny series is hyah. You should totally read it first.

Should I put the spiral picture in again, I wonder. Yeah, why not, it’s still pretty.

the spiral of businesses

So last time we were introduced to the Foundations Stage and the Action Plan stage. Thus, it’s time for…

The Implement/Experiment/Implement/Experiment Stage

This is by far the biggest stage – it’s the one where the plan is made, and it’s time to Do The Work. You’re running your business, constantly adding  and removing and tweaking your offerings, putting them out there, and then adding/removing/tweaking again. It’s never a static process, but the changes are more controlled.

What this stage is marked by:

  • Constant small changes
  • Building, improving, refining
  • Rhythms of work
  • Routines, processes and systems

Challenges to manage while you’re going through this stage:

  • Falling into a rut
  • Sustainable profitability
  • Self-sabotage
  • Misplacing the mojo
  • Inertia and mediocrity
  • Adapting to change

Opportunities to exploit while you’re in this stage:

  • Building resources
  • Legacy
  • Creating a reputation
  • Living fully
  • Going deep into your subject
  • Going wide across subjects
  • Generosity

Resources to help you through this stage

I’m collecting resources to help you create and maintain a thriving, soul-nourishing, squoodles-of-cash-and-joy business. There are lots and lots and lots of them.

The ARGH!!! Stage

Eventually, no matter how you polish and refine, your business (and you) has the weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable blues. I’m using “unprofitable” because I like quoting Hamlet out of context, although your business may be doing quite well, financially.

But it doesn’t matter.

It’s busted. The clients are wrong, or the business model doesn’t support you, or you’re not doing anything meaningful, or you’re bored with the work… whatever it is, you’ve reached the point where there is a problem that is not solveable in the business as it currently exists.

You aren’t (necessarily) mad as hell, but you definitely aren’t going to take this any more.

What this stage is marked by:

  • Sleepless nights
  • Dissatisfaction and irritability
  • Going through the motions
  • Envy and avoidance

Challenges to manage while you’re going through this stage:

  • Accepting that this business no longer works (in its current configuration)
  • The temptation to chuck it all in
  • Denial and desperation
  • Keeping commitments

Opportunities to exploit while you’re in this stage:

  • Personal growth
  • Insights on how to do it better next time

Resources to help you through this stage

I’m on the lookout for these, because this long dark tea-time of the soul is terribly uncomfortable and extremely volatile. (Especially considering the temptation to burn the bridges, not just behind you but in front of you and even in another country.) As soon as I find some, they shall be found here.

The Foundations Stage (again)

This is a spiral, remember? It’s time to (re)build your foundations in the new iteration of your business. This can be remarkably similar (changing only the Who, What or How*), or a complete reinvention, but otherwise it’s sorta the same as last time.

Except, of course, you’re a different, more experienced, and more awesome person since the last time you were at this stage. You know more, you have more resources, and you’ve had experience in what works and what doesn’t. It’s the spiral, one level up.

All the challenges and opportunities are the same as last time, just on a higher level. It’s handy that you’re one level higher, too.

(Lucky, that.)

By the bye: One seat in the 12 available for The Pilot Light has been filled. Don’t wait until the new year to tell me you’re interested, ‘cos you might miss out. And this is going to be AWESOMETACULAR.

*Riddle me this: Why did I not include the Why in the list of things that change? And when would I be wrong to do so? Answer in the comments!