Truth, honesty and running a business on the internet

Heading out
I’ve fled to my heart’s home: I’m at the beach, watching the coal ships define the horizon.

I dig down into the cooler sand and widen the moat. The next wave should fill it, and then my sandcastle will be complete.

I lick the salt from my lips, and suddenly realise that the alchemist is sitting next to me. She plants a small flag in the castle and smiles.

Troubled? she says. I listen if you wish to speak.

“More sad than troubled, I think.” I say. “I’ve realised that I must let go of an old belief about how the world works.”

And what is that?

“I believed that there was Truth, and when it stood revealed everyone would recognise it. And accept it.”

This is not so?

“No, I don’t think it is. I suspect that truth, like beauty, lives only in the eye of the beholder.”

Is this about the recent scandal?

“Yes. But it’s also about politics, that book of Byzantine history and the friend-of-a-friend incident. It’s happening a lot right now.”

What do all of these events have in common?

“Everyone believes that they know the truth. But often, his truth and her truth couldn’t possibly exist in the same universe.”

Many incompatible beliefs exist in the same universe. Why are you exasperated?

“Because I keep seeing both groups operate with the ironclad certainty of righteousness. And so every truth crusader ends up kind of shitty.”

The truth creates righteousness?

“I think it goes, “I know the truth, and the truth is right. Why would I do anything to become less right? So shut up.””

Ah. So what do you believe in?

“I believe in science. And honesty.”

Why science?

“Science says, “Create a hypothesis. Test it. If it doesn’t hold up to testing, it’s incorrect. If it passes the tests, it’s correct. Until something changes.””

Ah. The idea that nothing is eternally true. The sun may not rise from the east tomorrow.

“Yes. And if it doesn’t, then lots of people will have to change their hypotheses.”

Science, then, is to you a constant testing of reality, and adaptation to its change?

“Yes. And while people can deny fact, it requires a wilful amount of deceit to do so.”

How is fact different from truth?

“Hmm. Because… fact has no interpretation. Water boils at 100C, but it doesn’t tell you if that’s good or bad.”

So truth involves moral judgement, and fact does not?

“I guess, yeah. I mean, at least in the way that most people use it. People say, “The truth is, she’s a graffiti artist. The truth is, he’s a scumbag.” Although they do sometimes use “the fact of the matter”, too. Fuck.”

Ah, language. The word “truth” is often used both to describe the grounded scientific reality you mention, but it also can be used to describe moral imperatives.

“Yes. YES! And since people are really unclear about which way they’re using it, things get fucked up. They might say they’re describing objective reality, but their own standards for judging the world sneak in. And so their truth is completely subjective.”

But they are as certain of it as if it was entirely objective.

Exactly. And so people say incorrect or semi-correct statements with all the force of certainty. And then someone else does it with their own “truth”. And then shit gets ugly.”

And thus, science.

“Yes. Science is supposed to be completely objective.”

Supposed to be?

“People are still… people. But it’s a self-correcting system.”

Ah. And what about honesty?

“Well, you see, science is a way for me to objectively assess reality. Honesty is about judging my subjective reality.”

Judging. So this is a moral stance?

“Yes. It’s me judging myself and whether I’ve acted in line with my own standards.”

And what are your standards of internal truth?

“I don’t know if I’ve ever codified them before. Hold on.” I go fetch some driftwood and draw on the sand, scratch out, draw again. “There.”

Hmm, I see. I especially like the third one. Are you planning to tell your readers about them?

“I don’t know if there’s much point. These are entirely subjective standards, and there’s no way for people who aren’t in my head to know whether I’m meeting most of them or not. I suspect it would just be flattering my own ego to tell them exactly what they are.”

That violates rule four, but is perfectly in line with rule five. I see.

“I could always invoke seven.”

That seems an adequate solution. Also, you no longer sound as sad.

“Well, I am. People are so cruel to each other, and it hurts to watch. And to be part of.”

But rule seven.

“I kinda hate rule seven at times.”

I understand. But the world is what it is, and we can at the deepest level change only ourselves.

“That’s depressing news from an alchemist.”

Them’s the breaks, kid.

“No sweet note to end this on?”

I’m afraid not.

So together the alchemist and I watch the ships define the horizon, as the salt on our cheeks tastes like tears.

The moral of the story

Actually, there are two points I want to make here.

We all need our own standards for truth, reality and how we behave as public people in a world where almost everything is documented.

When I was young, I lied pretty regularly. Mostly for self-aggrandisement, sometimes in order to avoid pain.

I am so damn glad I outgrew that habit before the internet took off.

The internet is a giant accountability machine.

It remembers everything.

We have all seen it happen – the employee who forgets that their boss is a Facebook friend (“Yeah, skydiving! So glad I lied to my boss about having the flu!”), the politician caught contradicting themselves, the whistleblower email…

This is the age of Wikileaks.

This is the age of citizen journalism.

This is an age where Mark Twain’s quote “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” makes even more sense. (Although maybe it should be “If you tell the truth, your Twitter won’t contradict your Google+.”)

You must decide in advance what you will talk about, what you will keep private, what levels of disclosure you’re okay with. Things like:

  • Is lying by omission acceptable?
  • Will you mention your kids by codename, real name, or never at all?
  • How much spin and varnish do you feel comfortable with?
  • Do you delete comments that disagree with you?
  • Do you actively mention people who disagree with you?
  • If you’re experiencing the problem you solve, do you tell people?

Decide now, before the pressure is on. We are outrageously bad at making moral decisions when we’re scared, hungry or seeking approval, unless we already made the decision in advance. (Not that we get it right all the time then, either. But the odds do improve dramatically.)

If you don’t create your rules in advance, then expect scandal. It will come.

*dramatic foreshadowing music*

Also, we have to be very clear on which of those standards apply only to ourselves.

When we say, “The truth is…” often we mean, “What I think the truth is…”

Your truth is valid. But it isn’t necessarily universal.

It’s irritating as hell to constantly caveat with, “Of course, this is just my opinion…” but it matters. Especially online, where your words stand alone, without tone, body language or sometimes even the context of the rest of your statement.

The more you consciously separate fact from your truth, the better. There really is a qualitative difference between, “Bill took three weeks to respond to my email. I regard that as atrocious customer service.” and, “Bill took three weeks to respond to my email. His customer service is atrocious.”

One gets refunds. The other starts flame-wars. (“Well, Bill replied to my email the same day and he was super-helpful. You’re wrong!”)

I had 130-ish comments to my last article about a seriously contentious topic, but that conversation stayed – mostly – respectful and on-topic. And that was largely due to conscious outlining of assumptions and separating fact from… everything else.

This isn’t the end, I think.

There are some more thoughts I’m going to need to tease out about how to mesh the definitive statements (“This is the best way to accomplish [x]”) that you need (?) to make as an authority in your field, with the nuance and honesty that respects your audience.

We will also see the continued fallout of this scandal, and the next one, and the one after that. I suspect that this is to some extent a generational issue, one that affects those that didn’t grow up with their every word being cached online forever.

Oh, and by the way… Rule Seven of my internal standards of honesty is this: “Assume that other people are smart enough to make their own decisions.”

Thus: if it would be valuable for you to know my other rules, feel free to ask.

I’d like to hear your thoughts, whether you’re caught up in the current scandal, or a different one, or you still bears the scars of one in the past. Is complete disclosure the only way to go? How do you separate truth from fact… and do you need to?

In the meantime, if you’d like to observe how I handle disclosure and honesty, you need to be subscribed to the new and improved Mo’Cash, Mo’Joy. All the truthiness that’s fit to print, ladies and gentlemen.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Nomad Tales

Consistent magnificence: the golden ticket

Tena at range
Feliks loved Sarah.

Sarah loved guns.

The old story.

It all begins at the local rifle range.

Feliks is there for the first time, with two boxes of .22 cartridges and his friend Dave. Dave has told him that he’s going to love the shooting, and Dave was right.

Feliks and Dave spend an hour target shooting paper targets with Dave’s Winchester bolt-action. When the boxes of rounds ran out, Feliks says, “I’ll buy some more.”

Dave says, “Are you sure, mate? I mean, they’re not super-pricy, but I figure your shoulder’s getting sore.”

It is, but Feliks says, “I’m having a blast. One more box.” Dave shrugs, and Feliks heads to the store.

And there is Sarah.

She’s chatting with the woman behind the counter as she checks a box of ammunition. She’s… arresting, with a pleasant, regular face lit up by fierce determination and intelligence.

Feliks is flat-out instantly mamapajama smitten. He says, “Hey. Buying some rounds for your handgun?”

She turns and with no expert superciliousness says, “Actually, these are for my shotgun.”

“But they’re tiny!” says Feliks, ready to say any number of inane things to keep the conversation with this bright fierce woman going. “I thought shotgun shells were… you know… big!”

Sarah smiles and tells him about how the rounds are actually .410 bore, and they’re used in skeet shooting competitions. Sarah competes, and she comes here every Tuesday to practice, and she’ll see Feliks around, maybe?

At least, that’s what Feliks reassembles later on about the conversation with the help of the woman behind the counter. It was a bit hard to concentrate at the time, you see.

So Feliks goes home and tells his family that he’s joining a rifle club.

His grandfather, Polish and scarred and romantic, threatens to disown him.

His grandmother, Polish and scarred and practical, tells him that she’s proud of him and bakes him lamingtons.

His Dad suspects a romance, and his mother says, “Why not?”

And so Feliks starts learning how to shoot. He stays on the targets, mastering the fundamentals, completely focussed except for the occasional break to wave nonchalantly at Sarah. (She’s around, but usually too busy to talk much. Feliks can remember every single, “Hey. Howareya?” she smiles at him.)

He shoots the paper targets, but his dream is to shoot the skeet.

He daydreams about it, imagines the clay disk shattering into twenty zillion pieces and Sarah running over to high-five him. Then, he suggests getting… an ice-cream! A coffee! A movie! A trip to Fiji! to celebrate, and in his dreams she always says Yes.

Feliks learns fast.

Feliks possesses natural talent, piles of determination, and regular lessons from his grandmother. (This last was a surprise: he had never been told that she was a freedom fighter in Poland during World War Two. Away from her glowering husband she tells Feliks astonishing stories about her work for the Armia Krajowa in between correcting his aim.)

(She also gives Sarah the once-over and decides she approves.)

With all these blessings, Feliks’ progress is astonishingly fast. In only two months, his grandmother says that he’s probably ready to try the skeet.

Sensibly, for despite the pangs of love Feliks is still a sensible lad, he starts on a day where Sarah isn’t present. The clay disk is flung into the air, and again and again and again he misses it.

He practices again next week and misses over and over, but his misses are closer. More practice and he feels that he wouldn’t be world-endingly embarassed to have Sarah see him.

She is only metres away when he successfully explodes his first clay skeet.

He turns to her, face alight, ready for the high-five-ice-cream-three-children daydream. She looks up, nods once, and goes back to cleaning her shotgun.

Feliks takes his grandmother out for ice-cream instead, and tries not to cry into his sundae.

It takes one scoop of time for Babcia Irena to realise that her grandson is less than perfectly elated by his success, and another half scoop to find out why.

Babcia Irena then laughs that wise and slightly malicious old lady cackle that all beings rightly fear.

“Fool boy! One success is not enough to impress her. You’ve missed hundreds of those things, and you could have hit that one by accident. Shoot ten in a row, then she’ll be impressed.”

Feliks nods judiciously, finishes his sundae, and readjusts his daydream.

Feliks keeps shooting at the skeets.

It’s a drizzly ordinary sort of day and he’s feeling a bit tired and not quite in the flow as a sequence of ten are flung.

He misses the first three, and then suddenly Feliks is in the zone.

One sharp crack as a clay disk shatters. Two. Threefour. Five. He misses the last one, and stares bemused at the pile of crockery.

And he turns, to find a beaming Sarah behind him.

You know how the rest of the story goes.

Everyone is magnificent sometimes.


And those occasional moments of magnificence get our attention, briefly.

What holds our attention is consistent magnificence.

Let me say that again:

Magnificence gets our attention. Consistent magnificence KEEPS our attention.

Not one amazing article: a series of amazing articles.

Not one mind-blowing testimonial: a flood of mind-blowing testimonials.

Not one engaging exchange on Twitter: a pattern of engaging exchanges on Twitter.

This is why I am so damn adamant about you only doing your best work.

It’s not because I don’t believe you are capable of producing magnificence from anything you put your mind to. You are. We both know it.

But consistent magnificence? That’s harder.

It means you have to deliver, and keep on delivering, remarkable results… no matter what is going on around you.

When it’s your best work, you can deliver consistent magnificence despite adverse conditions. You know: tech hiccups. Inadequate supplies. Pounding headache. Sick dog.

You’ll find a way to transcend these problems, or even create better work because of your limitations.

When it’s not your best work… magnificence becomes hit and miss. Damn good is likely, but magnificence will never be dependably delivered by your less-than-best work.

And that matters, big-time.

You will never develop the same powerful relationships and reputation with hit-and-miss magnificence that you will through consistent magnificence.

If we trust you to deliver magnificence, you have our attention – and our money. We will be riveted to see what you do next, whether you can possibly keep the amazingness flowing.

With your best work, the odds are excellent that the answer is yes.

Best work = consistent magnificence = squoodles of cash and joy.

I wonder if that’s what you’re aiming for.

Is your goal to knock it out of the park once?

Or is it to knock it out of the park every single day?

The first requires a surge of magnificence, of the creative genius that lives inside us all.

The second requires consistent magnificence, and creative discipline.

Which are you currently using? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

And if you’re ready to clarify what work is your absolute best, then Goddamn Radiant and I are here to help. Because this is MY bestest work.

Creative Commons License photo credit: kevindooley

An unreserved apology to urgency in launches

Going up...
For the last decade, I have lived in various houses near Mount Gravatt.

Mount Gravatt is an oversized hill with a repeater dish on top. It is utterly lacking in mystery, intrigue and romance.

I still like it. I’ve been meaning to go eat my lunch at the top of that place for the entire decade that it’s been in my vicinity.

But I’ve never done it.

For many years there were reasons that was difficult: Day Job, no car, yadda yadda. Nowadays, I have no reason that’s stopping me from going. None at all.

Yet here I am, still eating lunch at my house, while Mount Gravatt lurks just a kilometre or two away. I want to go. There’s no reason at all for me NOT to go.

But there’s been no pressing reason for me to go, either: to bother putting on my shoes, packing up my lunch, backing the car out of my horrible driveway, etc etc etc… it feels pathetic to say it, but that’s a meaningful amount of effort.

It’s just easier to sit here and eat my lunch on the couch.

Welcome back to high school science lab.

*white lab coat and safety goggles… on*

Remember inertia? It’s a basic principle of physics: bodies at rest tend to stay at rest.

Simple physics: in order to create motion, you must impart enough energy to overcome inertia.

If you don’t, then the object goes… nowhere.

You can try this right now, science fans.

  1. Put a pencil on a notepad.
  2. Remove all obstacles in its path.
  3. Raise the end of the notepad an inch so the pencil wants to roll downhill.

And what happens? Not a damn thing. Inertia holds that pencil in place like it was glued there.

It wants to move, and there’s nothing in its path stopping it. But it doesn’t move.

It’s the same with me and that mountain.

It’s the same with your people and the offerings you present to them.

It’s not enough to make something people want.

It’s not enough to remove the obstacles and objections.

You have to do more.

You have to help your people overcome inertia.

This doesn’t require force, except in the most technical scientific sense. It’s better to think about it as requiring energy.

Scarcity is a source of energy. It says, “Do it quick, before we miss out!”

Peer pressure is a source of energy. It says, “Do it now, so we can belong!”

Caring is a source of energy. It says, “Do it now, so [someone] can benefit!” (The [someone] might be the client, or you, or a charity, or someone else.)

All of these things create urgency. Urgency overcomes inertia. Voilà! Movement.

Which is why all my launches in future will be closed, not open.

I refused, totally utterly refused, to use urgency for quite a long time. “It’s fake,” I said. “But I want to be available when my readers are ready,” I said. “Transformation takes time, and you have to be ready for it,” I said.

These are all true statements. But they don’t matter as much as inertia does.

My buy-it-whenever-you-like-seriously-it’s-all-good offerings did nothing to impart the motion toward buying it NOW instead of six months from now. And as the mountain and I both know, six months becomes a decade pretty damn quickly.

People wanted the offerings, the same way I want to eat overlooking the city. In most cases there was nothing stopping people from signing up that day. But they didn’t.

“It can wait. I’ll get it next week after that cheque comes in. I’ll get it after I buy that other thing I’ve had my eye on. I’m thirsty. I better go feed the cat. Where was I?”

Does it make that much difference?


I admitted to my newsletter subscribers that my leave-every-offer-open,-forever-and-ever, launch style wasn’t really working for either of us. So I announced that access to the awesometacular Cash and Joy Foundations resource would be closing in one week.

I tripled my sales total in that week.


Nothing about the resource had changed except for two very small things:

  • I told people about the resource more often.
  • It had an end date.

I heard from people who have been reading this website for six months without ever making contact.

I heard from people who suddenly wanted to take action, rightthissecond, and wanted to ask more about the resource.

I heard from people who were wondering if they should sign up right now because they have these things coming up, and they don’t want to miss out, so…

That is a lot of overcome inertia.

But doesn’t it feel manipulative?

No. I thought it would, but it doesn’t.

Let’s be clear: urgency is manipulative. You are manipulating external conditions in order to produce a result.

But you’re not manipulating people.

It’s an important distinction.

My bestest people wanted this resource.

My bestest people could afford this resource.

I manipulated the conditions to say that NOW would be a good time to get started.

That’s all.

Some people don’t have the money now, or the free time, or the headspace, or whatever. Some of them emailed me to find out when it re-opens. (Later October-ish, by the way: you can pop your email into the box to find out exactly when.)

That’s only two months away. By that time they will have either figured out the answers for themselves – yay! – or be one zillion percent ready to rock it out when it does re-open.

In the meantime, there are twenty people rocking it out now who might never have signed up, ever, if I had stayed with the doors-don’t-close model.

No movement, no action.

Urgency works.

I am now a convert.

I unashamedly and unreservedly apologise to urgency. You were right, I was wrong. I’ll be seeing you a lot in future.

But first, I gotta go have lunch up this damn mountain.

You might be wondering how I’ve stayed in business this long without using urgency at all: it’s because I do a lot of other things very, very well. Want to learn more? Sign up for Mo’Cash, Mo’Joy and we can talk about how you can do the same in a free 30-minute Marketing Check-up!

Creative Commons License photo credit: Tambako the Jaguar

Progress is a spiral, not a line.

[158/365] Knightseeing
Good Queen Elisandra summoned forth her boldest knight and said, “Brave Christina, there is a nameless evil that lurks in the Cave of Seven Rivers. I bid you, ride forth and slay it that the land might be free of its stain.”

Christina was a most valiant knight, in joust or tourney or battle. She was feared and flattered and fawned upon in court, and her life was full… except for one small thing: Christina had never been sent on a quest. So it was with great excitement that she gathered her lance and sharpened her bec-de-corbin and rode forth.

The road was not uneventful.

When Christina stopped to fill her waterskin a warlock, struck by Christina’s noble face, cast a malevolent spell to ensnare her affections. But Christina bore a piece of the winding-shroud of St Jerome, and could not be harmed by such diabolical sorceries. She feigned enchantment and then struck the warlock’s head from his shoulders with her broadsword.

Then Christina met a great raven who told her of the Helm of Incendrius, which renders its owner invulnerable to flame. Christina followed the directions of the raven, and dug at the feet of a lightning-blasted oak tree. There indeed lay the Helm of Incendrius. Christina tied it to her pommel and went on.

There were more tales than I have time to tell – of giantesses, impossible rainstorms, mer-men, wingéd steeds, and other tests. Christina: scarred, dripping wet, footsore, but pure of heart, surpassed all trials and came at last to the Cave of Seven Rivers. After praying to Our Lady of Lourdes, she strode inside.

The dread beast was a dragon – cunning with the passage of ages, armoured with plates of adamant, with talon and tooth and deadly flame. But Christina bore the Helm of Incendrius and the flames did not touch her. Her valour was steel, and the great roars of the monster did not make her quail. Her breastplate was forged by the great dwarven queen Galasax and no claw could rend it. Her lance burned with white light… and she slew the fell beast.

Christina returned to the court with the head of the dragon and there was great rejoicing. Good Queen Elisandra celebrated her most valiant knight, and the dragon’s head was fixed to the castle gate, where forevermore it would give warning when enemies approached.

The end.

But then, next Tuesday…

Good Queen Elisandra summoned forth her boldest knight and said, “Brave Christina, there is reports of a new evil: a demon infests the Cotswolds. I bid you, ride forth and slay it that the land might be free of its stain.”

Christina said proudly, “Your Majesty, this I shall do.”  In her heart she felt a great surety – she was the slayer of the dragon. This would surely be no challenge to such as mighty knight as she! So once more she gathered her lance and sharpened her bec-de-corbin, tied the Helm of Incendrius to her pommel and rode forth.

The road was much more eventful than Christina expected.

Firstly she was accosted by a pair of witches who desired to avenge their brother, the warlock. They ambushed Christina with curse and imprecation, and Christina had to fight more valiantly then ever before to finally slay the two and bury their hag-ridden bodies at a crossroad.

Then the great raven appeared again and told Christina of the Sword of Adamant – a sword quenched in the blood of a fallen archangel, and the only weapon that could harm the demon-queen of the Cotswolds. Accordingly, Christina dug to the heart of a mountain and found the sword, tied it to her baldric and rode on.

There were more tales than could fill half a lifetime: ghasts, drowned youths, curative plants, great curses, maddening songs, old men, cunning thieves, sad maidens, evil plots and a faithful hound, to name but a few. Christina cried out, “Why do you continue to challenge me? Am I not the slayer of the dragon? I have quested, I have been victorious! Why then am I still thwarted?”

A wise and ancient alchemist heard Christina’s words on the south wind and strode forth from her tent to meet the knight. She found Christina sharpening the ever-sharp Sword of Adamant, just for something to do. The alchemist sat down and made a pot of tea.

“Brave Christina, have you heard of the Spiral?”

“Yes, wise one, it is a line that circles ever outward, never meeting itself.”

“Beautifully said, bold knight. You’re in one.”

“I’m in a spiral? But I’m treading the most direct path to the Cotswolds.”

“I do not mean physically. The quest to slay the dragon was the first round of the spiral. Now you walk the second round, where the same challenges reoccur, but at a higher level. And when you have slain the demon queen, you will be ready to walk the third circle, which will be more challenging again.”

“But… I…”

“You thought that this path was linear. Having slain the dragon, the challenges in your path were left far behind and would never come again.”

“Yes, wise one.”

“But know this: all things circle around – each time they are harder, but your might is greater each time and thus you will continue to triumph. Does that calm you?”

“Yes, wise one, it does. I thank you.”

And Christina, fortified by sage words and very good tea, rode forth once more to glory.

The moral of the story

Your progress as an entrepreneur is a spiral, not a linear path. If you accept that premise, it has important implications to your business.

Calm the fuck down

Since your progress follows a spiral, it doesn’t mean you’re doing something terribly wrong when an old long-solved problem reoccurs, probably much bigger than last time. Example: you clarify Who your bestest people are, which leads to lots of new visitors, which allows you to do more work and dig deeper into what you do, which leads to you not knowing Who your bestest people are anymore.

If you think of this as a linear process you’ll beat yourself up at this stage: “But I figured this out! Why doesn’t it work any more? I suck!” If you accept that this is a spiral, then you say, “Ah, here we are again. Sooner than I thought, actually.”

Of course, when you’re at the beginning of a spiral, the changes happen much faster. It can feel vertiginous to be reworking a strategy that seemed perfectly solid three weeks ago, but you now realise is totally inadequate. Again, that’s normal.

You can relax into this certainty: this has happened before, and it will happen again.

The expert on a pedestal

If you think of progress as linear, you tend to put people into two categories: People Who Have Gotten This Sorted (experts), and People Who Haven’t Gotten This Sorted (clueless). If you’re an expert you know everything you need to know, and if you’re clueless you know nothing.

There are so many ways that this is a dangerous dynamic.

Firstly, the experts have no room to learn in. When major change comes, as it always does, the expert suddenly looks… clueless. But they’re an expert! They’ve already Gotten This Sorted, right? The only possible explanation is that they’re a fraud! Boooooooo

Secondly, they have no room to admit that things are hard. Because clearly the Land of Experts, which the clueless can only see as a glimmer on the horizon, is much more perfect than over here. If anyone in that glimmering Land of Experts isn’t gliding through it, then there’s something wrong with them.

Thirdly, experts are distant, alienated from the clueless. And that leads to worship instead of relationship. That’s a lonely and isolating place for the expert, and a desperate and unsatisfying one for the clueless.

Fourthly, worship is always followed by the inevitable tearing down of idols. Sometimes they haven’t even made a mistake and been too-harshly punished for it – sometimes we just want to see the statues come down.

There are more, this list just got too depressing.

In a spiral, everyone is close.

The experts are “people who are walking the spiral a few levels up from me”, and your clients are often “people who are walking the spiral a few levels down from me”. They might be close enough to hold hands, or further away – but still close enough to see and be seen, to build real relationships.

Since we’re all facing the same challenges at different levels, there’s no worship or contempt. There’s no desire to attack someone more successful when they stumble – hey, they’ve got more resources to use, but they’re facing bigger challenges! They might fail, or take a while to overcome that challenge.


When you’re designing your experiences with your clients, you can bring so much more honesty and vulnerability to it if you accept that we all experience and re-experience challenges. If you’re undergoing one right now  – and you are, we both know it – it does not in any way invalidate the value you bring to other people.

You can talk about making money when you’re not making quite as much as you want to.

You can talk about relationships although you’re arguing with your kids again.

Because there are lesser challenges you’ve already overcome to get to these ones – you’re not making as much money as you want, but you are making some. You’re fighting with the kids, but within a framework of respect that doesn’t leave you shaking with rage afterward.

There are so many other benefits from spirals.

But since I’m already at 1600 words I should probably leave it here. Add your own thoughts in the comments on this idea: what does it make possible for you and your business?

Sick of being the lone hero on the rutted road? Then you need to have a look at The Provocateurs. It’s easier to travel the road with other adventurers, you know.

Creative Commons License photo credit: pasukaru76