Rethinking Core Values: The Betrayal of Business

Thursday, 1st November 2012

Before I joined the forces of being a person in business, I hated business.  I thought it was boring, and driven by the pursuit of money, numbers, and sales.  I believed it was for the technical guys and gals who could crunch numbers, make sense of the stock market, and wear uncomfortable black suits.

I was an artist.  Well, at least trying to be one, and my brain wasn’t built to understand the world of business.  I happily dove into the world of writing.  After three years of incredibly hard work, I landed my first book contract.  I stumbled on my way until, by book three, my publishers were talking to me about the importance of promotion, marketing, and selling more if I wanted to continue publishing with them.

The realization that I wouldn’t be around as an author if I didn’t “step it up” and sell more was a nasty pill to swallow.  But I swallowed and banged around into the world of sales, marketing, and business.

That world became tricky, and the more I learned, the more I danced in it, the more I forgot about writing.  (What a sneaky environment!)  The money I could make doing business far overshadowed the royalty checks off book sales.

I all but forgot the harsh world of books that caused so many struggles, and focused passionately on building my business and counted on that paying well.  I’d probably still be on that path if I hadn’t been stricken with a host of health problems that landed me in the hospital and rendered me unable to stay conscious.

As I struggled to get back on my feet, I searched for something to help heal me, something that I loved, something that calmed me.  I dove back into reading literature.  As I read, I rediscovered my true love. I realized that I’ve always loved reading a good book that transported me to another world.  When I read, I feel authentically me.

I wondered why I had so neglected my love?  Why was I doing so much business that my health was crumbling under the burden of stress?  As I read, a message from one of the books :cleared things up: Literature never disappointed me.  I thought about all the disappointments that came from the book world—the rejections, lack of sales, small payments, and frustrating plots.  All the disappointments came from trying to publish—not from literature itself.

Perhaps in some ways you are like me—you had something you enjoyed doing in your life –golf, basketball, painting, woodwork, etc., and you abandoned it or did less of it because … well, lots of reasons.

When I looked at my life head on, I realized that literature didn’t abandon me, but I put myself into the business part of the literature out of fear.  I cut off the part that I’d loved so much and did the business part until it swallowed me up.  I did this even though the business gave me headaches.  I valiantly plowed through, feeling like that was what needed to be done.  I had become swept up in the race and didn’t know it because my ego was at play.

It was my ego that wanted the gold sticker that said I was successful. It was ego that listened to the publishers and pushed so hard for the sales.  It was ego that took something so beautiful and made it about image, which in truth doesn’t matter so much.  My being consumed with “business” had betrayed me from keeping my real love alive.

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