This month, I’ve been hard at work on my upcoming book, The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging. While I wanted to make this book a rigorous and practical hands-on manual, I also wanted to frame it within the context of the 7 Graces paradigm for ethical business and marketing.
I strongly believe blogging is an incredibly powerful and effective form of new-paradigm marketing – when it is done mindfully and strategically. So, to bring that mindfulness into the book, before I dive into the practical ‘how to’ of blogging, I start off by looking at the one of the tools I use in the 7 Graces model – the ‘7 Key Relationships’:
1. Our Relationship with Self
2. Our Relationship with Source
3. Our Relationship with Others
4. Our Relationship with Our Business
5. Our Relationship with Our Audience
6. Our Relationship with Money
7. Our Relationship with Marketing
These relationships impact every aspect of the way we conduct our businesses. As blogging is such a powerful and transparent form of modern communication, our blogging cannot help but become an outward expression of all of these relationships. This is why I felt it so important to start the book with an exploration of these 7 Key Relationships.
While all of these relationships are influential, one in particular is the foundation of every other relationship we will ever experience in life – our relationship with Self. So today, I thought I’d share a few things from the book on that topic.
Personality, Behaviour, Blogging and Self
Everything we do – in business and in life – begins with our relationship with Self. When I say ‘Self’ (with an uppercase ‘S’), I’m referring to something higher, deeper and more permanent than our day-to-day, transient notions of self. If our relationship with Self is based on variable factors, such as our physical appearance, our occupation or our socioeconomic status, it makes us slaves to our environment and vulnerable to the inevitable changes that occur with the passage of time.
Surely, when we operate businesses or express ourselves through blogging or another medium from this kind of relationship with Self, we are going to be guarded, mistrustful and lacking in openness. We could be more concerned with being liked and accepted by others than with our own integrity or goals. We are also less likely to take risks or try new things in our businesses for fear of loss or ‘failure’ (i.e., getting it ‘wrong’ in the eyes of others).
A blogger with this kind of relationship with Self is likely to create content that is distant, derivative and fact driven, with little personality, originality or opinion. Or that blogger might use a lot of flowery words or jokes to give the appearance of being open while in fact hiding behind them. They might also use their brand name as a kind of shield to hide behind, rather than ‘show up’ as an individual. While brand identity is normally a good thing in marketing, it is important to recognise when we might be using it as a way of distancing ourselves from our audiences and avoiding being seen as human beings. And lastly, this kind of blogger is likely to blog solely because ‘it’s something they have to do’ rather than something they enjoy doing.
(Of course, that doesn’t mean that everyone who doesn’t enjoy blogging has a weak sense of Self! Some people simply don’t like it.)
On the other hand, if our relationship with Self does not suffer with the inevitable fluctuations of time and circumstance, we develop a powerful inner sense of security. This security will not only make us more honest, trusting and open, it will also make us more adventurous, innovative and self-expressive. In the longer term, it will also make us more generous, passionate and desirous to contribute and ‘give back’ to the world. In turn, blog content produced by someone with a strong relationship with Self will be more present, personable, ideas driven, original, creative, adventurous, innovative, self-expressive, generous, passionate and – ultimately – helpful to their audience.
What is equally important to understand is that our relationship with Self is also the mirror for all our other relationships. In other words, the more guarded, mistrustful and closed we are in our own communication, the less other people will know us, believe in us or trust us. Conversely, the more honest, trusting and open we are, the more people will know us, believe in us and trust us.
Exploring Our Relationship with Self
What all this adds up to is this: if we hope to become successful bloggers, the very first thing on our ‘to do’ lists must be to examine our relationships with Self. This doesn’t require expensive life-coaching sessions, but it does require a little self-honesty and a bit of structure. To help you with that, I’ve laid out what I’ve discussed so far in two tables showing how our relationship with Self can show up in:
1) Our personality and behaviour AND
2) Our blogging
|How Our Relationship with Self
Can Show Up in Our PERSONALITY and BEHAVIOUR
|WEAK Relationship with Self||STRONG Relationship with Self|
|Our identity can fluctuate when we experience changes in physical appearance, occupation or socioeconomic status||We have a strong sense of inner security; at the level of identity, we do not feel threatened by changes to our physical appearance, occupation or socioeconomic status|
|We feel guarded, mistrustful||We are prone to being honest and trusting of others|
|We find it difficult to be open with others or to express what we think and feel||We find it easy to be open and to express our thoughts and feelings|
|We are afraid to take risks (including financial) or try new things in our businesses||We are naturally adventurous and innovative in our businesses|
|We fear loss, failure or ‘getting it wrong’||We are not reckless, but we are also not afraid to be generous or to invest in new projects|
|We allow our desire/need to be popular, liked or accepted by others to influence our lives and business directions.||We are passionate about what we do and have a strong desire to contribute to society and the planet (not just to make a profit)|
|How Our Relationship with Self
Can Show Up in Our BLOGGING
|WEAK Relationship with Self||STRONG Relationship with Self|
|Distant, evasive or formal style communication||Present, affable, personal, open style of communication|
|Fact driven, derivative or lacking originality; doesn’t stand out from the pack||Adventurous, innovative and original; our content is imminently valuable, useful and helpful to our audience|
|Done because it has to be done, rather than from an inner need to communicate with our audience||Generous with time, advice, information and attitude|
|Rarely taking a stance or expressing an opinion||Honest, expressive and passionate|
|Uses flowery words or jokes as an evasive smokescreen||Our readers find it easy to know us, believe in us and trust us|
|Impersonal or speaking in the voice of the company rather than our own||While our readers may know our ‘brands’, they also feel they know us as people|
CHALLENGE for You: Explore Your Relationship with Self
The ideas in this article have been extracted from the opening of my upcoming book The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging.The book really does serve a practical, technical and strategic manual for business owners who want to use blogging to create a strong, sustainable and ethical marketing platform online.
But like any business strategy, unless we take some time to explore and incorporate the essence of the company – OURSELVES – into our plans and visions, we are likely to go off course, become inauthentic or end up feeling that something is seriously ‘out of synch’ with who we truly are. This is why, even though it might be very tempting to dive right into the factual, technical ‘how to’ of blogging immediately, if it’s to become a successful long-term marketing strategy for us, it’s vital we begin the journey by looking at what some would call the ‘soft data’ – such as our relationship with Self.
So, what did you notice as you looked through these lists? Where did you recognise yourself (or… your Self)?
Reflect upon the two tables above and assess your own relationship with Self. How do you think your relationship is impacting the way you run your business? And if you’re already blogging for your business, consider how that relationship is currently showing up in your content. Where is your relationship strongest? Where is it weakest? How do you know? How will you address the areas you feel need improving?
Jot down your reflections, ideas and goals for improvement in a notebook.
1) Share your reflections in the comments below. I’m sure many of you will be relieved to find out that other people feel the same way as you do!
2) Subscribe to this blog for more excerpts and ideas from my upcoming book, The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging.
See you next time,
5th July 2014
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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)