Birds can help you expand your audience.
Ok, I imagine you probably think I’ve lost my mind, but turns out we have something to learn from our winged friends! And while it is true, I LOVE birds and all things bird watching, today’s email and teaching is available to you even if you have never ever paid attention to a single crow, pigeon, or cardinal.
This is for you if you are a human who wants to expand your audience this year:)
So, what is required to expand your audience?
You may begin with a list that includes social media content, podcasts, email marketing, building a network, and finding shout out partners. While these are all necessary, they are all strategies that require you take action.
So, what do you need to actually take action on this list?
You need ENERGY.
But with so many things to do, you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed and stressed and not moving forward. There are only so many hours of the day! So, the real question becomes, how do you have the energy needed to actually expand your audience?
You learn to CONSERVE.
And birds are incredible examples of energy conservation. They have to be! For them, each day is a matter of life and death. They need to have the energy to find food, reproduce and raise their young, and not be killed by the countless predators that surround them. To do this, they have an instinctual understanding of their baseline.
So, what the heck is a baseline?
For today’s email, I would love to start with this definition from lifelong birder, tracker, and naturalist John Young from his book, What The Robin Knows, and let him explain how the baseline ties into energy conservation.
“In its simplest form, baseline is the daily routine sans known danger. It can be quiet and peaceful, or active, at times even raucous, and is always dynamic. At all times, baseline conserves energy, because conservation of energy is a major priority for all animals, but especially for birds, almost all of whom run on a very lean energy budget.
First imagine trying to feed your own hungry self off a landscape. Now imagine feeding five starving teenagers off the landscape, and you’ll know why birds conserve energy, particularly when they’re also singing to mark their territory. Conservation of energy is why the ground bird who knows that a particular cat can jump only four feet off the ground will ascend to a branch five feet up, but not fifty feet or even fifteen feet, which would be a waste of energy.
If a song sparrow and a weasel share a yard, the bird knows this animal. He sees it every day. If the weasel is feeding its young, the song sparrow watches it pass by maybe a dozen times in a single morning. The sparrow knows this specific weasel, knows how quick it is, how far it can jump, etc. For this time and place, the weasel is not so much a cause of alarm. Why would the sparrow waste energy worrying about it? Instead, the sparrow simply watches to make sure the weasel is just passing through, then gets back to other maintenance chores.”
Ok, now let’s apply this to you!
Let’s begin with bringing awareness to your baseline. What is your daily routine “sans danger”? Meaning, feeling grounded and safe in your body, and clear on what deserves your attention.
Do you experience this daily, or do you find yourself consistently feeling anxious and like you have to give energy and attention to everything and everyone around you? With the advent of a world that is constantly vying for our response, comments, likes, and texts, we’ve been pulled in a very unnatural direction, one that splits our brains and demands a hyper focus. While this focus may work well in a moment of danger that is appropriate, like it does for the sparrow when the weasel is actually hunting, it’s not sustainable. This hyper focus eventually zaps us of our energy, and can create lasting damage.
So, it’s vital to reconnect with what your baseline actually IS. It is vital to have a daily practice that allows you to be in a relaxed state, even if it’s only for 10 minutes. Reason being, you become intimate with what your baseline feels like, as opposed to the hyper state which just drains your energy.
Let me give you a real life example.
My client Livia has a big year ahead of her. She is launching her Merch Shop and also doing a crowdfund, while writing the new songs for her second album. You can imagine these three tasks take quite a bit of energy! On our last call, she was beaming because she feels so happy with the writing that is happening and on target for her Merch Shop launch on the Spring Equinox. Why? Because she is now meditating daily. It’s been a game changer for her. She has a daily practice of establishing and reconnecting with HER baseline through meditation, and because of that she is inspired and has her best energy FOR expanding her audience this year. Instead of starting a lot of tasks and not completing any of them, she is now feeling so confident. She trusts herself now and knows what HELPS her conserve energy and what wastes her energy.
A large part of the work I do is first finding what your “baseline” practice is and then laying boundaries on what is zapping you of your vital energy. You learn to know how to actually react to the “neighborhood cat”, or perhaps the difficult agent, domineering publisher, or social media troll, so you can bring your best energy to the work you love.
Expansion takes energy. But as my brilliant coach tells me, “with expansion comes greater self care.”
If we can put our energy conservation within the lens of self care, within the lens of love towards ourselves, then we are in a place of empowerment. You can then discern whether or not going to that premier is best or if you need a quiet night in to recover from a long day. You can release “perceived dangers” and recognize them for the weasel just feeding her young.
So, when you are feeling stressed about expanding your audience this year, come back to your baseline, and instead of wasting time on things that will just drain you, look to the birds.
The natural world is our greatest teacher. When we reconnect to these natural rhythms, we are reclaiming our birthright.
Conserve your precious energy, and then use it to create the impact you desire.
Your audience will thank you for it, and you may even get a little wink from the Robin.