Just because something works, it doesn’t necessarily mean it works for everyone.
We live in a world full of advice, solutions, and fixes. But sometimes, there’s a discrepancy between what works and what works for us. By subscribing to what works according to a particular system, we might erode our sense of integrity and leave ourselves alienated from the things we love.
In June, we had a Courtyard Conversation with Sarah Santacroce about marketing. We were joined by a handful of gentle rebels interested in exploring marketing from an authentic and inwardly expansive place. “Marketing From Abundance” was a way to gently rebel against the standard practices promoted in books, courses, and workshops.
Just Because It Works, It Doesn’t Mean It’s Good For Us
Simply put, it goes like this: People are more likely to buy when rushed, pressured, or forced into a decision by a sense of scarcity (a reason to act quickly). If there is no genuine pressure to take action immediately, then manufacture it with imposed limits on time, pricing, and availability.
We explored how it feels to operate that way. It turns out it didn’t feel good for any of us… as either a buyer or seller of products and services.
I believe this mentality contributes to our increasingly anxious and dysregulated world where many decisions are reactions to fear rather than grounded in choice. It’s exhausting and a recipe for cynicism, overwhelm, and disconnection.
In the meeting, Sarah encouraged us to remember that, “Just because it works, it doesn’t mean it works for us”. We discussed several common assumptions around marketing, networking, and building a business that didn’t work for people in the group – many of whom are introverted and sensitive types – and we explored alternative ways to define and achieve success in ways that DO feel energising and sustainable.
Sarah articulated something I’ve been thinking about in different ways for years. This idea nestled in my soul. The discrepancy between knowledge/theory and how it feels to practice something that jars at the core of my being.
When it comes to marketing, I am aware of the strategies and tactics that “work”. I know what the experts recommend I “should” do. But my soul withers at the very thought of much of it. And that’s something worth listening to!
I needed that articulated permission from Sarah’s statement. To shift the conversation away from what works and towards what works for me instead. Or, put another way, connecting to what keeps me energised and alive in my endeavours.
Just because it works, it doesn’t mean it works for the world.
A lack of know-how isn’t why I’ve been reluctant to use these marketing practices. This is not an issue of knowledge and skill, which can be acquired without much trouble. Instead, it’s an issue of values, beliefs, and assumptions about motivations and definitions of success. Many of the approaches and tactics feel entirely out of step with who I am and the type of world I want to be part of creating.
Sarah talks about the three wins in her marketing approach. Something must shift if it’s not a win for her client, herself, and the world. This is another thing that drives me. The role I play in the bigger picture. If I say yes to the thing that “works”, what impact would that have if everybody did the same? Would the world be better for it?
Just because it works, it doesn’t mean it works for you.
I sometimes notice this in people I work with when they are dealing with an internal tension around “ought-to” thinking. They will reluctantly bring up advice they’ve received from other people who start sentences with “What you want to do is…” and “You should use…”
I might ask, “And how do YOU feel about that idea?”
We can drift into the belief that there is only one way. We may see someone else as an authority, so take what they say as truth. But this discounts our relationship with their suggestion, which ultimately will be the defining factor when it comes to whether or not something works for us.
We need to find people who operate in ways that feel good to us. Otherwise, we might become alienated from our most meaningful pursuits and projects.
I can tell almost immediately when someone comes to coaching to try and do what they “should” rather than exploring what they want. There may be tension in their body and speech and I might notice resistance underpinning the words they use to talk about their “goal”.
Maybe you’re experiencing this in some area of your life, and you’re drawn into believing that a particular approach or value system is the only correct one. It isn’t easy to rationalise because it works; it makes sense, and going against it feels reckless.
But what if this is not the only way? What if, although it works for other people (or seems to, at least), it doesn’t work for you? What could that free you to do instead?
We might consider questions such as:
- What is driving you in this situation?
- How do others judge success?
- What would success feel like for you?
- Where is there a contradiction between those two?
- What gives you energy in this area?
- What leaves you drained?
I would love to hear from you if you have time. When have you been able to embody this idea? Share your reflections in the comments below.