This is what is so admirable. Overcoming adversity, the willingness to be different, a pariah, all for the sake of one’s own values. The willingness to stare failure in the face and shove your middle finger back at it. The people who don’t give a fuck about adversity or failure or embarrassing themselves or shitting the bed a few times. The people who just laugh and do what they believe in anyway. Because they know it’s right. They know it’s more important than their own feelings and their own pride and their own ego.
– Mark Manson
In society, we have an expectation to live up to. We aren’t skinny enough. Not wealthy enough. Often, people feel the need to protect themselves from the masses. Online, we can portray a version of ourselves that we want to be. Egos are protected. This breeds defensiveness. We want to feel successful. Some are so afraid of failure that they never even try.
As a professional, I have a voracious appetite for knowledge. I spend time learning in the majority of my free time every day. Lately, I’ve been enveloped in the world of marketing, and I can’t help but think of how the core principles mirror what is needed to help in building a community.
These principles are: providing value, a point of differentiation, and then segmentation, targeting and positioning.
What do I mean by this? Firstly, you can’t make everyone happy. Medical sanguivores have very different experiences from some self identified vampires. The not using vampire alone is a point of difference. Criticisms sometimes arise regarding segmentation, but I find this a necessary principle. To focus on your niche of people, you position yourself to provide the greatest value to that niche. Content and support tailored specifically for them. This is one of many reasons that I encourage everyone to acknowledge and celebrate differences. Find your tribe, and work tirelessly to provide for them. You will never please everyone and if you try, you won’t be providing the best value to everyone. Someone will be doing it better than you.
How to create value? Well, there are a whole number of ways. Here are some things that come off the top of my head:
Create a culture of learning. No one comes to anything knowing it all from the get go. Even masters continually learn, and it’s the ability to move between learner and master that helps the best leaders provide for their people. Keep learning. Encourage learning in others. Share information and knowledge freely, and help others to cultivate their skills. Help them to provide value in their own ways.
Find your pain points and target them. Discover what is missing and what there is a need for. I did this when I saw a clear need for atheist, scientifically-oriented sanguivores whose needs were not being met. This could be something like knowledge about blood safety, or what additives are safe to consume. These needs will differ drastically depending on the individual. Tailor your efforts accordingly.
Build infrastructure. Not everyone has the time, resources or personality type to create an organisation or group. Some people desperately need it all the same. Some are too young to be able to establish a group. Build. Create. Start projects and help to make things better. Do in-person meets and training sessions. Provide the framework for growth and people will follow.
Ask questions and leave ego at the door. Listen to what people are telling you. As with market research, study your target audience and ask for feedback. Observe. Ask what people need. Serving those who need it is a privilege; exercise humility. Ask how you can better support those around you and what would make their lives better. Help them find their own voice. Work for the betterment of others, not for the praise or swelling of your ego.
Teaching others and sharing knowledge is extremely rewarding, and by finding your niche and applying the above principles, you can help to build a support network that provides for all those within it.
After my recent post about safety with blood feeding, I had the opportunity to answer some questions from one of our readers. I found this conversation valuable, and so have decided to share it below (with permission). It is a long one, but I think it’s worth it.
[Editor’s note – This was a piece I wrote several months back while trying to come to terms with many elements of my involvement with TRC, and anything related to sanguivory/vampirism as a whole. It has been published privately to admins and editors for that time, but the New Year seems like the apt time to release my thoughts publicly. Please note that this was not attempting to categorize sanguivores, but rather personal realization that I may have misrepresented myself.]
For some time, I have been in a period of quiet reflection and contemplation. Sometimes, it can take stepping back and pausing to be able to reflect on what has transpired prior, lest one get swept away in the tide.
I’ve been conducting a series of informal talks over the last several months (both online and offline), regarding The Red Cellar, what has come to be known as ‘med sangs’ and my past work. Additionally, as time goes on, the more we learn about ourselves. I believe it important to learn, and to grow.
Nobody knows why some people need blood. Why they need to consume it regularly or suffer serious physical and mental ill effects. It doesn’t make sense. Yet, we’ve experienced it again, and again, no matter how hard we try to ignore it. This thing is there, it’s real, and it’s affecting our lives significantly.Read More »