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Awakening The Sleeping Giant

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jun 20, 2016
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“I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” Isoroku Yamamoto… maybe…

The quote above is one that many people have seen or heard over the years. It’s attributed to the Japanese admiral whose name I’ve shown above. It’s also probably apocryphal; no one can prove that he said it, and he was someone who was widely quoted in his day.

Wicker Man
Creative Commons License Smabs Sputzer via Compfight

It’s a great quote, but it’s unverifiable. The thing is, just because it might not be a true quote doesn’t mean it wasn’t an accurate quote. After all, he did say this at least a year before Pearl Harbor:

“If we are ordered to do it then I can guarantee to put up a tough fight for the first six months, but I have absolutely no confidence as to what would happen if it went on for two or three years.”

It was quite the prescient thought from someone who actually knew what the United States and its allies might be capable of, and he warned against doing some of the things that politicians for generations have wanted those who do the actual fighting try to tell them might not be the best course of action. No one is going to accuse him of being Kreskin, but he offered this one last blast just 3 months before the Pearl Harbor attack:

“Britain and America may have underestimated Japan somewhat, but from their point of view it’s like having one’s hand bitten rather badly by a dog one was feeding. It seems that America in particular is determined before long to embark on full-scale operations against Japan. The mindless rejoicing at home is really deplorable; it makes me fear that the first blow at Tokyo will make them wilt on the spot.”

Interesting isn’t it? Let’s change direction for a quick minute.

Last night, the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Championship in 7 games after trailing in the series 3 games to 1 against an opponent that almost all pundits thought was a much more superior team. It was the first time in NBA history that a team came back to win the championship after being down 3-1.

The Golden State Warriors won 73 games this year, more than any other NBA team in history, then worked some of their own magic to get into the finals by coming back from a 3-1 deficit. They had the league MVP on the team, Steph Curry, and all looks like it would easily be back-to-back championships for them.

And then…

Someone… okay, almost everyone, started to say some things about Lebron James, the team captain, the guy who was the first player to make 6 straight NBA finals since 4 players on the Boston Celtics teams of the 60’s that won 9 of 11 championships, the guy who had a finals record of 2-4, like he didn’t have heart, that he was surely now the former greatest player in the league and that players like him couldn’t succeed in today’s game. There were lots of other things said about him also, as well as his teammates, that were somewhat insulting if you ask me.

I’m not a Cleveland fan, but I am a Lebron fan. When I read a lot of the articles that were being written by people who “know basketball”, I had a much different thought. My thought: y’all have just awakened a sleeping giant.

They all had. LeBron came back to score 41, 41 and 27, with double digit rebounds and assists in all 3 game and at least 3 blocks in each of those games and basically carried the team on his back (though he did have some scoring help from Kyrie Irving) to an improbable championship. He was faster, stronger, bigger and had more determination than anyone else on the floor in those last 3 games. Folk who were talking trash before those last 3 games had to own up to the truth; this is the best basketball player in the world right now.

Don’t awake sleeping giants.

CWsc66cWcAEqXBY

That is… unless you’re the sleeping giant. Can I tell you something? You’re a sleeping giant.

How do I know? Because I’m a sleeping giant. I really am.

A bit of honesty here, if I may.

I look at my life as a few big successes and a lot of coasting, some falling, and then starting the process over again. The successes always come in one of two ways. Either someone has irked me to the point where I feel the need to show them up somehow, or I’ve had a major low, to the point where it’s time to get going and, when I get going, I can be hard to stop… until I start coasting again.

Successes: multiple bowling trophies, scholarship letter, Asteriods championship (how many people remember Asteriods?), multiple times hospital director, 3 books, a standing ovation at the last wedding I performed at (wedding singer), spoke in front of over 200 people, spoke in 9 states, made over $200K two years in a row, and I’m about to celebrate my 15th year in business on Friday.

“Experiments” (I hate the term ‘failure’): almost flunked out of college my first year, dodged death about 9 times so far in my life, lost my job twice, have had 3 years when I made less than $10K, fought depression, have sleep apnea and diabetes and, as of Friday am on the border potentially heading towards glaucoma… and have made little money on all my blogs over all these years…

I’m tired! 🙂

I’m big on the concept of motivation because I tend to believe all of us can use a boost from time to time to help us awaken our giants. These days, at age 56, I may not quite be past the time when someone might irk me enough to want to find ways to crush them or show them what I believe I can do. I might get riled but frankly, angry energy doesn’t last long enough and these days it’s hard to focus on a goal when I’m angry; I guess I lost my killer instinct.

Instead I end up looking for other ways to motivate myself. One way is in writing my own motivational quotes. Another way is to find and imbue the quotes of others like this:

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” – Muhammad Ali

Or find motivational messages and speeches like this:


https://youtu.be/BiM8mrhqDQo

Or visit the blogs of others like this by Kelley Vargo or ask people to write guest posts for me like this or write stuff for you and myself like this.

The thing about awakening giants is that they turn out to do marvelous and spectacular things, things no one expected of them, things they might not expect of themselves but knew they were capable of. If they can do it, then we can do it.

Who’s going to come with me in awakening our sleeping giant on the first day of summer this year? 😀
 

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People Aren’t Helping Us Help Them On Social Media

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jun 13, 2016
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Back in March when I wrote what turned out to be my very popular post 31 Big Mistakes People Make Blogging And In Social Media, I broke up the thoughts about blogging and social media to make the article easier to read and understand. Lost of folks liked, commented and shared that post and I thought that was pretty cool.

Rudy's lunch
I shared lunch!

Yet, 3 months later and I’m seeing something that’s making me write another post about 3 things regarding social media that it just feels like I’m seeing more of. The funny thing is that it’s the first 3 things I talked about in that other post, which I intentionally listed as the first 3 because I thought they were important enough to get in as soon as possible when I switched to the social media topic.

Of course this means I have to go over them again, since I really believe that people are missing out on opportunities to help us help them make big inroads on social media, and even potentially their blogs, and y’all know I’m big on talking about blogs.

Marketing All The Time

“Buy my book. Buy my program. Sign up for my webinar.”

Over and over again, I see these messages in many places. I’m not connected to as many of these people because I find this sort of thing irritating, but when I look at lists I’ve created such as my leadership list, which I use as part of my Twitter marketing, there are periods where I see someone marketing their stuff at least every 5 minutes or so. True, at least they change the wording, but who wants to see that over and over regardless?

Should we be marketing on Twitter, or other places on social media? I believe if we’re doing any type of business and have either products or services we think someone might be interested in then absolutely. Is there a correct number of times to do so? Not really I’m probably say. Is there an incorrect number of times? Absolutely!

The nature of social media is to be pretty fluid and fast moving; I get that. Lots of people are trying to eek out their bit of space to get some attention.

What some folks might not realize is that if people are connected to you and you’re marketing too much, you’re being tuned out and all the effort you’re putting in isn’t going to do you any good. How do I know? Isn’t this the generation that tunes out commercials, has ad blindness on blogs and websites, and watches more things like Netflix so they can avoid commercials altogether?

The fact that you might have 120K connections on Twitter, another 100K on Google Plus, and maybe 50K on LinkedIn doesn’t necessarily mean you’re popular. It just means people are lazy and not in the mood to block you like I will.

Try to remember that a little bit of absence can go a long way. Once, maybe twice an hour if you feel the need, is plenty. Heck, did I just counter what I said earlier? lol

Not Sharing Any Of Your Own Content

I love people who share the content of others; way to go! Now, tell us something about you. For that matter, share something that you put out on your own, something that you wrote, something that you did. Please, I want to share your contributions with other people.

funny mug 01
Maybe don’t share
this content lol

I can’t believe how many people I’m connected to who never, and I mean EVER, share anything of their own. I can’t even just go to their blogs to see what they might be producing because they don’t link to their blogs anywhere. I used to think it meant that lots of those folks didn’t have blogs but in my research (I can be a pitbull as it pertains to research sometimes) I find that at least half the people who don’t list their blog anywhere actually has a blog.

Why do I stay connected to those folks? Because sometimes they share something I’m interested in. I’ll read it and sometimes share it… but I don’t always give them credit for sharing it to begin with. That might seem cruel in a way, but what I do instead is look to see who created the article and I’ll add their name to the link instead. I think it’s fairer to share “talent” than share “shares”, if that makes sense.

I often wonder why people don’t share their own stuff. If they’re ashamed of it, why create it? I do know there are some people who don’t create anything that want to share things they see, especially as it pertains to politics or social issues. I guess that’s fine, but there’s little of that stuff I’m sharing with my group, since I have my own sense of things I’d rather share in that arena.

Still, I’m tired of seeing every other post going to Huffington Post or Inc or Forbes or… well, you name a popular website. I’m thinking those folks really don’t need all that much publicity… but you might benefit from getting some. Think about it.

I’m also tired of people sharing things on LinkedIn that they created that never say anything about what they’re sharing. Except for my initial post from this blog and my business blog, if I ever share anything else on LinkedIn I offer my opinion on it when I share it, or ask a question that I hope someone responds to, even my own posts.

Not Sharing The Content Of Others

So you’re not marketing, just sharing all your own blog posts; well, that’s something I suppose. Hey, I’ve got between 4,000 and 5,000 articles online, which means I could probably share just stuff I’ve created and not recycle a single thing after even a year. Sure, all of those things aren’t top quality, but would it matter if I just wanted to talk about myself all the time?

I read a lot every day. I visit all sorts of blogs, and I read articles in all sorts of places. One of the reasons I like Flipboard so much is because I can pick a category and have it show me both popular sites and sites that might not be as popular, but have owners who are on Flipboard sharing their articles. Sometimes it’s other people sharing their articles also; that’s pretty cool.

If people can do that on Flipboard, why can’t they do that on other social media platforms? For instance, I’m sharing a blog post written by a lady named Amy White titled How We Paid Off $293,000 in Debt in Five Years that I liked a lot. She has just over 1,250 followers, her blog is ranked around 5 million via Alexa, and I found it a fascinating post. I think a lot of other people will benefit from reading it, so I’m sharing it, and I feel good about it.

By the way, if you are actually sharing other people’s content and making it look like you’re sharing your own… shame on you! Not only is it misleading, but you can’t even take the time to share the names or handles of the people whose posts you’re sharing, especially if they supply it, so they can get a bit of extra bounce and feel good about what they’ve done? Shaking my head and wagging my finger… lol

As I said earlier, it’s not all about me. I want to share other people’s content, and I want to help showcase them in the best light. But if they’re irritating, or they’re not sharing any of their content, or they’re just being selfish… it’s not going to happen.

That would be a major shame. What do you think?
 

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What Muhammad Ali Meant To Me And The Social Media Lessons We Can Learn From Him

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jun 6, 2016
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That some title isn’t it? If you’re going to talk about the greatest of all time, Muhammad Ali, you need to have a title that’s fitting. The Champ is definitely in my top five favorite people that I never got to meet of all time. I’m going to tell you why.

Muhammad Ali Signature
Creative Commons License Mehmet Goroglu via Compfight

My dad came home from Vietnam in September 1970. At least that’s what I first saw him, because it turns out he had actually come back to the United States in July to have an operation on his shoulder. He showed up at the front door in September just as I was starting sixth grade. By December, we were packing everything up and moving from Kansas City, where I lived in a ghetto for the year he was gone, to Loring AFB in Limestone Maine, which was putting me in a drastically different environment that anything I had experienced before and anything I would experience after.

Basically, I had gone from a school that was all black except for one Mexican kid to a school on a military base in northern Maine that was the smallest school I’d ever go to with a mixed population that I had no idea how to deal with after what I’ve gone through in Kansas City.

The kids in Kansas City hated me because I had a better education than they ever would, and I also had a full school year where I had no classes because the school couldn’t take time trying to teach me when they had all those other kids to deal with. I went from that to suddenly being back among a population I should’ve been used to, but I wasn’t really ready for them. I also wasn’t used to being in classes and having to try to remember how to study and learn again.

I don’t know whether my dad planned it or whether it was something that just came to me because that’s how the family dynamic worked, but Dad started talking about a boxer named Muhammad Ali. He first mentioned Ali while we were still in Kansas City and he started talking about him more often because of an upcoming fight between him Joe Frazier, who I had absolutely no idea who he was at the time.

Dad talked about him in very positive ways, and in retrospect that was probably an amazing thing because Ali had basically just come off of 3 1/2 years outside of boxing because he’d refused to join the military and go to Vietnam, whereas my dad had joined the Army at age 17 and had been in both Vietnam and Korea. I started to see Ali on TV and understood why my dad liked him so much.

Kryptonite
Toru Okada via Compfight

It didn’t matter that the first fight I actually got to hear of his (back then big fights were on closed-circuit TV so you had to listen to the radio to find out what happened at the end of every round while the fight was happening) he happened to lose to Frazier. Actually, most of us thought he had won that fight because that was the narrative, and even after watching it years later there are a lot of us who thought Ali had actually won that fight even though he did get knocked down in the 15th round. What mattered to us is that he had taken a stand for a lot of things we thought were right, and he had so much charisma that it was hard to find things that we disagreed with him on enough for us to not like him.

One other thing that was very appealing was that he was not afraid of his blackness, which was a big deal to someone like me who was just getting ready to hit puberty and wasn’t sure how to deal with military kids who hadn’t been what I’ve been through in Kansas City. The strange thing is that even though the kids in KC hated me, I saw a lot of things that made a strong impact on my life. Along with discussions with my dad, these things got me to embrace the fact that I was a black kid in America and that I would have to try to be better than everyone else and have confidence in myself just to have a chance to compete for whatever I decided I wanted to do. That lesson turned out to be true.

Eventually we came to New York, and things were even stranger for me. I went from the smallest school system I’ve ever been in to the largest school system I’ve ever been in. Out of a school with around 3800 students there were fewer than 50 black students. Once again, the way I coped mentally with it most of the time was to rely on my thoughts of Muhammad Ali.

I did the same when I finally went to college and had an even less ratio of black to white when I first got there. Until my senior year of college, the only poster I ever had with a person in it on my wall was Muhammad Ali fighting Joe Frazier, and I tilted the poster so that Ali looked even bigger than he already was while fighting Frazier.

I started becoming more comfortable in my own skin at the beginning of my junior year of college, which was close to the time that Ali was close to leaving the profession of boxing. Normally when an athlete leaves their sport and you don’t see or hear of them as much, you start to move on to other people. Yet, Muhammad Ali was a different sort. He never went away, and even though he suffered from Parkinson’s disease he was still somehow in my life and the lives of others over the course of the next 36 years until he passed away last Friday night at age 74.

Just to get this out of the way, I mentioned my top five people that I never got to meet. Those five people are Roberto Clemente, Michael Jackson, Wilt Chamberlain, Frederick Douglass and Muhammad Ali. As often as I’ve written about Martin Luther King, Jr, he actually comes in at #6. 🙂

I’m not sure if I’ve properly explained why Muhammad Ali meant so much to me, and if you have questions you can ask me and I’ll try to explain it further.I figure that now it’s time for me to talk about Ali and some social media lessons that all of us can learn from his life.

Inspiration
Creative Commons License Exile on Ontario St via Compfight

1. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.

There were two Muhammad Ali’s.

The first was the showman, the huckster, the guy who built up the product so much that it drew in lots of people. Many of those people wanted to see him get his comeuppance, but he didn’t care about that. He was the first million dollar fighter because he knew how to capture people’s attention.

If I own up to failing at anything as it regards social media, it’s that I’m not willing to push the envelope as far as needed to get publicity. I’ve always hoped that my writing would eventually carry me to great heights in the world of blogging but after all these years I’m realizing that I’m nowhere close to where I want to be because the overwhelming majority of people who write about people who know something about blogging don’t know who I am.

Most people say the money is in the list. Truthfully, the money is in influence more than the list. That’s what Ali had while he was boxing, and it carried over into his retirement. If you knew how many times he used his popularity in the world to save or help someone, as well as to raise money for charity, you couldn’t come close to being impressed enough.

2. Be your authentic self

The second Muhammad Ali was the guy totally comfortable in his skin and in his convictions. Hate him or not, when he latched onto an idea he was willing to take his chances with whatever came up, no matter whether it impacted his life positively or negatively.

In that regard, becoming the first major athlete to declare his transference to Islam was a big deal in his day. He went from beloved to hated within 24 hours, but he didn’t care. Years later when he decided he wasn’t participating in the war and not taking the oath to be drafted, he was not only hated even more than before but he lost his career and livelihood and almost went to jail for it.

Over the course of his years he might have said some controversial things, some he was correct on and others he wasn’t, but in the moment he truly believed in each and every thing he said and was willing to deal with the consequences of it all. Isn’t that what I was talking about last week when I referred to freedom of speech?

3. If you’re authentic, people will embrace you if you change your mind.

I mentioned Ali saying some controversial things. Let’s get some of that out of the way:


https://youtu.be/rtxfTEyJZg4

During my formative years, it seemed that everything Ali said about race was absolutely correct. He said some negative things about Jewish people that didn’t mean anything to me because I didn’t even know what a Jewish person was until I was in college. He had some thoughts about women that I never heard at the time either but those beliefs all turned out to be wrong as well.

The first thing is that he was authentic in his beliefs. He really thought these things and believed them with all his heart. However, once his boxing career was on the wane, the Nation of Islam stopped having such a hold on him, and he started reading the Koran for himself and his most extreme views went away, just like they did for Malcolm X. The Ali I really started to admire was the one who talked about love, respect for all religions, people getting along together, and taking active steps to show how his beliefs changed instead of just talking about them.

There have been a few writers this weekend who tried to talk about the “bad Ali”, the one who said all those things. Those few voices have been drowned out by the very people he used to condemn as being evil because they saw the metamorphosis in the man and all the good he did.

This is a great lesson for all of us to remember. If we’re authentic we might have people who dislike us every once in a while but at least we’re being honest. We’re also not trying to hurt anyone because Ali never meant to hurt anyone; he was trying to uplift a people he truly felt was subjugating itself, which is something I do here and there on my business blog. When he learned different lessons, he didn’t just soften his words and beliefs but tossed them out for a better life and a better world, and he brought others along with him.

This is my tribute to Muhammad Ali, a man I wish I could have thanked for helping me get through a tough part of my life. I’m glad he’s finally at physical peace as he already was mentally. There will never be another like him.
 

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