This Friday’s guest contributor is Joel D Canfield. Joel writes about his family’s experiment with a location-independent life at http://CanfieldOfDreams.com. Because he and his location-independent wife Sue believe everyone should make a great living doing what they love, they mentor and train virtual workers who want to choose where and when they work
Benjamin Franklin was a serial entrepreneur, regularly seeing huge success implementing ideas which others thought were impossible or pointless.
At one point, an acquaintance asked Franklin’s advice about who he should ask for donations for a worthy cause. Franklin replied,
“I advise you to apply to all those whom you know will give something; next, to those whom you are uncertain whether they will give any thing or not, and show them the list of those who have given; and, lastly, do not neglect those who you are sure will give nothing, for in some of them you may be mistaken.”
I’d like to set the record straight about my complete failure to get the real message from that.
Some time ago I wrote a piece saying what great marketing advice that was; start with success, use social proof to enlist further support, leave no stone unturned; the piece was good enough, as far as it went.
It just didn’t go nearly far enough.
Marketing, I thought, is not about persuasion. It’s not so much evangelism as a search-and-rescue mission. Instead of trying to convince unbelievers, search for those who already have the right mindset, and simply need the tools to implement what they already know.
Again, fine, as far as it goes.
But if you’re going to change the world, at some point, you’re going to have to address folks who don’t already see things your way. (If your goal is something less than ‘change the world’, may I respectfully suggest you up your game?)
Ben’s advice is still solid gold; I just needed to follow it a little farther on down the road.
First, certainly, start with success.
Share your world-changing idea with people who know and love you. Give yourself the happy buzz that comes from the affirmation of those who already buy into your plans for a new world order. Ideas which get kicked in the head as infants are really hard to raise into superheroes.
Next, do that low-hanging-fruit thing.
Find folks who think like you, to the extent that they realise there’s a problem and that your idea addresses it. Solve their problem, gather feedback and refinements and testimonials and fans. You’ll need them for the next step.
Now, talk to the middle, the ‘maybes’.
Approach those who you believe to be sympathetic, approachable, or otherwise willing to lend you an ear, but who didn’t fall quite so obviously into the first category. Point out that you’ve realised there’s a pain which needs healing; a challenge which you have tools to overcome or eliminate. Show them that others, people just like them, have already joined the True Believers. This is not some harebrained idea they’ll be risking social status or sanity to investigate; it’s a tried-and-true brand of thinking they just haven’t encountered before.
Again, gather feedback, refinements, testimonials. But, more than that, gather nerve, and especially, gather grace. You’re gonna need it.
The final step in Phase I of Changing the World is to convert unbelievers. (No swords allowed.)
The greatest challenge in bringing an idea to those whom we believe will disagree with us is our own mindset.
The expectation of disagreement plants a picture of a certain outcome in our minds. When we say this, they’re gonna say that, and when we counter with this, they’re sure as shootin’ gonna come back with that.
And, guess what? That’s exactly what happens. Because that’s what we made happen.
You’ve heard it before: energy flows where attention goes. When you, even silently, even invisibly, declare your intent to have a disagreement with someone, your unconscious mind is just delighted to help you out; it’s got nothing better to do right now.
One of the greatest revelations I’ve had in the past year, a year of some fairly intense personal development, is that my expectations are almost entirely responsible for the outcomes I’ve seen. I expect a fight, I get one. Expect, even by artificially envisioning it, a positive outcome—lo and behold, I get it.
As you traverse the early phases of this journey, gather up the positive aura from those who are sending it. Remind yourself, by whatever method of affirmation works for you, that positive intent was present in these interactions, just as it can be in all your interactions.
I’m not suggesting that by simply envisioning an open checkbook you can use your Jedi mind powers to extract a ‘yes’ from someone, or get a detractor to see things your way when, in fact, they truly disagree.
What you can do is stop dropping a stumbling block in your own path by preparing for war when preparing for peace is so much more productive.
Where do you struggle in the process?
Are you starting out wrong by trying to convert unbelievers instead of harvesting the low-hanging fruit of like minds?
Are you creating negative responses by your expectations?
Are you missing the middle because you’re focused on the ends?
Or am I all wet, and this isn’t how it’s done at all?
Joel D Canfield writes about his family’s experiment with a location-independent life at http://CanfieldOfDreams.com.
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