I recently heard an interview with Chris Larson, Assistant Professor of Journalism at the University of Colorado. She spoke about the research she did on Romance Writers and their surprising financial success. Unlike many in media, romance writers are flourishing in an era of digital disruption. Larson looked at their incomes from 2008 to 2014. She found the median income had tripled. She compared that to a study by the Writers’ Guild in the US over the same period, suggesting median income for authors, across all genres, had dropped by 30%.
Chris was intrigued to find out why they were so successful and, contrary to what you might think, the key wasn’t what they were writing about.
A little history sets the stage. Romance writers were not welcomed into the Writer’s Guild with open arms and if you were not published, it was a definite NO. So a group decided to form their own organization and do things a little differently. The rest, as they say, is history. Their enormous success is due primarily to three things they did very deliberately:
- They welcome everyone, published or not. Yeah!
- They shared competitive information (including strategies and money)
- They asked advice from newbies.
There is also strong tradition of mentoring in the “romance” community and they do all sorts of things to support the newbies, including sharing mistakes, new digital strategies, advice and overall transparency. Lastly, the openness to newcomers has led to innovation, with seasoned professionals asking for advice from the new people.
In a nutshell the advice was: band together, share successful practices and look for the newcomers, they likely know more about what’s coming down the pipe.
These ideas and practices I believe are relevant to any organization, board and group that wants to really flourish.
Lynn’s considers her own development equally important, believing you need to “walk your talk”. This opened her to a deep connection with her intuition, spiritual nature and what it means to be in flow with life. Now, as President of Miruspoint, Lynn has the opportunity to do all she loves
– work with clients, train dedicated professionals, and be part of a community of people that passionately champions the personal freedom of our spirit.
Learning how to get along can be hard work. Let’s get some perspective from the dog and cat and perhaps also satisfy our basic need for fun.
If you’re familiar with households that have both a cat and a dog, you know that pets develop their own ways of interacting. The cat may be dominant; the dog may be dominant. (Yeah, right.)
Consider the dog’s point of view. Begging for attention and the mere promise of a cookie, she’s ordered around: come, sit, stay, even roll over. Meanwhile the cat runs the house, with prime food and superior sleeping arrangements. The worst affront—the cat doesn’t even care!
The dog’s perspective is that her life would be better if the cat were different. “If the cat would only change, everything would be perfect.”
Where’s the reality therapy connection? Have you ever heard (or said)…
“If my spouse would only pay attention, everything would be better.”
“If my children would only listen, everything would be better.”
“If my boss would only smarten up, everything would be better.”
Notice any similarity to the dog’s perspective? It’s that enticing sentiment, “If somebody else would change, my life would be better.”
It’s appealing. It may even be true. If somebody else were perfect, perhaps your life would improve! If your spouse lavished you with love and attention, maybe you would have a better marriage. If your children behaved perfectly, maybe you would have a happier household. If your boss became a leader instead of a dictator, maybe work would be better. Lots of things could improve if only others would improve.
So what’s the problem? You already know, don’t you? The reality is: we can only control ourselves. The only behaviour we can change is our own. It would be so convenient if people around us would act the way we know they “should,” but that’s not what we control.
Is there any good news? Yes! We can control ourselves. We can change our own behaviour. And if we are clear about what we want, how we want to live, how we want our relationships to be, then we can choose behaviours that will at least open up the possibility of a more satisfying life.
Next time we are tempted to blame somebody else for our unhappiness and dissatisfaction, remember the dog. Wishing someone else would change is about as futile as the dog wishing that the cat would change.
“If the cat would only change, then everything would be perfect.”
It doesn’t solve anything, but maybe it’ll bring a smile. And a smile might be just enough to remind you to choose a more effective behaviour.
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Susanne’s interest in Dr. Glasser’s work was sparked by the connection between Lead Management and the work of quality guru, Dr. W. Edwards Deming. Reality Therapy Certified and a mentored Take Charge facilitator, Susanne is also an active writer and blogger on Choice Theory and Reality Therapy topics. You can read more of her work at www.realitycheck.focusonclarity.com