Why I'm tired of Nelson Mandela’s inaugural address

I’m tired of Nelson Mandela’s inaugural address. That is, I’m tired of people quoting him quoting Marianne Williamson*:

You probably know the quote:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?”

Actually, who are you not to be?

Now I’m all over stepping into your brilliance. And I think the world needs you to do just that. So what’s my problem?

My problem is that this quote is too often used to shore up wounded self-esteem and too rarely used as a challenge. A challenge to get your self-esteem out from between you and the people you could be serving, that is, get it out of the way of marketing and selling your work.

Your light is not about you

Your light, your brilliance, is not about you. It’s about what you light up. It’s about using your light to contribute—as only you can—to the wellbeing of the planet.

Exactly how you make that contribution is your business. You may do it by being a fabulous flutist, a bodacious body worker, a kick-ass coach, or a wicked widget maker. I would hope that you’d choose something you rock at, that keeps you at your growing edge, and that blows your skirt up.

And then I want you to step up to the plate and promote yourself.

Marketing is a duty you owe to your just-right clients

Marketing is the means of making your work visible, understandable, and accessible to your just-right clients. If you really want to make a contribution, marketing is a duty you owe those clients.

It’s your duty regardless of your issues around being visible. In spite of doubts about your expertise. Not withstanding conflicted feelings about what to charge and whether it’s okay to make a (great) living at what you do.

Does “duty” give you the heebie-jeebies?**

Duty is a loaded word in some circles. We’re advised not to “should” ourselves. We’re encouraged to reject anything that smacks of obligation. And certainly it’s counter-productive and unkind to use duty as a stick with which to beat yourself about the head and shoulders.

But check this out. According to the Oxford Dictionary of American English, the first definition of duty is:

responsibility, obligation, commitment; allegiance, loyalty, faithfulness, fidelity, homage.

The second definition is:

job, task, assignment, mission, function, charge, place, role, responsibility, obligation; dated office.

I’m saying that, if you are committed to doing your great work, marketing is part of your mission, an essential component of being faithful to your purpose and the people you would serve.

The heebie-jeebies are an invitation to transformation

If you’re tracking me thus far, hell, if you’re even still reading, odds are that you have more than a passing interest in personal growth.

Well here’s the reason I got excited about business in general and marketing in particular—and why I’ve made it my work to get other Accidental Entrepreneurs excited about it: I found that lurking behind every objection and reservation I’ve ever had about business was a glitch in my personal operating system. A blind spot. A failure of imagination. An attachment to a limited and limiting perspective. Without exception, facing down those objections and reservations has produced insight and, sometimes, profound shifts in how I make meaning in the world.

Bottom line: learning how to market and sell and then doing it has made me a better person. More emotionally intelligent. More spiritually attuned. And far more self-actualized. (You, too, can be (reasonably) comfortable making claims like this. How cool is that?)

If you’re into transformation, I invite you to start marketing and selling your work right now.

The way forward: be kind, but bust yourself

Compassionate self-observation accompanied by rigorous honesty is the key to this transformational process. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to learn how to market and sell, infuse that with your purpose and personality, then do it. As you do, observe with compassion how you resist. Be kind, but bust yourself when you see that you are putting your fears and doubts between you and your just-right clients.

Let me know how it goes.

* In fact, Mandela did not quote Williamson in either of his inaugural addresses. Still it is a pervasive urban myth, and it got you to read this post, didn’t it?

** “Heebie-jeebies” is in Microsoft Word’s spell-check dictionary. Neat.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

About Molly Gordon

Molly Gordon is the owner of Shaboom Inc., a company devoted to helping Accidental Entrepreneurs who are allergic to business develop the skills they need to prosper. She’s an artist, writer, marketing consultant, and coach -- as well as a paddle-boarder, cyclist, singer, and grandmother. She lives in Suquamish, Washington with her husband, two hens, and Bolivia the Wonder Cat. Molly blogs at http://www.shaboominc.com/blog, where you can also sign up for her weekly ezine, Authentic Promotion.

  • Motivational Quotes

    nice post Nelson Mandela Quotes.My favorite quote is A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.

    -Nelson Mandela

  • http://ideaschema.com/MEM Megan Elizabeth Morris

    I end up in challenging discussions, quite often, about “opportunity versus obligation.” I feel in many ways that if we are aware of what needs to be done, we then have a (self-imposed) obligation to do something good and growthful with that awareness. This means building that amazing thing we know we can build, making sure people know about it, creating meaningful exchanges in the world — and for many of us, the best value we can create has to do with business because that’s where we get to spend an *enormous* amount of our time creating that value. Marketing and sales *has* to play into that, or the business goes nowhere.

    I hugely appreciate your viewpoints on this — they have been incredibly insightful and inspiring for me over the last couple of weeks!

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/Retirements Retirements

    I think people like quoting this man because of the extra special level of faith and courage he has shown the world. He is indeed special and the quotes are true, even if that are not his own.