What Happened When I Was Told To Leave

At various points of my writing here, I’ve pointed to my experiences when I was told to leave my last job in corporate America.  I always tried to write in a way that wasn’t caustic or mean-spirited.  I wanted to inspire versus protest what seemed, at the time, an injustice.  The former was the right choice, because my being told to leave was one of the best things that ever happened to me.  I write that now due to time passing.

Considering all of the news about job cuts and recession, I thought I would detail some specific results of my ceremonious departure from corporate America:

  1. I could breathe again.  It was as if I discovered that I was truly alive.
  2. I could see my journey without someone always trying interrupt and sabotage.
  3. I discovered that my career was a contributer to my life and not my whole life.
  4. It hurt.
  5. I became aware of what and who I was neglecting.
  6. I found out who was really for me.
  7. I became more compassionate toward those who followed me.
  8. I embraced the first chapter (Be Authentic) of my book.
  9. I learned that change takes time (sometimes a lot), but it is worth it.
  10. I learned to do things I would never have while watching my life ebb away in corporate America.

The ten results are only a snapshot of what materialized after my departure.  In the end, what seemed like a rupture, was a magnificent change in the flow.  A flow to where I’m supposed to be.

Be encouraged…

Why I Write-Updated

Thought it was important to update this post.  Originally written in 2008, it's a daily reminder that trust is important in words-written or spoken.

"I have never thought of writing for reputation and honor.  What I have in my heart must come out, that is why I compose."

                              -Ludwig Von Beethoven

You may not need this post, but I'm going to proceed anyway.  In the blogging world many talk about how to increase subscribers, increase hits/page views, or how to monetize the blog itself.  Each of those efforts have merit.  But why should someone who blogs want results like an increase in subscribers?  I think many of us in the blogosphere have missed something in our motivations.

In a celebrity obsessed culture it is easy to get carried away by attention and notoriety.  We forget what an authentic following means versus momentary infatuation.  You could have a thousand subscribers, but does that really mean that something is being flipped?  I don't think so.  In my last days in corporate America I had a number of people who were "subscribers."  Funny thing though, when I was escorted out my subscriber list fell dramatically.  Did my ideas change?  Did my expertise diminish?  No, to all of those things and more.  But my cache did.

So when I write (books, columns or blog posts) I make sure it comes from my heart.  That way I can sleep at night knowing I didn't write in order to make a sale for a sale's sake.  Believe me I had enough posing and posturing in corporate America to last me two lifetimes.  No sense in resurrecting those tired positions for the sake of numbers.  Besides, I really want change to be my partner.

If you're writing/communicating through a blog or some other portal, give people authentic content. 

When Marketing Get’s Murky

Wanted to point you to an article I read in the current issue of Fast Company.  You can view the article here.  The writer, Rob Walker, makes some compelling arguments around the land mines that can be found when marketing to those on social networks.  He focuses primarily on MySpace and Facebook, but I’m sure others apply as well.

He warns us that the information can be…well…inflated to say the least.  In other words, objects in the mirror are not always as they appear.  Savvy marketers know this, the not so savvy would be vexed at what Mr. Walker articulates.

I understand the desire to just throw it out there and hope many will fall in love.  That would be easy and fast.  Sad to say, life, it don’t always live that way (thank you, Seal).

Here are some things I’ve been learning about marketing and the spreading of ideas:

  • Remind yourself everyday of who your audience is.  Everyday.
  • Don’t panic or get euphoric over stats.
  • Remember, a sale/conversion doesn’t always translate into something viral.
  • Check your motivations (why, why, why and why).
  • Don’t fall into the trap of group/herd think.

Figuring It Out

Caught this post from Jim Logan on “Making Sense of What, Why and How.”  He’s right and I think there is one additional point to me made; how does experience factor in on learning.

Much instruction today comes from our belief that a “discipline” can be dispensed in one swoop (classroom, seminar, etc.).  Reality says, as humans, we’ve all come to learning with a great deal of baggage…good and bad.  This baggage weighs heavy, but we’d never admit that.  For example, a childhood full of criticism renders many ineffective…even for those who have outward signs of success.  We humans are good at wearing masks and playing the game of “I’m OK, you’re OK.”  Ever wonder why many organizations have a leadership vacuum?

Experience will allow the learner to figure out much on their own.  Simply because experience is a very giving teacher.  Sort of like some organizations incenting people when they make mistakes.  Experience will teach you, if you let it, like no other form of education.  Experience is REAL!

Some years ago when my wife shouldered the majority of responsibility in raising our kids, I could be found telling many people how tough a job she had.  I did this out of respect, love and encouragement.  But it wasn’t until I had to take her role (primary caregiver) on that I truly understood what she did and experienced.  It was only through experience that I learned.

What say you?

The Love Affair

Ever thought about how much time you spend working?  Ever thought about how much of your identity is shaped by work?  Ultimately, I’m speaking to those that work eight or more hours per day in an organization (profit or non-profit).  Much has been written about the work place and all of the dysfunctional goings on.  But where should all of this land, in light of LIFE?

Some of you will spend thirty or more years working.  Your happy, your sad.  You get a promotion, you get fired.  As someone whose experienced all of those things, I can tell you that my life is not measured in large portion by work.  I am learning more and more each day that what matters is what is in my heart.  My life will be truly defined by that.  Even more importantly, will what’s in my heart “get out?”

Many of you are thinking that you can’t put time and focus on things of the heart.  If you’re reading this then you’ve been given the gift of life, therefore successs in the things of the heart is what you should be pursuing.

By the way, you’ll be more of a success in your work when you pursue being a success in the things of the heart.

Why the Past is Past

If you’re in the mode of trusting in your past successes, then beware!  It is a dangerous trap that many leaders small and large fall into.  For some reason, our past triumphs lead us to believe that the future is discovered by them.  In many ways this is not so.

The past is a time-frame of occurrence.  It was a place of experience and opportunity (if we were awake for it).  The only value in the past is to “connect the dots.”  We derive learning and encouragement from those “dots.”

Don’t be fooled, the future doesn’t care about your past…it was birthed by your experiences of yesterday.

Start today by realizing that the future is about forward movement.  You must make a conscious choice to look forward…it doesn’t happen naturally.  If you’re living an Epic Life, then you know this is true.