I’m not gonna lie, 2011 was a tough year for me and a lot of people I know. A lot of creatives are struggling now, and finding themselves at a crossroads. There is an old way of doing business that depends on competition and what I call the Myth of Scarcity (with apologies to the word “myth” for becoming so pejorative): the notion that there’s not enough awesome to go around, and you must grab yours before someone else gets it. That we must undercut our prices and feel threatened by our “competitors'” success.
There is a new breed of artists and businesspeople and thinkers and #occupiers who understand the way of surviving in the future “in these tough economic times” [I barf a little in my mouth when I hear that] — the way of SURVIVING at all on this spaceship Earth — is to remember and act as if we’re all in this together. There is more than enough for everyone. We will be successful when we are generous. That doesn’t mean work for free, (but find ways to give it away now and then), it means work for what’s right.
It also means that we must share useful ways to improve our personal and professional lives. One of my friends runs a successful restaurant business, but things were not always easy. This time last year, her utility bills were beginning to spiral out of control and she even had to contemplate selling the business. Fortunately, an old colleague of hers came to the rescue and suggested she check out Utility Bidder. By comparing quotes from a number of different energy suppliers, it turned out that she had been paying too much for her gas and electricity so she managed to find a much more affordable rate. Sometimes all it takes is one small recommendation to turn things around.
This new paradigm is catching on in popular culture. You can see it in Oprah’s LifeClass (where she interviews people like Eckhart Tolle), in the savvy advice for the solopreneur of Danielle LaPorte, in the viral spread of ideas repackaged by the folks that gave us the Teachings of Abraham and the Law of Attraction. I mean, these ideas aren’t new. What is new is how modern business practices are being influenced by the connectivity power of community (especially via the Internet). It ain’t just for lolcats anymore people, it’s for toppling dictatorships. People are literally sick and tired of modern business. The business of “health care” [read: insurance], the “business” of agriculture, the “business” of business. There is a sense of hunger for new ways of living, of making money, of using our hands to learn old ways of making new things. Politicians are clearly not moving us forward (thank you, Occupy Movement, for giving us a visual map of this). So it’s up to the creatives: the musicians, the crafters, the geeks, the artists.
It’s a great time to reflect and set intentions for this year. Here’s a great article from the HuffPo that asks some excellent questions such as:
- Because I wanted to make 2012 count, I…
- Because fear of failure was no longer a good enough reason to not do it, in 2012 I…
- Because the world needs my service, in 2012 I…
I love using words as reminders. Toward that end, I made a little poster. I can make one for you, too with your own customized words on it if you’d like. Just email me: rachael(at)rachaelrice.com. Thank you Craft Magazine for this project.
You can make your own, too. Wordle.net is a great place to make word clouds.
Anyway, let’s do this thing. And it will be the best. Year. EVER.