Vira Egli

A New Kind of Marketing

When I was still working for advertising agencies, I was often asked to create concepts that glorified the importance of the client. “We want to show that we are client-focused, client-centric, client-first.“ All of these concepts have been the main marketing narrative for decades. But they were not created by businesses. These concepts were created by people outside of businesses that knew that if a business showed their true intentions- make as much money as we can by selling you things- no one would want to buy from them. So, external partners created ways to ‘professionally lie’ for them. 

For the most part, consumers are immune to the false promises that marketing puts out nowadays, especially, since many businesses have continued to fail consumers in spectacular ways. Sadly, in today’s climate, we all expect a business to lie. The people in charge of businesses are too stuck in transactional ways to change anything. And the people in charge of consuming their goods are too stuck believing the false narrative that businesses put “clients first.” Marketers rely heavily on this dissonance. It’s how they bill their hours. And the more creative they have to get, the higher the ticket. Yes, there is a metric to lying, and it’s built into the system. 

So, what’s the alternative?

As always, it starts with the source: the thing that drives an organization. If a business is based on people-centric value creation, then the marketing is easy- just show your truth. And this does not always require an external, overpaid vendor (other than for creative execution). 

Businesses that create human value tend to spend much less on marketing. They simply don’t need to pay for the expensive creative lie and exaggeration. They are open and transparent. Traditional marketing relies heavily on fear. When you are relieved from this pressure because your business has nothing to hide, your marketing becomes an honest path from the source of value creation to the people receiving the value. 

When you create value for people, you insist on having ownership over this truth, and you are full of desire to share that story with the world. Such a truth is too awesome to be held back, reformatted or altered. You just want it out there as you feel it. This kind of marketing can become a badge of honesty, showing a company’s value proposal. 

When entrepreneurs pour their personal truth into institutions that serve humans, their marketing can serve as a bridge into people’s hearts. This will account for the rawest, most human, most impressive and effective stories mankind has ever known. THIS is what good marketing is about. 

People seek stories like this, and they share them and turn them into bits of their own truth because they connect with them so much. Rethink your definition of marketing. Make it the truthful multiplier of value creation. Use it to carry your flame into people’s lives, not to tell a lie about a deal that no one needs.

What are you listening to?

Listening is one of the main pillars of creative problem solving and creating value for your clients. When we listen with intent, we build a bridge of connection and strengthen awareness. 

However, listening is a double edge sword, because listening can also invite disaster into your life. Let me explain.

We are, by nature, attentive beings. We are sponges aching to acquire data. However, if we are not capable of recognizing the specific value of what we hear, we invite things into our lives that are not serving us. This is why we must create a proper context for our listening. 

What we hear is either noise or signal. Noise is unorganized data that takes up space but has no innate value. Signal, on the other hand, carries information that we need to transmute into something valuable. Both take up space. Sometimes it is really hard for us to discern one from the other. That’s precisely one of our biggest challenges: To turn up the signal and turn down the noise.

The noise in our lives comes from 2 places: External conditioning and self-sabotage. 

In the first case, we allow for limiting beliefs to take over us, because we assimilate with something we hear or see, and we deem it important. In the second case, we hold onto a wound from the past- a trauma. Both heavily influence our ability to make sound decisions that support who we are. 

Noise is the antithesis of our true nature. Signal is the essence of our true nature. Signal is the pure information of our potential that we can only hear when we listen inward. It has nothing to do with data we collect on the outside. It is awareness we build from the inside. When we allow for stillness to come over us, the noise dies down and the inner voice expands. 

Signal contains everything we need to know to create thoughts, words and actions we truly care about. Our best work relies on the signal of our inner self; it cannot be born from the noise of the world.

Awareness is the key to growing your signal. 

Being aware that we have invited noise in, and that it directs our thoughts, is an important step to quieting it down. This forces us to hold still and to listen inwardly. Whether through meditation or moments of flow where you exercise your passion, the connection with yourself opens the gate to recognizing what you are truly about. You can’t collect your life’s gifts if you are unable to hear them.

If you want to “find yourself,” remember that the truth lies within. There is no book, no mentor, no class or degree that will give you what is already inside of you. Sounds cliché, but all you have to do is listen.

Make fear your business ally

If we take a look at the world we live in, there is something that seems universal to all human beings: Fear, and its close companion, scarcity. 

They are driving forces in all areas of our decision-making. 

In fact, I will go so far as to say that the reason for the pain and sorrow we experience in our lifetime is a mindset that is rooted in fear and scarcity. One doesn’t need to be wise to know that fear is a dark energy that stands in opposition to life itself. 

A fearful mind is negating the magic of life because it builds walls around opportunity and chances. And the subsequent decisions it comes up with attract more of that fear. 

A fearful mind quickly finds itself in a reality filled with fear. This vicious cycle is hard to break for such a mind because it regards the perceived fear as a justification for, well… more fear. 

When fearful thoughts and principles are introduced into our lives at an early age, we acquire them because we are easily influenced, and we are under the notion that those who teach us, know more than us. One example: “if you don’t get good grades, you won’t amount to anything in life.” I won’t dive into how much fear (and as a result, pressure, stress, anxiety) such a belief can have on a person, but I think you get what I mean.

What do you think is the opposite of LOVE? You probably said “hate.” I say the opposite of love is actually fear (because a fear-based mindset can lead to things like hate). We have a tendency to cultivate minds that are devoid of love because we normalize fear. This is the sinister reality.

The biggest part of my work with entrepreneurs is to re-sensitize them to the principle of love. Only a mind that is open to the magic of unconditional love is capable of reframing the limiting and destructive power of fear. You can’t push fear out of a fear-infested mind. You can only give it the opportunity to reconsider the possibility of love as the better option.

This is not to say that all fear is bad. Even the most loving mind can be struck by fear. But fear as an emotion is different from fear as a belief. A fearful mind loses its ability to properly gauge the reality of the world. 

Fear emotions, on the other hand, can fill us with healthy respect for boundaries and growth. When we have love in our heart and decide to walk our path, we can still sense fear. That fear keeps us on our toes, makes us aware, fills our heart with excitement and makes us actually desire change. 

This fear emotion is the respect for the path that lies ahead of us. It’s the exhilarating rush we require to feel alive, to give weight to our decisions. Without it, we become disconnected and disengaged. It’s good to feel justified tension and uplifting fear when we make decisions. 

Even an excellent surgeon will conduct a routine operation with fear emotions in her/his heart, because when we are walking our path, we are slaying dragons! We are defying the odds and outgrowing ourselves. Only a person who has nothing to gain will never experience fear nor be open to the emotional experience of it. So, embrace fear as a positive emotion, and stop nurturing fear as a belief.

True Independence

With 4th of July celebrations now behind us, do you still hear the word ‘independence” much? Have you ever stopped and asked yourself what true independence means? Do you find true independence in your life?

Independence is the disconnection from that which holds us back, alters our nature and dictates our actions. Independence is a choice we make every day. I am sad to say that we are not very good at making the choice to be independent. Of course, we must operate within the confines of a society, which regulates a lot of our life. But what with the rest? What do we do with the freedom that was given to us in order to create a happy life? Do we create businesses and do work that is rooted in true independence? 

If you compare yourself to a flower that was given its unique potential to grow, and bloom from the infinite potential of the universe, then there is nothing that flower does to limit that potential. At least, not willingly. We, on the other hand, really like to limit ourselves. We rob ourselves of our own independence by seeking to create a life that is not based on our true nature, but on the principles lived by those who came before us, or who live around us. 

If we don’t seek to understand what our true nature is, we become prone to cloning careers, paths, faith and societal existence of others because we seek to match what we see, know and admire. Our fear not to belong and of an unknown future, and our pain from the past, kick our own independence in the butt all the time. We fight a double war while trying to fit in. This is pure dependenceon externalities and realities that have nothing to do with who we are.

If we want to become truly independent and successful people, we need to flip our dependence from external to internal. From acquired beliefs to our internal truth. From foreign messages to our own story. Don’t make your life’s work about something that does not connect to your own personal potential. 

Self-ownership- that is, the total awareness of one’s potential and the desire to share it with the world as your purpose- makes you bulletproof to ideas and concepts that rob you of your independence. Such an awareness doesn’t allow for distraction, but creates alignment and dedication to a single worthy cause.

What can we do? Celebrate our own independence by becoming better inward-listeners. When we stand still, when we let the world spin away from us and go into a space of silence, we mute the noise which creates external dependence and we crank up the signal of our own voice, which creates internal dependence. We lose sight of an unknown future and let go of past pain. This place is what I like to call ‘the garden of self-love.’ Because self-love really is the mother of self-dependence and foreign-independence. 

The more you visit this place, the more you can detach from what holds you back. You also become aware of your potential and start seeking to serve it with every waking moment through your actions. And then, every day becomes a true Independence Day.

Stop believing these myths

  1. You need a great product to start.

Of course you need to offer something to be able to deliver value and make money from it, but the first thought should not be about the product you are offering. It must be about the problem you are solving. Successful value entrepreneurs obsess over the problem because it gives them a much broader perspective on building their offering. 

  1. Marketing is about selling.

People react to stories. All relationships we build are subject to storytelling. Marketing is the art of telling your story in a way that resonates with your audience so that they are willing to listen. Selling is only the resulting final act. If you focus on selling more than on your story, you can come off as inauthentic and people will sense it.

  1. Anyone can do anything.

Since, in the modern world, everything is available to most of us, we often feel that we can pursue any venture we want. While this is technically true, it’s far from ideal because in many cases we ignore what we are best at: our purpose. When we jump head first into something without asking if it matches with what we believe in, what we are good at and our own passion, we get on a path that will neither make us happy nor bring us our own version of success.

  1. Get the best people to help you.

We are easily blinded by fancy resumes, diplomas and corporate experience. But the fact is, that the people that appear great on paper are rarely the right people for our mission. If we don’t dig deep during interviews to find out what people really care about, if we don’t share with them why we run the business we do, and the problem we tackle, we could end up with brilliant paper weights. People that don’t carry our mission forward. There are dozens of people that may not look great on paper, but will carry the torch of your business mission onward and upward.

  1. Beat the competition and become number one.

Very early in life, we learned about the concept of being first and beating the competition. We see this concept very clearly in schools and in sports. However, such a mindset distracts us from doing our actual work and costs us valuable resources when we should only focus on doing our best work. To believe in “the competition” and keep them in our rearview is known to cause stress and makes our work less original and more cookie cutter because we think that that will help us win the race to number one. Don’t fall for it.

Genius, superhuman, wiz, prodigy, one-in-a-million…

We have many names for those we admire. The way we idolize people says a lot about how we see ourselves. When we put certain people on a pedestal, we draw a line between them and us. We basically say ‘they are better than me.’ Some of us aspire to become like “them”, imitating them because we too want to be seen as an idol to someone else.

Doing this completely undermines the powerful message a high performing individual carries into the world. Every single person who has reached a high level of achievement is a testimony to the immense potential that lives inside of every one of us. This message is not about being the same as them, it’s about finding out what our own superpower is so that we can become our own version of genius. 

The world does not need a second Elon Musk or another Oprah. The world needs people like you and me to step forward in boldness and use their purpose as a tool for enlightenment and betterment. Mother Teresa did not try to walk in someone else’s shoes. Gandhi was not fooled by another person’s experience. Steve Jobs did not seek to become like someone else. They did find inspiration in others’ paths, but they used that inspirational power to create and walk their own path. 

This shift in perspective is a hard lesson to learn when you are deeply embedded in today’s influencer-driven society. We see “role models” being presented to us on our screens, and we aspire to live just like them; be just like them. This is the biggest crime and insult to our lives because it means that we turn inspiration into identification. 

Religious folks might argue with me on this, but I am convinced that Jesus did not seek to inspire people to imitate him or to bow to him because he was ‘above’ them. He simply asked for people to recognize their own ‘divinity’ and be LIKE him in their own way: as loving, as forgiving, as caring, as daring. There’s a big difference between imitating a person and being inspired by their openness, willingness, courage and adoration to become free and unapologetic. 

The success and the impact we see around these people tends to blind us from that truth. We think that in order to reach that level of success, we must behave just like them. But that is far from the truth. Our truth is defined by our own gifts. And since everyone’s gifts are different, the path is different for everyone. If you believe you have to follow the path most walked, you will find yourself as a follower to an idea that was not born from you. Allow yourself to be inspired to walk your own path, find your own level of genius, your own level of success and your very own level of infinite happiness. 

Everyone is creative

Have you ever used creativity against yourself? Like telling someone, or even yourself, that you are not creative or that creativity is not your strong suit? That you would rather leave creativity to others? So many people are guilty of saying “I am not creative,” and besides it being untrue, it’s really what makes it hard for us to be creative in the first place. 

Before I go further, let me do some clarifying here: creativity has nothing to do with our ability to paint, draw or compose music. Those are skill sets and areas of talent that can be applied in creative ways.

Pure creativity is the shortest and most personal path to express yourself in your work. It means building a bridge that takes people from a place of need to a place of betterment by overcoming an obstacle. Creativity arises when we become aware of our purpose and our tools, and use both to focus it on solving a problem that is a deep human need. So, creativity is directly proportional to our honesty in doing things our way. 

Creative people seem to think outside the box and break boundaries. But they don’t do it for the sake of breaking down walls. They do it because they can’t help but be who they are, they can’t help but do things the way their true self dictates. The more honest and direct we are in translating how we see the world into work that removes obstacles for others by using our gifts and talents, the more our work becomes unique, focused, and thus…creative. 

It’s crucial to understand that we are all equipped with unique beliefs and gifts. To use both, together with boldness, and create human value is the truest definition of a creative person. It doesn’t matter if you are great with numbers, highly empathic, a great listener, have a knack for flower arrangements or simply love to listen to music. There is a way to express your purpose through these gifts in the most creative way, by being as honest and direct and bold as possible. 

Contrary to what many people think, creative people don’t live in a bubble, removed from the world around them. Quite the opposite. Their most creative work is the one that reflects and lights up their environment. Creative people serve the world with unique value, and because they are unfiltered in their ways, they polarize. But it’s precisely this that creates the ripple effect we associate with uniquely creative people. 

Have you lost track of your own creativity? Have you removed yourself from the magic of bringing a new angle into the world because you think you are not creative? Think again, because you have it in you. We all do.

To own who you are is to own what you do

The highest form of freedom as both an entrepreneur and a human being is full ownership of your life. 

When we look at the fabric of existence we realize that everything is made up of relationships. The ones we entertain with ourselves, with our surroundings, our work, our actions… So, how do we declare full ownership over something as ethereal as relationships when we feel that they are often subject to outside influence?

The secret lies in understanding the origin of every relationship and the thought that leads into it. Just like when you wake up in the morning and you have a first thought, there is a singular thought that rests at the beginning of every relationship. This thought defines the nature of what follows. If you wake up thinking “it’s one of those days again…” then you will have to work hard to convince yourself otherwise, and your day is likely to end up “as one of those days again.” After all, you ‘asked’ for it. It’s the same with businesses that we start and run. When we enter them with thoughts that are not serving our purpose, things literally get out of hand.

In order to have ownership over the relationships in our lives, we must have ownership over the thoughts that lead to them. For that to happen, we must recognize that thoughts become actions, and our thoughts are the reflection of our core beliefs.

When we know who we truly are, when we are aware of what purpose we are serving, we can create thoughts from it- thoughts that are serving that purpose. This ensures that any relationship we engage in is serving our cause as well. 

This chain of ownership that begins with owning your purpose, is miraculous at best, because it makes sure that we don’t waste time on ‘bad’ relationships. Instead, we invest ourselves in relationships that bring us alignment and growth.

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