I’ve been studying an aspect of marketing recently. So I’m in a learning mode and curious to soak up what people have to say.
An opportunity to learn appears, and moments later, I’m offering my email in return for a few videos. I start watching the first one, eager to feel connected to the topic, the speaker, and more clear about my own marketing plans.
After watching for a few minutes, I start feeling disconnected. I notice I’m judging the speaker in the video. I’m making him wrong for what I believe is a fake “personality” he’s acting out behind the camera. Now I don’t want to ignore that line of thinking, but it feels like I’m hiding something from myself. After all, judging someone that I don’t know has never really helped me in any way.
Perhaps my judgement is a boundary I’m up against in myself. A boundary that goes something like: if I were to behave like this speaker is behaving, then I would feel inauthentic. Fair enough. That’s about me then, not him.
What else is going on here?
I’m aware of a choice I have: Should I take his advice? Should I keep watching?
My original intention was to learn, not to judge how somebody is presenting themselves. I feel the paradox inside me that includes both possibilities…
I should listen to him because…
- He has credentials based on financial success (i.e. authority)
- Someone else I’ve been learning from said his insight is valuable (i.e. social proof)
However, I’m having a hard time listening to him because he says things like:
- “Business is all about money”
- And “engaging people on your list isn’t about warm and fuzzy stuff, it’s about generating revenue”
In making my choice to consider his advice, I have a moment where I basically say to myself, “okay, if I could put aside my judgment, isn’t it possible there’s some interesting tidbits I could learn from him?”
That buys me about 45 seconds—then I’m back to wondering why I feel so off-balance.
Here’s my assessment of situations like this, which have happened to me multiple times.
When I seek out insight/advice from an expert, sometimes I’m beginning that virtual relationship with an assumption that sounds like: “this person has achieved more financial success than me, so they are more wise than me. I should shut up and listen to whatever they say.”
With that, I become small and the man in the video becomes big. I start telling the voices in me (the ones that have their own insights to share with me) to stay quiet. I start replacing my own “knowing” with his authority.
No wonder I would try taking him down with my judgement—I’m trying to even the scales! (even though I built those scales in the first place : )
My first role in this world was more like an artist than a businessman.
I used to draw as a child and continued this practice through high school, college, and beyond. In our society, the archetype of the artist can be seen as dangerous because they place expression and creativity over financial well-being and doing the dishes. Dangerous because an artist is hard to predict, hard to control, hard to support, and hard to understand (which, as a generalization, is not always true)—therefore, hard to believe in.
But if I’m being honest with myself, it’s precisely that artist part of me that’s saying, “there’s so much you already know. You’ve digested enough information already. It’s time to put that information aside now and create. It’s time to trust that, if it’s right for you, what you’ve taken in will find it’s way back to you.”
When I think about my marketing plans, I do care about money as a long-term outcome. But I also care about human connection—deeply. It’s not okay for me to have one without the other—I want both.
When I take an expert’s advice word-for-word without staying present to my own knowing, I’m disconnecting from myself—from what I know to be right and true for me. When I’m disconnected from myself, I’m less able to connect with others.
I’m not saying to ignore experts. I’m saying take every expert’s advice and insight with a grain of salt (including mine).
Trust your intuition, your gut, whatever you want to call it—that thing that reminds you of what you stand for that can’t be compromised—that part wants to be included in the decisions you make about your marketing.
Trust yourself for the decision to use one social media platform or another, the decision to speak in public next month or not, the decision to send fifty emails this week or just five, the decision to keep watching the video of the marketing expert who may or may not have something of value for you—or turn it off.
Your choice in the matter is paramount. Your voice in the matter is crucial. And your “inner knowing” will tell you when to tune in and when to redirect your attention.
It begins with listening. What is your “inner knowing” saying right now—what about this article feels true for you and what does not? And what does that tell you?