Some Codependent Thoughts That Run Our Business

10919985-cuore-d-39-argento-con-un-buco-della-serratura-e-una-chiave-d-39-oro-su-sfondo-biancoOver the last year or two, I keep getting glimpses of this thing called ‘emptiness’. I haven’t been able to explain it, nor understand it – but I know when it’s present. And that it is where I’m going … through no merit of my own.

God is leading me here by the hand. And because I have nothing left to lose, I’m going. Quietly, even. And I’m making notes as I go.

Emptiness is the eradication of everything – all assumptions, all hidden agendas, all impulses to shine, show off and prove. It is the cleaning off of the grimy surface of our persona to reveal what is pure and good underneath.

It is letting go of the notion that I can actually fix other people – or that they even want me to. And so I rediscover the white slate of co-creation with God.

In doing so I embrace my own imperfections instead of constantly trying to undo them. And so my inner tension dissolves.

Each day I surrender more and more. And each day support shows up unbidden in all forms and I gladly receive. There are a few people trickling in who want some coaching, and if it’s truly a fit, I serve them. If it’s not I say no.

Believe me, the marketer in me wants to say ‘Yes’ to everyone who inquires at this exact moment in time. But I can’t.

Now I must check in with myself and Spirit first; I can’t pretend to do work I simply no longer do. Because now no ‘sale’ is important enough to deny this rediscovery of my own personal truth.

With each ‘No’ I get a little thrill of confirmation – just as I do with each resonant ‘Yes.’

And if I make the mistake of saying ‘Yes’ where a ‘No’ was actually indicated … well, that ‘Yes’ mysteriously takes itself away.

So what more proof do I need that it really is time to live into my wholeness — to finally, for once and for all, surrender to God’s will?

Of course, being human, I keep needing proof – again and again. I want to doubt that ‘just surrendering’ really can drive this bus.

Ultimately, all of that resistance just boils down to a few key thoughts – the codependence that keeps me as hamstrung as a fish in a net, and punishes me with pressure.

Here are some of those thoughts. Perhaps you can relate …

1.      I think they need me. My egoic self pounds her chest and says … “Of course my clients need me! I know things! I can tell them just how to become an Internet superstar.”

Forget the fact that they may not actually want to be an Internet superstar. In this place I believe that I must do this work ‘to’ the client … instead of co-creating with them.

Ideally we dance together. And they can cha cha just as beautifully – perhaps even better – with any number of my colleagues.

2.      I think I can fix them. But the truth is that no one is broken.

Not only is no one broken … no one needs ‘fixing’ either by us or by anyone else. Fixing others assumes I have an automatic advantage — that old subtle superiority I mentioned above.

In thinking they are broken, I take responsibility for their ‘weaknesses’ and assume I’m all they’ve got. Which is about as codependent, and egoic, as it gets.

In such moments, I forget they have a God, too. And they might even listen to that God … on their own!

Oh, yeah. And I might listen to mine, too, while I’m at it.

3.      I think fixing them will prove something about me.

I notice how I want to be the big voice leading the pack …

Look at me! Look at me! Look at me, everyone! I am clever! I went to a designer college! I’ve been in the media! I’m a published author!

Sigh. No, no, no.

In this place, I just want everyone to respect me. Then maybe I will respect myself. Because in truth, it’s easy to be a guru. You just have to own it, and someone will always sign up.

It is far more difficult to be a quiet leader, discovering as you go.

4.      I think if I just get the platform right, I will finally get my due.

Oh the illusion that the Universe owes us something. That there is some pie-in-the-sky, whopping payday coming that will finally make us whole.

As if that were even possible.

And so here we sit … constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. We watch launch results nervously. Is this it? Will I ‘have enough people’ in my program?

And yet back there, haunting us, is always that little voice of doubt.

No, you are not enough. Nor will you ever be enough. And if you think this is ‘it’ … well, good luck sister!

In no uncertain terms Spirit is asking me – and perhaps you — to detach from the money, detach from others’ opinions, detach from needing to be in the front of the room.

And most of all, detach from using our businesses to prove something. Can we all just drop down to zero … that still, placid ground of being behind the chatter?

This ‘ground zero’ is the place we get to when we meditate; it’s the place where our guidance shows up. It visits us like a small soft cat, purring into the place in our hearts where we can feel it most. And it invites us into openness, possibility, and yes … emptiness.

This is when we are truly in our essence with nothing added. And this is the ultimate place of power.

Can you suspend belief in your own worthlessness? Can you suspend judgment towards yourself and others?

And while you’re at it, can you stop worrying?

Tall order, I know. But there is an easy way there. And that is to simply get down on your knees, and pray like you have never prayed. It is to use your business as the divine lightening rod that it is … and so allow God, the Universe and anyone else listening to guide you right.

You can trust your own guidance; you really can. And this place of unbuttoning and unfolding is sweet and trustworthy, as well.

More Reflections from a (Reformed) Internet Marketer

open_your_heart_CFR_500pxIn the rich thread that is developing here, a good question is emerging.

Just how are we meant to make a living if Internet Marketing is not to be trusted?

Well, I am here to say there is a way. But it may surprise you – because it’s not about “Internet Marketing” at all. Instead, it’s simply about you.

Because here’s the thing …

I’ve seen people I know, love and respect ‘disappear’ into their business for days, weeks and even months, like alcoholics on a bender.

I’ve seen otherwise principled people share the sweet-talking hype of some Internet marketers not because they want to … but because their mortgage got bigger, or their credit cards demanded paying now.

And then there are the people who lost their credit cards and even their homes because of the perils of either giving or receiving extremely high-priced coaching packages.

So, I am moved to ask … where is the love?

I know exactly where it is. It’s left forgotten on the shelf like a well-worn teddy bear, in favor of something bigger, better, and flashier that will hopefully compensate.

This is the illusion so many of us suffer from: We will become whole once we make a lot of money or have a lot of success.

And so this conversation is not really about whether this Internet strategy or that marketing tactic is healthy or not. Some are, and some aren’t. And we’ll get to that in these posts when the time is right.

For now this conversation is about the longing that drives us, each step of the way, to do things we don’t really want to do.

Our craving in these moments is for some kind of external love we cannot give ourselves.

This reminds me of the Christmas after my father died. I was 22 and I had to go home and face a family I was uncomfortable in at the time. My mother never really believed in what I did. My siblings seemed to be disinterested or possibly jealous. And yet, now I know that conflict existed mostly in my own mind.

I couldn’t see any support they may have had to offer because I was too busy living in my own personal stew of fear, drama and deprivation. So I did what anyone might do in such a situation … or not.

I charged up several hundred dollars in elaborate gifts I could not afford, and showed up armed with gifts and ready to do battle.

There was no battle, as it turned out; I was one of the few who’d even bought gifts that very sad holiday. And so I trudged back to Manhattan and my maxed out credit card, scratching my head about what happened.

What happened was that I was caught in addictive behaviors – spending emotionally, staying vague about what I could and could not afford, and debting.

And I was using all of it to avoid the devastating truth that my father was gone. Now I was truly alone in this big world … and left with just … me.

All these years later, the leitmotif plays on. That addictive mindset is the very reason I lost my soul in my business some years back.

And though I do recovery work, I am far from ‘healed’ – addictions don’t just end as it turns out. The key has been recognizing that I needed help with this … and admitting that I can’t do it alone.

Because when I stop and take care of myself – when I’m not so busy proving myself — I become humble again. Then I can hear God’s tender voice in my ear once more. And I can actually do God’s bidding for me.

Like now. In this moment of simply sharing what is true … with no particular offer up my sleeve or need to ‘monetize’ this exchange. I am doing what Spirit is asking of me, which is open my heart and share my personal truth.

And to me, that is the only path back to redemption.

So really — we have to look at our intentions. Why are we making this launch or offering that program?

Is it for the prestige and the ego strokes of adoring fans? Or because of the adrenaline rush we get as we watch our sales add up, Merchant email receipt by Merchant email receipt?

Or is it because this is the work we have been given to teach and so teach it we must – with every fiber of our being?

Back in November, I hit bottom. My daughter had died three months earlier … but still I kept thinking I should do some kind of launch. I was exhausted emotionally and terrified I would run out of money, despite a healthy savings account.

I was sure the world would forget me; that my business would be kaput. And the old me was waving her fist – demanding I get busy. I was convinced I would ‘lose everything’ if I didn’t.

How I wanted to avoid this deep sea of grief. But I could hear Teal’s voice in my head, cajoling me. “Why are you doing this now, Mom? Can’t you just stop and surrender for a while?”

Even in the afterlife, as she did all through her days on Earth, Teal was reminding me to be a better person. A more compassionate soul who put my love for myself and other people first … and all else second.

And so I finally stopped and listened to my daughter — albeit from the afterlife.

I took care of myself. I spent the winter tucked into my flannel sheets with a box of Kleenex. I went to recovery meetings – my version of a bereavement group. I read a small library of self help books and filled notebook after notebook with notes.

I listened to lots of Mozart, made delicious meals for myself, and swam. And so I have begun to empty out the well of grief – not just for Teal’s death but for a whole lifetime of things I’ve had to let go of.

And so, only now, I have begun to emerge, blinking into the sunlight. And only now … I am just beginning to serve.

Here is the secret you may not yet realize: ultimately, you are doing all of this work … for you. Your business shows you, each step of the way, the perfect path back to yourself. And you are always at choice whether you will listen or not.

Will you keep following the advice of ‘experts’ who teach you how to manipulate, seduce and control your community – so you, too, can achieve a six figure salary?

Will you continue to believe that a ‘six figure salary’ is even the point?

By no means am I suggesting you should not earn a rich, abundant livelihood from your work. Instead, I’m suggesting the way to get there is by having the courage to live in your personal truth … instead of someone else’s. And that would be warts and all.

Are you ready to use your business to define your core values – and share your own personal integrity? And, as Teal would have it, to share your love for others?

This is how great businesses get made. Not through tactics, trickery or smooth talking hype. But simply by sharing who YOU are … in all of your deep, rich, abundance.

There is much more to uncover here, friends. We have only just begun.

 

Confessions of a (Reformed) Internet Markteter

woman-looking-in-mirror2There comes a moment in every person’s life when they can run away from who they have become. And they can head straight back to who they actually are.

For some of us this shows up as leaving a marriage, a job, or a home. For others, it may be as radical as a new kind of work or moving across the country.

We can either fight this stream of life out of fear and discomfort … or we can go with it. I am here to say that going with it is not only worth it. Such surrender is the road back to happiness.

And so I am learning to let go of an old way of being in my business.

My work, my calling, my career has been the very backbone of my life since I was a pre-teen. It’s been the centerpiece of my identity. Even as a child I wanted nothing more than to work hard, and take the raw talents I was given and make something of them. I was driven by a sense of destiny – as if God was speaking to me directly each step of the way.

And yet, often God couldn’t get a word in edgewise because the taskmaster in my head was far louder. “Com on … be forceful!” it said. “Bulldoze your way through it, Susie! You can do it!”

And so I built my career as a self-help author, and then as an Internet marketing consultant, step by demanding step. I studied technique after technique for getting returns. I learned how to conduct sales calls that converted, and how to structure email campaigns to build my list like magic.

I made mistakes, took risks, and spent hours and hours in my office or on the road, often at the neglect of my family. I drove myself relentlessly, always dangling a carrot ahead that promised some kind of peace and fulfillment. If only I was just a little bit better, and my business just a little bit prosperous … then I imagined I’d finally get it right.

And then maybe I’d give myself a break.

It was not always like this. Early in the days of my original site, Howmuchjoy.com, I was able to hear God in my ear all the time. Then my work was joyous, fun and filled with light. Magically, I created a 25,000 person list in just a year. I faithfully published my ezine The Joy Letter, simply by writing what I was moved to by Spirit. And I got emails from readers who poured out the hearts to me, page after page. It felt effortless.

Then I didn’t know you could make money from an ezine, or that you could create online training systems or sell CD programs online. I just wanted to give, out of love for the work I was creating – and for the women I was mysteriously reaching all over the world.

That clean, pure desire shifted over time as the money found me. And so I became a strategic marketer who listened less to God and more to the ‘experts’. Over time those who read my work became more like names on a list, less like women who felt the way I did. I seldom heard from them any more.

My list ebbed and flowed, and I began to work with fewer and fewer people at higher and higher prices. I became part of the rah-rah team of Internet marketers who knew how to wave a flag and mobilize a following. And I felt empty.

I knew I provided value … but some little piece of my heart was no longer engaged. Me and that thinking brain of mine were firmly in charge at this point, not God. Something had to change.

And so the last three years I have been unraveling, slowly at first with my Spiritual Marketing Quest work, and far faster now.

In fact, now I’m nothing more than a baby in the arms of God. It’s just me, and my desire to share this tender new work I’m receiving. I’ve completely surrendered to where this will take me or what this will become.

I have ideas … a book, most likely, and maybe a healing practice. But I have no strategic plan. Instead, I remain in flow. I grieve. I think about nice freebies I can give people. And I wait for God to show me what to do.

Money trickles in each month – enough to keep me at just the simple, sweet place I am in right now. Meanwhile Internet marketing friends still contact me to support their campaigns; I get frothed up emails ranking colleagues in how ‘responsive’ their lists are, and I am repelled.

I find I am categorically incapable of doing business the old way; it seems so harsh and opportunistic. I want to shake these marketers by the shoulders and say, ‘Your readers are people! Your colleagues are people! Please treat us all with love and respect. Please remember who we are! We do not want to push your program so we can win an iPad or a tropical vacation!’

But I don’t snap back at anyone. Can’t really. Because along with Teal, I also categorically lost my bitch. The bulldozer has been laid to rest.

So now, instead, of pushing, selling and cajoling, instead of seeing my list as a commodity, Spirit is asking me to try a whole new marketing plan. This one is about sharing from the heart and receiving what comes. Meanwhile, I am to remain still and quiet, share what I observe, and simply take care of myself.

It is in this deepening vulnerability that I am finding my true sweet spot as a business owner.

Just like an artichoke, this is the tender flesh behind all the prickly barriers that is so succulent and rich. It melts in the mouth of those who can find it. And it is this heart of gold all of us long to share with the world.

Sometimes it’s frightening to be so exposed. But I know from reading your comments on my posts that it’s working. And so I keep on going, word by word, teardrop by teardrop, lesson by lesson. And I feel alive, whole and free.

Thank you for being in the game with me. You are my partners, my cohorts, my divine playmates. Thank you for feeling my work … and for sharing it when you are moved to.

Quite simply … I love you.