Who are You - Really?

"If you don't want to see it on the front page of the newspaper..."

Social Media is now the dominant communication venue for person to person interaction. Facebook logs more unique daily visitors than any other website on all the search engines (by a considerable margin). The median age of users is now firmly in the camp of consumers 30 - 50 years of age and business is scrambling to figure out who they are so they can interact. People everywhere are now starting to make decisions based on what they learn about you and see on social media sites. So why does the average user try so hard to keep up so many versions of themselves? They have the professional, business focused, version on Linked In, the party animal on one facebook page and the company/politically correct version on another. A twitter account that spouts short missives, perhaps a myspace page and sometimes a blog. Each with differing views of their cyber persona. We each have various sides to our personality and there should certainly be room to view the fun side of each of us. But when we show one side to one group and quite another to a different viewer the question becomes "Who is this person really?" Perhaps the person posting isn't quite sure themselves and is still in the process of forming their true character. Perhaps they are merely having fun, letting of steam, being satirical or just having a laugh. Regardless, todays TMZ styled media has trained us all to view and pay attention to the shocking over the sincere. So perhaps the caution should be "What you post in cyberspace is permanently in cyberspace" the version of you posted that shocks will garner the most attention. The picture of you with the lampshade on your head will invariably become your avatar to the world. Perhaps that is one of the reasons behind the privacy hoop la that concerns so many. So post who you really are, what you really think, and what you really believe. Have one true version for everyone to see - Let us understand who you really are.
If it includes a lampshade - So be it.


Don't Pet the Troll.

"Never wrestle with a pig, you'll both get dirty and the pig loves it."
~ George Bernard Shaw.

As social media becomes more and more a part of our communication stream there lurks in the shadows a dangerous creature that wants to draw you into their dark, bottomless, pit. The Troll.The Troll is a mischievous creature who seeks to antagonize and irritate you.

The Troll is hungering for a reaction, any reaction, and feeds off you participating and rolling around in their mud. Be careful my friends for the Troll can suck your time, attention and mind share unless you have measures to identify them. Should you respond to every comment?

That's up to you. Courtesy says if it's delivered with sincerity and meets your guidelines for decorum - yes. But be wary and you might want to use the four 'A' guidelines I favor to see whether productive communication is likely to continue. Those who hide behind Anonymity and seek to Attack or Antagonize tend to be those to Avoid.

Respond to comments, converse with contrarians, communicate with those who challenge your ideas and certainly deal with complaints.

But be wary of the Trolls that lurk in darkness.

What Soldiers Teach Us.

"Always do more than is required of you." ~ George S. Patton.

Does what is taught to soldiers have any transferable benefit in the business world? I may be a bit prejudiced but from my perspective the answer is an unreserved "Hell yes". The leadership, accountability and mission objective lessons ingrained in our Marines, Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen, I believe, can help us all make more sales, be more productive and more effectively accomplish our business goals.

What are those lessons?

Your Mission - what is it and how will you accomplish it? There are no excuses, it's always "Mission first".

On Your Priorities.
On the Solution - not the Problem.
On Getting it Done (no excuses).

By Example - Walk Your Talk.
With Objectives -Get & Convey a Clear Understanding of them.
Without micromanaging - Trust your team and hold them accountable.

An Esprit De Corps & Pride in your team of being a part of something greater than themselves. Win Hearts and Minds.
Leaders - people that have passion, pride and perform above and beyond expectations (don't coddle them - challenge them)

You are only as good as the weakest member of your team.

You're Only As Good as the Weakest.

Think About This.

"All of us are made up of the stories that we listen to, the ones we disagree with and the ones that we agree with". ~ Stanley Crouch.

In our cacophonous culture we're bombarded daily with messages, marketing, links and people vying for our attention. Each saying look, listen to me, I'm worth your time and will entertain, educate or enlighten you. So how do we filter what gets through?

Most people look for commonalities, shared interests and values or pay attention because they've forged a relationship based on similarities of one kind or another. We tend to surround ourselves with those that are agreeable in some shape or another or fit in the frame we've set for ourselves. I do it too. I love communicating with those I respect and admire, those that share similar interests and passions and I certainly have a "Do You Strive?" filter but then something else comes into play - Cognitive Dissonance.

People seem to find it strange that I also respect and seek out those who vehemently disagree with me and those that challenge my baseline similarities. Why Do This? It's certainly uncomfortable to interact regularly with those who hold diametric views or beliefs to ourselves but, conversely, what happens when we insulate? What happens when we surround ourselves only with messages, marketing links and people that agree with us? We sink into a warm gooey mush that says "I'm right - I'm good - and others are not as right or good" Why not have two filters?

1. Do I like, admire, and / or respect this message?

2. Do I dislike / disagree with this message & does it irritate me?

Why not embrace and entertain both? They are equally valuable to us.

Sometimes we learn more about ourselves from the messages and people that create cognitive dissonance than those we share the gooey mush with. Enjoy the mush of similarities. They're nice, comforting, egocentric and secure. But we may also be well served to embrace the challenges and opportunities that contrarians and their irritations present. They teach us much more about ourselves.

Social Media's Secret.

"A good ad which is not run never produces sales."~ Leo Burnett.

There is a sort of secret courtesy that people rarely address on Social Media about conducting business. It's a little bit of a taboo topic.

Offline we meet people, become attracted to what they have, and buy stuff ~ Or, over a period of time, trust them enough to monetize that relationship with a transaction. We Do Business.

Or we meet people and stay in the social sphere. We chat, communicate, interact and stay purely social. We Are Friends.

We often view these as mutually exclusive concepts. Monetary exchange of goods and services and the exchange of words, ideas and experiences that form our social connections. Business or Pleasure.

Now cyberspace and social media has built a wonderful structure that challenges this exclusivity. The structure screams out that if you have enough connections and conversations in social media - business will just happen - Magic. Well ... Indications are that even with the great benefits of social media we still have to go through 3 steps:

1. Communicate on the social media stage.

2. Move the communication to another venue.

...(By phone, in person, email, to your site, etc.)

3. Monetize the relationship - recognize revenue.

Yep -some transactions will occur in step one - but they are few. Undoubtedly they will rise over time - but for now - Social medias unspoken secret is that most business happens when we move the relationship into step two and beyond. When the interaction becomes personal rather than social. Even the tertiary advantages of referring friends, through social media, to a business necessitates a move to step two. Or we stay social, and by request, mutually exclusive.

The Philosopher.

"Let him that would move the world first move himself." ~

A young boy approached Socrates and asked him the secret to success. Socrates replied "Meet me at the river bank in the morning and I will tell you the secret." The boy dutifully arrived early to meet the wise sage the next morning and they sat at the edge of the river.

Expecting an insight to last a lifetime the boy closed his eyes and was astounded when Socrates grabbed him by the neck and plunged his head under the water, holding him firmly while he struggled for his life. For what seemed an eternity the boy flailed about but Socrates tightly held him. Finally the master let him up and asked the gasping child ~

"What did you want most while I held you under the water?" The boy replied "I wanted to breathe!" Yes, said Socrates and when you want success as much as you wanted to breathe you will achieve it.


"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response." ~ Viktor Frankl.


Most people enjoy a good quote - Quotes that make us think and smile. They inspire us. But after we read them and embrace the comforting warmth of the insights we agree with we return to the routine of our daily lives. Quotes can challenge us for a brief period.  But soon we settle back into familiar thoughts and habits.

Why? ~What's the missing link? Until we use quotes to challenge our character and actions they are words and nothing more. We need to make quotes something more - a source of fuel to do and be more.
Quotes can be the emotional drivers that hold us accountable to:

Great quotes stimulate us but... Between stimulus and response there is a space and in that space is our power to choose our response.

Learn This Only.

"I love to learn - I just don't like to be taught"
~ Winston Churchill.

I never got to meet my hero but if I did I think I would have sat like a wide eyed little kid for a while. But very soon I would start asking him questions - "What would you do - how do you think - who and what influences you Sir Winston?" I wouldn't care too much about his delivery, his tone, or whether what he was saying was 'right or wrong' but I would hang on every word. After all Learning is about Listening.

Successful people do stuff others can't or won't and those that reside in the pantheon of historical figures do it in epic proportions. But sadly we rarely get to meet and chat with them - so what can we learn from daily interactions? What can we learn from people we meet every day?

Everyone does something in this life better than we do - everyone has something they can teach us to do better - if we just observe and remove what we think is 'right or wrong' from the equation. Live to Learn and Learn to Live.What was it Harry Truman said? "The only things worth learning are the things you learn after you know it all."

Sometimes Men Need.

"Stay down. You're beat." and
Cool Hand Luke says "You're gonna hafta kill me". ~ Paul Newman.

It has got to be one of the greatest movie scenes of all time -
Paul Newman playing Luke is mercilessly pummeled by Dragline, punched in the face and falling. Yet climbing to his feet again and again until his opponent realizes he is never going to stay down.

There comes a point in most mens lives when we don't get punched in the face any more, words and lawyers have made the chances of it happening less and less frequent and indeed some men have never experienced the shock and awe of a sudden smash across the bridge of their nose that releases a torrent of the red stuff. Or an upper cut to the jaw that removes a molar. I remember the last punch in the face I got - a Samoan didn't like my grin as I entered a bar in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He punched me in the face and tore my arm out of the socket dislocating my shoulder, all because I didn't know the difference between confidence and arrogance. We became good friends that Samoan and I. He taught me some stuff including the difference between confidence and arrogance. I really needed that punch.

The beatings that humble men these days are more gradual and less physical. They are broken dreams and compromises made that silently lead them to lives of quiet desperation. Lives that could do, and be, so much more become reduced to daily tasks in need of a desperate wake up call. And so, as friends, we try to wake these men up with words, motivation and appeals to their interests. We try to convince and communicate - Why? Well progress, education, civility and lawyers have taken us out of our caves. It's the way we wake men up today. Ladies do it all so much better -they talk, listen to each other, and seem to understand the dynamics. They are much more empathetic. Women understand how to use honey and incentives.

But us men, the good ones who excuse away our lives or do less than we can - and the bad ones who through selfish arrogance hurt innocents. - I'm sorry guys - you know what we all sometimes need?

A punch in the face.

Can You?

"Happiness belongs to the Self Sufficient"


I remember when my daughter was about five years old and we were at the local park. She had climbed to the top of the monkey bars and was screaming at the top of her lungs for her dad to come and carry her down from the difficulty and discomfort she had clambered into. I will never forget the look on the faces of the other parents when I said
“You got up there – you figure it out and get down” Oh the horror…
It was as if the devil himself had spoken. An unfeeling, cruel and inhuman Borg had told his kid to figure it out on her own and I was doomed to be persecuted in the fires of hell along with icy stares and tongue lashings from those perfectly, politically correct parents. My lack of love and concern for such a young and precious child was incomprehensible. I obviously did not love my child as much as they loved theirs. How could a father be so cold, uncaring and irresponsible?

Carol Bartz, the CEO of Yahoo and a reputed tough cookie in her own right, tells this story about her childhood:

One day, my brother and I were in the machine shed when we heard a rattlesnake above us. We didn't think about running for my grandfather — we ran for Grandma. She came, grabbed a shovel, poked the snake off the rafter, and chopped its head off. This was a big snake. And as she was leaving she simply said, "You could've done that."

So do we learn more from doing stuff or having stuff done for us? Sometimes must we be cruel to be kind? Heck I don’t know - and perhaps I have scarred my child for life with psychological and trust issues so severe that they preclude normal development and growth. But when everything is said and done I believe Carol Bartz and my daughter may have both learned a similar lesson in different ways.
If you can do it yourself – Do it.