The sting of not being wanted. The smart of being misunderstood.
Continuing our walk through Genesis 26, we find that Isaac not only faced famined circumstances, pushback from his contemporaries, and his own fair share of inward struggles.
He also experienced the bloody nose of outright rejection.
“Abimelech said unto Isaac, Go from us!” (Genesis 26:16 KJV)
We don’t want you around here anymore!
In The Cross-Hairs
Stepping into the ring of dreams and making a splash in the world can sometimes put the cross-hairs where you’d prefer them not to point. You become fair game for the fury of those who feel that your slice of the pie makes theirs somehow smaller.
Creative life demands that we face the fear of rejection.
Audience Building Also Means Audience Sifting
You can’t put your work out in the world without also inviting criticism and sometimes outright aggression. A message worth hearing will always cause controversy, and part of building an audience is alienating the folks who don’t belong in your tribe.
I’m not talking about being rude or unmannerly, simply uncompromising and confident in clear communication that’s focused on a specific audience.
It really comes down to this…
You can’t help everyone, but you can help someone.
If you try to reach and please everyone you’ll end up reaching no one.
As coaches, creators, artists, and influencers we come with a message to share, not just widgets to sell. Any message worth its salt will be polarising.
Finding your tribe is as much about sifting those who won’t be blessed by your contribution as those who will. I’m not talking about actively repelling people, of course, just being aware that your messaging will do that work for you, sometimes to your hurt.
I’ve had folks leave scathing reviews on some of my author and training courses because I speak about Jesus as part of the curriculum. I’ve experienced vitriol on Twitter for suggesting that the theory of origins popularly known as evolution is unscientific.
I’ve also enjoyed the satisfaction of many who resonate with my heart, message, and manner.
Praise and criticism come wrapped in the same package. You rarely experience one without the other. Being overly concerned about what people will think or say about you if you step out creatively is crippling, and a luxury you can not afford.
Find Your Tribe
I’m a Jesus man, called to minister to Jesus people – a pastor at heart. There’s no hiding it and there’s no invisibility cloak of respectability or ‘personal faith’ that I can crawl behind to keep Him quiet.
That’s not to say we have to fanfare our faith to be faithful to the creative call of God. I’m just sharing my sieve by way of example. My whole emphasis shakes the flour and ultimately finds my audience.
With regard to my work here online, I love to minister encouragement and equipping for creative Christians. Does that mean I have no love for or concern for those who don’t know Christ? Far from it, but I know to whom I am called in this season and for whom I am creating products, publications, and training.
Has it lost me money? For sure!
Previously my audience was wide, pretty much anyone looking to write and publish books. Now my narrowing has sliced swathes of potential customers from the table.
Could I not reach a broader more lucrative audience if I adapted my style and kept quiet about some things? Of course. But that’s not my call. The message I share could certainly serve a wider audience if I clothed it differently, but that’s not what God has asked me to do.
To whom has God called you? And to whom has He not?
Being able to clearly answer this question can really help to sharpen the edge of your message.
Be ready for some kickback though. Following every statement of certainty, the doubters love to congregate and criticise.
Be ready for it!