It is rare to stumble upon a blog with thoughts that seems to fit so well with mine. This is what happened today when I discovered Emma McCreary’s Joy Ninja.

Reading through Emma’s posts, I suddenly realised why I have always been uncomfortable with conventional marketing and PR.

As I have often said on this blog, conventional business practice seems to assume there is only one “right” way to “do business”, one goal (make lots of money), and one timeframe (ASAP).

Likewise there is one “right” way to do marketing and PR: be seen as belonging to the in-crowd, having the in-conversations, saying the right "professional" things, and partaking of the most common denominator definition of success. And one “right” outcome: get as much attention from as many people as you can.

Emma’s experiment on doing so (when it is not in your intrinsic nature to do so) is telling.

I have invested much of my life into doing what I want to do, what excites me, and what makes me happy. I am happiest and most fulfilled when I am acting out of my intrinsic motivations. When I am being myself.

As far as marketing and PR is concerned, I try to do it in ways that fit with who I am. I don't take out ads, I don’t cold call, I don’t badger clients to buy. Instead, I share my knowledge and thinking. I share my beliefs about business practice, design and so forth. I believe that this will attract the right clients and the right associates.

This can be so bloody hard to do! It is so easy to slip and fall into doing what I think I “should” be doing. The world out there does push the one right way to do business very strongly because the majority of businesses are doing it.

With marketing, I do sometimes feel the pressure to do it like everyone else. Get on the speaking circuit, get with the popular people, jump on the popular topics, tell people what they want to hear, don’t make them think, motivate instead of educate, focus on getting the money through the door and forget the larger implications…

And yet this is when I am least happy. This is when my world felt the most wrong. Emma described this aptly as “feeling dirty”.

And now, thanks to Emma, I have reached this little bit of clarity. I am happiest when what I do is motivated intrinsically. And if I am happy, then I will attract happy clients and associates to me.

(Thanks also to Stilgherrian for pointing me her way.)