A retrospective tour of the evolution of the 7 Graces movement. Today we look at the Grace of Inspiration and how it differs from common pre-conceived notions.
As I mentioned earlier this week, this month marks the 2-year anniversary of the release of the book The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell. I wanted to do something special to celebrate how the 7 Graces went from a seedling concept in January 2010, to a bestselling and award-winning book in 2011-2012, to a thriving movement and social enterprise called the 7 Graces Project CIC (7GP) in 2013. So, I’m writing this 7-part article series to share some of my deeper reflections on the 7 Graces and how they impact our businesses, our marketing and our lives in general.
Last time, we looked at the first of the 7 Graces: the Grace of Connection. If you missed it, you can read that article here.
Today, we move on to the 2nd of the 7 Graces – The Grace of Inspiration.
The Self-sustaining, Universal, Circular System
Back in 2009, I published a semi-autobiographical book called The Garden of the Soul. In it, I used the metaphor of four flowers to represent four principles of life: Giving, Receiving, Becoming and Being. I won’t go into the deep meaning of all of the principles here, but I would like to borrow two of them for the sake of understanding the Grace of Inspiration: ‘Giving’ and ‘Receiving’.
The ‘Principle of Giving’ is an outward movement. It is an action that starts from within you and moves outward into the world. We recognise it easily when we see someone show great generosity – of time, wisdom, money, etc. But as a principle of life, ‘giving’ can also be seen when we express our passion through our work, craft or art. It can be seen when we actively engage in our relationships. It can even been seen in the simple act of breathing, because when we exhale, we are ‘giving’ carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, which is later breathed in by plants and trees. In reality, we are giving at every moment of every day (even in our sleep). However, to master the Principle of Giving there needs to be a mindfulness to our actions.
Conversely, the ‘Principle of Receiving’ is an inward movement. Again, we can recognise it easily when we accept the generosity of others – their time, wisdom, money, etc. But what we don’t often recognise is how the Principle of Receiving feeds us – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. For example, when we listen to a great musical performance – truly allowing it to dive into the core of our being – it feeds our soul and fills us with joy. Even on a physical level, this kind of experience will trigger hormones to make us feel happier and less stressed. Like the Principle of Giving, ‘Receiving’ can been seen in the act of breathing. When we inhale, we are ‘receiving’ oxygen that has been ‘exhaled’ by plants, trees. Like ‘Giving’, we are receiving at every moment of every day. Personally, when I take just a few minutes out of my day to get in touch with the Abundance I am receiving unconditionally at every moment, it sends shivers up my spine.
The Principles of Giving and Receiving cannot be separated from each other any more than the acts of inhaling and exhaling. They are opposite and complementary energies within a self-sustaining, circular system. If you stop the flow of either Giving or Receiving, you stop the flow of the system – just as you would if you suddenly decided to stop breathing (not a good idea!).
To put it in a nutshell, the dynamic between the Principles of Giving and Receiving means that everything in the Universe is feeding that which feeds itself. In other words, if we wish to feel ‘fed’ we need to ‘feed’ the system. If we never feed others, we will eventually starve.
The Universe, our lives and our businesses operate within this flowing system of ‘give and receive’. Many marketers and business gurus focus on the ‘getting’ – getting more clients, making bigger profits, converting more customers and so on. But ‘getting’ is not at all the same thing as ‘Receiving’. When we operate our business or create our marketing campaigns solely with the aim of ‘getting’, we will eventually find ourselves feeling impoverished, because we are not feeding that which feeds us. In the case of business, the ‘system’ includes things like the natural environment, the economy and, of course, people. If we suck the life from any of these components, we might pull in a lot of money – maybe even for many decades – but sooner or later we will dry up the resources that were ‘feeding’ us, and our business will collapse. On top of that, we might be forced to deal with the aftermath of the environmental, economic or human collateral damage we have caused.
Inspiration – The Grace that Breathes Life into the World
The word ‘inspiration’ literally means ‘to breathe life into’. The root ‘spir’ comes from the Latin spiritus, which can refer to ‘breath’, ‘life’ or ‘life spirit’. These concepts are regarded as being non-different.
Many of us think of ‘inspiration’ as a quality. We say something is ‘inspiring’ when it makes us ‘feel’ a certain way. But I believe Inspiration is a conscious act. It is something we do that breathes life into others in some way. It is performed unconditionally with love, and even with a sense of service, because we are aware of the fact that we ourselves are part of this amazing, self-sustaining, Universal circular system. We know that when we breathe life into others, we are feeding the system that feeds us.
Similarly, in business and marketing, the Grace of Inspiration means to feed our audience. It is not simply a matter of using flowery, pretty words in our advertising and web pages. Nor does it involve using sentimental advertisements that manipulate people’s emotions to be unconsciously pre-disposed toward your brand simply because your advert made them ‘feel good’ (something done RAMPANTLY in holiday advertising every December). These strategies do not breathe ‘life’ into your audience, but saccharine.
As new paradigm marketers, when we step into the Grace of Inspiration fully, we embrace every opportunity to breathe life into the world by feeding our audience – with information, insight, great customer service, generosity, courtesy, or anything that nourishes, empowers, enriches and supports them. We will do this with the consciousness that we and our business are part of the system, and that the more we feed that system and help to keep it strong and flowing, the stronger and more flowing our businesses – and our lives – will be.
Coming Up Next Time
I hope this article has given you some food for thought over the next few days. As usual, I look forward to hearing your feedback, so please do leave a comment below.
Next time, I’ll share my reflections on Grace #3 – The Grace of Invitation – which is all about creating a space into which our customers and clients enjoy entering, and how to honour and cultivate the relationship between you. I do hope you’ll subscribe to this blog so you will be sure to receive it.
And if you would like to be ‘fed’ by a truly inspirational group of people, come on over to our ever-growing 7 Graces community on Facebook at http://facebook.com/groups/7GracesGlobalGarden. That way, you’ll also be amongst the first to know about our 7 Graces training courses as they become available in 2014.
Until next time, take care.
13th December 2013
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Find out more about how changing the paradigm can help make the world a better place:
The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell, by Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing.
Brit Writers Awards Finalist
eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues
Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically, by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media.
eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales
Get instant access to a free 90-minute Twitter marketing class at http://tweepelicious.com
LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales. Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors. Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.
(not just for Londoners, as we meet also on Skype)