“A little confused about this "Best Spiritual Book contest". I keep getting emails and FB posts from authors - some I know and some I don't - blatantly bribing me and everyone else on their lists, to vote for their book. Isn't this the kind of tactic many people scorn politicians for using.... and this is a "spiritual" book contest? Whoever the winner will be, the win will be a reflection of the votes they were able to solicit, not a reflection of the actual book. Am I missing something? I feel really judgmental about this.”
Over the weekend, I posted the above comment on my Facebook page, transparently admitting my confusion and judgment. A good friend who resonated with my observation encouraged me to not judge myself for the discernment I was expressing, which was a very kind comment. However what I noticed was that the moment I expressed my judgment, thereby acknowledging and accepting the feeling, any “self judgment” that had momentarily crept in, magically disappeared. Through my acceptance of it, I was immediately able to observe my feeling of judgment for what it was, a feeling, and I became more curious about how I felt. This curiosity lead me to check out was the contest’s website to learn more about it.
There, I discovered that my impression that the results of the contest would be a reflection of the votes a contestant was able to solicit actually was one of the intentions of the contest. The whole purpose of the first round in this contest was to teach contestants how to make themselves and their message more visible. This first round, had NOTHING to do with anything the authors may have written – the main intention of this round was to narrow down the contestants to the top 250 authors who could solicit the most votes.
On the site it states: “In this first round the authors rally the support of those they know and learn the art of promoting their message and book. This provides the author with a real life experience of publishing and promoting a book.” http://www.nexttopspiritualauthor.com/ By reading the website, I learnt that one of the main intentions of the contest was to help authors learn more about how to market themselves so that they can be more successful as authors. The more I read about the contest, the more I can appreciate what it is all about. James Twyman shares this about the competition on his personal website http://www.jamestwyman.com/: “The competition, which includes a people’s choice element, will help to establish a publishing path for an emerging spiritual author. Beyond that, all participants – winner or not – will be allowed to participate in an eight-month home study program that will provide them with the skills they need to become a successful author.”
So, all contestants are winning the 8 month home study program - I love it when everyone’s a winner!!
While I still stand by that I don’t care much for being excessively spammed and bribed by people I don’t know, I now understand that for many of the contestants who emailed me, doing so was an exercise to help them stretch out of their comfort zones and that I can support.
Even with the understanding of how the contest is designed, I was still curious about the judgment that got triggered by the numerous emails and posts I received. Another friend made a comment to my post, sharing that she was feeling out the energy of the emails/requests and discerning whether she felt the person was coming from a place of love and generosity or personal desire. When I tuned in, I felt that many were coming from both, and I didn’t really have a problem with either. It is normal for people to desire winning a contest; to desire having their message be heard and understandable to desire wanting that so much they are willing to give stuff away (bribe) in exchange for votes in the hopes of possibly winning a publishing contract especially when that is what they are being encouraged to do. As I acknowledged this new feeling that was now associated with the contest, I wondered how it was that the feeling of judgment got triggered first, and not the more generous energy that I can sense now?
As I continued to curiously sit with this inquiry, I realized that the idea of “bribing for votes” triggers a feeling of dishonesty. I’m immediately reminded of stories I’ve heard through the media where individuals used such tactics to gain votes that would win them positions of power, instead of qualifying for the position due to the true value they intend on bringing to the position. I’m noticing that whenever I witness the tactic of “bribing for a vote” being uses, the past energy of dishonesty is triggered and I immediately become suspicious of whoever is using it. The more my suspicious I become the more judgmental I become – and it that state, I’m not very open.
This is what responding from autopilot is like – which most of us do often, each and every day. We react to situations based on past experiences that get anchored into us. When something happens that is similar to a past experience, it triggers the associated anchored response, which is easy to go along with because it’s already been proven. When this happens with my coaching clients, after acknowledging and accepting how they feel, I ask questions to peek their curiosity, which often encourages them to seek out more information, leading to new understandings and perspectives to discern from. And this was exactly what I did for myself. By first acknowledging and accepting how I felt, not making myself wrong for it, I ignited my curious nature which then opened me up to see more of what is there to see.
As I realized I was reacting to a past association to a tactic that felt dishonest, I wondered how I would have responded to these emails if my first or prevalent association with “bribing for votes” was connected an experience that felt honest or generous. If my past association to the tactic was that I’d gained something of value in return for a vote and if all my vote did, was help someone be seen for the value they had to offer, how differently might I have responded to the numerous requests for votes I received? I imagine that if my overriding association to “bribing for votes” was from that perspective, I probably would have been inclined to vote for each person I resonated with. Or I may have simply been inclined to support them all for having the courage to step out of their comfort zones to support themselves in getting their message out.
As a result of putting my own judgment out there to be seen and heard, not only did I gain clarity about this particular contest – I also learnt more about what was at the core of the resistance I’ve been feeling towards other marketing strategies that I’ve had a hard time aligning with. I realize that most of my judgments of other marketing methods are based on negative associations. Not sure if I’ll be jumping on their band wagon anytime soon, however if there is something there for me, I’m now in a new perspective from which to discern my alignment to it from and it feels… open :)
To all of the contestants that made it to the second round – congratulations on your well earned success and the best of luck to you all.