Sovereign Standard, Issue 40
The greatest epiphanies are just clichés - until they’re true
“You’ve had it in you all along” is one of those mundane epiphanies tossed about by countless gurus and charlatans, true healers and glitzy motivational speakers. And yet, the day you truly come to know this as your truth, it’s like the sunset, moonrise, and northern lights all fill the sky at once.
For years, I’ve been living out loud on the internet. Perhaps you’ve been like me - trying (and generally failing) to be an easy, breezy online writer. I refused to dumb down my message, but I also avoided a avoiding the hardest questions and denied the most personal answers.
Basically, I was so intent on saying something that I would rarely let myself slow down, look within, learn more, and ensure I was saying something that really mattered to me.
You’ve heard the old marketing adage “you aim to appeal to everyone and you appeal to no one”?
When you don’t feel free to tell the stories that are really important to you as a writer, you’re never going to tell stories that are important to the reader.
What it means to put the inner story first
At last , I’m committing to prioritizing my interior process over the public conversation.
That means I'm committing to diving deeper, thinking longer, allowing ideas to germinate before I push myself to publish.
This isn’t a prescription for permanent radio silence. Heck, I'm blogging about my decision to putting the inner work before the public exploration of what I’ve learned!
The goal is not to become an all-analog hermit. Instead, it means I’m placing my creative emphasis on knowing a story at its intimate core before I bring it to an audience.
It means I ask myself questions that matter to me before I try to tell you why any of it might matter to you.
I’m exhausted by the pace of a digital world that puts action over contemplation. It feels good to play with phrases like:
Perspective before performance.
Introspection before exhibition.
Dive deep before ”share this!”
Finding the balance between finding the inner story and publishing it
As a writer who depends on building online community to build my business, deep dives into “what stories must I tell?” will cool my self-imposed “gotta publish at all costs!” madness.
But I know that the “explore the inner story” and “publish something now” is balancing act that puts other people on the opposite side of the teeter totter. (Thanks to my brave compatriots in the Quest 2016 community - see below.)
You might be a writer who loves to let a good idea simmer. It would be wonderful if my frantic "must create content!" experience makes you feel more secure in your slower-to-publish approach.
Many frantic writers wish they had your sense of trust and composure. Hopefully, you see that your ability to contemplate and craft your thoughts is a rare gift in this “get it out there” environment.
But, maybe you’re more of the “perfection = paralysis” kind of writer. You tend to over-think your work and start cleaning the bathtub with a toothbrush to avoid committing to a regular blogging schedule. I’d love my push to publish energy to rub off on you a bit.
It's good enough. Get it out there.
I know my 2015 commitment to the very-nearly-weekly Sovereign Standard is going to have a perpetual payoff, both personally and professionally. Even if I put the "real" story on the back burner while I tried to put out simpler messages intended to please the crowd.
Find the balance between the inner exploration and the greater conversation
Ultimately, if you're someone who wants to build a business through "content marketing" (telling stories and sharing your wisdom to entice new clients and delight your current community) or if you're a creative who must put ideas on the page, it's about striking a balance.
You need the inner exploration and you'll thrive when part a greater conversation.
If you'll excuse me, I need to get back to the stories still welling up inside me. But I promise I'll come back with ideas that will help you tell yours. Subscribe to my weekly Sovereign Standard newsletter - please?
This post was initially inspired by Prompt #1 in Tracking Wonder's Quest 2016. The mastermind of this project, Jeffrey Davis, has called together 12 visionaries to help you create your best 12 months. It was a powerful way to begin my 2015 and I'm eager for this year's experience.
In particular, I was responding to Susan Piver who asked us to consider "What I most need to tell myself about 2016 is…"
Find more about Susan, the Quest, the business artist pledge, and how to join (it's totally free).