Self-promotion is something every entrepreneur and artist is supposed to utilize. Sole-proprietors are frequently one-person shows, president, treasurer, sales staff, cook, clerk, and advertiser. We all have many skills and we all have flaws. One of mine is that I struggle when I try to be a shameless self-promoter. Gregarious? Yes. Salesman? Not so much. Nobody’s perfect, which is why I like the Will Roger’s line (paraphrased), “We’re all equally ignorant, just in different areas.” Its corollary is that we are all equally brilliant, just in different areas.
I am a photographer. I sell my photos in a variety of venues (Raven Rocks Gallery, Fine Balance Imaging, smugmug, blurb, my house). I am a writer. My books (which are too many to list so here’s a link) are available online and on-island, and even in Bellingham. Once upon a time I taught karate, and prior to that I was an aerospace engineer. Even typing this paragraph is a struggle against an internal resistance that wants to get to the point instead of focussing on me.
I’m pleased with the frequent compliments and the occasional sales. Of course, more sales would be better and the holidays are right around the corner!
My deflection of self-promotion happened again the other night at a Financial Integrity class. I was happy to be the guest speaker. One of my life joys is public speaking. I mentioned my book a few times, and that’s what I called it, my book. One of the students had to prompt me for the title and where it was available. I told them that Dream. Invest. Live. was available online and in the local bookstores. And in the library. My sales may not be stellar, but I am so good at pointing out the free way to see my work that the library has had to reorder copies of some because they’ve been checked out so many times. I even forgot to bring copies to the event.
Is this just my issue? Of course not. We’re all brilliant and ignorant in different areas. I’m reasonably good with words, numbers, photographs, speaking, dancing, and lots of other things. I could be much better at sales, advertising, inventory management, and filling out my taxes. Everyone has their own list, and the most aware folks are aware of both sides.
It’s tricky enough to understand the personal strengths and weaknesses. It is harder to extend that to others.
Frequently, especially in the news and in politics, others are labeled as heroes or villains. Short attention spans and limited time slots don’t provide much opportunity for fuller stories.
It may be tricky but it is valuable to realize that every person in every story has more than one side. This is much more apparent to me as we cruise into the holidays. Facebook has been a wonderful window into friends’ compassions. Thanksgiving Day was a constant stream of heartfelt thanks, frequently buttressed with concrete examples of why people felt blessed. It choked me up at one point, which is a rare occurrence considering my upbringing as a boy from outside Pittsburgh.
Yet, look at Facebook. Consider its founder. Some see it and him as invaders of privacy. Some see enablers of community. I suggest you go see the movie.
That dichotomy exists within every person and institution. On a personal level, it means I cut people a lot of slack. As an investor, it means I am more likely to dig a layer deeper. Good news may be covering up a kernel of bad. Bad news may be a blessing by providing an opportunity. I even suspect that most politicians aren’t as evil as they portray each other, though I do wish they’d get past the adolescent histrionics and get to managing the country.
I’m already looking ahead to the end of the year. Those who are familiar with my routine know about my love of the holidays, the exercise where I summarize all of my stocks, and my ski trip that celebrates my birthday.
Oh yeah (and this wasn’t outlined or scripted) I just remembered that on January 3rd I’ll be interviewed as an artist on KWPA (Coupeville and streaming) and then giving a slideshow at the Coupeville Library based on my most recent photo essay, Twelve Months at Admiralty Head. Nice way to start the year.
Hmm, maybe I can get better at self-promotion. Maybe I can change. I suspect that I’m not alone in that capacity either. I’ll give thanks for that.