Many wisdom traditions use animal teaching stories. For instance, I’m thinking of The 5 Blind Men and the Elephant story that’s been used for generations. That story teaches us that we need more than one point of view to have a clear perspective.
Recently, I’ve been thinking about how often spiritual people struggle to grow their businesses. So I decided it was time for a new kind of animal wisdom story, a learn-to-market-on-the-Internet version.
Why Spiritual People Don’t Like Peacocks
Not long ago, in a land not so far from here, there was a tribe of struggling spiritually entrepreneurs. It’s not that they weren’t talented – they were very skilled. It’s just that they were acting like a bunch of moles. Why were they acting like moles? Let me tell you their tale ..
At the start of our story, our spiritual friends only knew one other tribe – The Peacocks. Like their totem animal, the Peacock tribe was loud and brash. They strutted around the marketplace constantly drawing attention to themselves and thrived on finding the most brazen ways to draw people to their goods and services.
How Soul-based Entrepreneurs Came to Act Like Moles
“Whoa”, said our spiritual friends, “we don’t like the feeling that being around the Peacocks gives us. They are so self-centered and noisy. We need something much more humble to model our businesses after.”
And with the results that often come when people make choices based on what they DON’T WANT, this spiritual tribe choose the Mole as their guiding animal.
Now it’s true that moles are generally very quiet and they don’t like to draw attention to themselves. At the same time, moles spend most of their time underground and they eat worms and grubs and other stuff that most of us would prefer not to.
But our spiritual friends choose the mole nonetheless. They did their best to hide their power underground, not use their amazing vision and only pop up once in awhile to squeak out to the world their latest business offerings.
Things went on this way for quite some time.
The Magical Stranger Arrives
One day, a magical stranger arrived in the tribe. She was a wise woman who had spent time in spiritual communities in many lands. She could see that our friends were acting rather strangely given their natural gifts. Yet, being a patient and wise woman, she did not immediately question their behavior.
Instead, she spent several days getting to know the members of the tribe. As she earned their trust, they told her how they came to choose the Mole as their business power animal.
Then one night, they invited her to tell a story around the campfire. This is what she told:
According to the elders in one of the Native tribes I spent time with, the Great Spirit gathered all the animals on Mother Earth and said, “I must conceal the magical truth that humans are powerful creators until they are able to comprehend it.”
The Buffalo, a very sacred animal, said, “I will bury it in the great plains.”
“No, humans will dig and find it there,” replied the Great Spirit.
The Whale, keeper of ancient knowledge, said, “I will carry it to the bottom of the ocean.”
“No, humans will go there one day and find it,” replied the Great Spirit.
The eagle, close to the heavens where the Great Spirit dwells, said, “I’ll fly it to the moon.”
“No, humans will soon go there too and find it,” replied the Great Spirit.
The Owl, essence of true wisdom, said, “Put it inside them.”
“Yes,” replied the Great Spirit. “It is the last place they will look.”
Owl Woman Introduces Wisdom Based Marketing
“My friends,” said the woman that the tribe had begun to call Owl Woman, “you are such a gifted and powerful group. It pains me to see so many of you struggling. ”
“I know that you don’t want to follow the ways of the Peacock tribe. Frankly, their ways do not appeal to me either. What if there was another way? Would you let me introduce you to the ways of the owl?”
There were several minutes of buzzing conversation while the people talked with each other. Finally, they decided they would try this.
Owl Woman told them that it would take one whole cycle of the moon – 28 days. For that period of time, they would be doing an intensive in wisdom based marketing. At the end of this period, Owl Woman promised, they wouldn’t be struggling anymore and they would never have to eat worms again.
Phase One – Deepen Your Relationship With Wisdom
For the first 14 days, Owl Woman led the tribe into a deep exploration of wisdom. They talked about the tale she had told them around the campfire and shared other teaching stories with each other. She asked them to get very honest about where they were in their own spiritual journeys.
Every day, they did simple exercises to designed to reconnect with their own inner wisdom and the knowledge that they were powerful creators just like Owl Woman’s story had reminded them. They also discussed how their clients were powerful creators too, though many of them were out of touch with this to one degree or another.
Phase Two – Bring Wisdom into Your Marketing
After two weeks of swimming deep in their own wisdom, Owl Woman told the tribe they would now explore how to bring that presence into their marketing. She asked each member of the tribe to share with the group how they were currently marketing their business.
For the next 14 days, they role played conversations in the town square, looked at homepages on websites and looked deeply at the language in their email newsletters. Owl Woman repeatedly reminded them to keep two things in mind:
- Their wise Owl perspective
- The understanding that both the business owners and their clients are powerful creators (who might have forgotten to some degree)
As you can imagine, their days were very full and time passed quickly.
The Results of Wisdom Based Marketing
On the evening of the 28th day, Owl Woman gathered the tribe together. She told them that the time had come to see if their exploration in the ways of the Owl had paid off.
She asked each of the business owners to go home and compare their income over the past month with the previous month. Then at dawn, the entire tribe would gather and decide what to do next. The tribe agreed to this plan.
The next morning at dawn, the village center was buzzing. When the people compared their results, they found that there had been a 20% average increase in their incomes over the month they had been studying to be owls.
They were thrilled! They wanted to thank Owl Woman and celebrate with her, but she wasn’t there. They ran up to the cozy hut where she had been staying. Her stuff was gone. On the pillow of her bed was a white owl feather and a note.
Owl Woman Says Goodbye
This is what her note said:
My dear Owl Tribe,
It with joy and sadness that I write this note. My joy is in your success – you have come so far in the past month that I know you will be celebrating significant results this morning. Congratulations!
My sadness is that the time has come for me to move on. There is another tribe of spiritual people acting like moles in another land. I am called away to lead them into the ways of the Owl. We don’t want them to have to keep eating worms, do we now?
Please know that you always have my love. And, that you don’t need me anymore because you have each other. Keep sharing your wisdom and your successes with each other, and your ability to prosper will continue to grow.
With much love,
Though the Owl Tribe – this is what they now call themselves – were sad to see Owl Woman go, they recognized that she was right. They continued to share their wisdom with each other and bring that into how they marketed their businesses.
They found that no matter what the nature of the individual business – from hair stylist to chiropractic to energy psychology practice – these simple principles worked. And, as they got more and more skillful at this, their businesses grew more prosperous and full of ease.
Eventually, word of the Owl Tribe’s unique approach to business and marketing spread far and wide. People from many lands came to learn and share.
As a reminder of where they came from and to keep themselves from getting to full of themselves, on April Fool’s Day of each year the Owl Tribe had a Worm Party. Everything on the table had to look like worms. However, you were allowed to make the dishes from anything you wanted (even chocolate).
I want to thank my Facebook buddy Donna Keyes as well as Cornelia Kopp on Flickr for helping me develop many of the key concepts in this post.