Social Media: It Might Just Save You From Careening Down a Cliff

Yesterday was one of those gorgeous early fall days where you want to be close to the outdoors. I had focused on social media and blogging work enough for the day. Since my parents were visiting and the trees were beginning their change early, we drove into the mountains. We chose a shelf road a.k.a. the "Oh My God Road." The vistas are amazing, the 1,000 foot drops scary. The curviest parts of the road have no guard rail and only one single turn has a well-worn wooden guardrail that as my dad puts it, "Wouldn't hold a chickadee." This was not the time for my brakes to have serious problems.

{insert scary Jaws music}

So of course, the brakes decided this was exactly the time to begin making a screeching metal sound that pretty much ripped the lining from my ear drums.

Luckily the sound was just a warning shot rather than a cannonball.

My fragile brakes held out. Safely on relatively flatter ground we parked to ponder what to do next. My engineer father quickly jumped out, leaping underneath the car to feel the rotors to see if there was much damage. Being far less technical and far more prone to being social, I jumped on my phone sending out a quick tweet about needing a good auto mechanic. Within minutes I had 4 suggestions and within 10 minutes I had an appointment for this morning.

Though social media has become a major communication, marketing and business device in the past few years the stigma of being only good for sharing "what you had for breakfast" still remains.

Still Clinging to 2009?                                                                                                                                  Climb in your time machine and get into 2012. Here are a few facts to help you.

Social Media Saves Lives {Full Contact}

Social Media Facts for Business {Time Magazine}

Find an Lost but Pricey Ticket to the Olympics
{Mashable}

You can rationalize your fears, lack of time, say that "face time" is the only way to build a business or any other excuse as a reason why social media doesn't matter but...

You'd be wrong.

Let me tell ya. Social media is a critical communication vehicle in your marketing plan and it's here to stay.  Engage. Capture. Measure. Convert.

Get on it now. If you don't, pretty soon you won't have any money to buy the breakfast you're not sharing on Twitter.

3 Things I Don't Understand

In the midst of writing marketing copy, blogging for startups and taking a writing class, to say that I've been burrowing into writing like an underground mole looking for a home wouldn't be an exaggeration. Many times I seek the refuge of personal writing when I need to make sense of something. When I'm in this space I'm generally pondering things that somehow have slipped through the synapses of my brain without sticking.

Things I don't understand:

A. Why they sell Halloween candy in August. 

B.  Why I love to memoirs about chefs even though I'm such a reluctant cook that my specialty is toast.

C.  Why I have such a love of startups.

After a long day of client work, mountain driving and car problems I went to bed last night thoroughly exhausted. You know, the kind where you just know that you're going to sleep deep, fast and hard. Those are the nights that usually give the body and the mind just the kind of rest it needs for deep regeneration.  Suddenly in the middle of the night, apparently 3am according to my Sleep Cycle app, I sat straight up in bed with a flash of insight. At some point it seems I took the red pill and The Matrix suddenly appeared before me and the once elusive answer appeared.

I love to see things transform.

  • Raw ingredients into delectable treats.
  • Clueless non-cooks morphing into full-fledged chefs.

  • An idea into a business that has solid impact or disrupts a market.

It's a transformation story. Taking a raw collection of materials and molding it into something useful for others is completely satisfying. I love creating a marketing department from the mere notion that it's critical way to support the business. There's something about writing a post for a business that helps them solidify their intellectual dominance that completes me.

This. This is why I love what I do so much.

It was one of those moments you dream of (lucidly and in your awakened state) where the answer you've been seeking finally bursts free from the burrows of your mind and into your consciousness. Having connected all the dots like one of those drawings in a child's workbook I am reminded that I'm on the right track. Sometimes you just gotta take a break to receive the answers you seek. Now my mind can move on to other pressing matters like why retailers think I should stock up on Halloween candy in the summer.

 

I hope you know what drives you at your core. And? That your work is completely wrapped up in it.
 

 

Life Lesson #2: How to Avoid Drama

This is the 3rd in the series around the life lessons I've learned since June 2011.  It expanded on the illusion of control and now we come to this: how to avoid drama. People who have a lot of drama in their lives come in two flavors.  Let's start with the most obvious types--the one I know you thought of when you read the title of this post. They're the ones who enticed you in--just as they're wont to do in real life. The Drama Creators.

Their hallmarks include numerous, messy entanglements, excuses and a general lack of concern for your feelings. These Drama Kings and Queens and oh yes--both genders have 'em--will entice you--at first. My experience has shown them to be shockingly charming, drawing you in like a moth to the dangerous light. Aliveness may permeate throughout you in those first few interactions, soon to be replaced with a feeling of confusion, exhaustion and a serious case of emotional whiplash. And there isn't a carton of ice cream or bottle of Tequila big enough to anesthetize it. 

The only thing you can do when you find yourself faced with a Drama Creator is to move away. Exclude. Minimize. It's a hard lesson to learn but one you'd be wise to do the very moment you discover you have a life filled with these kinds of people. Or, even just a few especially if they're a primary relationship like a boss, client, lover, best friend or family member.

The thing is...they're not whole. Not yet. They're so filled with their own internal angst that baby they don't have an ounce of energy left for you. In fact, they're more likely to rob you of your precious energy rather than fill you with more. They're stuck in inner trauma---probably from a bygone era. Unwilling to do the true hard work to heal, they're stuck frozen.

They're not going to change.

Identify. Leave. Exclude. Minimize.

Then there are those who have drama surrounding them. Let's call them the Drama Allowers. This sort of type seems to attract drama without directly (or intentionally) causing it. Except they do have a part in this melodrama. Being passive may not seem as harmful as those who actively create drama but this alas, is untrue.

The rub is that passively allowing others' drama to seep into and pervade your life leaves you spent, unavailable for good to infiltrate and ultimately leaves you feeling disempowered. This in turn leaves you much more susceptible to other Drama Creators, creating a cycle which is a bit like a dangerous undertow that churns you around, scrambles you up and renders you useless. If this is you--stop it. When someone injects a bit of drama in your life pay attention to the big old yellow flashing sign. Slow down, take care to see if this is isolated or the way this person lives their life. If it's the latter--well, do I really need to tell you what to do?  Drama Creators will hijack your life, taking it over with their narcissistic concerns and you farther away from your dreams.

Identify. Leave. Exclude. Minimize.


"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" Mary Oliver

I hope you won't spend one more moment squandering your precious time on creating or allowing drama. It's simply an luxury you can't afford.

I used to be a dyed-in--the-wool Drama Allower, whipped around in a frenzy by Drama Creators until I just got tired of it and let them all go. Bosses, boyfriends, friends--really, anyone with a penchant for the dramatic. These days my business is snap, crackling and popping along with all sorts of goodness. My life is too busy, too precious to waste it on drama so I simply don't allow it in my life. The result in my life has dramatic itself. My productivity and happiness levels shot straight up like one of those hockey stick charts investors are always looking for. If I was investing in myself I'd say it was the best one I could have made.

All this talk about drama has me a bit drained. But if even one of you lets go of being a Drama Creator or Drama Allower it was worth it. And now, I'm off to gain some energy by working on a project that invigorates me: writing my book I've been dreaming of for years.

Postscript: Credit goes to Cheryl Strayed for reminding me of the Mary Oliver quote. It's a good one and should be taped to everyone's refrigerator.

Are Your Dreams as Big as Amsterdam?

I'm not on Facebook very much these days (more of a Twitter girl myself) aside from getting news from friends in far flung places. Well, those places became even more far flung this morning with the Facebook announcement that a couple I'm friends with are moving to Amsterdam for her dream job. It was shocking. Thrilling. And thought-provoking.

After working until 1am last night this got me thinking. Am I dreaming big enough? Are the fruits of my efforts bringing me closer to my dreams so that a year from now I can say that my life is much better and my dreams fulfilled or at least on the horizon?

Here's a smattering of the big dreams my friends have accomplished just since the New Year.

  • Next weekend I will attend the wedding of a friend who was dreaming about finding the right person just two years ago. She did meet him--just mere weeks later.
  • Two friends moved to NYC to pursue their startup.
  • A girlfriend and colleague of mine is always dreaming big and having an impact on her local community. This time with an event next weekend, Tellerpalooza.
  • Another friend has been traveling the world for two years, recently checking Dubai and Nairobi off his list.
  • A couple finally sold their home in another state and bought a place in their new city--something they'd been dreaming about for over 2 years.
  • Australia was the destination for a couple of co-workers who married and had kids. 
  • A good friend of mine finally finished the book he's been writing and is submitting it to book publishers.

And finally, to bookend the dreams...a friend is working from Amsterdam this month just because he wanted to see if he could do it.

All this stupendous news has me pondering. What are my dreams? Are my dreams big enough so that if you stacked them up they'd reach the sky? Am I working towards the exciting lifetime dreams or just grinding through the to do list for the day?

While I know all this big news isn't every day and won't continue at this pace, it excites me. It makes me want to go after my dreams and make sure that if I'm working until 1am that it better be on something that's moving me down the football field to my goal line.

What about you? Are you dreaming BIG? Are you actively pursuing your goals like a dog with a bone? Are you working on your own dreams or those of someone else?