The Real Worth of Our Social Networks (and it’s not what you think)

Ever have a bad day and need a “pick-me-up?” ever feel lethargic and know a swift kick in the butt will fuel your productivity? Ever need just one word, one phrase, or one person to tell you that you can do it? We all do, and we all have the power to find the inspiration or to be the inspiration.

We can do this by using the worth of our social networks…That is if they’re truly worth anything.

Let’s take a step back. Why do we use our social networks? What drives us to post updates? Are we simply being self-serving through shameless self-promotions? Are we just posting about things that matter to us, but don’t matter to anyone else? If so, we have got it all wrong!

We should be using our social networks to become better versions of ourselves – to explore new ideas, learn from others, find interesting information, and to SHARE with others about things that matter. We should be passing along a great idea, sharing a tip for success, or answering someone’s question about where to eat. If you’re not doing any of this, you are wasting your time.

Here’s a situation. I woke up at 4.30 a.m. to get ready for the gym and checked my Facebook alerts. To my surprise, I saw a disturbing update in my newsfeed – an old high school “friend” who posted a series of photos of him with a woman in provocative poses, clearly under the influence of something. My first thought was, “What is wrong with him?” My second thought was, “I hope his kid doesn’t see this.” I continued to scroll through his information to find out if he was okay. I saw others posting well wishes and hoping he’d get his act together. I felt like I should reach out, but really, he was just a Facebook friend and do I really have the time and energy to get involved? So what did I do? I deleted him. Then I deleted a bunch of people who were simply wasting my time. I kept all the people who were positive inspirations (Jen Groover, Nell Merlino, Catrice Jackson, Gabrielle Bernstein). I kept all the people who were constantly pushing me to be better, think differently, and do great things.

On another point, the other day I experienced a lost opportunity. It was an opportunity I really wanted and thought was a perfect match for what I am trying to accomplish, but I didn’t get it. Directly after I found out, I had a mini breakdown…then I read my favorite 14 year-old’s status update that read, “It’s all in God’s plan.” Instantly, I saw the signs and knew that this opportunity wasn’t lost–it wasn’t the right one.

So here is my advice to making your social network “worth it.”
1. Purge. Get rid of the “numbers.” Delete the Debbie Downers who are so sad and negative. Why bring that negativity into your life? If they are just a Facebook time-killer, get rid of them.
2. Interact. Get involved with others who are doing great things. Reach out to great people and use your social networks to show gratitude and share knowledge. Be on your social networks to be social and to bring something to the table.
3. Inspire (or be funny!). Be an inspiration to those around you or make them laugh. Maybe your best friend is having a bad day and they see a positive or hilarious post from your page – you never know who is reading. Be positive, lift others up, and make people smile.
4. Be inspired. Read others’ updates and let them resonate. Thank others for what they give. Let the positivity drive you to reach your goals!

We have an opportunity to be a great influence. Why not take it?

The Glass is Full… Empty It the Right Way!

Photo credit: justglasssite.com

Okay so I’ve mentioned this story to many people, but I feel the need to get it down on “paper.” This analogy came about during a meeting with a colleague who always inspires me, and someone whom I respect (thanks, Dawn!). I’ve continued to pass along this story and it seems to help others think differently…

So you wake up in the morning and [hopefully] you have a glass full of energy. You carry this glass with you all day and as you exert energy, the glass starts to empty. By the end of the day, you should be happily exhausted with a completely empty glass.

The catch is that you only have the amount of energy in the glass and you, as the owner of your energy, have to decide the best way to empty your glass as you go about your day. Sounds simple, right?

Well think about everything you encounter through an average day – the ups, downs, highs and lows – and where you exert your energy. Are you spending your energy on the person who makes you angry and fighting over some particular point you’re trying to make? Are you arguing with a spouse or friend? Are you using some of your energy on a high maintenance client who does not respect your work? Are you making calls and attending meetings to grow your business?¬†Are you playing with your children? Think about those questions and evaluate how you’re emptying your glass because it may just put things into a different perspective.

At the end of the day (and the beginning), you are the owner of your energy and you can empty that glass as you choose. The moral? Choose wisely!

Be In the Moment

I had a discussion the other day with colleague and while discussing many fabulous guiding principles of business, one that really resonated was the idea of “being in the moment,” meaning if you are there [in the moment], be there [in the moment] 100 percent.

There are so many things on our plates, so many places we could be, and so many things we need to do. We make daily choices to determine where we go, what to do and who to see. Once we make those choices, we must own our choices to the fullest.

Example – You have a business meeting or lunch with your dad. Choose. Once you choose, be physically and mentally at the same place. What good are you at a business meeting if your mind keeps thinking about your dad? And how much time are you really spending with your dad if all you can think about is business?

We live by moments, so make each one of them count and be in the moment to live them to the fullest! :)

The Power of ONE.

Don’t let One..
Person
get you down; there are plenty more who will pick you up.
Opportunity make you feel like you don’t deserve anything; opportunities come and go for a reason.
Experience make you jaded to think all experiences are the same; every experience is different.
Failure determine your future; you will never succeed unless you fail.
Success make you satisfied; there are many more successes to accomplish.
Comment steer you off your path; keep control of the wheel and make it happen.
Rejection damage your confidence; just know that it wasn’t the right time or place and that time and place will come.

…but DO let one…
Person make your day
Opportunity prove you are who you want to be
Experience lift you above
Failure make you work harder
Success validate your goals
Comment cheer you up
Rejection fuel your determination

…and be that ONE for someone else.

Expectations – Set them. Exceed them.

In the past month or so, I’ve fielded an unusual spike in disappointing emails – emails about delayed projects, colleagues who are unable to follow through with commitments, and others from people who just generally set an expectation, then fall flat. I am not sure if it’s the time of year, bad karma, or just a string of bad luck, but I must say that I find it tiring and quite confusing.

When I set an expectation, I do everything I can to meet and exceed that expectation. It’s understandable that things come up, but when things come up, most likely the situation can be managed by allocating a little extra time or shifting priorities. Either way, I don’t take expectations lightly and I do what I can to go above and beyond.

Basically, if I set an expectation that I will have a project completed by Friday, I will have it by Friday (if not by Thursday). If I deliver it on Friday, I’ve met the expecation. If I deliver it on Thursday, I’ve exceeded the expectation…and probably shocked the hell out of the recipient. Why? Because (and maybe this is just me, but) we are too often disappointed that we’ve come to expect people to not live up our/their expectations.

Here’s a lesson I learned from a previous employer: Set expectations that you can exceed and you will never get yourself in a bind. Basically, when we had projects, she would tell us to set our own deadline based on our workload and what seemed reasonable. Then she held us 100 percent accountable for that deadline since we set the expectation. Makes a lot of sense.

So the moral of today’s babble? Don’t set expectations you can’t exceed…or at least meet. When you fail to meet expectations, it effects everyone involved (remember that) and they don’t deserve to be disappointed.

Disclaimer: There are always exceptions to the rule so unforeseen or extenuating circumstances are always understood.

Common Courtesy: A Trend That Should Never Die

Courtesy Definition

The past few days I’ve been thinking a lot about common courtesy and the actions of others. In today’s world of technology and the ability to both stalk and dodge people, I think society is loosing site on the rules of common courtesy. It is too easy to forget to show gratitude and too easy to avoid an uncomfortable situation by hiding behind a computer or letting it go to voicemail. Seriously, let’s just go back to the basic principles of please and thank-you, and embracing human interaction.

Here are some examples I’d like to share:

  • When someone calls, answer it…or call them back if you miss it. It isn’t nice to ignore calls or just listen to a voicemail and forget it happened. The same goes for emails. If someone tries to sell you something and you aren’t interested, just tell them you aren’t interested (unless it’s spam and they ask for your personal details for the Royal Bank of Scotland). If it’s a friend and you are in a dispute, call them back and deal with it. It’s called life and it happens.
  • If someone goes out of their way for you, thank them. Seriously, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt like my efforts to go above and beyond weren’t acknowledged. I don’t need a skywriter to provide a thank-you note, just a simple thank-you and recognition that I did something beyond what is expected. Trust me, that “thank-you” will go a long way the next time the opportunity to go beyond comes along. Also, don’t take advantage of kindness, instead return the favor.
  • If you say you are going to do it, do it. If you weren’t going to do it, then why did you say you were int he first place? In general, if you declare you are going to do something, please do it. If you run into a barrier or experience complications, make that known. Most people are forgiving when they understand the circumstances, but they can’t be understanding if they are uniformed.

Basically, these three actions boil down to using effective communications. It’s about speaking with people, listening to people, and responding when it makes sense. It is also the difference between saying you are going to do something and actually do it. These common courtesy principles are getting lost in the technology shuffle and it is just unacceptable!

Asking (the right) Questions.

In the past few days I learned the value of asking questions. More importantly, I learned that we need to ask the right questions.

What are the right questions? They are the questions that prevent us from wasting our time – either by lack of knowledge, a misunderstanding, or something that should have been uncovered straight away.

For example, if we don’t ask the right questions when creating a website, we get too far into it to turn back. If we turn back to make corrections or changes, we end up wasting time by back tracking, and wasting money on edits that could have been avoided. If we start a project, but forget to ask for the budget, it is difficult to back track and ask, then find out it is much less than we thought after putting ideas in place.

Oh and when we assume – in life and in love – it’s because we never asked any questions and that is a recipe for disaster.

In general, I think life boils down to effective communication in all forms. We need to learn to communicate effectively via email, in-person, through our writing, and through our motions. It takes some time to learn others’ styles and to conform to their communication preferences, but the more aware we are of those styles, the better communicators we will become…

…and the more time we will have and the happier we will be! :)