When I was five years old, I began writing poetry and short stories.
When I was thirteen years old, I became an actor.
When I was twenty six, I began writing again, in earnest.
When I was thirty, I wrote and performed my first solo show
When I was thirty four, I taught my first solo performance class
When I was thirty six, I created a Therapeutic Monologue Process for healing
In conjunction with that event, I began creating my business to offer, well, all of these offerings.
That was thirteen years ago. Here's some of what I have learned about business on the journey so far:
If business is approached with the same intention, the same creativity, the same kindness, the same spirit of generosity in which we create our art, hold space to coach and teach, then business can be something wonderful. The business of art merges in a way that is an extension of our authentic energies. It is not not separate, cut off and removed from our "real" offerings. It is as much the offering as anything else.
And to me, there is one word, more than any other word, that embodies what I am speaking of. That word is service. If you have surrendered yourself to the concept of service, then everything has the possibility of being an offering to yourself and others. For underneath the concept of service, is the recognition of the soul and the connection of all things and everything.
From this position, form is less important. One gives their heart and soul to the audience when they are performing their solo show. But, one also offers the same energy in a call with a business prospect.
When I offer free consultations, the main thought in my mind has to be service. What this means is that sometimes I take the call and book a new client who is a great match for me. And sometimes, I give 30 minutes of free advice to a young, broke solo performer who cannot afford my prices. But it is my job, if I am in service, to show up with as much information and kindness for that young, broke solo performer as a paying client.
It is not my job to determine who calls me and why. It is my job to show up with full presence in each conversation. Sometimes, that person may call me back in five years and be ready to work with me. Sometimes she may recommend me to someone in her acting class who may call me. And sometimes, I will never hear from her again. It does not matter.
Next point: Drop the concept of competition
There really is no greater illusion of the planet that the concept of personal competition. The world will try to tell you that there is not room for everybody. That some people's work matters and some doesn't. It's all a mass hallucination. No one can duplicate your energy, your unique way of doing things, your heart. Nor can you duplicate theirs.
You can offer a similar service yet offer it in an entirely different way. Trust that the clients who are yours will find you. They will be attracted to you the more you are yourself. The more willingness you have to show who you are, the better. That's how they can find you.
Being yourself may also lose you potential clients and that is ok as well. Let them go to someone who is a better match for them. There is enough. Dropping the concept of competition is not only a relief. It allows you to trust that the right people will find you and you will find them.
And nothing is more attractive to most people than to work with people who hold the energy of trust. Because we all want to feel that way and many people do not know how. So, you are modeling to them to how they want to feel.
Competition belongs to corporations, governments and egos. In reality it has no hold on you unless you buy into it.
Competition is also fear based and neurotic process. And people can smell that energy a mile away and it is not appealing.
Even though many people can make a living that way, my own awareness is that it sucks the joy out of everything.
I suppose the greatest difference between a fear based approached in business (still the dominant paradigm) and a soul-based approach(the emerging paradigm) is how joyful it is. How peaceful it is. And how integrated it is with the rest of your life.
I constantly strive to make my ethics in business the same as my ethics in the rest of my life. In many ways my business flows into my art, into my parenting, into my friendships and my teaching life.
In a holistic paradigm one flows more and more with the same energy into and out of various forms.
And that is part of creating a prosperous and productive business life and personal life.
Keep coming back to an attitude of service and I promise you, things will begin to really flourish~