Last year a friend gave me Guy Kawasaki’s book Enchantment. In the world of me, a person typically not all that interested in reading about marketing, the subtitle – The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions – was the big selling point. I’m not a fan of ‘brand’ speak, so this wording had huge appeal for me.
The book was easy to read and informative, but I didn’t put it to use in 2012 because I was emotionally weary from all kinds of things going on in my life. Now, a year later and in a time of big transition, the book recently called to me from my shelves – Hello, Nancy. It’s time for me. I’ve got what you need, baby.
This quote from John Maynard Keynes tops the Introduction:
The difficulty lies, not in the new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones, which ramify, for those brought up as most of us have been, into every corner of our minds.
Old ideas, you say? In the last week alone, I have vented, lamented and all but held a funeral for journalism as I knew it. In conversation, in An Open Letter to Arianna Huffington, in social media posts about the Chicago Sun-Times (now unemployed) photography staff. That doesn’t count frustration and annoyance expressed for months in various forums.
Clearly I’m in the process of escaping old ideas. Because that’s what they are. That model is giving way to another. And oh, how tightly I’ve been holding on.
I have no regrets about the eulogies. Something I loved that much deserved one or two of those. But what a jolt to open Kawasaki’s book and read words uttered by a British economist before I was even born.
It made me recognize what was/is actually going on with me. How do I not consistently marvel that it’s simple to tell a coaching client in a time of transition that she has to let go of old ways of thinking in order to let in the new, yet not see that very same thing in myself until it’s well under way? At least I’m on to it now.
Perhaps I should have recognized the signs sooner because the truth is, while I’ve been burying an old way of thinking, I’ve also been in the process of building something new. The stale is giving way to fresh. I’m kind of like a vehicle about to go into drive mode, but one that needed to go in reverse just a little first in order to right my course.
Hence the appeal of Kawasaki’s Enchantment, which is helping me think about my idea in terms of story, positioning and labels. It’s getting me excited and propelling me forward. As did today’s Seth Godin blog post titled The free-rider benefit:
“ … [O]nce you can get your head (and your heart) around the idea that ideas that spread, win, there are significant opportunities in a digital world where it’s easier than ever to help people go for a free ride.”
Yes, Nancy. Mourn the death. Then see what is before you. See what can be born. The very technology that spelled the demise of one way of doing things has opened up a plethora of opportunities to do it new and better. If the mission is to have something to say, express it in a way that compels people to read it and also makes them want to come back for more, isn’t it the most glorious challenge to use what other minds have created to disseminate it?
I’m not sure I wanted to embrace that challenge until this day. At least not in a way where I fully understood the nature of the task. I’m no dinosaur. While admittedly slow to embrace change, I partake in social media, I’ve had a blog for years, I own an iPhone and an iPad. I enjoy so much of it.
I’m not going to beat myself up over having a hard time accepting that seasoned journalists all over the land are being offered gigs for the sole reward of a byline. That still feels like someone should be saying “April fool” after it.
The reality, though, is they’re not kidding. So while I’m building my new venture I will continue to read Enchantment and whatever else helps me understand this landscape better.
But wait, no …Kawasaki writes, “I am going to show you how to change the world, not understand it.”
OK, then. You’ve got yourself a deal.