In the 7 Graces model, Disconnection – the first of the 7 Deadly Sins of marketing – is the foundation from which all the other ‘sins’ emerge. By definition, if we are disconnected, we are living and working in isolation with no connection to anyone or anything. When we feel no connection to anyone or anything, all our decisions and actions are determined only by what is in our own best interests and what is right for us alone.
This kind of worldview will inevitably lead to decisions and actions that are damaging to other people, to society or to the planet:
- If I feel no connection to other people, why would I not simply take what I want from them – money, things, support, sex, etc.?
- If I feel no connection to society, why would I not manipulate it for my own ends with no thought for the long-term implications for other people or for humanity as a whole?
- If I feel no connection to the planet, why would I not exploit its natural resources to fit my purposes with no thought for the legacy I’m leaving future generations or the impact it has on the environment?
Essentially, if I feel disconnected from everyone and everything, then nobody and nothing matters to me. I can be as ruthless and selfish as I want, because there are no implications that matter. I get what I want and stuff the rest – it’s nothing to do with me.
The thing is, life isn’t like that. It’s our natural inclination as human beings to feel connected to at least some people and some things. And if you’re a frequent reader of this blog, the likelihood is you are already keenly aware of your connection to humanity, society and the planet.
In addition to the 7 Graces and 7 Deadly Sins of marketing, threaded through the 7 Graces model are 7 Key Relationships that are integral to the notion of ethical marketing and business. These are (your relationship with):
- Your Business
- Your Audience
Today, I want to invite you to take a walk with me on the dark side, to explore how the Deadly Sin of Disconnection can show up in each of these relationships and how this can affect our lives and our businesses.
Disconnection and Your Relationship with Self
This one is a biggie.
If we are disconnected from Self, we don’t know who we are. We don’t know what’s important to us or what we believe in. We don’t know what we care about or even how to take care of ourselves (beyond the universal basics of food, water and shelter). If we have a poorly defined relationship with Self, how can we possibly understand what we think or feel about any of our other relationships? This is why this is the first of the Key Relationships; the journey to awareness always starts with Self.
From a ‘life’ point of view, disconnection from Self is pretty bleak:
- You feel lost, because you haven’t gotten to know who you are.
- You’re probably not taking good care of yourself, because you don’t know what you really need or want.
- You probably have no sense of purpose, because you don’t know what you believe or where you are heading.
But how does disconnection from Self affect us from a business point of view?
- If you are disconnected from your Self, you might be a workaholic with no work/life balance – life feels purposeless and empty, so you focus all your energy into work.
- You might struggle to get your business off the ground, because you are constantly flitting from one business idea to the next – you don’t have a clear sense of what you’re here to do.
To sum up, if we have weak or disconnected relationships with Self, it’s very difficult for us to understand or develop the other six Key Relationships.
Disconnection and Your Relationship with Source
By ‘Source’, I mean the planet and everything on it. To understand more about the 7 Graces definition of Source, I recommend you read this article.
If you feel disconnected from Source:
- You may well feel like you don’t ‘belong’ anywhere.
- You may feel no responsibility for – or control over – what happens in society or to the planet.
- You may not be aware of (or simply not care about) the impact your decisions have on society as a whole, the environment, nature or the planet.
- Ultimately, you may feel small, insignificant and powerless to change or influence things on this large scale. This may leave you thinking, ‘Why bother?’
Disconnection from Source will inevitably also influence how you run your business:
- You will be more likely to focus on the small day-to-day details of running your business than to take time to look beyond this at how those details influence the bigger picture of Source.
- If you don’t feel like you ‘belong’ to the planet, humanity, society or nature, you may feel as though it’s all none of your business; for example, you may feel that environmental issues are not your problem or responsibility.
- You will also see other people – your audience, your clients/customers, your business associates, etc. – as separate from you rather than as part of the same whole. Your feelings of disconnection will be reflected in how you conduct your business, in your marketing decisions and in all your communications. The tone and choice of words addressing someone we see as ‘outside’ us is likely to be more aggressive, colder or even more manipulative than when we feel connected to them at a primal (Source) level.
And that leads us nicely to the next Key Relationship…
Disconnection and Your Relationship with Others
Unless you live the life of a complete hermit, never leaving the house, not owning a phone or a computer, never reading the papers and living entirely self-sufficiently, it is impossible to avoid other people. ‘Others’ includes family and friends, of course, but it also includes also the postman, the person behind the till at the supermarket, the person on the other end of the phone who cold-called to try to sell you double glazing, the person you sit next to on the bus.
When you are disconnected from others, you’re unlikely to be interested in what they think, feel or say, preferring your own stories and experiences. You might be perceived as aloof or self-absorbed, because you don’t see the relevance of others to you and your life, apart from how they can serve your own wants. Your interactions with other people may be unsatisfactory to you and to them, as you give nothing of yourself and see nothing of interest in them.
We’ve all had those days when we got up on the wrong side of bed, when everything and everyone is irritating to us and we want to be anywhere other than where we are. On those days, if we go into a shop, we don’t look at the person serving us (never mind going for eye contact!). We don’t smile, and we say as little as we can get away. Then we leave, often hating ourselves and them, bemoaning the poor customer service we’ve just received. And on those days, that bad service probably had absolutely nothing to do with the poor person on the till and everything to do with our own feelings of disconnection!
In business, disconnection from other people can have serious consequences. Our businesses are dependent upon others, whether they be customers, clients, colleagues, employees or service providers. If we feel no connection to them, we might see them as interchangeable and not take the trouble to find the right people for us. Or we might not care about all the niceties of human relationships and create a bad-tempered, stressful and unhappy working environment. When we neglect our relationships with other people – in life or in business – the world becomes a dark and unfriendly place.
If we do somehow manage to bypass our disconnection and muster the energy to look at the person serving us in the shop, we might find a friendly smile and a kind word that lifts us out of our mood just a little bit.
Disconnection and Your Relationship with Your Business
If you have your own business, you inevitably have a relationship with it; and like all relationships, it has its ups and downs. Sometimes you love your business and are deeply inspired by the work you do. Those are the days you feel connected to it. But other days, you just don’t feel that connection at all. You wonder why you started it, you wonder why you pour all these endless hours into it, sometimes for very little reward, and you wonder why you don’t just give it all up and go and get a ‘proper job’.
When you feel like this about your business, it’s not going to get your best attention – the attention it deserves and needs to thrive. And, again like all relationships, if you neglect your relationship with your business, it’s not going to give you what you need in return.
Sometimes disconnection can arise when:
- Your business is not in alignment with your own values, passion and purpose.
- You’ve changed, but your business (which may have been right for you in the past) hasn’t kept up with you.
- You’ve been working on this business a long time and you’re simply bored with it.
- You’re not reaping the rewards you had anticipated and feel fed up with slogging your guts out without proper recompense.
Whatever the reason, when you have a disconnected relationship with your business, you feel like work is no longer as fun and inspiring as it used to be (if it ever was).
Disconnection and Your Relationship with Your Audience
Your audience includes your past, current and potential clients and customers. When you have a disconnected relationship with these people, they are unlikely to hire you or buy from you. Of course, this will cause your business to stagnate, falter and ultimately fail.
Unless you know who your audience is, what they are seeking and how you provide this for them, there is simply no way to communicate with them effectively.
When you are disconnected from your audience:
- You might not know whom you are putting all this effort into your business for.
- You might feel resentful, because you are constantly attracting the wrong clients (or no clients at all!).
- You might feel that your audience is stupid, because they ‘just don’t get what we do!’
Disconnection from your audience is the kiss of death for business owners; after all, a business without customers is no business at all!
Disconnection and Your Relationship with Money
This is another big one. We all have to handle money; it’s pretty hard to live without it these days. One of the main reasons for being in business is to make at least a modest living. To do this, all you really need is a decent income that exceeds what you spend on the running of your business. But in spite of that simple equation, many of us have difficult and complicated feelings about money that can get in the way of us achieving it.
If you feel disconnected from money:
- You might try to convince yourself you don’t need it.
- You might feel you don’t have enough of it.
- You might feel you deserve so much more than what you have.
- Conversely, you might feel you have more than you deserve.
- You might hate the fact that you need money.
- You might be afraid of not having enough, or that money will dry up altogether and you will become destitute.
- You might do everything you can to avoid asking people (i.e., your clients and customers) for money and, as a result, either not get paid for your work or not get paid enough.
Our relationship with money might well be one of the most commonly disconnected Key Relationships of all. When we have a disconnected relationship with money, there is no way we can run a truly successful business.
Disconnection and Your Relationship with Marketing
Finally, we must consider our relationship with marketing. We live in a world where we are constantly being marketed to and, even if we’re not in business, we are constantly marketing ourselves. Whether we’re talking about Facebook or the dreaded dating-site profile, it’s all a form of marketing in that we are telling people why they should be interested in us.
Marketing is about communication: communicating to others what we have to offer (either as people or as businesses). If we are disconnected from that communication, it will be very difficult to find a balance between beating people over the head with a shouty hard sell full of hype and exclamation marks (‘BUY NOW!!!! This is AMAZING!!!!’) and something more balanced, respectful and informative.
If we have a disconnected relationship with marketing:
- We may not be aware of when we are being manipulated by marketers into buying something we don’t want or need.
- We might believe that shouting at people and deceiving them is the only way to get people to notice us.
- We might alienate our audiences by employing some (or all) of the 7 Deadly Sins in our marketing campaigns.
As business owners, understanding our relationship with marketing is crucial to our success because not only are we being constantly marketed at but we also need to do marketing of our own. If we feel disconnected from our marketing, how can we know whether or not it sits easily with the image and values we want to portray about our Self and our business?
While writing this article, I could feel how gloomy the topic of Disconnection is. This is because Disconnection is within the ‘shadow side’ of our Key Relationships. I noticed how much I wanted to make it better for you and even started writing tips on how to reconnect to each relationship. However, I made a conscious decision not to do that – to leave you in the shadow. This is because I believe it’s important that we spend a little while there from time to time: examining it, exploring it and playing in it. This way, we can come to understand what we don’t want, and what works and doesn’t work in our relationships.
Instead of leaving this article all nice and tidy, I invite you to get down and dirty in the shadows. Allow yourself some time to really wallow in the gloom of Disconnection. See what it feels like, and observe how it changes your perspective on your Key Relationships.
And don’t worry about getting stuck there. I know that when you allow yourself to dive down and really dig around in the depths, you will naturally bob back up to the surface of the water and into the sunlight in your own time.
And when you do, that sunlight will seem so much brighter and stronger and warmer.
I therefore make no apologies for leaving you in the gloom and am, instead, really excited to know what you discover down there. Please let me know by leaving a comment.
And, of course, if you’d like to learn more about the 7 Deadly Sins AND the 7 Graces of Marketing, I hope you’ll consider coming onto our 7 Graces Foundations of Ethical Marketing course, where we explore both the light and shadow of marketing, and how to use this awareness to create a more ethical, sustainable and satisfying way to run your business. To listen to the replay of a free information call about our Foundations course, just CLICK HERE.
30 September 2014
Nancy V Goodyear is a Business Mentor and Coach who loves to help social entrepreneurs and small business owners cultivate their relationship with self, their business and their audience. 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. She is a graduate of the Coaches Training Institute and the Co-Active Leadership programme. She is also a director of The 7 Graces Project CIC.
Like this blog?
Then please subscribe using the form at the upper right side of this page, so you can receive our articles to your inbox.
You can help subsidise ethical marketing training courses for young social entrepreneurs in need. Just subscribe to the blog on Amazon for 99 cents a month (77p UK), and you’ll receive all our articles delivered directly to your Kindle device. All profits go to our 7 Graces Scholarship Fund. You can take a 14-day free trial before you decide. You’ll get a new article 2 or 3 times per week. Check it out at Amazon US or Amazon UK.
Looking for a Tribe?
Come join our 7 Graces group on Facebook, and join us at our monthly meetings. They’re free to attend and we have them both in person and online, so you can participate from anywhere in the world. This is NOT a “business group” but an active community where people actually know and support each other.
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.