Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Identifying with your Brand

Most people get their identities from other people’s brands. You get a job with a company, which comes with a title, and suddenly you are somebody. 

You have position and prestige by association. But how substantial can that be? The giver of that status can take it away, plus they can demand all sorts of compromise in exchange for it. You are strutting around on shaky ground.

You may convince others of your standing but you know the bottom line. You are nothing without that brand and you are nothing with it too. Your delusion will not stand you in good stead.

Some people get their identities from their own brands. You start your own business and instantly call yourself the CEO, even though you are the one and only member, who does every task, including wondering where the money is going to come from.

You have prestige by positioning, which is potentially empowering, but people can easily see through it, too. You have given yourself status, which may not be worth much in the end.

You can make the most of it over time, building something substantial, but that might make you full of yourself. Is there anything more off-putting than someone stuffed with being self-made?

A sincere personal brand can be a healthy, living thing, one of the greatest creative experiences available to us. Part of its wellness, though, is that we do not over-associate with it. It is a wholesome expression of who we are and how we are of service, but it is not us.

It is our legacy but not our identity. We work with it but we are not it. In fact, by not being synonymous with us, it teaches us who we really are. We grow into the truth behind the brand and the business.

Identifying with someone else’s brand is sad and pathetic. Identifying with your own brand can be even more dangerous. It’s essential to remain nobody behind whatever role you play and fulfil.

Being yourself for a living means thriving freely beyond the trappings of identity.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

New Business

Business is in bad taste. It is beneath us.

Of course we all need to earn a living, so to speak, but the universe brought us here without us selling ourselves, did it not? We are in good hands. We are, in fact, those hands, inseparable from the big picture. So why make ourselves small and sell out? 

Stay in tune instead and let the whole do what it does. Stay integrated and see. Business is petty and we are quite the opposite. There is no need to trade for a few pennies what is priceless.

We all need to earn a living because the world is upside down. The planet provides for us, we have just turned everything inside out. We are inverted ourselves, making a case for what we do not want. 

Tell someone that earning a living is a red herring and they will argue with you, insisting that you are out of touch with reality. They want to be free but they build a prison instead. That’s why we all need to earn a living: we won’t have it any other way. 

It’s time to have it another way. A better, more enlightened and happier way.

In a global scenario where business rules the roost and exploits every individual out there, of course earning a living will be viewed as non-negotiable. But in a situation where robots and artificial intelligence are taking over most jobs, when those jobs have been alienating people for decades, is the idea of earning a living even valid anymore? 

Aren’t we all going out of the old way of doing business? Do we not need a revolutionary approach? 

In such a new setting, would people not be taken care of on a basic level, with food and housing and transport, all provided sustainably and pollution-free, and thus be able to share their talents and love and joy and creativity in a blooming, awakened world? Wouldn’t the human contribution be prized instead of repressed? Wouldn’t we be empowered to be ourselves?

Here we will not have to earn our living, we will have it automatically provided as a matter of intelligence, dignity and respect, and what we give will just make it all the richer. Being yourself for a living will not be a business, it will be way above that. 

We will not be reduced to the lowest common denominator controlled from behind the curtain by corruption. We will have awakened and claimed our power. Politics, police and exploitation will have no place in our world. 

Stand your ground, because this future is here.

We are learning and thriving on a new earth.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016


I received a message this morning from an events organiser and magazine publisher with whom I have had some dealings over the years but none for at least the last five. Her social media profile does not have a picture of her on it but a logo from her business, and it goes by that and not her personal name. 

This message from her logo popped up out of the blue: 

Robin, I have a high regard for you, and it is in this spirit that I would like to tell you that your open shirt image is not a really good marketing image. I also think the cover photo of your latest book does not show you as a professional. It’s just my opinion – but your value as a professional needs an image overhaul. Lotsa luv (no name given) 

I was writing a piece from a new book at the time, but I replied immediately, saying: 

Who is that behind the image? Not very professional to give unsolicited advice. Coming from you I take your comments as a compliment and validation. Thank you! 

What she did was more than unprofessional. It was rude. I had to deal with her accordingly, but do so cleverly. I was ready because she was not the first to say such things in such ways about BIGGER INSIGHTS.

I have had a few gnarled and uninformed reactions, so I had already processed the experience and grown impervious to it, although I was not particularly vulnerable in the first place. I do know what I am doing, and it is all carefully considered. Her opinion stands as just that, but it is ignorant of my work and out of line on that point alone. 

She is speaking out of context, too, which is her problem and not something I can be distracted by. She shouldn’t try to make it my problem either. She should act in line with the high regard in which she claims to hold me, or stop holding me in high regard. And she should watch out. She may make a fool of herself, and I may be in the mood to help her along.

The first person to take issue with my new book cover did so behind my back, and then in sugar-coated and diluted form via messages to me on social media. She took it upon herself to decide how I should be living my life and creating my art, and then inform me of her decision. She stuck her nose into my business.

She said that I should smile because it makes me look younger, as if she would have welcomed similar comments made in return. I humoured her because of previous dealings and would not be drawn back into that madness. I could see what feelings were behind her opinion and her approach, and I felt how much energy was in it all.

Personal provocations aside, the book cover was having an effect. People were reacting strongly. This was a good sign.

The next kind soul to express her profound concern about my image did so on only our second meeting. Our first had happened the afternoon before that when we convened to talk about her ideas to turn my work into global webinars. She had approached me by email and happened to be in town for the week, and I was out her way for another meeting, so we slotted in an hour to talk further.

It was unsettled and scattered, and I felt afterwards that she did not get my work as she pretended to, and had some other agenda or power-play going on behind the scenes, which was subtly obstructive. She wanted to see me speak, and I had a talk on the next morning, so she came to sit in on it, and then we squeezed in another meeting between that and the next one I had scheduled over lunch. This too did not flow, and it wore me out.

When we reached my car I was already late for my next and original appointment, but she decided to spring it on me that, although she loved my work, she had to say that she was so put off by the new book cover that it almost made her turn away from dealing with me. She shared caringly that the look was out of keeping with the gentle person that I am and with the rest of my branding.

"Could you have it redesigned?" she asked. "Is it too late to stop the print run?" This from someone I had just met and not resonated with, but who felt intimate enough to guide me strategically at an imprudent time.

I considered both pieces of input, as one would, as valid, and as part of all the feedback I received. Most people found the cover evocative, with some even finding it seductive. "It could be appropriately titled Hotter Insights," someone wrote. I thanked her and kept the idea for possible future use.

All of the reactions pointed in the right direction, which is that the book is getting noticed and it’s speaking powerfully to people. If anyone engages it and does so in context of the rest my work, they are sure to get at least some of the big picture, and be affected positively by it.

They can read the book first and then tell me it’s not the right cover. They may not like it, as a matter of taste, or be offended and put off by it for some reason, but they are welcome to try for themselves and show me how to do it. Then maybe we can discuss it further.

But people choose to be twisted and presumptuous fools.

You can’t tell them that, though, because it’s rude.

Thursday, 10 November 2016


I like to have just one of everything. 

Who needs more than one watch? Choose the one you love the most, the one that best depicts you and celebrates your life with every moment you have it on, and wear it like this is your last night on earth.

Who has time for second best? Wrap the ultimate around your wrist and proceed in presence.

Who needs a second car? You can drive only one, as they say. I’ve had two and the second was a compromise. I drove it out of duty and didn’t feel right on those days. It encumbered me.

Material possessions are already a high price to pay, and it’s prudent to keep expenses down. If you must, wear one and drive one, but only one. 

Simplicity is an asset.

Thursday, 27 October 2016


There’s a dairy farm in Irene fifty kilometres from my house. It’s a popular weekend getaway where families can have breakfast or lunch while the kids play on the old tractors or watch the cows getting milked. 

I go there now and then to get out of my usual environment and to introduce friends to the village where my paternal grandparents built a house in the early 1950s and lived until the late 1980s. Irene is where my father grew up, and where I have been going my whole life. 

It's between the cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria, a piece of the country in the middle of the metropolis. Developments are encroaching from all sides but the essence remains, and it seems to be safe for the near future at least. I may move there one day, as the old house is still in the family. So I visit the area with all of that in the air.

I was looking this morning at some of the photos I took on my last trip of the cows and calves in the shelters and roaming the fields on the farm, reflecting that their position there is as strange as it is beautiful and vital. 

They have no control over it, though. They are entirely at the mercy of humanity. They are slaves and captives in a pretty prison. They cannot wander outside of the boundary fences or even the managed routines of the farm. They are alive but they cannot preserve their lives or do anything with them.

All they can do is find joy in the moment in acceptance of their lot. If someone wanted to convert them to beef, they would thus be converted. They are there, but under the power and in the hands of others. 

Those others are not seen. They own the property and the industry but they run it from behind the scenes. Patrons enjoy the facility and pay for its presence, supporting the ownership but never encountering it directly.

This is the way with all of us in the world.

Someone behind the curtain owns everything. We just work here, or visit there, and pay either way. We are just like those cows. We are farmed, too, with our consent, albeit tacit. We are around because it suits someone's pocket, and we have agreed to their terms.

We think we have lovely surroundings, and we do, insofar as they feed us enough to make us profitable. We pretend to be happy and to make the most of it. 

But look into our eyes through the barbed-wire fence.

Monday, 10 October 2016


In your 'being yourself for a living' business, you are constantly in the process of simplifying.

Everything is always getting more complex, changing and evolving all the time with multiple interrelated factors and some new ones coming into effect and others falling away. Your job is continually to evaluate, and to find the simple solution to what you want and need to achieve.
You look for the essential genius at the core of any predicament. 

This is leadership. This is innovation. This is survival. This is being in business. 

When you are on top of it and good at it, you thrive on it. It is a state of constant learning, though, so it is uncomfortable and challenging. There is change and tension, rising pressure and shifts.

This can get too much at times, or just the anticipation can get to you, or the momentum of being on edge can make you edgy, but the simple solution is always just around the corner. When you see it and it slots into place, you slip into more ease and greater acceptance and understanding. 

Simplicity takes over.

Thursday, 29 September 2016


You used to trust your doctor, now you no longer can. You used to trust your dentist, but it's clearly also a scam. You used to trust the government, but they can't be trusted at all. You used to trust the bank, but the banks are behind it all. 

You used to trust your parents, but they lied to you from the start. You used to trust your school, but they perfected the art. You used to trust yourself, but the world has got to you. You used to trust the truth, but what, you ask, is true?

You used to trust your boss, but they all have an agenda. You have one yourself, it's an endless mind-bender. You used to trust in God, but let's say that's evolving. You need to trust in something, something to do the solving. 

You used to trust your food, it used to be so healthy. You used to trust the news, now that's owned by the wealthy. You used to trust naively, now you are no fake. You trust because you know...

...and you know 'cos you're awake.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Be selective

You don’t have to settle. You can have the best and do what you choose. You can work with the finest clients suited entirely to your style and preference.

Give yourself permission for this to transpire. Be selective and see what happens.

The selection process happens first in your head and your heart. The world follows. The universe gives you what you deem fitting for yourself.

Set your standards high and give yourself the benefit of all doubt. The journey is both outer and inner, as the two reflect each other.

Selectiveness occurs as you learn to love and respect yourself. 

You will find the sweet spot.

Friday, 26 August 2016


Be mindful of old patterns. All patterns are old and they are holding you back. Be mindful of them every moment and you will dissolve them away as a way of life. You will awaken every moment. 

Awakening every moment is what we need. It’s who we really are. It’s who we long to be. It’s where the longing and the living come together and explode into being. It’s a place beyond patterns. It’s available to us right now.
Be mindful of your patterns. Instead of running on them like tracks, like a hamster in a cage or a rat in a maze, never reaching past the bars or seeing over the wall, look at them and face the discomfort of awakening. Employ them as gateways to freedom and new life. Embrace them as leverage for bliss.

Patterns are painful. They are comfortable to be in and painful to face and pass through. They are an avoidance of pain in the first place, they are a loss of vitality, which is a kind of dull agony, and then they are a pain to process. Patterns mean pain and pain brings awakening.

Be mindful of your patterns. Look out for them. Be on your path, and be on the lookout for old ways that are keeping you from it. Attend to those old ways. Be aware of them. Be open to letting them go. Be trusting of what you are doing and who you truly are, and surrender into it.

Convert your old ways into new ways by becoming conscious through what your old ways can teach you. What are you clinging to? What are you afraid of? What have you inherited or adopted unconsciously and never questioned? What buttons do you have that keep getting pushed? Be mindful of being pushed. Those triggers are patterns. 

Release who you no longer are, and find who you’ve always been.

Monday, 8 August 2016


There is no rush with anything important. The more important, the less of a rush.

Everything happens in good time: the grass grows, the seasons change, relationships begin and end, and businesses come into full bloom or die. You can try to accelerate some of these but they will just push back and put you in your place.

If things do happen faster, they are not real and robust. Only illusions can be altered.

Authenticity takes the time it takes.