The Inner Game of Media

Dear Savvy Pro:

There are two sides to every coin: Heads and tails, yes and no, yin and yang. pros and cons, right and wrong, up and down, outer and inner.The last one is the focus of today’s Savvy Sunday News: the outer and the inner game of media.

The outer game

The outer game of media is something we talk a lot about here. It consists of many components, including:

  • Developing and infusing your key messages
  • Designing your overall campaigns
  • Identifying and zooming in on appropriate media
  • Crafting the perfect pitch for each
  • Creating and pulling together the lists
  • Figuring out which channels to pitch and how to reach the appropriate people
  • Doing the actual pitching
  • Follow up, follow up, follow up
  • Booking and delivering great interviews
  • Designing various marketing campaigns that sell the book
  • Events and speaking opportunities
  • Etc., etc., etc.

There is the other side of this coin, which isn’t talked about nearly as much, except here occasionally. Having helped hundreds of authors publicize and market their books for over two decades, I can speak to this with a lot of experience behind me. It’s what I call The Inner Game of Media™.

Why is the inner game neglected?

Some people don’t believe in an inner game.
A lot of people fit into this camp. It doesn’t occur to them that there is a certain mindset that can help you attain your vision. These are the folks that are all about doing: driving forward, taking action, making things happen, and rarely stopping. These are the folks who are totally into motivation and believe if they just work hard enough and long enough they will make it happen. You can go pretty far with this attitude, and generate a good amount of success, but it isn’t all that much fun along the way. If you’re constantly pushing against yourself, well, you can create more obstacles for yourself too.

Some believe the inner game is only about creating goals and mapping out how to attain them. 
Last year at this time I wrote a blog post on why I hate goals, I call it my Ungoals piece, and you can read it here. I got massive push back from a lot of people when it posted to various social media sites. Many people hated that piece and I got lots of feedback, including, “You must not be able to get anything done if you don’t know enough to set goals,” which is laughable if you look at all I can accomplish in a day. I don’t mean to brag here, but when you master the inner game, there is no resistance and you can do a great deal without feeling tired and dragged down.

By the way, one thing I discovered through publicly posting the Ungoals piece was just how many people never even read the post. They merely reacted to the headline with their comments! If they had read it, I guarantee the responses would have been different because not setting “SMART” goals does not mean not having a direction and a plan. (Note to everybody: If you’re going to comment on someone’s article or post, read it first.)

Rather than being dismayed or disappointed or hurt by the negative comments, I realized this feedback was gold. I learned you can get buckets of visibility and attention with just a headline (Another reason not to sweat so much about what you write!) Your headline shouldn’t be some quick afterthought or quick couple of search words. You want to think about what you’re trying to motivate people to do, or react to, and then craft the perfect headline.

The inner game

The inner game of media is much more than setting goals, directions, and making plans. It happens before any of that. It’s what happens in your mind. It’s what you say to yourself. It’s the feelings you generate internally about what you’re doing. But most people decide they want something and then they have to push against themselves to create it.

For example, let’s say you made a New Year’s resolution to lose 10 pounds. You did the SMART goal ritual, and now you’re motivated to go to the gym. So far, so good, but then come the cravings for chocolate cake, or caramel popcorn, or a beer, or whatever your temptation is, and instead of simply dismissing that thought and replacing it with something else, the inner fight begins. You start telling yourself, “I’m not going to eat that cake. I’m not going to eat that cake,” and the next thing you know you are in the kitchen cutting a huge piece of that cake. And the worst part is, you’re not even enjoying it, but rather as soon as you’ve finished it, you start to tell yourself how weak you are and question what’s the matter with you.

People do this when it comes to promoting their books too. They do it when it comes to securing interviews. They do it when it comes to taking steps to put themselves out there and become visible. They do it when they’re not sure what steps to take next. Procrastination, fear, frustration, hesitation, all of these things can get in the way, and often the result is that they  think they’re weak. That is not the case.

Extremely simple recipe:
I know when you’re grappling with something like procrastination or fear it can seem really hard. Impossible really. Chances are it’s been coming up for a long time, so long that it just seems to be a part of us, but it’s really not. It’s a bad habit, and bad habits can be changed. Not through SMART goals so much, because that sets up the inner battle, but there are other techniques and tools for changing this automatic behavior.

If the direction you want to go in is to be very successful with your book, to get top-tier media interviews, to be asked to speak at prestigious organizations, and then some little voice in the back of your head whispers, “Yeah, right,” in a very negative way, that needs to be addressed.
Now some people have trouble even defining what they want. They get all wound up and worried when it comes to deciding what they want and writing it down. “What if it isn’t perfect? What if I change my mind? How will I make this happen? It’s going to cost too much money. I don’t have time. I am overwhelmed.”

Do you think anyone can make good decisions when they’re thinking like that?
No, they can’t.

The Inner Game of Media is what is going to make all the difference, and there are numerous “problems” that can be eliminated simply by playing the game well, including removing resistance, procrastination, being overwhelmed, and a sense of “who do I think I am to think I can do this?” Often these thoughts and ideas are completely unconscious. If you are not getting the things you say you want, then that is a clue that something else is going on in the subconscious. That’s it.

When it comes to deciding what we want and then making it happen, there are two forces inside. One is resistance and the other is flow state. I’ve written on both of these before, so I won’t go into detail about this now, but there is magic when you set a direction, or ungoals as I like to call them, and then create internal feelings that pull you automatically toward what you want rather than creating some kind of internal fight.

I had a client once who is a good example of this. I don’t want to use her real name, so let’s call her Susan. Susan had huge dreams, but when it came to making them happen, something always got in the way. She checked with people in her online community and took their advice (even though none of them were authors trying to become visible in the world). She was late for interviews and missing other important deadlines. But rather than notice what she herself was doing, she blamed other people and other circumstances for the problems.

The point here is that you don’t know what you don’t know, and sometimes things operate outside of our awareness. Pay attention to the results of what you are doing. That will tell you what’s working and what isn’t working.

There is an inner game with media along with the outer game. Plenty of people say they want visibility and exposure, and then have trouble making it happen. It could be you need more training, or it could mean you have old, internal messages getting in the way.

Let’s take care of that.

Next week we’ll have more on the outer game of media. As for the Inner game, in my upcoming podcasts, I’ll be interviewing experts who can help change this for the better. It’s called The Inner Game of Media. Look for the link soon.

To your success!

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