I just got into a big argument with some people on Facebook because I posted something about a politician who I thought was being hypocritical. Many folks agreed but some took issue and started beating me up about it. It was ugly.
Like most Facebook arguments, nobody won. Social media kerfluffles always remind me of something somebody told me years ago: avoid pissing matches because the only possible outcome is smelling like piss.
I swear – every time I get into one of these stupid online brouhahas – that I’ll never do it again. I even teach it in my classes on social media: when you’re online, remember the old rule about polite conversation and avoid politics, religion and sex. Yet, I inevitably fail to practice what I preach. I’m a terrible hypocrite about some things.
I try to get better about being less hypocritical every year but I always seem to find myself doing (or not doing) some of the things I preach about. Here’s a few things I’d like to improve on.
Gratitude: For years, I’ve talked about the power of little handwritten thank-you notes in business and in life. Think about it: in the age of email, texts and social media, aren’t you always surprised and delighted to get a handwritten note from someone?
I try to be good about saying thanks but my handwriting really stinks and it always takes me about three tries to write a decent note. At least that’s my excuse.
So, from now on, no more excuses: I’m going to practice what I preach and write thank-you notes once a week.
Planning: In my seminars, I always harp on the value of planning. Set goals, define objectives, develop tactics to achieve your aims, etc. Do I do that? Hell no. I just fly by the seat of my pants way too much.
Frankly, I’ve been pretty successful trusting my gut and running and gunning … but that doesn’t make it right. I’m constantly missing opportunities to promote what we do at GCI because I don’t take the time to do some simple marketing stuff. That’s kind of like you guys having crappy lawns at home. I’m really good at developing marketing programs for my clients but I stink at selling my own stuff. Kind of like that old axiom: the shoemaker’s child has no shoes.
So, I’m going to get better at executing a marketing plan this year. In fact, I just spent 30 minutes building all of it into my calendar. Now I just have to stick to it.
Networking: Those of you who know me will find this ironic but I really don’t have any formal networking program for myself. I mostly just show up at every single industry event and try to shake a bunch of hands. Yet I constantly tell young people or job seekers to have a list of people that can influence your career and reach out to them regularly. Again, failure to do what I tell others to do!
So, I spent part of last weekend making a list of 100 people in the industry that I wanted to get to know (or know better) this year. Most are successful supers I just haven’t gotten a chance to meet in the past, but others are researchers, educators and people at various associations I would like to know. Why? Because the more connectivity you have, the more you can help others.
Be Mindful: One of the reasons I used to drink so much was a futile attempt to self-medicate for depression. Specifically, I tried to drown anxiety with gallons of beer and vodka. That didn’t work out too well. For one thing, alcohol is a stimulant/depressant so it’s not exactly recommended treatment for depression. And, guilt about drinking (and the consequences of being a drunk) just made my anxiety worse.
So, after seven years of sobriety, I try to practice mindfulness whenever that anxiety bubbles over. For me, that means trying to clear my mind and focus. Mostly, it’s trying to just breathe and tell myself that everything will be all right. Whatever small, stupid thing is making me anxious will pass.
But, it’s hard to remember to do those simple little mindfulness exercises. So, I did what these cool young folks are doing: I downloaded an app which, several times a day, dings and reminds me to do something simple yet important: Breathe. It calms me and takes me back to a good place instead of letting the anxiety put me into a downward spiral.
So, that’s my plan for being a least a little less hypocritical every day. You can do it too if you like. Just think about one thing you preach but never seem to practice. Can you change? Try … and just breathe.