Usually I like October. I enjoy cramming my ham hocks back into jeans. I enjoy the plethora of boot styles to gawk at behind storefronts. And I love Hallowe’en and great costumes and candy and Dachshunds dressed up like hot dogs.
This year, I’m in a bit of a funk. Not a funky, James Brown funk, but a negative headspace that seems to be fuelling itself through social media and the internet. Now, when I say “fuelling itself”, I of course mean that I am fuelling it by allowing myself to dwell on the nasty behaviour, lying, and misrepresentation I see, from Twitter bullyin……(see, I almost allowed myself to dwell on something there, but pulled the nose of the plane up just in time).
Over the last few days, I’ve actively sought out some strategies to help quell those negative voices. Meditation helps (and it’s damn good for your brain). Exercise, too (and it’s damn good for your ham hocks). And surrounding yourself with trusted family and friends also does wonders.
From a professional standpoint, it’s very important to prevent the murk from entering the workflow. I could build another analogy here, but won’t because not everyone loves toilet humour as much as I do.
This morning as I was stewing angrily over my caffeinated beverage, I came across a post by one of my favourite people, the inimitable Saul Colt. I like Saul for many reasons, including his choice in trousers, his warm sense of humour, and his intelligence. He’s the Smartest Man in the World, after all. I had the good fortune to co-present with him at this past spring’s MOSO Conference in stunning Saskatoon, where he Thai-massaged the audience with insight and word of mouth smartz. I always read his posts with relish (and ketchup).
Saul’s post referred to the also inimitable Jelly Helms, who had given him 3 critical questions to consider before working with people. The 3 questions took Saul on a veritable journey of self-discovery (no hyberbole here, friends!), leading to the really rich post I read during my morning angry time.
So here are the questions:
1. What do I love?
2. What do I see that no one else does?
3. What do I do?
I fought with these questions all through the livelong day. I thought of them in relation to my professional life: how I “market” my own small business, and the projects I choose to undertake. Here are my answers:
1. I love learning about people’s business challenges. I especially love to hear what powers an entrepreneur. What is the passionate idea that sparks someone into business? The idea that made them leave their day job and follow that passion? And I love teaching and being part of the lightbulb moment when a technology tool finally makes sense or a strategy comes together.
2. I see opportunities for niche audiences. I see places where content can connect, for as my friend Khayyam Wakil says, “Engagement is hollow without romance.” And I see ways to motivate people to chase their dreams.
3. I connect people to great ideas (usually their own), new avenues of thinking, and new channels of outreach. Sometimes that connection involves social media, and sometimes it involves darts and beer. I help people devise creative strategies.
I felt a whole lot better after that. Focused, and positive. I might have to do it again tomorrow, and I’ll certainly do it again next week.
People will lie to you.
You will be faced with strange requests that test your credibility.
People can be two-faced.
Trolls live under bridges where no goat dare tread.
Get over it, because as long as you can answer these questions, they can’t touch this. Right MC Hammer?
And somewhere, 2 classrooms in different countries are helping a cute, wee robot find his way home. That oughtta cheer you up.