At a recent Marketing Conference, I gave a presentation titled “Beyond Byron Katie” that generated unexpected results.
Byron Katie’s Work is a way of identifying and questioning the thoughts that cause all the suffering in the world and is applied to a multitude of situations to find peace within yourself and in the world. It doesn’t matter if you are young or not if you have a university degree or just elementary knowledge, if you are in good health or sick.
The only requirement is to have an open mind.
As you may know, I have been applying Byron Katie’s “The Work” to work with my clients for over ten years. As soon as I learned about his methodology, I knew that it was what I had been looking for.
In marketing and sales there is a big problem – the “elephant in the room”, so to speak. And it is resistance, avoidance, and stagnation in terms of marketing.
In fact, as soon as marketing and sales ideas are presented, there is an immediate reaction in a large percentage of people, and that reaction is not positive. It is hugely negative for almost everyone.
In other words, it touches on a lot of sensitive topics: fear, rejection, ridicule, manipulation, dishonesty, doubt, mistrust, and a whole host of other thoughts and feelings that make us want to get up and run the other way.
Byron Katie’s Work confronts these issues head-on. Her work is simple to the extreme. First, he asks us to question our beliefs, thoughts, assumptions, judgments, and just about anything we believe to be true about something we are resisting.
The Work Raises 4 Questions:
1. Is that belief you have true? In this example, about marketing.
2. Do you know with absolute certainty that it is true?
3. And when you believe it’s true, how do you react, how do you behave, how do you avoid it, how do you get scared?
4. Who would you be if you no longer had that belief?
And just asking these questions is already revolutionary because we are addicted to believing our thoughts. Asking ourselves if our beliefs are true is a bit rude. It is an insult to what we think we are. So this job can only be done with a person who is committed to exploring and finding the truth.
Marketing Encourages Rejection And Is Manipulative And Dishonest.
Are those beliefs true? And we started exploring from there.
But what I discovered by working on my own beliefs and those of my clients is that it was actually difficult to find the belief that was causing my stagnation or avoid the issue.
“ What is a limiting belief about marketing?”
“Uh, I’m not sure. Maybe I just don’t like marketing or having to work to improve it.”
Well, that doesn’t get us anywhere.
But I made a recent discovery from another author, Peter Ralston. In his “Book of Not Knowing” Ralston is a proponent of research, much like Byron Katie, but adds a piece that can drastically increase its effectiveness of it.
And that piece consists of asking first: Describe your behavior. Describe how you are actually behaving. How does your resistance manifest itself? How do you show your aversion?
Do you see how it is much easier to access a problem like this?
At the workshop, I asked a participant what avoidance behaviors were affecting his business. The answer was immediate: “I avoid any type of conflict, especially when someone is not satisfied in any way with my work.”
Talked about that a bit more and explored the origin of this type of avoidance. And so we dive in to find the belief. I asked him, “What do you have to believe to keep avoiding conflict at all costs?”
For the belief is hidden under the action of avoiding. We become aware of the evasion, and we observe the suffering and pain it is causing, but we do not see what is behind those beliefs, what motivates everything.
The belief was quite clear and we can describe it with the following phrase: “Conflict brings pain.”
And if that’s what she believes, then wouldn’t it be crazy to expose herself to any possible conflict? That’s like putting your hand on a gas burner or banging your head against a wall!
So if the belief that “Conflict leads to pain” were true, then it sure would make sense to avoid conflict. But what if it wasn’t true?
Now this is where it gets interesting. After all, it seems true. It seems that the conflict really causes pain.
So I asked him, “Do you know for sure that conflict always leads to pain?” When you ask a little deeper, you tend to undermine certainty.
“Absolutely and always?” “Well, I guess not. I see that in the face of some conflicts, it could actually resolve some things. If I expect a conflict every time a client is dissatisfied with my work, I miss the opportunity to reach a solution that satisfies them. That’s not going to happen if I bury my head in the sand.”
So asking those first questions leads to a change in perspective.
And the third question leads to transformation, that is, a new possibility can arise with this question:
“Who would you be if you no longer had that belief?”
With that question, what we are saying is the following: if the effect, of that old limiting belief were impossible to even think about, what would be left in its place? what would happen?
Wouldn’t there be openness, space, freedom, and lightness?
Wouldn’t you be someone who can manage conflict without problems? The conflict would not be more significant than any other problem. Nothing more than that.
Try to imagine something that triggers you and pulls your nose every time you think about it. Next, she gently releases whatever is holding you and watches it rise like a balloon up into the air as you let go.
It wasn’t that hard, was it?
I continued: “So now you are beginning to see that this belief about conflict is not in itself disturbing. It’s just a situation. It is a customer who is not satisfied at the moment. But, by avoiding the situation, you have no power to handle it like an adult.”
“Conflict brings pain. It’s just a belief, right? But not a very enriching one for your business. Why not try another belief? One that might be more useful to you. It may not be true either, but it might work better for you. You have a?”
“Hmm, how about we try this one: Conflict can lead to improving my service. If every time a customer is not satisfied you can see it as an opportunity to do things better and increase satisfaction in the future.”
That’s pretty good, don’t you think? There is even a book about it. It’s called “A Complaint Is a Gift” and it was written by Janelle Barlow, but also on this website we have previously dealt with the subject of the complaint as a gift.
And with that, Bryon Katie’s Work ended.
I don’t know what everyone else in the room felt, but I was imbued with a sense of infinite possibility. After all, if in a few minutes, a painful belief can be transformed into one that opens up new perspectives to make your business better, what couldn’t we achieve?