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Community Marketing – Looking at Things the Mayan Way


Stellar photo taken by, used with permission.

If you have heard the phrase, and have an understanding of the meaning of the phrase, stop reading.

There is nothing new for you to learn here.

With the phrase I have told you everything.

It is the Mayan way of viewing the community.

If you haven’t heard or read the phrase before, please be a little patient. I promise to tell you, in just a second.

I am new to blogging, and I have to tell you that I certainly don’t yet have a big list of followers, or a community, as maybe you do.

If you already have a big online following, and you feel great about it, Congratulations! The Mayan view of community will help expand your community marketing, and will help you generate more and deeper relationships, with significantly increased conversions.

If you don’t, and you’re like me, just beginning on the online audience building journey – these insights are important as well – even more so.

I am building my online community, and it is growing, little by little. I like it that way. I plan to grow it, a step at a time, the way it should be done, by using the Slow Drip Method for Building a Massive Following, and the Mayan view of a community.

I have every expectation and more that it will be successful, because I’m challenging convention, and drawing on ideas and value that goes back centuries.

If this intrigues you – please read on…

What do I know about communities?

I work with a lot of communities. I have been a university psychology professor for 8 years now, and was the psychologist in a very popular T.V. local show (in El Salvador) for adolescents, for two years. I love community building and marketing! And so should you.

If you are like me: In Lakech Ala K’in.

The Mayans, whenever they saw each other, they greeted themselves with that phrase.

It’s modern definition is:

I am another you.

It also means:

I am you, and you are me.

This is the traditional Mayan interpretation.

This greeting was a declaration of honor and respect. It is a statement of unity and oneness.

What does this mean to you?

You are your own target market. You have to treat your audience like you would treat yourself.

If you have online presence, or just like me you are in the process of building an online community, then you are dealing with people. You must not forget this. They are people, just like yourself, and they must never be regarded only as followers, or just numbers, statistics. They are human beings that have decided that what you are saying, or showing them, resonates with them. Like the Mayans say: They are another you.

In a way you exist because of them.

What use would your greatest content be, if no one read it?

Content is King they say. Well I say if content is king, then people, community is queen.

You have to listen before you create. Your community speaks its needs and its wants. If you are good at listening and understanding those needs and wants, only then can you create content, services, products and a business that will last.

If you don’t spend the time listening, engaging and responding to people you will end up with a “great” product that no one has any interest in.

Just like Brian Clark puts it in the book Engagement from Scratch, by Danny Iny of Mirasee:

Most people’s approach to marketing is to start with something they want to sell, and then painfully realizing that people didn’t want to buy it. Social media lets you do a lot of listening before you start talking, and then actually produce something people want and will be willing to buy. I never imagined when I started Copyblogger that I’d be able to turn it into a successful software company, but having the audience allowed me to connect with people who had the skills to create what I, in turn, could sell. Those relationships are what make all the difference, and you create relationships through engagement.

Likewise, Claude Hopkins, in his classic book: Scientific Advertising expressed:

The advertising man studies the consumer. He tries to place himself in the position of the buyer. His success largely depends on doing that to the exclusion of everything else.

As you can see, this knowledge of trying to understand your buyers, followers, community is not new.
What they don’t tell you is that you have to start seeing your followers not as merely numbers, but as possible friends. Interconnection between the wider world and yourself.

You have to see them as a mirror image of yourself; parts of a whole that you contribute to.

Get to know your people, get to know their needs, wants, etc. and by doing so, you will also get to know yourself.

Show Don’t Tell

Start behaving in a way that shows you using your own stuff. Don’t tell, and then act a different way. Just like a picture is worth a thousand words, your behavior is worth a thousand pictures, when you are dealing with people. For them, you are a role model.

Remember you are your first reader. When you start going places with your blog and business that you don’t resonate with – when you don’t have the feeling that your audience is a reflection of yourself – the very best that will happen is that you’ll burn out and lose interest. The worst that could happen is absolute business failure.

If you want to build a lasting connection with someone, you need to be a great role model, and be coming from a place of honest and integrity.

In Lakech Ala K’in.

If you want to be a great role model you must possess three qualities: Being Congruent, Unconditional Acceptance, and Empathy.

  • You Have to be Congruent

By being congruent I mean that your thinking patterns, your emotions, and your behavior need to be the same. If one part of the congruency triad is missing, you get what is called a cognitive dissonance. Since your thoughts, emotions and behavior don’t match, people will start seeing the dissonance, and it will repel them.

  • You Need to Practice Unconditional Acceptance

You need to accept every person as they really are. No questions asked, and no judgment.

Whenever people feel judged, you break connection. Sometimes that means there won’t be a fit between you – and that is okay. Don’t try to fit an audience member into a mold that doesn’t work for them – that way leads to disappointment.

  • You Need to Feel and Demonstrate Empathy

You need to be able to feel empathy with your community. You need to be able to put yourself in their shoes. To be able to feel their “pathos” (that was the greek word for illness), needs, desires, as if they are yours.

A brief note here: These qualities were all mentioned by Carl Rogers, an influential American psychologist and among the founders of the humanistic approach (or client-centered approach) to psychology, as necessary for being a good psychotherapist. I truly believe, that they are also necessary for building your true community.

For the Mayans, community was themselves and everyone else. They were intimately connected to each other and the world they lived in.

What I invite you to do is to feel the connection, it is real. When you feel it, it will grow. The community will also grow.

I hope you liked this post, felt the connection and In lakech!

About Carlos Coto

Carlos is a Psychology Professor in a local university in El Salvador, a psychotherapist, creator of HandLink Technique (Energy Psychology), blogger, musician, and host of Sight For Sore Eyes Blog.

37 thoughts on “Community Marketing – Looking at Things the Mayan Way

  1. Hello everybody, pleased to meet you, in advance… It’s an honor for me to be able to write this guest post here. I love what Danny has built, and the awesome community that reads Firepole Marketing. Thank you for reading my post.

    What do you think… Could we apply congruency, unconditional acceptance and empathy to become great role models? For growing and maintaining the community?

    Is it possible?

    • Carlos, Yes, community is key. We need each other to make the world a better place. Authenticity is a must-coming from the heart in loving oneself leads towards loving and being compassion with others. We are so busy doing many things we are losing sight of our soul that is hungry for purpose and meaning.
      We are all one and when we see governments, religions, and culture separating us from our oneness we loss connection with community.

      • Hi Patricia,

        I just love your words! We are always so busy, that we forget what is essential to ourselves. We should always seek Oneness and Grounding!
        We humans are bio-psycho-social beings, that means we have a biological part, a psychological and a SOCIAL part. We can´t live without one of those parts, so we better learn how to maintain and better ourselves in each of these parts.

        Thank you for your words.


  2. Carlos – I really appreciate your post. It spoke to me, and it is probably no surprise it did if it spoke to you 🙂

    One thing I thought as I was reading about unconditional acceptance is that there are times I don’t accept myself if I’m acting contrary to who I know I am. I don’t know where to go with that statement, but it’s what I was thinking as I read it.

    Thanks for the post,

  3. Carlos,
    LOVE your post. It’s great to get a post like this to just reinforce what is the clearly the emerging way of the new business world. We are a community of people and we are each other, we must help each other – you are me – this is the righteous path through life and I also believe the way of business now and in the future.

    I am lucky enough to actually live in Tulum, Mexico, near the heart of the Maya culture and I know exactly what you are talking about with the culture of the Maya people. They are a very kind, gentle and welcoming group and we feel very much a part of this beautiful community.

    We are also working on our own dream business to help people and I am offering what I have gained in wisdom over 16+ years living from my laptop. I truly want to show people that they can do this too if that is what they want.

    In Lakech Ala K’in. I am you…you are me.

    Best of luck Carlos, we will be following you…thanks for these words of truth and wisdom.


  4. What a breath of fresh air! What a relief! Thank you SO MUCH, Carlos! You have spoken to my SOUL.

    I am well-familiar with the Mayan greeting. It mirrors the Native American statement of community, Mitakuye Oyasin (All my relations).

    In the process of learning all the necessary technologies for establishing an online business/community I got conflicting advice. Some of it was just plain “wrong” – at least that is what my heart kept screaming. But I’m the newbie. The “pro’s” and “experts” know better than me, right?


    You are correct. Following their formulas only resulted in conflict, struggle, eventual burn-out and loss of heart.

    I am returning to my heart (with the help of Danny Iny and “Team Firepole Marketing.”) Integrity means staying congruent, honoring your values – even when they don’t “fit” the current model.

    Considering the current shape of the world maybe the simpler truths are what are needed, no matter how cliche. “Walk your talk.” ” Be the change you want to see.” “Follow your heart.” And “do unto others.”

    Works for me.

    Gratitude, Carlos.


  5. Dear Chadrick,

    Thank you for commenting, and sorry I took long to write back, but I had to prepare and take my daughter to school, and then get to work.
    What you are describing is a normal thought, and feeling. We sometimes don´t accept the way we are, or are behaving. So the first thing would be to Know thyself. What you like, what you dislike, what you are, and what you are not. You may work on any part of yourself, but you need to make a conscious effort.
    Unconditional acceptance is very difficult to attain, and I would even think it is really a utopia, but we should aim for it, since it sets a gold standard, of life.
    We need to start by accepting that sometimes or more than often we don´t really accept ourselves. That is the first part. Then try to see what is it that you are not accepting, and work on it. It will take time, and dedication.
    Unconditional acceptance for others starts with accepting the way they are, and leaving judgment out of the equation. One also needs to work on your attitudes towards certain topics, and you need to respect, yourself and others.
    Unconditional acceptance gets tougher with your family. With everyone else, you chose to be with them, but with your parents, siblings, and kids, you didn´t choose them, so you really need to accept the way they are, to know yourself, and ask yourself what is it in their behavior, that you are not accepting, and you may have it also?
    Hopefully, when building a community, you did a great job at finding out who your ideal client is, and spoke to him or her in such a way that your community will be build upon similar yet unique people. When that happens, the group starts working as a whole, and accepting each other becomes easier.

    Thank you.

  6. Dear Lorraine,

    Thank you for reading my post. Let me try to answer your question, and I mean it, since my expertise is not bipolar disorder, I am an Anxiety disorder therapist.
    You see, Bipolar disorder, as Schizophrenia, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, may be incapacitating mental disorders. They may be incapacitating when NOT under control.
    The difficulty with Bipolar Disorder is because of the extreme polarity, as in a Manic phase and a Depressive phase. There are extreme changes in energy, activity, sleep, and behavior, and they go along with the unstable moods. If you are in a “High” mood, you may be really happy, or experience unrealistic beliefs, in ones abilities, or experience high risk behaviors, and even spending sprees, impulsive business investments, etc. If you are in a low, or depressed state, you may not want to get out of bed, may feel tired, may even think of death and suicide.
    I think and know (first hand, since my sister, an aunt, and a cousin, it runs in my family, have been properly diagnosed as Bipolar) that life with a bipolar disorder might not be easy, but it does not mean that you can´t have a business, or a family, or anything you may want.
    What a bipolar person needs to do is 1) Get help, in order to have less mood swings, and control the disorder. It is a life long disorder, so you need to know everything about it, and also know HOW and almost when the different phases change you, like a tide. If you were a fisherman, I would tell you to know the oceans tides, to study them, same applies here.
    2) You need to become accountable. You need accountability. Find someone that helps you be more accountable, in your highs and in your low´s. So you would need two systems in place, one for control, and another for accountability. If you learn how your tide goes, then you may do GREAT Business!
    And last, if you have not been diagnosed, or you feel you might have been misdiagnosed, seek more help. Bipolar Disorder, might be misdiagnosed easily. You may have Thyroid problems, and they cause different mood swings. So this is a disorder, that I would definitely seek more than one diagnosis.
    But I really think that anyone has the potential to be whatever they want, as long as they know themselves and work hard for what they want.
    I hope that I answered your question.
    And Thank you.

  7. Ron,

    Thank you for reading my post. I would LOVE to live at Tulum, they say it´s great! You should try out a Temazcal, it is a great experience… Best of luck to you too! and thanks for your comment. I like your site, by the way. Loved the Shark!
    Thank you.

  8. This post def intrigued me since I was married by a mayan shaman (The Shaman also happens to be a professor at a univ in CA)! I have heard of the Mayan way but never thought of it in terms of blogging. Great piece, well thought out, wonderful advice, and very true!! Thank you for this post 🙂

  9. Wendie,
    Thank you for your kind words, and for reading my post. I didn´t know the phrase “Mitakuye Oyasin (All my relations)”, but now that I know, I will use it in my classes! My advice to you, and to everyone, is follow your heart, and if it takes you the right way, great! Learn from it… and if it takes you the wrong way… great! Learn from it…
    Life is for learning. Learning about everything, and you can´t learn if you don´t go wrong. Never leave your heart out of the equation. Think with your brain, feel with your heart, and try to be congruent about them.
    Thank you.

  10. Hola Carlos! I’m Ron’s partner, and I too am blessed to live in paradise called Tulum. After witnessing the Maya community here the past few years, it makes sense to me that “In Lakech Ala K’in” is the foundation of their culture. Their ancient architecture is truly awe-inspiring.

    We learn a lot everyday by being immersed in a different culture. I highly suggest it for those who may have the chance.

    Judgement is the ear and eye closer. Empathy leads to clarity and enlightenment – great post, got me thinking within


  11. Hi Carlos,
    Nice post. I think a good way to sum it up is to compare it to empathy. Good bloggers, marketers, coaches, etc have to have empathy for their audience in order to understand them. In reality, if you put yourself in their place you can see through their eyes and produce what they are looking for.

    Wish you much success on your blogging efforts.


    • Wow I just found the reply button!

      Hi Mike, thanks for your comment. You are right, you need to take that step, think about it as being a mirror… A mirror in which they see their reflection, but also a mirror in which you also see yours… Always work on your image to become better,, but accept and have theirs in your constant thoughts…

      It’s a must!

      Success to you too, and thank you.

  12. Empathy is a good thing. I have an illustration of it. Mom took my baby sister and I to see the little piglets. Their mother grabbed my little sister’s foot. My Aunt Eddie looked for a stone to make the sow let loose the foot. Finding none, she hit it with her wrist and sprained it. I remembered the incident as my foot being in the pig’s mouth. When I was older and heard Mom repeat the incident, I knew it had to be my sister’s foot as she was the baby. We need to empathize with others in their pain, sorrow, and troubles. My book, Our Lifeship: A Study in Proverbs for Women, will help women sail calmly on life’s troubled seas. See

    • Lynn, Thank you for your comment, and personal example. Wish you success with your book, which sounds very interesting. At my university, at the psychology clinic, we attend a lot of women. Usually they are very young mothers, in their teens and have depression, it is very difficult to help them out. I will take a look at your book, since it is best to have a lot of info. To help them.

      Thank you.

  13. Heather,

    Thank you for commenting, and it must be really interesting to be married to a Shaman. The Shaman keeps their world glued with the spirit world, he is the key to the opening of the doorway to the other dimension. Must’ve been also difficult to be married to one, and trying to understand their link with spirituality.
    But never forget that you have your own path also. May your walking be swift and blessed.

  14. Hola Matt, mucho gusto!
    It’s great that you too can live in a piece of paradise! There is no excuse for you to not take the time to observe, feel and inhale a breath of energy with your surroundings. It’s a great place to center on your thoughts, behavior, business, family and life!
    Remember, and this goes to everyone reading, to from time to time, take away your shoes and just feel the earth and your grounding, then inhale, and smile for yourself.

    Hasta Luego,

    Thank you.

  15. Hi Carlos,
    Your post is a refreshing look at life. In Lakech Ala K’in resonated with me because it’s so aligned with the Hindu belief of ‘Vasudaiva Kutumbakam’ – The world is one family. It means respecting differences within the family and learning to work around them.
    We need that in today’s world, right?
    Lovely post.

    • Savita,

      Thank you for your kind words. The Hindu phrase is wonderful, I will use it in my classes. We truly are one family, and everything is connected. I love how different cultures, got the same kind of knowledge, even if they lived very far away. We should do the same, and more, since we have the internet. They had NOTHING, only smoke signals… but they knew everything was interconnected. That is great!

      Thank you.

  16. Hi Carlos,
    Wonderful post and one that is definitely needed at this time here in the U.S.

    Building a community and treating others as you would want to be treated is the only way a business will thrive. But at this time, it needs to be a reminder to everyone in my country. As you build your community, you look out for everyone in it, and they in turn will do the same.

    Your points; being congruent, practice unconditional acceptance, and having empathy are all the finer points of Danny Iny, as I know him. Therefore you found the perfect place to publish your guest post.

    I also know another man that follows those traits. He is a friend of Danny Iny. His name is Jason Fonceca, you can find him at He calls himself a modern day shaman. His site might not be for everyone, but if you want real raw truth, you are probably going to find it there and he is definitely a community builder.

    Thank you for such an up-lifting post.

    • Aww, D, I am feeeelin’ the love. Thank you so much for the kind words and vote of confidence.

      I agree with all Carlos has shared here. Vital, vital stuff. Cool to see Mayan values & Claude Hopkins in the same post too 😛

      Annnnd I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t raise a “fresh view”, so hopefully I can touch on this without starting a fire:

      Carlos and The Mayans clearly have a deep understanding of our relational universe and the “I am you” or “we are all one concept”, and I’d never argue against such a key aspect of life…

      I do wanna raise an possible clash between two principles tho:

      For every bit of wisdom you can find for “starting with/focusing on others”, you can find other wisdom that says “disregard others– listen deeply and purely to your own wants, desires, impulses, feelings… *heart*” and “be as unique as you want, it may be hard, but you will attract others who ‘get you’ ”

      “He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away.” – Hull
      “When you worry too much about what others think, you leave little to no room to be yourself.” – Savvy
      “Do your own thing on your own terms and get what you came here for.” – Oliver James

      Food for thought… 🙂

    • Hi D,

      I think that the whole world needs a reminder! It becomes a symbiosis, one looks for the other because they both make up the system…

      Thank you for your comment, and for sharing with me Jason’s blog.

      Thank you, and In Lakech !

    • Hi Jason,

      I’m honored to be writing with you and everyone else in this blog.

      Thanks for the fire! As a true shaman you have given what is needed for change. Like an alchemist that needs fire to make gold from lead, it is also needed to learn.

      I definitely agree with you.

      You must come first always! If you don’t love yourself, how will you love and be loved? If you don’t understand yourself, you won’t understand no one else…you need to fill your inner void first, in order to help fill your significant ones voids.

      So my step would be second…you come first, and be unique like each star in the sky, that gives light by itself. When you do this, by way of similar attracts similar, other similar stars will come to you, and form the new galaxy.

      Thanks for your thought!

      Would love to chat with you! And love your site by the way! Maybe I’ll prepare a guest post proposal for you if you have guests…

      Maybe next time we both may start a fire! And make gold.

      Thank you.

      • It’s mutual, Carlos!

        I love the alchemist comparison, and I’ve been called an ‘urban shaman’ many times, as well as ‘fire’ 😉

        I like the ‘urban’ part, cuz shaman are usually weird hippie style peeps, and I feel much more charismatic than that 🙂

        And yep, we’re on the same page regarding the order. Life is a very *personal* experience, and starts and ends with each individual.

        I’m on skype quite a bit, or I can drop you an e-mail, I’d love to connect further 🙂

        Let’s make gold 🙂

  17. I want to thank you for your word of conformation.I got involved with blogging ,well for several reasons. Firstly to meet like minded people, agree or disagree. Come let’s talk and if that leads to debate all the better. The key here is meeting the person. Secondly there is an exchange of information.I share a piece of me you a piece of you.We both grow that day.

    I might be slow and old school, but for me it takes time to cultivate relationships. I may not win any of the prizes for my next statement, but I believe it with all my heart. I WOULD RATHER MAKE ONE NEW ACQUAINTANCE THAN TO HAVE TEN UNKNOWN, FOLLOWING.

    Now this is just me. I enjoy visiting others blog sites or web page or whatever, and reading what they have to say. I’ll get to the bottom of the page were the buttons and comment box is. Every time I will go past the like button and right to the comment box. Why you may ask? If you don’t care to know you need not read further because I am explaining then I will close.

    You allowing me to read your write deserves a real comment in return.If I automatically push a like button I am saying nothing. What do I like about the piece? What don’t I like about the piece? I am still a little confused at ” why the like button phenomena?”. Maybe, like is one word and takes up much less space, were comments more words,more space. So, you are able to fit more likes in less space than comments.. What do you think, Carlos?

    • Nick,

      Thank you for your comment, and sorry to have taken long to write, but I’ve been with a flu yesterday and today.

      For me, and I may be wrong here with this, anyone may hit the Like button, and it means almost nothing.
      To leave a comment takes a giant leap, because it opens up a dialog, and a two way communication and interaction. so I could say that a comment is a more powerful measure of conversion and interaction. You should always try to get comments, since it opens a connection via dialog.

      The problem with like button, I think, is that it would be the equivalent as showing a THUMBS UP during a dialog in person with someone. How many times do you show a thumbs up to somebody else? To your parents, siblings, friends, anyone? Almost never. What do you do? You show them your point of view on the issue or conversation, so the comment is more natural and really helps to build relationships. A like does not build anything.

      Thank you,


  18. Great post, Carlos!

    Your post reminds me of the golden rule “Treat others as you would want to be treated”. The moment one views the community as something to be taken advantage of, to be bought and sold (I’m looking at you, Facebook), the connection breaks.

    Look forward to reading more about your insights 🙂

    -Rich Polanco

    • Rich!

      Great to see you here! The moment you see the community as something to be taken advantage, you have lost everything. People WILL perceive your partial condition, and will go elsewhere. You need to be congruent always! There’s no other way to be…or people will sense it. No one likes to feel that they were bought, or sold or anything monetary…they like to feel good, and in the same vibe, mentality, etc.

      Thanks for your comment Rich, and for the great Picture you lend me for this post! Thank you again.

  19. I’m a little late to reading your post but I so enjoyed it. I’m from the USA but had the great gift of recently spending 7 years establishing a children’s rescue home in war-torn South Sudan before returning to the USA to start the new journey I’m on now… opening a branding/marketing agency designed around building authenticity and community, creating brands that matter. In other words, brands that have a purpose greater than profitability, brands that exist to better the lives of their customers, communities and the world in intentional meaningful ways.

    Your post was a delight to read and took me back to what I learned from living in the bush with my adopted Sudanese family. Everyone has a voice. Every person matters. Every life is significant. Alone we are embers, together a bush fire. So much richness to ponder and implement. Thank you and wishing you all the best!

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