A children’s playground with slide, tunnel and climbing wall
Photo by Nico Smit on Unsplash

What’s in a name, anyway?

I’m pretty new to the scene when it comes to having a website and the facility for people to sign up for things. I’m certainly new to the realm of offering the workshop I created and coaching services. I’m even more certainly new to the concept of writing words, which are then sent to people who’ve signed up (you may have filled in a descriptor for this already - starts with N, ends in ewsletter - and there is a reason I haven’t used it, which we are getting to).

Regardless of my limited experience, I recently had an influx of people sign up to receive my words, which is run around the playground with arms waving, swinging on the monkey bars exciting. And let me be transparent because transparency is one of the things I keenly advocate for.
When I say “influx” I mean 7.
Yep. Seven.
And yes, 7 people is LOADS. When one can do anything, but not everything, and 7 ‘ones’ recently chose to visit my website AND then sign up to receive words, thoughts and invitations from me…the arms they are a-waving.

Again, for full transparency, I now have 30 people signed up to receive these posts. Holy crap! Be right back, these arms they can’t stop a-waving.

Okay, phewf! That was fun! Now to the bit we were getting to.

I have chosen to call my signed-up sharings…Playground Posts

You may be wondering why the hecky thump — I’m from the Northwest of England…“hecky thump” is a thing— why the hecky thump I call these moments of sharing Playground Posts. “Just call it a newsletter, by golly, and be done with it” (I possibly hear you think).

You’re in luck. That’s what I’m going to explain…

A reframe came to me around 6 months ago. As a serial learner, and someone interested in business, event planning, logistics etc, I have absorbed multiple guidebooks and rule books over many years for ‘doing a business’. Every book declared it was all profit-, niche- and ‘bespoke homogeneity’-based structuring:

“Know your brand”

SEO!

“be unique yet recognisable”

Email funnels!

“who’s your avatar?”

Unfailing consistency!

“reach many (but promote elitism and scarcity)”

NICHE-NICHE-NICHE!

I took these repeated messages as the rule (because that seemed to be the only method out there) and had adopted them when organising poetry events, promoting myself as an actor, qualifying as a personal trainer, or simply being in social situations. Though some elements of the things I created felt good — were “successful” and got people to engage — the “doing a business” components didn’t necessarily feel good, or easeful.

I’m a multipotentialite. I vibrate highest when I’m absorbing and doing wide-ranging things; so, I found myself asking the question, how can I make a brand that encompasses all of my skillsets and desires using the models out there that teach only niche and specialisation?

(for those curious about what multipotentiality is, Emily Wapnick delivered this TedTalk, who also has a book on the topic)

It was a question I often asked, without achieving clarity (conditioning, lived experience & stories are the gatekeepers when we try listening for something outside of societal constructs). However, in continuing to practice holding space for curiosity and intuition, the following words came through me through the now less-guarded cracks…

Playground, not platform

At first, I wondered what that could mean, but it came through clearly, so I continued to trust it and sit with it over time. I’ve come to realise:

There is a difference between shaping the container to allow for all the contents to breathe, and trying to shape the contents using stricter and stricter containment

Transparency time! This realisation was the result of new bits arriving and other bits shifting as I kept playing with the concept and making choices. Oftentimes — if not every time — “Aha!” moments are the result of many inner drafts.

For those who like a visual/an analogy, imagine a standard children’s playground. The layout consists of multiple areas, various apparatus (staples such as swingsets, slide, roundabout/merry-go-round, springy things you ride on, and monkey bars for example). Children share the space and are free to explore, some flitting like moths between the pieces that flame brightest for them in each moment. Go forth, magical moths! Some children are infatuated with, and never relinquish their presence around, the climbing frame — Get after it, spider child! There are no goals, merely adventures.

Unfortunately, an adult’s playground is different. Though their layout mirrors the children’s, they are individual spaces; every adult has their own playground and they run adjacently, separated by fences; we can see each other’s but we cannot interact. Adults are, technically-speaking, free to explore the apparatus, and whether they flit or infatuate, but adults are also expected to achieve as a result.

This expectation — handed down by the disembodied deity of Business/Creativity/Adulthood/Spirituality/Parenthood/Productivity etc etc. — dictates…

Explore the apparatus however you want, then, using only those materials, build the highest and boldest platform. Make it the most visible (without being show-offy), the most inventive (whilst feeling familiar), and the most necessary (though only accessible to some)

How does that make you feel in this moment? Because it feels really shitty to me. Exploration of the apparatus becomes different. It becomes destination-based. “How can I use this experience to make the ‘best’ platform,” instead of, “What am I drawn to in this moment?”.

And so, as I advocate for (and try to live) a no-destination lifestyle I choose Playground Post instead of what is commonly known as a newsletter. “News” as a word and concept is packaged as providing answers, and something you simply MUST know and that’s not what I want to try and do. Providing answers/meaning is high stakes (not to mention impossible) and that can stop me sharing at all. In the essence of play (which is super low stakes) I’m exploring and noticing, and then sharing, when I feel called to (I do not post on a specified day of the week nor is the regularity set in stone). It remains low stakes as sharing from a place of curiosity and play when I want to does not require likes, comments or shares to validate what I made or why I felt called to share it.

Sharing playfully means the reader is invited to make choices playfully (to open or not; to read or not; to feel what comes up for them), which allows space for letting go of the hope — or need — to be given answers. Instead, the reader is invited to simply gather information of what is true for them in the moment; which may mean not reading on…and that’s ok. If you are interested in seeing what I mean, you can sign up for my Playground Posts here.

Where is your curiosity pulling you?

Much ginger love 🧡

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Paul Sockett

Paul Sockett

33 Followers

A silly & sensitive storyteller; a word reframer. I am a fierce advocate for Shame- & Scarcity-free choice. 🍦 inspires me: https://ko-fi.com/paulsockett