Don’t Go Chasing Turkeys

When I was a freshman in college, I was so desperate to make friends I sat with random people in the cafeteria and tried to make small talk. It didn’t go well, as I’m sure you can imagine. I am equal parts embarrassed and proud of young me. Embarrassed because you could practically see the desperation coming off me in waves. Proud because it was a gutsy thing to do, approaching stranger after stranger. It’s also a skill that came in handy later because as a Bay Area freelance journalist, I’m forced to talk to strangers all the time. 

During my freshman year, the energy I gave off to every person I met was, “Are you my friend? Are you my friend? Are you my friend?” similar to the baby bird in P.D. Eastman’s Are You My Mother? who goes around and asks every animal if it’s its mother. The baby bird eventually found its mother but going around and asking, “Are you my friend? Are you my friend? Are you my friend?” did not win me any friends. Shocking, I know! We already understand this about friendships — how relationships are built when people are open and receptive rather than clingy and aggressive — but somehow we think the same doesn’t apply in business.

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Openness works far better than desperation. Photo by Katerina Pavlyuchkova on Unsplash

In business, we’re told it’s a numbers game and to reach out to as many people as possible. It’s tricky because on the one hand, people must know you exist. One of the biggest hurdles I face as a ghostwriter for therapists is people don’t know such a job function is out there. Whenever I tell people what I do, they ask, “What’s that?” I have to do some education, let people know I’m available. But on the other hand, no one likes a pushy salesperson.

Someone contacted me on LinkedIn multiple times pitching their offer and I very much was not interested. I didn’t seek them out, didn’t respond to their first message, and yet they contacted me again. And then again. If that works for you, great! But it doesn’t work for me. 

I notice whenever I chase people, including potential clients, they run away. But when I sit still, they approach. It reminds me of a story from my favorite spiritual teacher, Tosha Silver, who wrote about a farmer in her book It’s Not Your Money

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Stillness and receptivity work better than the chase. Photo by Vitolda Klein on Unsplash

You may even find that what you’ve been pursuing forever will begin to pursue you [once you practice detachment]. A farmer had one such wild experience. For months, she’d tried with no luck to sell the turkeys on her land, which had been a massive headache. One day someone called who wanted them all — ironically, right after she’d cleared years of junk from her home. ‘Fantastic,’ she said. ‘But now I have to catch them. What a nightmare!'”

She offered it all over [to the Divine Beloved]. Why wouldn’t God be as good with turkeys as anything else?”

And lo and behold, when she stepped outside, the turkeys began to chase her for the first time ever. Even while roaring with laughter, she quickly gathered them all.”

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Let the turkeys chase you. Photo by Mikkel Bergmann on Unsplash

This is indeed how it works! When you give everything over to the Divine with detachment, things start to happen in a way that’s the opposite of what we’re taught.”

In other words, sometimes the best thing you can do is stop chasing turkeys and let them chase you. In my work as a ghostwriter for therapists, almost all of my clients have sought me out as opposed to the other way around. It can be incredibly difficult because patience is NOT my strong suit but it’s better than acting from desperation, which never pans out. 

If you feel called to work together, I have a few slots available. Reach out to me and let’s see if we’re a good fit.