“I need my work to be remembered forever. I don’t need my name on anything anymore.”
Approaching the back half of 2019 with a fresh approach opened for me the opportunity to reflect on the first half of the year. And sure enough, with the successful acquisition of Contactually, and the release of Success is in Your Sphere, there is much to be grateful for. I can also, however, revisit and address certain personality traits and resulting behaviors, and see whether they match the self (professional and person) moving forwards… or can be shed.
It was decided years ago that thought leadership was a key growth strategy, and needed figurehead to drive and represent us. Who better than the co-founder and CEO who originated the idea? So I thrust myself into thought leadership on behalf of the company. A big part of my role externally was posting and speaking about relationship marketing – an easy task normally, as I happened to very much believe in it. As a keystone to that strategy, I had spent four years working on Success is in Your Sphere. However, we ended up selling the company three months before the pub date, leaving the book as a personal project instead of the flagship of a company’s mission.
I have counseled many others recently around my experiences writing a book as a first-time author, and will at some point capture everything I know here. However, the biggest thing I was fully unprepared for is how self-promotional an author must be. I was posting relentlessly on social media, recording videos of myself talking, emailing large lists constantly, asking people to feature me on publication after publication, activating every relationship I’ve ever had, and other acts unnatural for someone who otherwise would rather take less of the credit, more of the blame. There are times I was examining closely things like Gary Vaynerchuck’s content model, and planning how I could replicate it for my own purposes. Our PR firm considered having a film crew tail me for a few days at conferences. I am lucky enough to be surrounded by absolutely amazing authors and true thought leaders who have chosen that as their gift to the world – who inspired me and gave me best practices. In this age of “look at me” social media, it was hard not to get caught up in mimetic desire.
In a period of deep self-reflection recently (more on that in the future), I found myself writing the opening line of this post.
The thought leadership phase of my leadership at Contactually is behind me, and the book’s successful launch does not need to launch a new career for me. While I will still speak publicly to help others, and will still be open to sharing what I am working on and find valuable with people I care about, I am finding a sense of relief in taking a step back from the self-promotional hustle; and can go back to work.