Technology has made it possible to build your own dream without the need of your industry’s gate-keepers giving you the key.
If you are a musician there is software available for you to record your own album. If you are a writer, there are platforms where you can self-publish. If you want to sell something there are templates and hosting sites where you can open up your own store. As the younger generations grab hold of all of this, we will have a new world of creators and pioneers. But it creates a new problem. How do you stand out from all the millions of other people doing the same thing?
I get dozens of emails daily from people promising me a better website with SEO that will take me to the top of the search engines. And then there is adwords, which I see as a total waste of money except in a few rare instances. I think the whole social media thing is a farce. I see people post the same thing every day to the same people. Unless a celeb or opinion leader in your field picks it up and endorses your product / service / event, your posts simply float around is a silent sea. People collect followers and likes as if they actually mean something, and they spend a lot of time doing this! I follow and like a lot of pages, and I never go to look at any of them. I don’t think I’m alone in that.
So what succeeds? Lots of people think you gotta have a gimmick. Gimmicks can work if it is a really good gimmick, but for me, authenticity is the thing that will make you shine, especially in a world lacking in authenticity. I had an acting teacher say that tenacity will always win. I personally love tenacity, as long as it is a tenacity to create instead of a tenacity to destroy. With tenacity, talent grows, skills are gained, connections develop, wisdom sprouts. It is a process, a very special forward motion. It’s active. It involves choices and new roads to follow, and seeing your failures as steps toward victory instead of bitter defeats. You act as a warrior in your own life.
Another important thing is to be true to who you are and know specifically what you do. The only thing that makes you different from the other guy is you, so don’t try to be someone else. I had a writing teacher who would say that you have to write what you want to write, what you are passionate about. Maybe you will be lucky and it will be what the world wants to read-see-touch, and maybe it won’t. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a niche market somewhere for what you do. Find your niche market and become valuable to it! If you write historical drama, you probably will have a tough time getting a screenplay made into as movie, but you can easily dominate the market of that niche in the self-publishing field.
So what do I do? I do a lot of things. I used to fear that was my fatal flaw, but I’m starting to see that maybe it is the thing that makes me uniquely me. The place that I have failed has been in my use of power. I have given mine away a lot, mostly out of fear — fear that I wasn’t enough, fear that I was too much, fear that I didn’t want to do it alone, fear of some invisible reprisal. That last part was extremely real and extremely vague. I’m a big believer that we are all shaped by the lives we lived before this one, so my guess is it stems from something back there. It doesn’t matter. I no longer give it any power. Again, the word power. It really is at the core of everything, the engine of life, so it is important to look at how you greet it, manage it, honor it, use or abuse it…
I think it is good to think about these sorts of things from time to time, so you understand your own journey, and so you can frame it to be one that you love. Really I wrote this for me, but if it helps anyone else, that’s good too.