Andy Hix, who teaches mindfulness in the workplace, this week looks at what we can learn from meditation for better marketing.
So some marketing is deceitful because the product won’t actually make you younger/slimmer/sexier/happier/popular. But if you know that your product or service is really effective, and that there’s a need for it, it you should feel good about marketing it, right?
Well there are times when I feel very uncomfortable marketing what I do, and there are times when I enjoy it. On reflection, the main factor that affects that is whether or not I’m attached to the outcome of my communication. In the same way, in meditation, the idea is to have no goal. To have no expectation of getting anywhere, feeling anything in particular or reaching any special state of mind. As soon as you start trying to make something happen, you start fighting with yourself and frustration swiftly follows.
This is a bit of a paradox. You wouldn’t be marketing or meditating if you weren’t trying to achieve something, but as soon as you get too attached to achieving it in any given moment you start pushing it away.
For example, I’ve been in the situation before where I’ve put on a free lunchtime mindfulness session in an office, and spent some time in the morning going round the employees trying to persuade them to come along.
There were times when I would invite someone to the session and be really attached to them saying yes. If it was someone I thought was one of the most likely to come, and if not many other people had said yes, it sometimes felt like a personal rejection when they said no. Like they were rejecting me because who I was and what I was offering wasn’t desirable enough. That made me feel tense, the conversation felt uncomfortable and I carried that negativity into the next conversation, making it less likely that they would say yes.
When I was able to be in the frame of mind where I really didn’t mind if they said yes or no because I wasn’t taking it personally, I genuinely believed in the value of what I was doing even if no one else saw it and I could see that one person saying no didn’t mean the next person was going to, I felt relaxed, I felt I could have fun in the conversation and I actually enjoyed the process.
In the same way you might meditate because you want to have a calmer, clearer mind. But if when you realise that that’s not the case, that your mind is all over the place, and then you get annoyed with yourself for not achieving the result you want, it will likely make you feel tense and frustrated. It is by watching your thoughts and feelings with no attachment to what happens in each moment that your mind starts to settle.
This is an ongoing challenge for me. I often feel that if I want more work I need to make it happen. But when I get into that mindset it is usually infused with desperation, which doesn’t feel good and which people can pick up on. I find the idea that I’m not sellingwhat I do, I’m sharing it, very helpful. One feels needy, the other feels compassionate. I know what I’d rather be.
So there you go. Even marketing can be done mindfully.
Andy Hix is director of zen at work, a London-based mindfulness consultancy. Get in touch with Andy for a free taster session at www.zenatwork.co.uk.
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