If you love somebody, set them free. -Sting
I have been reading (and re-reading) David Meerman Scott‘s new book World Wide Rave. It is an awesome source of information on how to use the World Wide Web for innovative marketing ideas.
In it David introduces the 6 rules of the ‘rave’: 1. Nobody cares about your product (except you). 2. No coercion required. 3. Lose control (!) 4. Put down roots. 5. Create triggers that encourage people to share, and 6. Point the world to your (virtual) doorstep.
It is this rule of ‘losing control’ that has me fascinated! The notion of using the internet to give yourself away, to educate customers (rather than to sell them) and to make fans for life through sharing your wisdom is inspiring. For many this may be a new concept that takes some getting used to, yet, it makes sense.
I listened to a tele-class yesterday that was really well done and very intriguing. Towards the end of the call the facilitator was interrupted by a colleague who came on to deliver the company’s sales pitch. This was so out of content that I lost my interest and got off the call. Otherwise, I would have probably stayed on to find out about the company, so I could later roam and explore their website on my own.
Putting content first and sales second is energizing! It takes the pressure out of the sales process and it allows customers to choose with freedom and pleasure from what the market has to offer. Doing business this way is focused on service, and, what I love best, it is very creative.
Now, I want to take it even further: How about putting your clients first and yourself second? Everybody is talking about ‘clients first’ but is that really what’s going on in the market? Isn’t it about us, first? In a way this is a paradox because it is about us and it isn’t. The minute we want something for ourselves and ask ourselves “What’s in it for me?, or “What am I getting out of this?”, we are lost.
In his wonderful Book of Secrets, Deepak Chopra talks about the fact that every cell in our body knows this principle of giving and operates by it. Cells, he says, don’t hoard. Cells work for the welfare of the whole and have total trust on being provided for. Total commitment to giving makes receiving automatic. Selfishness is not an option.
Note: Out of control does not mean out of balance. Balance is essential for any system to function well. Out of control does not mean you should operate without a plan, either. Having a structure is essential for your success.
Losing control in action:
- A teacher at my daughter’s school told me that one of her students learns much better when he is allowed to read books during class. So she lets him.
- In coaching, letting go of control is essential. If I control the coaching process, I completely miss the point of serving my client. If I am consumed with thinking about what’s right for the client, I can’t see what she really needs. This is hard and at the same time most fascinating. The power is in not knowing and in taking yourself out of the equation. It allows magic to occur. By losing control we put others in control of making their own choices.
How about you? How are you losing control in your business? I’d love to hear your stories and if you want to share them, feel free to add them in the comments section.
As always, thank you for reading,
Well said, Karin!
This is very difficult, because in the West (and especially in the U.S.) our culture rewards those who appear to be always in control — and punishes those who appear to have lost control.
A wise therapist once told me, “Control is an illusion. . .”
To add on to your very wise observations, it’s not realistic to expect to completely release the need to control, when that is all you’ve ever known how to do . . .
The idea of “losing control” is very scary. And, if we’re honest, there’s a time when being in control is appropriate and useful. Your article encourages people to go deeper, beyond the obvious. On the spectrum of “hyper-controlling” to “bat-shit-crazy-out-of-control,” there are an infinite number of points. They key is learning how to self-regulate all along the spectrum, and to feel confident that one’s responses are appropriate and effective, however one chooses in the moment.
How does one learn to do this? Of course there are a variety of modalities, ranging from ultra-hi-tech biofeedback gadgetry (can be very helpful) to simply bringing awareness to everyday activities. As a practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method, I daily see my clients progress in the experience of feeling safe in “allowing” things to be exactly as they are. I think women, especially, feel such an expectation to be pleasing, to meet everyone’s needs, etc., that we start “fixing” (controlling) before we really understand the current conditions. Just taking a moment to pause and notice what is really happening can go a long way in developing peace of mind, confidence, and personal effectiveness.
Great post — thank you!
thank you for your input and sharing the observations you are making with your clients! So true, it can be quite hard to accept things exactly as they are. There is such a balance in just finding the right amount of letting go and holding on, it’s almost like a dance. One of the moments I recall of giving up all control was during child birth, just no holding on there 🙂