Obviously I’m a hypocrite.
I mean that goes without saying, right? After all, I’m human, and (despite what we like to think) consistency is not something that humans are great at.
But at least I’m self-aware enough to recognise my own hypocrisy, which you’d think would count for something. Except it turns out that unacknowledged hypocrisy has some solid, solid benefits, not least that fact that acknowledging it can be fucking crippling.
Let me try to explain. I help people (and organisations, and companies) with communication. A big chunk of this involves getting people to think not only about what they are communicating, but why.
I spend a lot of time convincing clients that it’s important to think strategically about communication . I tell them that every interaction, every piece of marketing, and every document should have a clear purpose – and should fulfil that purpose. I warn them that the work may be frustrating and challenging, but that the results are worth the effort.
And I do that because I believe it – I believe it deep down in my bones. But as I said, I’m a hypocrite. Which means even though I know how important focus and purpose are, I haven’t put in the effort to determine the focus and purpose of What She Said.
Because doing that would be hard work.
The fact that I understand the importance of purpose-driven communication doesn’t matter. What I know is in direct conflict with what I want for myself: for the easy way of doing things, the ‘throw-stuff-out-there-until-success-happens’ approach, to magically start working, despite all evidence to the contrary.
I want this website to be a place where I can talk about art, politics, food, adhd, language, Liverpool, and how bad the latest Batman film was. But I also want this to be a place which attracts clients.
These things aren’t necessarily incompatible. Potential clients probably aren’t going to be driven away by content about danish pastries and rhyming couplets. Besides, I am who I am, and people come to work with me partly because of who I am.
And if the purpose of the site is to give me somewhere to vent and pontificate then this is all just peachy. But if the purpose of the site is to bring in new business, we might actually be dealing with a jar of “granny’s peach tea”.
If the purpose of the site is to bring in new business, what I want to write is less important than what my potential new clients want to read.
If the purpose of the site is to bring in new business then the content needs to help potential new clients make the (incredibly sensible, beneficial, and prudent) decision to work with me.
So here I am. Not putting client-focussed stuff on here because I haven’t yet done the hard work of finding and clarifying the purpose of this site. And not putting anything else on here, because if I do want this to be a business site then it would be massively hypocritical of me to ignore my own advice.
The blissfully ignorant hypocrite would just say screw it and write something anyway. It might not be brilliant, it might not be targeted, it might not contribute to the overall aims and goals of the site, or the business, but it would at least be something.
And as long as it isn’t actively damaging to the site or the business, there’s a strong case to say that something in this case is better than nothing – especially if that nothing has been achieved only after many hours of self-recrimination.
But I know I’m a hypocrite, so, as I said before – fucking crippling.
You’ll notice that I’ve managed to actually write and publish something though – this. That’s because I’ve taken some time and done some work, and made some decisions.
What I do isn’t rocket science, in fact it’s mostly pretty simple stuff, but it does take work. The paralysis over this site has been because, even though I know the simple stuff works, I (like most people) still yearn for some magic beans that I can use as a short-cut to fame and fortune.
But magic beans don’t exist.
There’s no product, service, technique or method that will lead you to a goose that lays golden eggs.
There’s no such thing as magic beans. Thankfully there is such a thing as Magik Beans – and that’s where I’m going to start to get seriously laser-focussed about work.
The other stuff? The arty-farty, wordy-nerdy, moody-foody, worky-perky, pretty-city stuff? I’m sure I can find a place to put it… and that’s What She Said.