Undiscerning implementation of "do as I say" strategies creates misalignment between your Truth and your action, which is the root cause of your time and money drains.
Following the "tried-and-true" is definitely a great way to get up and running – you do not have to reinvent the wheel at every turn, saving a lot of time, energy and guesswork.
But after mastering the basics and the mechanics, following those blueprints and templates to a T can make you feel like a round peg in a square hole.
The thrill of learning the skills and seeing preliminary results has subsided. The mechanics of it has turned into a chore. Worst of all, you look like everyone else.
You want more than just going through the motion.
You may start to question – is doing everything by the book going to take me where I really want to be? Am I fully living my own expression, purpose and value?
Or have I traded one job for another that gives me the illusion of freedom but in reality, I am still stuck in some kind of a box?
You are putting in the work, but your business is not growing as expected (or "as advertised.") Maybe you lost the FIRE – that inspiration that got it all started.
You feel overwhelmed by the never-ending to-do list that keeps growing because everything seems important but nothing feels "right on" so you got stuck in limbo.
You chase your tail on the hamster wheel and spend a lot of money on bright shiny objects under the illusion that some $ 297 program will give you the magic bullet … just one more, maybe this one is different and will help me break out of the box.
You have a bunch of letters behind your name, and a ton of awesome ideas swirling in your head, but your "elevator pitch" sounds (and tastes) like canned alphabet soup and your offers look just like everyone else's.
That's the predicament of being a multi-talented, creative and aspiring trailblazer – to discern when to follow the "tried-and-true" materials (because reinventing the wheel is often stupid) and when to break out of the box, trust your guts and follow your own creativity.
I have struggled with striking that balance, walking that fine line. Often times, I asked myself at every turn, faced my own doubts and fears, and often second-guessed if I was crazy.
Have I Found the Solution to Breaking the Rules Without Being Stupid?
Haha, there is no magic bullet!
There are many who talk a good game about not doing cookie-cutter, but their "solutions" often involve yet another set of process that falls into the cookie-cutter category.
I can not say I got it all figured out, but I think I am getting close …
Solving a problem from the same level as the problem does not give you a way out. Solving the cookie-cutter strategies / tactics dilemma from the strategies / tactics level can be futile.
So let's zoom out, take it to a level above the day-to-day and look at what's behind it all. A little meta, if you will.
I have flipped my brain inside out to figure out the process I innately go through with my clients to help them nail their message and find their full expression through their business:
The Immutable + The Principles + The Thought Process
= YOUR Profitable Personality-Driven Business
New technologies, new platforms, new strategies and new ideas crop up everyday. How do you decide what to pursue? (Other people, with their own agenda, telling you that you have to "get on it, is not a good gauge.)
We know if we hop from one bright shiny object to another, we will probably run in circles and get nowhere. But if we do not adapt to the changing business and marketing landscape, we are likely to get left behind.
Instead of looking at the constantly changing strategies and tactics – the outward expression of certain things based on the environment (sounds reactive, does not it?), Let's take a step back and look at the two indispensable components (aka the "certain things ") of YOUR equation:
Alignment + Human Psychology
At the end of the day, a business transaction involves two parties – you and your clients / customers. We want to make both sides happy, that's just good business.
Alignment addresses YOU, and Human Psychology addresses your clients. Now we have both parties' needs accounted for.
The foundation of aligned action starts with getting clarity on your big "Why, What, Who and How."
When you get clear on what drives you, step up to own your superpowers, and line up your thoughts and actions with the meaning you want to create – you have gotten yourself an unwavering guidance system to help navigate your entrepreneurial journey and act in alignment with your Truth.
It's much easier to BE who you are in your business, and speak to those who resonate with you and can be inspired by the way you roll, than to change who you are to cater to a (sometimes randomly defined) set of people.
A business that reflects your personality and superpowers stands out. The unique positioning makes competition a non-issue and allows you to charge a premium price.
Human Psychology and Behavior
Now we look at the other side of the business dance – your clients / customers.
Thank goodness they are human beings just like you – it makes tapping into their emotions much easier.
People buy with emotions, and from those they connect with and trust. To establish that connection, you have to understand how they think – hence, their psychology.
If you look at a variety of successful business and marketing strategies, the one thing they have in common is tapping into certain human psychological needs and drives.
They elicit / trigger certain psychological needs and drives that turn potential buyers into buyers.
When you know what feelings and emotions you want to elicit (eg safe, relieved, inspired, motivated), and you know how to make your ideal clients feel that way – you can tap into the core of "what makes them buy."
You have to say the right things to the right people – communication is an art, and there is no cookie-cutter, cut-and-paste way to do it.
With this understanding of your audience, you can select the strategies and tactics to create that certain emotional response in Your ideal clients.
Now we get to those "tried-and-true" blueprints, systems and what-not's. Good news, you do not have to toss them out the window.
We have to learn the rules before we break them. The parameters give us something to "react" to, or build from, so we are not starting from scratch every time.
It's kind of like a design project … At the beginning of every project, there is a "program" detailing the requirements and restrictions. It's like the industry best practices you find in the "templates and checkslists." They are good guidelines and rules to be used as starting point but they are not set in stone.
They are man-made; they can be asked and broken to achieve the ultimate intention of the project (equivalent to acting in alignment and meeting the psychology of your niche.)
They are not the absolute truth – they can be adjusted based on circumstances. They are means to an end. Sometimes, rules are made for us to question and break – and in the process, we gain more clarity and grow our conviction.
"Dissect" business and marketing strategies or tactics to understand the guiding principles behind them; learn their rationale and translate them into expressions that are in alignment with what you stand for.
More often than not, at the core of the most successful and timeless strategies or tactics are about tapping into human psychology and behavior. They do not turn obsolete; and overtime, they often evolve into a set of principles that guide actions rather than a prescriptive set of tactics.
The Thought Process
Because you are not a mindless drone executing other people's ideas, you do have to use that noggin of yours.
We go back to your big "Why What Who How" and DISCERN how to act and communicate in alignment with our Truth.
Nothing is set in stone, and that's the beauty of having the space to tap into your creativity.
It is about posing questions, challenging the status quo, and asking "what if."
We need to release the need for certainty and let go of preconception so we can enter into a rigorous and unbiased iterative process that can refine our clarity and open up possibilities.
An iterative process requires an open mind and the willingness to fall flat on our face. It is about having some clarity, take action – and in the process of having to make choices and decisions, you arrive at more clarity and conviction.
It is a journey with no set out in mind (though guided by a big vision), and the final expression is more often than not a pleasant surprise of individual creativity.