Wednesday, July 22, 2009

So you can Tweet like hell. But are you LIVING loudly enough?

As I write this, I am waiting for a phone call from a doctor who will tell me if I have cancer, as my grandmother, mother and two aunts did. I likely will have to wait another 24 hours or so for the verdict to be handed down, so inevitably, I am reflective. (Yet, eerily calm.) 

When something like this happens - or even might be happening - you of course think about the things you still want to do. When I was in college, I used to dream of being President/CEO of a huge agency. Whatever. I couldn't care less about that now. Once I grew up (well after college) I used to dream of having a family. And lo and behold, two days ago I was with my beautiful son when he took his first boat ride, took his first JetSki ride, and proudly caught his first fish. And I was enjoying the beautiful peace of floating in a chilly Minnesota lake. So here I am at 40. And my only goal that truly matters is to see all of my son's "firsts", whether it's his geeky state quarter collection that we made last night, his first day of school, his first geeky science project, or his first child. 

Sure, sure. I still have professional goals. Professionally, I'd like to find the time to make my blog better and therefore more widely read. I'm really looking forward to some speaking engagements that I have coming up. I'd like to be much more knowledgeable about web analytics, which I am working on. And I'd quite like our agency to earn a big African chocolate account, the Specialized Bikes account and New Zealand tourism. Among other things. But really, none of that stuff is going on my gravestone, whether that gravestone happens tomorrow, next year or 60 years from now. All it needs to say is that I was a good Mom, Wife, Friend, Daughter, Aunt and Sister, and that I lived life fully. 

Are you working more than you really need to? Tweeting with one hand on a Sunday morning while you halfway listen to what your kid is saying? Is it really worth it? Is it still going to be worth it if, God forbid, the call comes some Wednesday afternoon that you have cancer? With all due respect to those who so aggressively throw themselves into blogging, speaking, etc...I am not knocking professional passion. I just don't personally think it's worth making work the centerpiece of your existence. Different strokes for different folks, and all. 

I don't mean to sound preachy here. And I have beaten this drum before. But seriously, I am asking you to think about this: Are you LIVING loudly enough? 

Epilogue: I learned last night that I do NOT have cancer. And I am so grateful. 

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I am so not the smartest person in the room. (And neither are you).

I realized today that one of the biggest benefits of "Web 2.0" is the breadth of incredible talent to which we are now exposed on a daily basis. It's truly humbling. Humbling to watch people like @ambercadabra and @tommartin and @mackcollier and @edwardboches and countless others crank out incredibly smart, sincere thinking day in and day out. Humbling to talk to people like @augieray and @thelarch and countless others who know more about the web than I will ever know if I spend the rest of my life focused on  it. Humbling to meet new friends like @tamadear and @katjaib who bring such energy, life, and passion to each post, each day. And on and on. #followfriday - all of the above amazing people. 

This might surprise some people who have previously worked with me at agencies, but, I am hereby publicly proclaiming that I am far from the smartest person in the room. I'm still very confident in my abilities, but I see how far I have to go now, and I always will. Like me, you may at times think you're pretty smart. And I'm sure you are. But always, ALWAYS remember that there is always more you can learn - no matter who you are, how your blog is ranked, how many followers you have, where you are speaking, etc. 

I also want to take a moment to sincerely thank all of you - not just the folks listed here but ALL of you who follow me, or take the time to read my so-far-incredibly-average blog that I am learning so much from, or have met with me - because you add so much value to my life. 

When I first started on Twitter, I saw a few - just a few - of the Social Media "Experts" copping such an attitude about themselves that it was a huge turnoff, and almost sent me running. If that is where you are, stick with it, it is well worth it. That said, I still get tired of the 'tude sometimes, and I'm quite sure there are moments (hopefully not too many?) when I am guilty of the "holier than thou" syndrome myself. I've seen some Tweets that are so insanely self-centered and boastful that I wish to God I could post them without blowing up bridges. Hilarious stuff! "Did you see what so-and-so said about me?" Come on, seriously?!

What do you think about this? Do you see the arrogance that I see sometimes? Or has your experience been different? Who ARE the smartest people in the room that I should be following?