Vogue (The core values of a mistress)

Once Lauren understands her mistresshood holds the key to business success,
she can’t stop putting pieces together!
And The Way of The Mistress, is born. 

I’m sure this will be one of those ideas, I ll keep coming back to.
And that I can keep expanding on, translating it to multiple areas of my life.
So in that respect everything I share today, on The Way of The Mistress, is by definition incomplete.
What I’ll do today, is distinguish four interrelated principles of the mistress lifestyle. And apply them to life and business.
The Way of the Mistress is based on the idea the there is such a thing as a born mistress: someone who will not have her most important needs and wants met in a normal relationship.
She has to be the other woman, and he has to be cheating with her, or at least be non-committal with her.
The born mistress has a set of values that can easily be overlooked, because they’re the opposite of what we, as a society, view as normal.
So these values are not valued, which makes it pretty hard to acknowledge to yourself that’s how you think.
An example is the Marshmallow test:
A test where children receive a marshmallow, and are then left alone with it, with the promise that if they have not eaten it, when the guide returns?
They will get a second one.
In this test the children who don’t eat the marshmallow are attributed self-control, and it is predicted they will be more successful in life.
Whereas other (later) interpretations, explain the difference in behavior by difference in background:
Poor children have learned that nice things are not always available, and you should enjoy them when they are.
The marshmallow test shows us we value self-control.
Illustrated by the guide coming back in and asking:
“Did you do good?”
Whereas before she left she still attempted to be neutral, as to whether the child would eat it or not.
But also other aspects (which I will not even be touching upon here) are simply so ingrained in society, it’s unlikely many actually thought about it, if it matched their values.
Such as making fear (of the future) based decisions;
A disdain for anyone making other choices, or who don’t make choices at all;
Disrespect for people with different ideas, or different strategies to life.
Disqualification of people who lie.
The layer of civilization is actually quite thin, if you see how little room there is to be yourself.
Yet many of us may be mistresses, be rebels at heart.
And they will never be happy, as long as they keep coloring between the lines.
So these are four core values of The Way of the Mistress.
Followed by how this applies to daily life.
And how it has helped me to see things clearly for my own business as a writer.
The core values of a mistress are.

1. Freedom, and especially freedom from expectations

The heart, the presence, and the devotion of a mistress have to be won time and time again. And she will win over, and work for the attention of, the ones around her.
People who are tied to her, or stuck with her, because of legal ties, family ties, or because they’re colleagues or neighbors, are people she will never fully be comfortable with, since the relationship is not based on freedom and choosing for each other.
She may invest a lot in these types of relationships, but it is merely in order to make them as pleasant as possible for all parties, including herself.
And she can be really good at it.
But the nature of obligation is such a heavy burden, she’ll minimize the number of these types of relationships.
One of the moments I realized letting go of expectations is a field where I can still learn, was when I had a little irritation with my lover, at the start of our date.
And although we recovered quickly, I later realized how little space I was giving him, to be himself.
Be grumpy if he wanted to.
And that there was a new level I wanted to reach:
To give him the freedom to be the way he wanted to be that day, without taking it personal or being disappointed.

In creating my new business, being free has become my number one priority.
I just finished a 15 year career as a yoga teacher, where I was obliged to show up at a certain time, every week. I had sold my freedom.
I will never again create a business where I have to sell hours, or am legally obliged to make an appearance.
My presence cannot be bought.
If I have to take a normal job, in order to basically subsidize my life, that is bad enough in itself already. But that’s where the idea of selling hours will stay.
Freedom means making a living without selling your life.
Selling hours, either as an employee or entrepreneur, means a life in chains.
I’m still not sure if I want to live that way, ever again.
Or maybe I am sure, but just not ready to say it out loud.

2. let go of the outcome

A mistress doesn’t stay with a man, because she hopes he’ll one day choose her. She chooses him time and time again, because he is the person she wants to be with most in the world.
The being with him, is the outcome.
This is what gives her an advantage over people in normal relationships, where so much is done in order to make the relationship work.
It’s usually not until the relationship comes under threat that at least one of the two parties realizes how much they have invested, hoping it would one day pay off.
The mistress doesn’t invest, so she doesn’t need future outcomes.

Applying the not-needing-outcome result to my business turns out to be a multi-layered process as well.
Every time I can go deeper!
The basics have been in place for a very long time.
I know I will write for the rest of my life, regardless if I get paid or not.
It is indeed what Marina Abramovic said:
“To know if you’re an artist is like breathing.
You don’t question breathing.”
So I was well on the way of being an artist/ doing my work, for the sake of it. I had separated it from a financial outcome.
But just the other day I saw the upcoming selling books part of my business (sales and marketing), which I intend to develop in the upcoming months, as something that I only had to do in the months where I would work on my business full-time.
If it didn’t work out, and then I had to take a real job, I would allow myself to drop back to only writing.
I wasn’t going to invest in sales and marketing, if it didn’t bring me the outcome of freedom.
And that’s when I stopped!
Wait a minute!
This is not what I believe.
EITHER I m not going to do any sales and marketing. Not even now, when I’m working on my business full-time.
OR I’m going to do it for life, in evening hours if I have to, because that’s just who I am.
So either marketing and selling will be like breathing.
Or it will not be there at all.
And then I realized the funniest thing… of course this is like breathing already!
Of course I ve done many things, if not all, under the flag of sales and marketing, for my yoga studio as well as for my writing, thinking, assuming, I did it because I wanted to make my business a success.
Get more yoga students.
And so on.
When in reality, that wasn’t the case at all.
I did it for pleasure.
And if I can’t make a living from my writing, and I do take a normal job, then get home at night and do it still.
Sales and marketing, just like writing, really is like breathing.
You don’t question it.
And you certainly don’t do it because of an outcome. 

3. do what lights you up

This one is of course related to not working for a certain outcome.
But the idea to do what lights you up, is a more radical one.
“Let go of the outcome” was more about:
Do NOT do what DOES NOT light you up.
For example, don’t stay with someone, because you assume things will be better in the future.
Do not do sales and marketing activities, because you expect an outcome.
But this one:
“DO what lights you up?” 

You understand the profound meaning of this, right?
It means to actually DO (!!!!!) what lights you up!
To never say, to something or someone, that figuratively sets you on fire:
“I m sorry, but I can’t”
You always can.
And you always should. 
Once you’ve decided you’re a mistress, you must always follow curiosity, laughter, desire. You must follow your heart, and everything further south.
Because you must DO what lights you up.
It is absolutely not enough to only, merely, stop doing what doesn’t light you up.
A mistress, and everyone living by her values, should learn to rise above fear of the unknown and recognize the thrill of Life actually calling for you.
Of inspiration calling you.
Someone actually calling you, and asking you out on an unexpected date.

Perhaps a new lover.
A new path to life.
Could be anything that asks for your attention and that lights you up!
Say yes!
Go against the grain, and be that kid in the marshmallow test who unabashedly eats the marshmallow, before the guide leaves the room.

Applying the principle of choosing what lights me up, to my business, has been a strange but satisfying experience.
I always get to eat the marshmallow!
Just yesterday, I started a whole new blog, in Dutch, about how to make money from selling books. And do that without having a company, or being burdened by Dutch entrepreneurial laws.
This was entirely off-topic, if you compare it to my other work!
It didn’t have anything to do with this diary you’re reading, nor with my Mistress series (also on this blog).
It wasn’t a Dutch blog post on books or film.
Nor was it a comic as I make for my account under my real name.

Judged by the laws of good business, I should have ignored the urge to share my thoughts on how to create an underground book business;
Except that of course, according to the logic of doing what lights me up, it made total sense to spent five hours on a Saturday morning, creating an entirely new unrelated blog, about writing and selling your own books in the Netherlands.

4. Keep your options open

This relates of course to 1, 2 AND 3!
Because as soon as you commit yourself, it becomes impossible to choose your own company, schedule your own time, work regardless of outcome, and do what lights you up.
In order to live by value 1 to 3 you have to keep your options open, so that you can move freely.
This is how I know my ideal business can never be based on selling my time.
And I didn’t like that!
I was almost like: “Oh no! No one does that! That’s not even possible!”
And who knows, maybe I will succumb, and create an online business.
Which still leaves me a lot more freedom than having to go somewhere and selling real life hours.
But as soon as I commit myself to delivering certain services, at least I know what I m sacrificing.
I’m aware it will cause stress.
Whereas things on my schedule that don’t make money, and are based on good will?
Those feel more like a lover-mistress relationship!
You plan something but both of you are aware that if the other person changes his or her mind, you have zero rights.
Both of you know that you still have to work for it, to actually make it happen. You can never take the other’s presence for granted.
Because he or she is just like you:
Completely free.

And that, is The Way of the Mistress.

An unexamined life is not worth living

Vogue is the forty-third chapter from Project M. 

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