Break Free of Your Computer...Try Some Real-Life Marketing
By Mark Silver

"I'd rather be rock climbing, hiking, spending
time outside than in front of a computer. And,
it all feels so useless, like nothing works anyhow.
I'm spending my life energy in front of the computer, I feel like, and it's not moving my business

That's what a client of ours was telling us. And how about you? You're staring at a
screen right now, reading this. How many hours do you have to spend in front of a
computer to make your business work, anyway?

I mean it -- do we all have to become flat-screen zombies with bad backs and a 24 inch
depth of vision from staring no further than the screen? The internet is wonderful and
all, allowing you to make friends with me and others whom you would never have
met, and to grow your business in unimaginable ways . . .

But I don't want to life my entire business life in front of a screen. Do you?

First Things First: An Antidote For Despair

Our client had gone into a deep despair about her business without even realizing it.
The despair had lasted several weeks and had shown up in just plain not wanting to
work on her business, feeling listless about it, and working on other things.

What is despair? According to the Oxford American Dictionary, despair is "the
complete loss or absence of hope." That certainly describes the state of despair, but it's
not exactly what despair is.

The important thing to know about despair is that it is NOT an emotion. It's not.

Despair Is A Mashup

If you want to be sorta cool in geek circles, you talk about "mashups," which is simply
when two or more online computer applications are made to work with each other to
accomplish something. For instance, there's a mashup that combines Flickr, an online
photo-sharing service, with Google Maps. The combination allows you to scroll all
over the world looking at shared photos by geographic location.

Despair is kinda like that, except instead of filling you with inspiration about different
exotic locales, you end up listless or depressed. Not as fun.

Here's the mashup combination: a situation that isn't so much fun PLUS an
uncomfortable emotion PLUS The Decision.

For instance, our client had a situation where her business wasn't growing as quickly
as she wanted it to, she had anger and upset about this. And then she made The

The Decision, which was mostly unconscious, was that her situation would never,
could never change.

Without The Decision, you've got a troublesome and perhaps painful situation that
needs creativity. But when The Decision is added to the mashup, you're in trouble and
so is your business.

Many people attempt to escape the despair mashup by either forcibly changing the
situation, or the emotion. But an easier and quicker way to do it, which worked for our
client in about five minutes and propelled her into some amazing ideas for networking
outside the internet, is to change The Decision.

The Fantastic Advantage of Uncertainty

Here's the trick: don't try to change The Decision from one extreme to the other. In
other words, don't try to go from "It will never be better" to "Oh my goodness gracious,
it's going to be amazing!"

For one thing, your body won't believe it. For another, no one likes that fake
cheerfulness, least of all you. Instead, just try to wedge some uncertainty into that

Is it really never going to be better? Is it really true that this business is doomed?

The uncertainty creates two things: room to finally feel and express all that trapped
emotion--which may be anger, grief, sadness, or whatever. Journal! Express! It will
blow through in a little bit, as long as you don't mash it up with The Decision.

The second thing it creates is room for hope. And as my Sufi Sheikh says, "Hope is the
most important medicine." Without hope, you might as well pack it all in.

So, have you done it? Have you taken your despair about being trapped in a flat-
screen internet world and allowed some hope in? Because if you have, let's take a look
at some things you can do to open up your business.

Keys to More Hope-Filled Networking

• Start Online, Take It Offline

So you've already spent time on the internet, and you've come across blogs, businesses
and people that you like. Some may be big shots, others not so big. But you like 'em
and admire 'em.

Have you picked up the phone and told them so? If they happen to be local (and it
happens, believe me), have you thought about inviting them out to tea? Have you
thought about mailing them a handwritten card? Or how about when I jumped on my
bicycle and dropped in on a new friend and fellow blogger here in Portland?

Get away from your computer and start dialing, pedaling and inviting.

• Find a More Shallow Sense of Authenticity

Our client had been digging deep to find her most vulnerable, passionate authenticity,
which is just fine, but it was wearing her out. There is a place for that, and then there's
also a place for bubble gum.

That's right, she and a friend were going to just go out and taste a bunch of unusual
bubblegum flavors and blog about them. I suggested that she dial up some of the
people she admires from her too-many-hours-on-the-internet and invite them to join
the gum game, even if they aren't local.

Gum may seem a little lightweight, but she thought it was fun as a small adventure.
What adventurous parts of yourself have you been unintentionally hiding from your
business list? What small adventures can you invite others into? How much aliveness
could you add to your business by including these things?

• Tie It to Your Business

You don't have to get all heavy-handed about it, but even in your lightweight
bubblegum adventures, you can connect them to your business and talk about them in

For instance, the gum game our client is playing could be, if she wants it to, directly
linked to a fun way to get her clients and readers out of workaholic mode. And by
including others in the game, it spreads the word about her business at the same time.

You shouldn't be spending all of your marketing time in front of the computer.
Escape despair by simply bringing some uncertainty into The Decision. Then let your
sense of authenticity run amuck, get away from the computer and start connecting by
phone, snail mail or in-person.

The fun and connection will come back around and infuse your business with an
aliveness that your clients are thirsty for.

About the author: Mark Silver is the author of Unveiling the Heart of Your Business:
How Money, Marketing and Sales can Deepen Your Heart, Heal the World, and Still
Add to Your Bottom Line. He has helped hundreds of small business owners around
the globe succeed in business without lousing their hearts. Get three free chapters of
the book online:
The Heart of Business

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Break free of your computer...start real life networking