Since I’m going to be writing more frequently on this blog I thought it would be nice to write, by way of introduction, about what drew me to the 7 Graces and what qualifies me to be Co-director of the 7 Graces Project CIC.
First of all, as regular readers will no doubt be aware, Lynn and I are friends. We’ve known each other since the end of 2007 when we met in Spain on the Leadership Programme run by the Coaches Training Institute (CTI). Like Lynn, I came to that programme because I had gone through CTI’s coach training programme. But in many ways, that is where our similarities end. Lynn and I are very different people, with very different styles and very different backgrounds.
And therein – within our differences – lies our strength as Co-directors. Working together so closely over the past 18 months we have learned that our styles and personalities really do complement each other. While Lynn provides the creativity and the ideas, I create the space and the pace. This balance ensures that there are plenty of ideas floating around for developing the project and no idea is allowed to happen at the wrong time, in the wrong way overwhelming us or the project.
And here’s a secret about me: I absolutely hate, hate, HATE sales and marketing! My tolerance for it is so low that I will walk out of a shop if a shop assistant comes over and asks if I would like some help. I can’t get off the phone quickly enough if someone cold calls me and I will be downright rude if I need to be. In fact, if someone were to knock on my door offering me an amazing deal on something I was actively looking for at the time, I wouldn’t buy from them – on principle. And I can’t bear the manipulation of charity ads on TV (you know the ones where they show a picture of a cute but quite possibly sick African child with big eyes and ask ‘Do you care enough to help?’). To say I’m allergic to being sold to is a huge understatement.
All of which kind of begs the question:
What the hell am I doing co-directing a social enterprise that’s all about ‘marketing’ even if it IS ‘ethical marketing’?
Believe me, I’m as surprised as you are! I don’t even have a business background. I come from the world of health and social care. My degree is in nursing people with learning disabilities. I have a coaching qualification and massage qualifications. For years I worked for charities in user involvement (that is, supporting people who use government-run services such as health and social services to have a say in how those services are run). Nothing whatsoever in my background would suggest that THIS is where I would end up.
So why am I here? Well, as my background no doubt suggests, I care about people. And my vision for the 7 Graces doesn’t so much lie in how it can revolutionise marketing and business (although that does form part of it) but in how the principles of the 7 Graces can have an effect on community, society and humanity – on human relations.
There is inequity in the world – inequity between the developed and the developing worlds, certainly, but also within developed countries like the UK, the US and European countries. The gap between the wealthiest and the poorest is growing – and the power lies with the wealthiest.
Before I started working with Lynn, I had been unemployed for some time. In fact, I’d been out of the job market since just before the economic crash in 2007. At first, it was by choice; but later it was because I simply could not get a job. I was looking for work in the charity sector here in the UK. But the charity sector had been very badly hit by government cuts, so jobs there were not only fewer and further between, but there were also more people competing for those jobs. This meant, in my view, that charities didn’t have to take risks; they could hire someone with vast amounts of recent experience rather than someone like me, who had been out of the job market for some time.
Throughout the last UK election campaign, I lost count of the number of times I heard David Cameron (then the leader of the Conservative Party, now the Prime Minister) and others in his party, talk about how important it was that people ‘Do the Right Thing’. This really rankled as it was more often than not ‘Do the right thing and get a job.’ The thing is, David Cameron wasn’t actually saying ‘Do the right thing,’ what he was really saying was ‘Do what I TELL you is the right thing’. Now, first of all I resent being told by a politician what qualifies as ‘doing the right thing’. And second of all, I was trying to ‘do the right thing’ – I was trying to get a job. But the truth was that there weren’t any jobs to be had.
I felt that highly quotable campaign slogan to be deeply patronising. It implied that I didn’t know what the right thing was, and that I needed to be told. It felt highly judgemental and implied that, by not having or not being able to get a job, I was actually doing the ‘wrong thing’.
So what does this have to do with my vision for the 7 Graces Project? Well, it’s just one example of how the ever-widening gulf between those who have money and power and those who don’t has a huge impact on how we see each other and, therefore, how we behave towards one another.
The mantra ‘Do the Right Thing’ makes people ‘wrong’ for not doing what is proscribed as ‘the right thing’, i.e. having a job, having enough money to feed your children. It makes those people feel resentful towards those who have the ‘approval’ of the government, i.e. the people lucky enough to have jobs, enough money, no debt, etc.
On the other hand, it gives justification to those people who do have jobs and complain about what they label as ‘benefit scroungers’: the single mothers having yet another baby just to push them up the council housing list, illegal immigrants, or even legal migrants coming over from Bulgaria and Romania who ‘take our jobs, take our benefits, use our free healthcare, etc. It all adds fuel to the fire. Inevitably, it creates a whole sector of society that feels disenfranchised, helpless, disempowered – and ANGRY – and they are pitted against another faction who have jobs and who resent that their hard-earned taxes are being used to support these ‘lazy scroungers’.
And from there, it’s not such a huge leap to community tensions, unrest and… what? Revolution? War? I don’t know. Admittedly, I’m taking this to an extreme to make my point, and I’m also talking specifically about the UK; but this plays out on larger scenes as well (Christians/Muslims, rich/poor, young/old, black/white).
But, if you make someone wrong then you automatically make someone else right and this merely makes both sides aware of their differences rather than their similarities. It allows us to define the other side by that which makes them inherently ‘wrong’ in our eyes and then all we can see are ‘problems’ rather than ‘humans’. Inflame that with financial inequity, power inequity and you have a recipe for disaster. It then becomes easy to attack, invade or blow up a problem. That’s far easier than blowing up a human being. Seeing things in black-and-white is divisive and it makes it harder for us to see the human-ness in others.
And that is why I care so much about the 7 Graces. For me, it’s about seeing the humanity in everyone. It’s about (re)humanising people by highlighting and celebrating our sameness as well as our differences. It’s about taking down barriers between us rather than building them. It’s about letting everyone who is able find their own way without judging whether it’s right or wrong and helping those who are lost to find their way again.
Perhaps if we start with marketing, then – just maybe – it could truly heal humanity as Lynn claims in the title of her book.
What do YOU think? Let me hear from you in the comments below.
14th February 2014
Nancy V Goodyear is business mentor & life coach who loves to help social entrepreneurs and small business owners get focused and organised. With a BA (Hons) in Learning Disability Nursing, she has extensive professional experience working in health & social care within the non-profit sector. She is fluent in French, having lived in France for some time, and is a graduate of the Coaches Training Institute and the Co-Active Leadership programme. Nancy is also Co-Director of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a non-profit social enterprise that provides training and mentorship in ethical marketing to independent business owners, social entrepreneurs and change-making corporates. She works closely with 7 Graces Founder Lynn Serafinn to develop training and consultancy packages for business owners seeking to build and develop their marketing platform ethically. Her over-riding aim in all her work is to help others reconnect to who they and to their business. http://nancyvgoodyear.com
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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
The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging: An Effective, Creative & Ethical Way of Marketing for Visionaries & New Paradigm Business Leaders. To receive an update when that book is available, just click here. As a thank-you gift for showing your interest, you’ll get instant access to an exclusive, free 5-page PDF revealing the exact same blogging template we use with our clients and we teach to participants on the ethical marketing training courses at the 7 Graces Project.
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)