Thursday, 14 February 2013

How much do you value yourself?

A friend who is self employed, called me up excited that she had been offered a role with a publishing company—only hitch, they did not have money to pay her then, but if she were to come on board and help out then perhaps they would pay her in a few weeks or in a month’s time. Listening to her I realised that I myself have been in this position in the past—and when you are in it you never know how to react. The temptation is to reach out and take what is in sight, just so you can keep the illusion of being busy, of having a purpose. The mind is a nervous monkey and so if you keep your hands busy, it does not have time to think. Perhaps this is where she was coming from.
From the outside it was easier to see that she needed to step back and reconsider her options. If they did not have the money, shouldn’t she just wait till they had money before she joined them? Or tell them what her time was worth and negotiate with them to be paid in retrospect? Easier said than done, and when you are in it, its really tough to sit back and turn down something that has come your way, so what if it did not pay just now.
I have been guilty of the same on many occasions—giving before getting, seems to come naturally to me. As I was mulling over what to tell her I chanced upon this piece by Seth Godin, entrepreneur & blogger who I hugely respect: “The new economy often involves trading in things that don’t cost money. There’s no incremental cost in writing an essay, composing a song or making an introduction. Since it doesn’t cost money to play, we have the ability to give before we get.”  And this I truly believe in. 

So in my life as an author I have seen the work I create as something to be shared towards building my platform. I price my books at 99cents, to encourage new readers to try me, I spend time on social networks, connecting with those around the world, sharing thoughts, opinions and meeting some incredible people in the process.
Seth goes on to say “Tribes of talented individuals who are connected, mutually trustful and supported by one another are in a position to create a movement, to deliver items of value, to move ideas forward faster than.” Isn’t this what we within the Indie writing community practice?
Yet when I talk to many of my self-employed friends they emphasise that I need to value my time, my effort, my connections first. If I don’t value myself how will the others value me? And if they did not value their own time and charge for it, how would they survive?
So how does one find the balance? How does one form one’s own tribe by trading in that which is not just money, yet not be out of pocket? One way of course is to hold down a job, while you use your own time to find those connections that matter. Pretty solid approach, except that over a period of time, as you find your individuality you realise that you need a more independent platform(s) of self expression, and of course this needs to pay.
The other way is what John Purkiss and David Royston-Lee call the portfolio career in their best-selling Brand You, where you follow your different interests at the same time. An interesting option isn’t it? So you don’t have to stick to just one linear approach. You can define yourself in a more multi-stranded-fashion. Taking a leaf out of our own genetic programming, perhaps we can be more like our own DNA, weave in different strands of interest so that together they make a strong bundle? 

I can be a marketer and an author. All I have to do is first believe in myself, in my worth, in what only I can uniquely offer. And then put this into tangible words so that it is clear to the outside world too. A tall order but surely possible?
What do you think?

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

The outside or the inner voice?

I realized that I had been looking for something for many years now, since I was five. Its a quest which I can openly say today, that that many of the people I meet are on. We are many of us seeking out a truth to the way of living, a purpose it would seem. 

I have always turned to the outside; to ask people about their life and what brought them to the point of today; in the hope that I get a kernel of something. A rare insight into that energy which has propelled them so far. Yet I know on some level, that is often always not so. What you see from the outside is never the entire truth. 

Gunn Haglund a yoga teacher who runs Planet Energize is of the opinion that rather than try to do something about it, you should take a step back, just relax. I played with the words in my head, parking it for the future for just being is not something I do very well.

Then I asked John Purkiss, a mentor and author of Brand You The best-selling guide to building your personal brand a question: how do prevent myself from falling back into old patterns? His answer was that sometimes the best thing to do was not do much. It was time to listen to the inside rather than just follow the outside.

Two very different people -- both with me a similar message. My instinct said they were right. Yet I wondered how to do this. My solution : to carve out a few hours in the daywhen I don't let life admin get in the way. When I shut the window to the outsidecut the worry chords and gave myself permission to just write, to flow with my thoughts and meander

What do you think? The outside or the inner voice?