A Personal Story About Getting Lost in the Online Marketing Jungle
About 3 years ago I turned 40 and had my ‘mid-life unraveling’ as Brené Brown likes to call it.
I did some personal work with a therapist and remember this one particular session where, in tears, I told her:
It’s so damn hard to be different!
If I had to summarize my experience in business in one word, then ‘different’ would be it.
And this fear held me hostage for many years…
Out of fear of being different or being rejected I changed who I was, tried to be like everyone else, just to fit in.
I started to wear a mask.
And with that mask on, I was so adaptable: I blindly followed advice of all the big marketing gurus out there.
I tried a little bit of everything.
They told me to sell on webinars, then that’s what I did, applying their advice of using urgency and fear of missing out (feeling like such a fraud while reading that script).
They told me that they made millions on their latest launch, so I bought their ‘launch-system’ (but never actually implemented it because I just could not bring myself to schedule 4 ‘cart-closing’ emails).
They told me they made millions (different guru, same message) with Facebook ads, so I hired a coach to help me with Facebook ads and created a funnel (I’ll let you figure out how that one ended…).
They told me to scale, to hustle, to go big or go home …
And the only thing that kept me going was the protection and safety to hide behind my mask.
Because without it I was completely lost.
Without it I felt a deep existential anxiety, a feeling that gave me hot flashes, knots in my stomach and kept me up at night.
But something happened on that ugly therapist chair.
That moment, sitting on the leather arm chair in my therapist’s office a seed was planted.
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I was ready to come full circle – and do marketing my way
Love and kindness and values of community and fairness were ingrained into my psyche from day one.
You see, I grew up in a peace & love environment called the Colombina, a community living experience co-owned by my parents and their friends. It was normal to me, but abnormal to everyone else.
I was taught early on that I was very privileged to be born in a society that has everything and that this privilege came with a responsibility: take care of our world and take care of those who are not as privileged as me.
Over the past 12 years I have coached and mentored entrepreneurs and business owners, helped them get clarity and outside of the box thinking to achieve their marketing and business goals. I’ve lost track of my authenticity countless times in an effort to blend in, to belong, to succeed.
But that day, I came to realize that I no longer wanted to follow everyone else’s model – EVEN IF it worked to some extent. I was ready to take the risk and give myself permission to do business and marketing my way – EVEN IF that meant that I’d fail the first few times.
I know my story is not unique
I have talked to many entrepreneurs and therefore know that my story is not unique. I know of soo many heart-centered entrepreneurs who are struggling with marketing because they want to share their gifts with the world, to make the world a better place, but the only examples they see when it comes to marketing are the loud, aggressive & manipulative strategies.
Together we can re-invent marketing
Just like my parents created a new way of living together, of raising children in a community, we can do this together as well. We help each other to find our way back to human-centric marketing that makes us and our clients feel good.
I don’t have all the answers.
In fact, I’m still and always will be learning along the way. And catching myself when using phrases that include FOMO (fear of missing out) or false emergency. Over 10 years of the old marketing training does that to you. It really messes with your brain.
I have changed though. And so has my marketing. I’m showing up fully, quirks and everything. I’m being Sarah. Whether people like it or not.
And guess what. My kind of people like how I show up ☺
And it’s not only in my business I’m seeing the results of this transformation.
I feel less stressed, I sleep better and I make time for the things that truly matter to me, like yoga, nature walks and time with my family.
You can be gentle AND have a thriving business!
Thanks for reading !
This is an extract from the Gentle Business Manifesto.
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