The tyranny of ‘common things’

In my time off last month, I got the chance for a good think.

And one of the things I thought about is how I don’t really trust or feel comfortable around the mainstream.

As in, mainstream society. Mainstream art. Mainstream symbols of success.

Case in point: when a book sells really well, I assume it isn’t good.

I don’t watch network news for this reason. I get my news from podcasts and conversation.

When art gets printed on mouse pads and canvas grocery totes, I lose interest.

And when someone’s business book gets touted as a bestseller, I am dubious.

Because we have all seen the courses that teach you how to game Amazon and the bestseller lists, haven’t we?

So can we agree that mainstream acclaim isn’t always meaty or merited, and can often simply be bought?

I consider all this ‘common things.’

On the surface, regular people think this stuff looks like success.

But we are not regular people.

We see these common things for what they too often are: empty and manufactured.

Like me, you are not cut out for these common things.

You are called to a different adventure.

You, like me, are an ally.

You are called, in your life, to go on the journey that Joe and Sally Six-pack are not willing to endure, so that you may grow.

In exchange for your willingness to leave your zone of comfort and all that is familiar and known to go on this journey into the unknown, you won a prize.

Wisdom and maturity. Power. Self-mastery. Compassion.

But, because of how you are built, you are not content to go home with your prize and be done with it.

You want to go back out there and serve other people.

And that, dear one, is an uncommon thing.

Not everyone is experiencing a desire to serve others right now.

Heck, some people are fighting for clean water or to keep their sick kid’s health insurance right now.

But you have this precious, rare, and dare I say holy desire to be of service.

If you’ve fallen in with the be-a-millionaire-like-me set, they may have tried to cut that desire with something less pure. Like Taco Bell adding textured veggie protein to stretch the beef in its burritos.

But the time has come to return to the purity of your holy calling to serve other people, and help them improve their lives with the prize you got from your journey.

You can become quite wealthy with this as your starting spot, in fact.

But we need to stop centering our businesses around making money.

And instead, the time has come to center all our business decisions and ways of relating to people around our own guidance, and what we are being led to bring into being in the world.

Do this intelligently, and the money will come.

Two questions that are useful touchstones, for those of you ready to switch fuel tanks:

“What would be fun for me?”

“What is highest and best for my client?”

This may take time, and that’s okay. As you know, all journeys take time. And transformation does not happen instantly. Despite what the be-a-millionaire-like-me set would have us believe.

Instead, remember the butterfly. Who starts as a caterpillar, crawls into her cocoon, and melts down into liquid goo before emerging a magnificent flying machine of vibrancy, color, and precision engineering.

Is it any coincidence that the story I’m telling you now is also the story I teach you to tell in your marketing?

Nope. {wink}

Big love,

P.S. Resonate with this story and want to bring it into how you communicate with your clients, butterfly? Join my Craft Your Message Playbook workshop, where I walk you through how to tell this story in your marketing message:

Stella Orange teaches her clients how to effectively market their business by telling a better story in their marketing— the story of the hero answering the call to more. A professional copywriter whose writing has generated millions of dollars in sales, Stella knows that the story we tell in our marketing matters a whole lot, because on a fundamental level, it shapes how people think about themselves and what’s even possible for them. Three times a month, Stella hosts a 90-minute Shut Up And Write session via videoconference for members of her Write Club community. She is based in Buffalo, New York, where she lives with her husband, the Philosopher, and their dog, Chachi. Get a copy of Stella’s position paper The New Marketing: How to Create Clients Without Feeling Gross, Icky or Manipulative at

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