I’ve just been re-reading a very good book on planning, The 12-week Year by Brian Moran.
Brian’s premise is that we should focus on the next 12 weeks – not a whole year. He’s got other good ideas, such as organizing time by blocks.
What stopped me cold, though, was Brian’s diagram on page 72: the emotional cycle of change.
As a copywriter and content strategist, I rarely work with clients on their emotions. We talk about dealing with their clients’ emotions. I’m a big believer in working with life coaches and mindset coaches, but that’s not where my own expertise lies.
Brian has a chart that shows the emotions we go through when making a change.
Phase 1 – Uninformed Optimism: you’re excited at the idea but you don’t know what you’re getting into
Phase 2 – Informed Pessimism: you start to face the reality of what this change means
Phase 3: Valley of Despair: you don’t think you’ll ever get there: most people give up
Phase 4: Success and fulfillment: you reap the benefits of change so the behavior becomes self-reinforcing.
This chart resonated because I recently reviewed the direction of my business.
While I work with coaches and consultants (not to mention the occasional astrologer or psychic), I tend to attract clients with some technical component to their service, such as financial services and tech companies. I wanted to develop some offers specifically for those markets.
I got excited about doing this … until I started learning more about what was involved. It turns out there are sub-specialties and tricks of the trade. What’s kept me going (and gotten me more clients) is purposeful action. In particular, interacting with my target markets (I’m one of those people who loves networking), interviewing, and joining them on social media.
When I work with clients, I see the same pattern.
Often clients call me when they’re in the valley of despair: they were advised to reach a new market, or create a certain type of product, but it’s just not working.
“Am I doing something wrong?” they ask.
Sometimes they’ve given in to despair prematurely. They’re a good fit and it’s just a matter of time. Other times, they haven’t matched themselves to their market or their marketing style. For instance, someone once advised me to build a business around “fabulous marketing.” That’s a great idea for someone who uses the Celebrity archetype of marketing … but it’s just not me.
So to the phases described by Brian Moran, I’d add a second step. Go through your initial excitement, but ask, “Is this something I’m committed to? Is there a good fit? Will the topic hold my interest for the next several months …maybe even years?”
You could even add a question, “Will the new market respond to someone like me?”
I once worked with a client who wanted to create social events for people in their twenties, to supplement the dating apps. As a social worker, she understood their needs. She knew several from her private practice.
But she had to ask herself, “Would clients relate to me in this way? Would they see me as a friendly big sister who’s helping them out…or as a distant older person who’s far removed from their lives?”
We didn’t know. She’d have to trying her new role on for size. Her early pessimism might be justified, but she might be throwing in the town too quickly (to mix a few metaphors).
If you’d like to talk about changes for your business and your marketing, I’m here to help.
The Power Hour consultation is an opportunity to review your business and identify any challenges in your marketing. We can talk about “your story” and the best stories to use for planning.
It’s your 90 minutes to use to your own best advantage. Click here to learn more and set up a time for us to work together.