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Posts Tagged ‘wisdom’

Martin Luther King - photo by Flip Schulke/Corbis

Today in the US is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Whether you choose to make it a day of reflection, a workday like any other or just a day off, take a few minutes to consider the man, his legacy, his wisdom and his sacrifice. He isn’t just a name and a footnote in history. He was a man with a family and dreams and hopes of his own. And if it hadn’t been for an assassin’s bullet, he might still be alive today. (He would have turned 84 last week.)

It boggles the mind that he was only 39 when he was killed.

Management lessons from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (Jan 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968):

Whatever your life’s work is, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better.

Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.

Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.

A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.

The time is always right to do what is right.

All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.

The art of acceptance is the art of making someone who has just done you a small favor wish that he might have done you a greater one.

Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.

Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.

Many people fear nothing more terribly than to take a position which stands out sharply and clearly from the prevailing opinion. The tendency of most is to adopt a view that is so ambiguous that it will include everything and so popular that it will include everybody. Not a few men who cherish lofty and noble ideals hide them under a bushel for fear of being called different.

The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.

We must use time creatively.

A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan.

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.

If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values – that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that all reality has spiritual control.

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’

The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.

Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.

Courage faces fear and thereby masters it.

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Happy MLK day, everyone. 🙂 Oh, and this too:

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Testing a dual Inauguration search query in the Tickr Command Center beta here if you want to check it out. (Remember to click the tab at the top of the Tickr screen to access the full 4 screen menu.)

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Looking for straight answers to real questions about value, process, planning, measurement, management and reporting in the social business space? pick up a copy of Social Media R.O.I.: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization. The book is 300 pages of facts and proven best practices. (Go to smroi.net to sample a free chapter first, just to make sure it’s worth the money.)

And if English isn’t your first language, you can even get it in Spanish, Japanese, German, Korean and Italian now, with more international editions on the way.

CEO-Read  –  Amazon.com  –  www.smroi.net  –  Barnes & Noble  –  Que

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Three completely unrelated things came together this past week that individually weren’t all that fascinating but together formed a something  I think needs to be given form to.

1. Fear. I was a guest panelist at Greenville’s Switching: Leaving Freelance for the Corporate ladder and vice versa event. My fellow panelists and I shared insights about the pros and cons of working either inside the corporate machine or outside of it. (Really great topic, by the way.) Because many of the folks who attended were in the midst of a transition – some going back into the corporate world and some coming out of it – one of the themes during the event’s discussions was the role that jobs and job titles play in our self worth. Some of that can be pretty negative so we’ll talk about that in Part 2.

2. Bullshit. Discussions about my last 4 posts (The Last Year, R.I.P. Personal Branding, and the last two bits on how to avoid becoming a cog in the social media / marketing bullshit machine) started to sound very similar: There’s what’s real and there’s what’s made-up. We all increasingly feel pressure to keep up with our peers, to put on appearances and to appear more successful and happy and normal than we really are: Everyone’s a best-selling author now. Everyone’s an award-winning expert. Everyone has worked with Fortune 500 companies and major brands. Everyone is launching startups and raising millions of dollars in funding. Right. Except no. A lot of that is just smoke and mirrors. It’s spin. But because so many people are doing it and because it is amplified by the 24/7 onslaught of self promotion, link-bait SEM content and personal branding on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Youtube, Quora, Foursquare, Klout, blogs and five dozen other overlapping platforms, every little bit of spin and bullshit gets amplified to the point where it becomes not only believable but overbearing.

We’ll talk about that and the impact it is having on all of us, on the business world, on politics, right down to the state of the economy. Bullshit affects everything, and never in a good way. Look around. It’s like someone’s open the floodgates. How’s that been working out? If bullshit helped get us in this mess, do you really think more bullshit will help dig us out?

3. Truth.

This: The top 5 regrets people make on their death beds. Read it. (It’s short.)

When it all falls away and there’s no one left to impress, when you would give anything for another few hours of life or maybe a chance to do it all over again, all that will be left to contemplate is the truth. You want a glimpse into those last few hours of your life when you’ll look back and consider what you really spent your life doing? Here is a stripped down version:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made or not made.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. […] All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence. […] By creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

When faced [with approaching death] […] it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. […] It all comes down to love and relationships in the end. 

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again. When you are on your deathbed, what  others think of you is a long way from your mind. 

Hat tip to Zsofia Tallai for sharing that link. We’re going to talk about that article as well.

Those three pieces are connected, and this week we’re going to talk about all of that. No ROI discussions. No social business focus. Just this. Because the problems we are dealing with right now, the reasons why the value of social business is still not clear to so many executives and decision-makers (let alone ROI), the reason why world economies are in shambles, the reason why so many people are divided and out of work and stressed out of their minds is this: We’re addicted to both fear and bullshit. We’re stuck in cycles of fear and bullshit. Everywhere we go, it’s there and we can’t escape it, and it’s a serious problem.

Stay tuned for Part 2.

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The social business building textbook for executives. Now available everywhere:

CEO-Read  –  Amazon.com  –  www.smroi.net  –  Barnes & Noble  –  Que

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I was originally going to write a post outlining the difference between strategy and tactics, but it came to my attention that not everyone likes the fact that I a) call out bullpoopy, b) argue about semantics and c) tweet around acting like I am smarter than everyone else. Evidently, trying to “correct” people in this and other areas only serves to position me as a know-it-all, and others as know-nothings, which isn’t exactly the friendly thing to do in the big Social Media 24/7 party bubble where I should be… a voice of wisdom, not a voice of negativity.

Over the last year, I have inadvertently turned into that guy at the party who corrects people for their improper use of English, and questions the validity of their tall tales. (Who am I to question how big that fish actually was?!) Nobody wants to be that guy. So… I have decided to stop being that guy.

Yep, that’s right. Starting yesterday, I have decided to stop being so… negative. I am turning a whole new leaf.

Before I can really become the super-duper nice Olivier, the one who agrees with everyone and plays nice no matter what, I need to make amends. I don’t know much about 12-step programs, but I seem to recall that taking inventory of your flaws and asking for forgiveness is part of the process. So here we go:

1. I was wrong to butt into the R.O.I. discussion. Not sure what I was thinking with that one. I should have considered everyone’s feelings. Instead of trying to be right, I should have considered that EVERYONE has a right to be right. So… I was wrong to say that R.O.I. was a business measurement. In fact, it was kind of negative of me to imply that R.O.I. can’t be whatever you want it to be. R.O.I. can be anything you want it to be. You can measure it in followers, hugs, retweets, puppies, mentions… and whatever you want. R.O.I. can be anyoutcome you want it to be, and you can measure it however you want to. It was inconsiderate of me to suggest that anyone had it wrong. Hopefully, business schools will begin adopting new definitions of the term, and accepting that Social Media gurus are just as smart as MBA professors.

2. Social Media certifications are always legitimate, no matter who issues them. The legitimacy of the organization responsible for offering and delivering certifications in the Social Media space is not mine to question anyway, not that it needs to be. See item #3 to find out why.

3. Everyone who claims to be a Social Media expert actually is. How I got away with ever questioning that is beyond me. Thanks for being so patient with someone as obviously negative as I was. (It gives me chills to think about how negative and mean I have been to suggest otherwise!) Overnight expertise on the interwebs isn’t just possible, it is obviously common. Google something enough times and you too can be an expert. Thousands of people did it that way, and you can too.

4. There is no snake oil in Social Media (or in marketing, for that matter.) I made it all up. Everyone is 100% legit. Those R.O.E. equations, those calculators, those content strategy experts, they’re all solid. I was just jealous because they were better at math than I am. Trust everyone. Even when the math is wrong and the facts don’t add up, don’t be like me and expect the worst. Take the stance that… well, the guys selling you this stuff are the experts and you’re not. In the end, it isn’t your (or my) job to question, only to pay their invoices and let them do their expert strategist thing.

5. Nomenclature is completely unimportant. I was wrong to attach so much importance to silly things like what words really mean or don’t mean. Who cares if no one knows the difference between strategy and tactics, after all? It isn’t the end of the world. If people want to call themselves strategists, why should I care? (I shouldn’t.) Likewise, when a major brand’s Social Media Director confuses foot traffic and fouresquare check-ins, what does it matter? (I doesn’t.) The sun still rises the next day, doesn’t it? People still buy burgers, don’t they? Does anyone really care that 719 check-ins were made to sound like over 7,000,000 customers flocked to their 13,000+ locations? Of course not. These sorts of things are INSIGNIFICANT details. I was an a-hole to point it out, and to do so in a less than positive, encouraging way. I see the error of my ways now: Using the right words doesn’t matter. Everyone should be allowed to make up words and terminology whenever they want. That’s the beauty of the internet after all: The freedom to be, do and say whatever you want. To suggest that expert nomenclature comes with expertise was so pretentious of me! Sorry I have been such a party pooper.


So yep, I am turning a new leaf. Starting today, no more posts or tweets about things people do to harm companies or the public. (Since self-serving charlatans don’t actually exist.) No more shining a light on “shady” practices. (There is no such thing.) All I will write about will be positive and supportive, of everyone, without exception. You want less Jerry Springer and more Bono? You got it. David Armano, Jay Baer, Amber Naslund, Jason Falls, Liz Strauss, Chris Brogan and all of you who suggested – for months now – that I focus on the positive rather than the negative, your wish has just come true. I am finally listening to your collective advice. I am going to be the biggest Social Media cheerleader the world has ever known, starting now.

My content strategy is now this: Whatever I write, I will never offend anyone ever again. Most important of all, my content strategy will be to provoke exactly zero pesky arguments and debates about silly things like… terminology, measurement, ethics or whatever else used to make me such an insufferable, holier-than-thou know-it-all.

What the internet needs more of, after all, is love. Love, I can give. Encouragement and support, even. If you want to build Social Media and Content Strategy consulting businesses out of thin air and cracker-jack boxes, I will support you 100% of the way. You creative equation designers out there, those of you who have reinvented R.O.I. for the Social Web, you are the internet’s true heroes and I will not stop singing your praises until both Mashable and the Wall Street Journal mention you as examples of excellence in measurement innovation. We need more of that, and I have plenty of it to give.

Uncomfortable questions though, not so much. (All they do is make people feel bad about the choices they’ve made, and nobody wants that.) I have learned my lesson: When ethics, values and standards make some people uncomfortable, the proper thing to do is to back off and let them exercise their freedom to do whatever they want. I don’t want to be an obstructionist.

What I really want to be a Social Media cheerleader. It was wrong of me to ever want to be anything else. I let pride and ego stand in the way of being everyone’s best friend.

So my pledge to you from now on is this: Nothing but love, support, and acceptance, no matter what. I can’t wait to help you sell your new words, concepts and ideas for digital and marketing services! Certification programs? Send them my way! ROI calculators? Toss those babies over to me. It’s all good. I will never question anyone’s work again, no matter how um… complex it is.

This is going to be SO much better. I can’t wait!

#StepfordTBB

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