Something different than the norm; that’s what I’m all about. What I’ve done today is what I’m calling a two-fer. You’ll see there’s a video below. I not only recorded a second video, which I actually did first, but I also wrote another post on my business blog on the same topic; kind of. The topic over there was Does Your Criticism Help? On that post I gave some ways that people can offer criticism, or advice, to others that’s helpful and positive. On this post I’m going to offer ways to ask people for advice and how to accept criticism, even when it’s bad criticism.
What’s bad criticism? When there’s nothing positive offered or nothing helpful, it’s bad criticism. Sometimes people don’t know that the criticism they’re giving isn’t helpful, either because they just don’t know how to be helpful or you haven’t helped by telling them what you need. That’s what I’m here to help you with by offering 5 tips you didn’t ask for; hey, you came to the blog didn’t you? 😉 Continue reading How Do You Accept Criticism?→
Isn’t that an interesting question? Truth be told it’s nothing new, and yet I’m irked lately by what I’m seeing as people either not being nicer to each other or not liking someone who happens to be perceived as nice.
What is this thing against niceness anyway? I remember growing up that there were people who hated that I tried to be nice to others, or that I liked smiling. I remember listening to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar talking about being a friendly kid who smiled a lot and some kids didn’t like him, beat him up for it, and that’s why he rarely smiles even today. What the heck is that about?
As I say in the video, a lot of people are going to say that they like when people are nice but truth be told, there’s going to be people who will say that because it’s the right thing to say, but their actions don’t back it up. There are people who hate Oprah, who’s been nothing but nice to others. There are people who hate LeBron James when all he’s ever really done is be nice, give away lots of money to charity, helped raise more money for charity, and actually took a major pay cut to join a team so he could win a championship. Yet people perceive that as him being selfish; once again, what the heck is that all about?
I’ve talked on this blog about the concept of writing whatever you feel like but being ready to deal with the consequences or your words. I’ve said that on Facebook as well, yet people don’t like it when someone comes back at them for a point of view that, well, isn’t all that nice.
I like to think I’m nice most of the time but I have a mean streak. I don’t like people who are intolerant. I don’t like people who write stupid hateful messages against something where they make it more personal than it has to be. I’ll call people out in my own way on some of the things they say; sometimes I’m not so nice about it, but more often than not I am. And they don’t like it, no matter how I try to put it.
Such is life. Because someone doesn’t like the message doesn’t mean you weren’t trying to be nice. Nice doesn’t mean weak; perceive that and, as The Rock says, you might get the smack laid down… I’ll leave the rest for those who know the line. lol
Please watch the video (I’m expecting only 10 views, per norm, but I’ll ask anyway), and leave a comment on the video after you’ve watched it to prove to me that you’ve watched it. Then, if you have the energy, leave a comment here on your thoughts about being nice, niceness in general, and why you think so many people dislike “nice”. Yeah, I’m asking for an awful lot; come on, be nice!
Last year around this time, I was asking people on all 5 of my blogs to vote for me in blogging in the Shorty Awards online competition. This year I’ve decided totally against anything like that for my own sanity, pride, and peace of mind.
What’s the deal? Last year at this time I was feeling as though I was actually something sort of special. I had a highly ranked blog, was writing lots of posts everywhere, starting my Black Web Friday series because I just knew that I had the juice to get things done, to change some minds, to actually make a difference.
You know what; none of it made a difference. I got 26 votes in the Shorty category after working it hard for almost an entire month. Not only did the Black Web Friday series mean nothing to almost anyone but it didn’t mean much to the people and websites I profiled either; they didn’t care. And even though my blog was ranked nicely then, around 78,000 on Alexa (don’t give me any grief about Alexa; I don’t want to hear it), the rank is now sitting around 160,000, even with consistent posting, and feels like it’s falling fast (although traffic has been up since the beginning of January & Alexa works on a 3-month model so within a couple of weeks it should start moving up again).
Some of you know that I’ve written a number of posts on the topic of influence, and why having influence can help you not only make a better income, but get things done in ways that being more anonymous, or irrelevant, can do for you. Well, while that’s still true, it seems that irrelevance is destined to follow all of us around for a long time, which is basically our entire lives.
That almost sounds depressing doesn’t it? Well, I’m not going to let it go quite that far, but I do need to explore this topic a little further. How many of you folks who read this blog know the name Chris Brogan? What about Scott Stratten, or Gary Vanderchuk or Marcus Sheridan or Ileane Smith? In blogging and social media, these are pretty big names. Take them out of blogging and put them on the street, and maybe one day in six months someone will walk up to one of them and say “Hey, aren’t you…” So much for influence or relevance.
Want more examples? How many people think of Tony Orlando these days? What about Brittany Morgan? Ric Ocasek? Michael Anthony Hall? Robert Townsend? All of these were super huge names at some point, all had influence in multiple ways, and all have, or seem to have, disappeared; I bet most of you have no idea who any of those folks are.
You want more? The nominations for the Academy Awards just came out last week. I knew almost none of the movies and almost none of the actors and actresses who are up for those awards. Last year’s Grammys, I asked myself why I would even think of watching it when the only name I knew that I’d heard of previously was Taylor Swift; that will be the same thing for this year’s ceremony, another one I won’t be watching.
See, we’re not alone. And truth be told, the guy who got the most votes for blogging last year was totally unknown in the United States, so even though he got an award, what did it get him in the long run? Maybe in his country he was elected Pope (I know, I know…).
What does all of this mean? Do we stop trying for significance? Do we stop participating in social media, in blogging, in our local activities and such? Do we crawl into bed, watch TV and eat chips and give up the rest of our lives to this reality?
Ain’t no way! Here’s another truth; we’re not as irrelevant as we think we are. For all the lack of relevance I’m talking about here, there are nearly 375 people who are subscribed to the feed for this blog. There’s lots of people higher but I’m happy with that figure. There’s nearly 300 subscribed to my main business blog. And I have a nice number of people subscribed to my business newsletter, though I couldn’t tell you if people are reading it or not.
The videos I do with my Hot Blog Tips Hangout crew have reached close to 8,000 views; that’s not bad for just over a year of videos; at least I think we’ve been doing it that long. My own video channels are quite paltry by comparison, yet I have had some views so I’m not complaining.
In other words, irrelevance doesn’t mean obsolete; it doesn’t mean hidden, and it doesn’t mean useless. Each of us, through our blogs, our outside actions, what we do at work, etc, are relevant to someone. That’s important to note because sometimes we feel as though no one notices what we do. We want more comments on our blogs; we want to make more money across the board; we want people to call us up and tell us how much they want us, need us, can’t live without us.
Tough to be us isn’t it? Well, here’s the thing. We are what we are. We can decide to try to be more, we can decide to try to be better, or we can try to be ourselves. Frankly, being ourselves might or might not put us over, but what more comfortable spot is there when all is said and done? Strive to be the best you can be, strive for bigger and better things if that’s what you want. But when you start thinking about insignificance, think about someone else. You are special; we all are.
I wasn’t sure I was going to have a post on this tragic event this year, but decided I wanted to add something special that I found back in June that I had on my other blog. See, that day was horrid, and we’ve seen so many things that happened on that day, and the planes hitting the towers (Flight 11 and Flight 175) in NYC and hearing about the plane that hit the Pentagon (Flight 77) and the one that crashed in Pennsylvania (Flight 93) was horrible. Seeing people jumping out of buildings to their death and seeing other people running once the towers started coming down and feeling inadequate and mad and empty and angry and hateful and scared…
Yes, even now some of those things still come up. Not as much anymore because there’s something in that spot now, something replacing what was there and something that’s honoring that day and those people who died and the heroes that sprouted up and did what they had to do, felt compelled to do, even if for some of them it wasn’t their job to do.
And then there’s the people in the video below, some unsung heroes that I just heard about this year. This was truly amazing, and if you have an ounce of decency you’ll watch the video, which was narrated by Tom Hanks, and you’ll feel something good deep inside. That is, if you have an ounce of decency; yeah, I’m calling people out. This video is that good, that special, and it deserves to be shared and seen by as many people as possible. The only reason I’m not putting it out separately on Facebook and Twitter is that I did so back in June. Now it’s your turn.
Never forget tragedy, but grow from it and try to make things better, be better, and never let terror win. With that, please watch this video:
Back on August 12th I shared a post here talking about my friend Rasheed and his living his dream of driving around the country, meeting people he’s known for years. At that time I said that I didn’t have a dream, and that I needed to work on finding one.
Just about 3 weeks later I think I’ve come across a dream. No, I know I’ve decided on a dream, because it’s strong, it’s big and audacious, it’s crucial, and I know if I apply, work hard, accept opportunity and make myself more vulnerable than I’ve been in the past I can get it done.
Vulnerable, I hear you asking? Actually yes, and once again this came from Rasheed. During our in-person meeting, he started telling me about a woman he saw in person named Brené Brown, who gave a talk on the subject of vulnerability. He tried explaining it to me and I have to admit that I didn’t get it. I didn’t argue it with him all that much because he was having problems explaining it to me. But once I saw the video, which is about 20 minutes, I got it, and I had to agree that it’s probably one of the most important business worthy and personal worthy presentations I’ve ever seen, and needed to see. Here’s the video:
If you didn’t watch it, shame on you. I’ll give you this much of it though. In essence, the biggest problem most of us have is marketing and sales. Brené states that every person that’s succeeded at anything has had to make themselves vulnerable to the possibility of being hurt. That’s because no one succeeds on their own, but you have to view it in more ways than one.
If you work for yourself, like I do, it means you have to market in some way. You either sell yourself to potential customers or to those who know how to make contacts so you can work and get paid for it. Even if you create things you need to sell yourself to someone so that you can sell your products. And it’s not easy because we have to be willing to be vulnerable, to get our feelings hurt, and to try again. And it’s easier to do if you have a dream and a goal worth achieving.
So, back to the dream. I’m not going to tell you what the actual dream is, though I could. And strangely enough, it’s not because of a conversation I had with my buddy Mitch Allen, who believes that no one should tell anyone anything about their dreams because studies have shown that when people put their dreams out to the public they don’t come true. Truthfully, other studies have shown that people not afraid to share their dreams will succeed, so that’s null and void.
I’m not sharing the dream because that’s not what’s important. “When” I attain the dream in the time I’m allowing myself to reach the dream, it’ll be more satisfying talking about it then. I’m giving myself a year to reach this dream. It’s a big, audacious hairy dream. It’s a six-figure dream. And I know I can reach it, track record or not.
So why am I writing about the dream if I’m not going to tell you what it is?
Two reasons for now. One, because I want to share my thought process, things I’ve been putting together, things I feel must be considered as I work towards this dream. If you have thoughts about setting plans for attaining your dreams and goals, something like this could benefit you. Or you might look at it and say “man, that’s just too much”; at least you’ll have something to compare it to. Two, because it’s possible that you, the public, will end up helping me reach my dreams while I help you reach your dreams, and frankly, my thinking is that the more people willing to take some chances, becomes a bit more vulnerable, and go after their dreams and goals at the same time is inspiring enough.
And let’s get this out of the way. Even if I don’t hit my dream exactly the process and forward thinking towards the dream is still a good thing. Jack Canfield talks about his goal of making $100,000 the first year of marketing his Chicken Soup book and making $92,000 or so instead. He wasn’t disappointed in that because it was more money than he’d ever made in his life to that point. That’s what we’re after here; who’s with me?
Here’s the thinking process, things that need to be considered:
1. Defining why I want the dream and what it will mean to me long term.
2. Defining how much money I need to shoot for to accomplish the dream and still take care of my present bills. Break down how much has to be earned monthly, weekly, and daily, possibly hourly.
3. Define how I’ll physically take care of myself. I must remember to take my medication and I must workout.
4. Define when I’ll work and rest. This one’s important because I don’t take enough time out to rest or workout or even eat, and if I don’t take care of me, I won’t be able to take care of anything.
5. Define all the ways I can make money, prioritize them, plan the marketing and sales and to whom and how.
6. Define if I need an accountability team or partner. This one is a crapshoot because it would be nice to talk to people who decide to join in on coming up with a dream and then setting up a once a week video call on Skype or Hangout to work on encouraging each other. Support systems are always nice.
7. Define all the people I already know that I need to contact in some fashion and then figure out which other industries and people I need to be contacting.
8. Continue with the things I do now that help market myself and brings in some money, which includes blogging of course. No, I will not give up blogging. As a matter of fact, it’s my intention within the next year to suddenly be in the mix of names that people mention when they start talking about the most influential bloggers in the world. That, of course, will depend a lot of those of you who stop by and read and comment, and I thank those of you who do it now.
9. Define what I do now that doesn’t get me closer to the dream and determine if it’s worth continuing with it. That one’s going to be tough to figure out because it borders on thinking about what wastes time versus what brings me a little bit of mental comfort and joy even for a few minutes.
10. Define how I can help others that help me. Did I mention that this isn’t something one does alone? I’ve always put out the offer that I’m willing to help others. Anything long will require payment but truthfully, sometimes people won’t accept help they don’t pay for.
I’m going to get this done, or I’m going to work myself to the bone trying to get there. I already have a goal charting system to work with; I just have to define everything else, stay on point, maximize my time and get to it. Everything truthfully starts on Tuesday, as the holiday is Monday (Labor Day to those not in the country), but I’ve already put a few things together in preparation; never wait until the last minute where your dream is concerned.
That’s it. I wish me luck, and I wish you luck in reaching for your dreams and goals as well.