Avoiding the Hook

When I took the hook last Sunday, I decided to set some guidelines to keep me from making the same mistake again. Today, I avoided the hook. Twice.

Because I shared my mistake, I also want to share how I avoided it when it came around again. If it helps you, celebrate! Celebrating victories is an important step in making a habit out of good decisions.

Here’s how you can avoid taking the hook of a marketing involvement that isn’t good for you.

look---First, When you hear an opportunity offered, look at your current marketing plan. Is yours two years old? Five? Time to take a look at where you are and re-focus your marketing plan.

  • What do you want to achieve in the next year?
  • What do you need to do to make that happen? (Include research and discussing the plan with others in your field)
  • What is the right order of the steps you need to take?
  • Line up the steps in the order so that each step completes an action toward your goal.
  • You don’t have to wait till January to start a plan. Anytime is good.
  • Five year plans are fine, but no one knows what will be invented to change your market or audience. Start with a one-year plan and break it into 12 steps.

Second, keep the goal in front of you. Everything that doesn’t lead to your goal is a distraction. Distractions are tempting, make you want to change goals, or start a new direction. Distractions are the biggest pitfall to getting what you want. My first victory was not following a distraction. It was tempting, easy, and made my heart beat faster. Good sign. But it didn’t feel like freedom, it felt like renewed regret, and that’s a sign to ignore it.

Third, look at the opportunity and see what it holds for your goals. A real opportunity may not be a money-maker. You will also need building blocks, community-building, and sharing success.

Sometimes you need to stretch our your hand for help, sometimes you can stretch our your hand to offer help. Both involve holding out a hand, and both are important for building a business. I like paying it forward–thanking people publicly, helping someone without expectation or acknowledgment, because it makes it easier for me to ask for help when I need it. Asking for help provides an opportunity for someone else to step up.

Celebrate your victories!

Celebrate your victories!

Fourth, ask for what you need. Be clear and set limits. Answer questions. Accept “no” for an answer politely. There is a difference between re-visiting a request and acting out until you get what you want.

Fifth, do not act out of anger or fear. Choosing to do something because you want to get attention from someone who hurt you or hurt someone to pay them back for hurt they inflicted on you . . .well, there is no end to that cycle. That was my second decision. Someone pushed a button–a big one. I thought a long time about how I wanted to take the hook and react. And then closed my computer and walked away. Fear and anger breed more fear and anger. If that’s not what you want, find another answer.

The hook didn’t make contact today. And I’m a bit closer to my goal for this year.

What hook will you avoid–envy? the easy answer? not choosing your own creativity? Celebrate when you avoid the hook.

—Quinn McDonald is celebrating this victory by starting a new project, without regret, in her studio.