BEE-ing Attraction

What Does Love Have to Do With It?


BEE-ing Attraction:
What Love Has to Do With Business and Marketing

When my coaches, Jan Stringer and Alan Hickman of Perfect Customers, invited me to write a review of their book, BEE-ing Attraction: What Love Has to Do with Business and Marketing, I was thrilled to do it. I’m a professional, published reviewer after all. (My reviews regularly appear in ForeWord Magazine’s review section, a trade journal serving book publishing and libraries.)


It’s been a few months since that initial request. So what happened? In the interim, I recognized that I had gotten far closer to this book (and its authors) than I do in my professional capacity as reviewer. I had been using the essential (and brilliant) 4-part “BEE-ing Attraction” Plan process for so long that the “usual model” for reviewing simply would not be adequate. (I have also gone through their program and have been certified to offer this planning process.)


Let me tell you a story.


It’s been nearly a decade since I first came across the 4-part Attraction Planning Process pioneered by Jan Stringer. It was no coincidence. I connected with her first book, Attracting Perfect Customers: The Power of Strategic Synchronicity with lovely synchronicity through her first publisher, Berrett-Koehler, a client of mine. She had co-authored (as Jan Brogniez) and developed this 4-part process that brought the seeming magic of attraction to a business audience, and it was launched out of Houston. Texas.


This 4-part Strategic Attraction Process, along with the fundamental idea that the very best marketing grew out of building great relationships, became part of the air I breathed.


As the years unfolded, I came into Jan’s orbit, signed up for classes and learned more about this 4-part planning process through my own practice of it and with regular reminder classes that the “Biz Goddess,” Jan, offered with her sweetheart, then husband, Alan Hickman, a brilliant cheerleader of a coach in his own right.


In 2009, Jan and Alan published a new, deepened message, BEE-ing Attraction: What Love Has to Do with Business and Marketing. Its cover includes the tagline, “A Guidebook for Developing a Heart-Centered Business and Life.” It’s a process that works (like magic) for all manner of relationships.


With their new book and my deepening understanding in applying the 4-part plan, now sometimes called a “BEE-ing Attraction Plan,” the planning process that had been a traveling companion became an intimate friend.


Illuminating the expansion of the concepts, the authors build from the idea that marketing is all about relationships (in the first book)  to its new iteration, “Building relationships which are heart-centered and feel good to you.”


The varied stories in this book, shared through the voices of clients, create a level of specificity, spaciousness, and hope for all manner of sizes, shapes, and intents of plans — whether around growing a business, renting a dream house, or connecting with a soul mate.


What Makes YOU Tick?

At the heart of their process, and Part 2 of the 4-part plan, is a deep-inner-connection process called, “What Makes You Tick?” The “tick” as it’s called for short, is the ultimate foundation on which your relationships stand. What makes you “tick” is like water to a fish — you may not recognize or realize that’s what it is. It’s what you bring to every encounter in your life, whether you know it or not. Its power grows from the idea that “like attracts like,” so what makes you tick is also what makes your most perfect client tick.


Say the authors, “The Bee-ing Attraction Planning Process is about shifting paradigms. You must first become what you want to attract.” This whole new paradigm is unfolding under the nose of the crumbling infrastructure of the old way of business as usual. In this all-new business model, collaboration and cooperation take the lead over competition. It’s about bringing your heart to work and knowing that what Tim Sanders said is really true: Love really is the killer Ap. It’s about Being, Presence, Attraction, and Manifestation in their highest and best incarnations.


For me, one of the most memorable take-aways, among many, “The qualities that impressed me in others were in reality resonating within me,” reports one client. This is a ray of hope for me and so many people like me who have second guessed ourselves for ages!


For recovering perfectionists, you may wonder why your results don’t look like the ones in the book. Yes, I did too. “What am I doing wrong?” you may, like me, be asking. When you are sitting on the aisle of a 737 jet at 35,000 feet, you don’t realize you’re moving at several hundred miles per hour.  So too, in delving deeply into playing with this Strategic Attraction Plan, it helps to surround yourself with what Julia Cameron calls “believing mirrors.” Only then will you realize the progress you are making. Far from sitting still, you may suddenly discover you are getting off the plane in another country, far from where you started.


That is the power of putting the 4-part Strategic Attraction plan to work for you. Simple. But not easy. The plan calls on its users to go deep and bring forth the answers to the questions with radical honesty. And in so doing, miracles and magic do happen.


With its success stories and practical guidance, plus detailed explanations of putting the plan to work, templates, samples, and inspiration for creating your own 4-part plan, this is a visionary and refreshing (woo-woo-free) approach to creating a heart-centered business that really fits.


For those ready to step into, as client Doug Upchurch shares, “a different passion…[operating] from a different sense of ownership and power…” Bee-ing Attraction: What Love Has to Do with Business and Marketing is the perfect accompaniment.


Disclosure: Over the past year, I have gone deeply into this process, both through the Strategic Attraction certification training (so I’m certified to offer you this 4-part planning process) and during extensive coaching with Jan and Alan to build my sales muscles and refocus on what exactly IS my heart-centered business. If you would like to taste this 4-part planning process with me, send me an email at bjmiddendorf (at)gmail(dot)com, and we can open the discussion.

Review: The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte

Ignite Your Most Remarkable Self

Earlier this year, Danielle LaPorte published her multimedia masterpiece, The Fire Starter Sessions. I discovered this gem of  (and from) White Hot Truth (yes, this is the name of LaPorte’s web site) through the brilliant Ronna Detrick’s Renegade Conversations site and ezine. So that’s the meandering path I took to get to this entrepreneur’s treasure trove and believing mirror, allowing us to reflect back for ourselves our greatest power, insights, and opportunities.

The Fire Starter Sessions encompass an inspiring journey, with its clean design, vivid stories, video lessons/messages, and 43 pages of worksheets and questions that get you delving into your own flaming core essence, so you can bring those gifts from the core out into the world. It’s called a “digital experience.” LaPorte says, “This is about you defining your vocation, your work, your livelihood, your career, on your own terms.”  Lessons from her own entrepreneurial high-flying, interviews with thought leaders, and lists of resources round out the message.

Especially these past couple of years, so many people have been “trying” to play it safe life-wise, vocation-wise. There is no safe harbor anymore, if there ever was. And so, more timely than ever, comes this fiery voice of Danielle LaPorte, spilling out her White Hot Truth. I can’t say that our energies are a match. In fact, it seems an unlikely pairing, me and Danielle LaPorte in the same breath. And yet there is something so compelling in her message, something that makes me want to take out my eyeliner and put on high heels.

There’s deep truth-telling here, like in her discussion of “quality-easy” or what about this game-changer? “True strength is not necessarily about skill or adeptness. It‘s about vitality.” How many of us entrepreneurs choose to do what we’re decent at, even when there isn’t a spark of passion to be found any more? If you are suffering from such a lackluster approach, this is the antidote.

With its tagline, “Spark Your Genius. Ignite Your Business. Make it Matter,” this “digital experience for entrepreneurs” covers dreams and feelings, content, courage, and design in four modules:

  • module 1: strength + desire: define yourself on your own terms
  • module 2: identity + branding: you are not a box of cereal
  • module 3: content + services + promotion
  • module 4: reverie + courage

Most crucially, Danielle LaPorte shares the lesson of “How do you want to feel in the work you do?” This is absolutely at the heart of it all, and allows dreamers to pull on the dream that is their own — the one that fits just right. I also adore the thought that when something really fits, there’s an ease and grace in the doing.

The Fire Starter Sessions is a multimedia experience definitely worth checking out. Yes, I am an affiliate, and I recommend and believe in the value of this package. You can click on the links in this post, or click the orange box on the sidebar to learn more.

50 Million Cultural Creatives Can Change the World

The following article first appeared in March 2001, published by Chicago’s Conscious Choice magazine. In sharing this perspective about Cultural Creatives, (a name bestowed on us by sociologist/researcher Paul Ray)  I am reminded how very important this cohort of world-changers really is. We’ve lost a decade to the forces of the status quo, to those determined to move the clock backwards.  So now — more than ever — it is our time.

It is so crucial that everyone WAKE UP!  The awakening and mindful action for the good of all and the healing of planet Gaia, Mother Earth, is long overdue. This is a clarion call to of those in the Cultural Creative Cohort.   It is more important than ever, and well past time, to get out of our own way.

[I’ve made some minor edits in the following piece so that it makes sense for 2010.]

How 50 Million Cultural Creatives Can Change the World: A Review and Consideration of The Cultural Creatives by Paul Ray and Sherry Ruth Anderson

Do you ever feel like you just don’t fit in? Do you feel that people around you have a whole different set of values and beliefs? Do you find things important that aren’t on their radar screens, and vice versa? Are “getting ahead” and “looking out for number one” nowhere on your list, despite the best efforts of the media and consumer culture to persuade you otherwise?

When you speak of your dream — what you hope to accomplish — do you include relationships, concern for the planet and the next generations, social justice, sustainability, and your spiritual development? Do your dreams not look like what “everybody else” wants? Perhaps the mirror that will reflect you and your values back to you just isn’t in place — Yet.

It certainly isn’t available in the established big media companies, most corporate, education, and government institutions, or politics, where there is little or no support for people who dare to express such values. Surprisingly, despite your feelings of isolation, you are far from alone.

In fact, you may be part of a just-now-becoming-visible groundswell of cultural change. You may be a Cultural Creative. With the book, The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World, Paul Ray and his wife and co-author Sherry Ruth Anderson are trying to hold up a mirror big enough to reflect this population back on itself.

Continue reading “50 Million Cultural Creatives Can Change the World”

Linchpin’s Message: Own Your Genius and Live It

Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

So asks Seth Godin in his latest bestseller, Linchpin. I could go on and on about it. In fact, I have pages of notes, quotes, and inspirations. His latest is an impassioned plea for all of us to recognize our genius and use it — specifically in the workplace.  There’s a lot in here that dovetails with the message of “The Write Synergies Path to Owning Your Greatness,” of living your legacy and sharing your gifts with the world.

Seth Godin is speaking directly to the hearts of millions of dispirited working folk who walk around half alive most of the time because they thought their whole self was not welcome at work.

But stirring things up the way he does can be scary when so much in the work world is becoming commodified. (That old race to the bottom, lowest-cost goods and services achieved by finding the cheapest labor.) But some people and businesses manage to sidestep that commodification.

The story we’ve all assumed is that customers want the cheapest stuff. But maybe there’s a crack in that facade.  Don’t we see at least a few who are wanting something extraordinary in their customer experience as well? Some customers even seem willing to pay for that something “extra,” the unique and human, the creative, the “art.”

Seth Godin highlights that something extra as “emotional labor,” (from the work of Arlie Hochschild) and points out that this “emotional labor” may be the one thing that we are most suited to  provide. We are potentially geniuses, due in no small part to the emotional labor, the connections we make, the tenor of our interchanges when we allow our brilliant selves to shine. Yes, we have to come out of hiding and invisibility.

The “emotional labor” that we put into what we create becomes the basis of the art of our lives and work, the basis of the new maps of the territory that are so needed, the much-needed emotional connection in the exchanges of our work lives. Sounds good.

BUT for the Resistance. The heart of the book, the longest chapter, and the one Seth Godin actually “begs” his readers to read, is “The Resistance,” running 49 pages. Why do we regularly and systematically fall back to the old, seemingly “safe” habits of invisibility, of not standing out? He attributes this problem to what he terms “the lizard brain,” that has seen to our survival as a species for hundreds of thousands of years.

And this is exactly what we don’t need to do now. The lizard brain is leading people down the wrong path — the path of busywork, of doing what doesn’t matter, and not producing much of anything that does matter because we are so intent on keeping our heads down and staying invisible.

Seth Godin has trained himself to ignore the “lizard brain” and “ship.”  “Shipping,” in this context, is getting the work out there. I’ve been in business for myself for a decade now.  It’s moderately easier to “ship” as a solo — Getting the client work done and out there. It’s also somewhat easier to stand out as a solo and harder to hide. It’s much easier to take Seth Godin’s message to heart, because as solos, we are our own team. We have to create the gifts and the art, the indispensability as we serve our people, our “Tribes,” a term I’ve embraced from Seth Godin’s previous book of the same name.

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

The publisher I worked for (before my foray into the entrepreneurial life) published some books from Seth Godin’s original book packaging company, eventually some by Seth Godin himself.  This decade-old connection reminds me that we in corporate businesses and entrepreneurial ventures alike have been holding our collective breaths, waiting for permission to show up fully.  We’ve been hiding out. Someone has pulled back the curtain on Oz. And it’s time to stop hiding.

Revel in the gifts of insight, the art, the perspectives that Seth Godin shares in his most personal book to date. The message ties back beautifully to one of his blog posts, “You Matter.”  Read it. It’s powerful. I mentioned this post in my blog earlier too.

The sign of a great book: Like a jazz combo, lots of improv and riffs flow from the central starting point.  That’s a big part of the gift that Seth Godin has made to us at the beginning of this new decade.  In his own blog and those of his circle and tribe, the ideas continue to flow, to be refined, discussed. We experience the concepts in motion, with people taking action, mobilizing around the insights to bring them off the page and into the office, taking things further.  It’s his gift, and it’s a big one. Get the artifact  — the book Linchpin — and enjoy the gifts. Don’t forget to continue the conversation.

Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

( If you click, you will be taken to the book’s Amazon page where I, as an affiliate, will get a small referral percentage if you purchase.)

More full disclosure: I was among the early recipients of the book to review in exchange for a donation to the Acumen fund.  Admittedly,  I’m late in “shipping” this commentary/riff/review.  But I hope that won’t stop you from exploring the gift that Seth Godin is offering. It’s high time we bring our whole selves to our work, and truly give our gifts and own our greatness.