This is how I work: an ode to idealism + things that solve nothing

I refuse to profit from the idea that you are broken.

You are not broken.

You are exquisite. Even in the places with the shadows. Especially in the places with the shadows.

I will speak to your brilliance, your depth, your beauty, because that’s what I see and know to be true.

Likewise, I refuse to profit from pain.

Especially the kind of pain that is manufactured in a sales page.

Especially that.

Speaking of sales pages… I refuse to write those, too.

Of course, I will tell you when I’ve made something for you. Of course.

And yes, I would like it very much if you buy what I make. Yes.

When you buy what I make, you help hold the space for me to make more, give more, explore more. As far as I can tell, that is a good thing.

And my hope is that you will love the thing I made for you much more than you loved the dollars you paid for it. That is definitely a good thing.

Even so…

I want it to be because you’re motivated by curiosity and love, not because I shook you up with urgency-speak and fear, then pushed you to the buy button while you were still seeing stars.

Language matters. Tone matters.

I want the books I write for you to be happy discoveries – the quiet love seat in the secret garden behind the hedge, or the intriguing night bazaar you found down a side street when you, fortuitously but unexpectedly, turned left instead of right.

And I want the pages I write about those books to feel the same: curious, loving, laden with unexpected discovery.

Furthermore, I solve no problems.

Unless your problem is that you don’t have enough curly, gentle, ponderous writings to explore. If that’s the predicament you find yourself in, then I’m your girl.

Lighting an old shape from a new angle? Absolutely. Fixing what’s broke? Not so much. (See also: You are not broken.)

I do not believe that those are demons in your closet, and I will not pretend to have the one secret weapon that will defeat them. (Maybe we can just switch on the light, yes? Kindness is useful for that kind of thing, and I have plenty. Help yourself to as much as you need.)

Of course, the lack of a secret demon-defeating weapon limits my opportunities to hold you hostage. That’s fine with me because…

I also refuse to inflate prices with the hot air of anxiety.

Instead, I choose numbers that are fair for you, and sustainable for me.

Radical, I know.

Those numbers will shift over time as I find the sweet spot where I get to eat, and you get to read all the wiggly ponderings you can handle. I reserve the right to experiment, yet the shifting of the numbers need never be justified by holding a magnifying glass over your discomforts.

Conventional business wisdom would have me believe that such idealism will almost certainly lead to bridge-dwelling in later life.

And while I’m not at all convinced that poverty is noble, and while I intend (enthusiastically) to have something cosier than a bridge with a view when I’m elderly, I’m willing to risk it if it means I get to work in the way that I must.

These are the conditions under which I will play in the small business sandpit.

Hard won. Long silenced. Deeply felt.

This is how I work.

 

Comments

  1. I love this. If more of us worked this way, what a world of support and hope we’d work – and live – in. Blessings. So glad I read your tweet this morning.

  2. I’m with you . . . I don’t want it to be about pain, I want it to be about possibilities. thank you for your eloquence, your bravery, your sharing.

    And thanks, again and again, for Take That Nap!

  3. This speaks to me, deeply. This gives me hope that I can keep doing it the way I’m doing it (subtly, slowly, sweetly), and that way will be the right way for the right people. Love.

  4. I love this piece of yours Lisa and it speaks volumes to me not just about small business but about relationships in general (which is what small business is made of after all!!)

    And Take That Nap was a profoundly beautiful contribution to helping me see the places to turn left instead of right in my life.

    Thank you for being your brilliant self – shining brightly in this world for those of us lucky enough to know you.

  5. I love this! And I love Take That Nap – and not just because I really do love taking naps. :) This is gentle and welcoming. A hug with words that offers acceptance and reassurance. Kindness in this measure is a rare and welcome find.

  6. I just pulled up a chair and joined you.
    Here is how I work:
    I remember what ‘truly helpful’ is and I get started
    I remember it is never about me (no matter how much it looks like it) and so I just write and talk to people
    I say “lots can happen” whenever it looks a bit wobbly
    I remember people either like you or they don’t – and like Mother Theresa said -
    “Give the best you have, and it will never be enough
    Give your best anyway
    In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
    It was never between you and them anyway”
    love,
    Elese

  7. i really, really love this. and, i really appreciate that after clicking over to your ebook, it was made strikingly clear that you’re practicing what you preach. thanks, sista. big love <3

  8. YES!

    Pure beauty + truth + goodness.

    I want to scribble this in brightly colored chalk all over the place.

    Tunnels. Overpasses. The walls of every business school. All across the interwebs.

    Mad respect, fabulousness.

  9. Yes yes yes! It’s my first time here – I am touched.

    This is a message we all need to hear more, much more of.

    I am referring specifically to your ‘outting’ of the urgency-voice marketing methods, covered in sparkle-dust though they may be.

    How refreshing to hear you air the laundry that we have all been soiled with!

    I am also delighted by the lyrical rhythm of your speech.

    Thank you.

  10. Beautiful.
    And exactly what I wanted to say but haven’t had the courage.
    Being led to believe that urgency-speak is the only way.
    In a space where the numbers have me in their grip.
    It hasn’t worked anyway.
    So I’m joining you on your bridge (not under). We’ll cross it together.
    Thank you x

  11. Hello lovely,

    Thank you for this beautiful post. I’ve been sitting with it for days now, and with something Mark Silver said on a call I listened to recently.

    And here’s what I’m meditating on:

    People are in pain. People believe they are broken. People come to me, come to yoga, in order to fix what they perceive to be broken. I do not believe they are broken. I do not believe they need to be fixed. I believe they need to be welcomed, met exactly where they are and wrapped in kindness to provide the conditions and support for them to meet themselves where they are with love and kindness. So when they come looking for a “fix” for their “brokenness” I will acknowledge their pain, because it is real. I will acknowledge their desire to fix themselves, because it is real. And I will offer them my kindness, the practices of kindness and radical self-acceptance that were offered to me by teachers when I was sure I was broken and needed fixing.

    I can’t deny their pain, because I see it. But I can also see their wholeness, their perfection, their beauty. And through our practice together, maybe I can reflect that back to them.

  12. [...] Lisa Baldwin offers a bold declaration: “I refuse to profit from the idea that you are broken. … I refuse to profit from pain.” And then she proceeds to describe how she hopes peoples’ discovery of her books is like a secret garden or intriguing night bazaar. It’s beautiful, it’s bold, it challenges the status quo. It is her ode to idealism. [...]

  13. Adore this post. The hard sell is so out of touch with what many of us look for. Which for me is the personal story, humanity the sweetness, the art. It’s not unrealistic to work & thrive this way. Nx

  14. I love that you concentrate on the good things to give attention to.

    To optimise ones Life with a plan that is not even proofed to help gives a lot of pain. Many people do that. I used to do that to. Now I keep doing everything i want not having a “must” do plan.

    Life rocks. I will read more articles from your blog :-)

  15. Thanks for being you. Every time I go to a website with a lengthy sales page it makes me crazy. Keep doing what you do and setting a great example. I thing simplicity and honesty works best.

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