“Our deepest calling is to grow into our own authentic self-hood, whether or not it conforms to some image of who we ought to be. As we do so, we will not only find the joy that every human being seeks–we will also find our path of authentic service in the world.” ― Parker J. Palmer
If you recall, in last week’s blog I referred to the above question, being one of the two most important questions that I’d failed to answer in nearly seven years of blogging.
You may think this a strange confession, but it’s true. True in the sense that I’ve never sat down to consider, in those immortal few words, ‘my target audience’.
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to writing on some subjects — e.g. social media, professional services and spirituality — where I’d hoped to attract subscribers to my newsletter or generate enquiries for my services, but I certainly didn’t follow any pattern or rulebook that you might recognise. If I had a modus operandi it was to turn up, write with passion and hope for the best. I knew at the time it was amateur but I hoped that, at some stage, I would hit a rich vein of writing that would start to earn me greater credit, but it never came. (That probably explains why I ended up writing on so many different topics!)
Well, for a start, I haven’t mapped out a buyer persona or listed my ‘ideal’ reader. I’m sure I could but it feels so artificial to then sit down and ask myself if I’ve hit the mark. (It’s no different to keywords trickery.) Does this mean I’ve not learnt my lesson? Quite possibly, but I know through my work, my social connections and from what I’ve read that there remains a whole swathe of people who live their lives asking one or two questions that bear on living life to the full, e.g “Is this all that life has to offer?” Of course, to an extent, this is conjecture, and it’s probably wrapped up with my stage of life, but practically everyone I meet, particularly those still ensconced in Cubicle Nation, lament the fact that they’re trapped doing something that never fulfills their creative genius. And when I say ‘creative’, I don’t mean in the classic artist sense but our latent and very rarely fulfilled ability to live out our lives doing something that brings us to full expression.
If that’s the right meme, how do I expect my blogging to help? In a nutshell, by inviting the more beautiful question, e.g. Who am I?
I don’t mean to duck the usual tips and tricks type offering — e.g. ‘7 Steps to Bringing Focus and Success to Your Life’ — but I’m much less interested in that style of writing as dealing with the underlying, causative issue(s), which means a journey within; namely, challenging our fundamental beliefs, our inner voice and, most importantly of all, asking you to consider who is it who’s actually asking the question(s)?
If you were to ask if there were any bloggers that I feel occupy the same space, then the honest answer is I don’t know. Oh sure, I could point you to Leo Babauta, Tim Ferriss and Nicholas Bate but I could just as easily refer you to the extensive writings of Thomas Merton, the books of Parker J. Palmer or the wonderful site called The Culturium. The point is that I’m not trying to ape anyone. That’s not to say that I think I’ve got anything original to say but I know that I’m a product of my time (I was born in 1967 and brought up by parents who had a very Victorian outlook on life) and I’m comfortable in taking that position. Does that mean that my writing might be a bit old fashioned, verbose and slightly stilted? I expect so, but one thing I know is that when I write I do so from the heart; I suspect it’s not always that pleasing on the eye or easy to follow but I know it’s 100% me.
In inviting the more beautiful question, it’s at least arguable that that may leave you, the reader, even more frustrated or disillusioned than when you first arrived at the site — a To Do list is much easier to follow, after all — but all I know is that any change that’s happened in my life has only come about by insight not prescription. In short, when I’ve worked things out for myself or something magical has happened to shatter my illusion; it hasn’t come from following someone else’s recipe.
In reverting again to the headline question, I’m not sure how far I’ve got in answering it, but all I can say is that if you’re interested in exploring what it means to awaken to your true self, one devoid of the egoic me, then please stay around — I blog once a week right now — but if this slightly narcissistic riff isn’t your thing, then I won’t be offended if you stop reading my material.
In next week’s post, I’ll set out the ten areas that I intend to focus on for 2017. In the meantime, if there’s anything you think I haven’t covered please feel free to email me and I’ll do my best to answer your question.