Fuck it. Ship it.
I have a confession. Most of my life I have spent leaning into the things I am awesome at and looking like a rockstar. If I wasn’t good at it, I just didn’t do it. But there was this way that I felt like a fraud and totally unsatisfied on a deeper level. I want to live a life that stretches me to the edges of my capacity and beyond. Founding a startup is the best way I have found so far.
I have not been writing for fear of being judged or my admissions being used against me somewhere down the road. I am tired of hiding. I have been in denial that I am actually doing this and it is time I start sharing it. There is so much emphasis on outcome, but this path is really about the journey. For those of us walking it, it is really nice to know we are not alone.
I like many people can be found on a myriad of social networks. We all use these networks for different things: to give, receive, share. I virtually live on Twitter. I remember when I started living on Facebook. It was the place to “find me” if you needed me – (Mom). Yes, when I moved to another country with a twelve hour time difference, I found it difficult to keep in touch with good friends and family via “email” – as if it were some ancient form of inconvenient communication or the phone. Facebook was great. One status to my 800 and something friends and BAM!, everyone knew everything. (I am still a Facebook purist by the way – I actually know them all.) I have friends who joined Facebook specifically to keep in touch with me. I put my parents on it. Convenient. All my contact details, my travel schedule, where to find me. Or so I thought.
Well, these days, I am on Twitter. Facebook too, but if you need me and you need me now, Twitter is the way to go. People that know me well know to DM (direct message) me if they want my attention. I felt that way until I was in California on a business trip recently. I had my Hong Kong phone off and only gave my US number to my parents and the people I needed to speak to in the US. I woke up to someone knocking on my door at the crack of dawn, as it turns out not looking for me. Frustrated I was woken I opened my laptop, loaded Tweetdeck and in the DM column among a bunch of Spam and Auto welcome DMs was:
“The Memorial Service for Steve is Sunday at 1”.
I’ll pause while you take that in.
What? Memorial Service? What do you mean “Memorial Service”???? This was the first I was hearing that my dear friend had even passed away. I had to deduce it from those brief words. No one knew how to get a hold of me, and the person who sent the tweet assumed I knew. Through a Tweet. I found out my friend died through a Tweet. The more insane thing is to confirm he had in fact passed away I had to go to his Facebook page. I had no one’s phone number to call to find out what had happened until a mutual friend messaged her phone number. There were already messages of condolence posted on his page. I sat there alone in my hotel room and cried at my computer screen. No social network could possibly replace the voice or hug of a friend that I wish I had at that moment.
This experience isn’t going to make me change the way I communicate, but perhaps reflect how I want to be communicated with. It is just one of those situations that makes you take a step back and ask, “I know I’m approachable, but am I accessible to the people in my life that matter?”
We all have regrets. Don’t lie. You know you have at least one. Hopefully they aren’t too heavy. Whether it was eating that second donut; not marrying that girl; not taking that job on the other side of the world; staying out too late when you have a big presentation the next day. Whatever. Don’t regret missing opportunities that your gut told you that you should go for.
Today I was on the plane to LA and walking past me on the plane was Jack Canfield. Yes, he flies Spirit airlines too. I didn’t even have to double take. I was excited and thought immediately of the Laws of Attraction that he and his co-contributors from the Secret talked about. Would he approve of me saying hello after the flight? Of course he would! We are all people. Here was an opportunity to meet an incredible man. This encounter could change my life. Who knows? The point is, I wasn’t going to take the risk in not finding out.
Jack was great! He greeted me warmly and we chatted while we got our bags. We talked of my travels and his, Chicken Soup for the Soul and social media. We exchanged cards. Who knows what will come of it.
He didn’t need to be Jack Canfield or someone famous. It could have been someone I just felt I needed to talk to. The point is, don’t look back and think, “I should have”. Go for it.
Funny enough that was almost the end of the blog until I sat next to Brandy on the flight from LA to NY. We talked about the difference between the mind’s decisions and a “gut” feeling. She commented that gut is a “knowing” and then she said, “Your gut is God”. I like that.
Ok – so you’ve heard of Twitter. Maybe you have even signed up for a Twitter account. Maybe you are still scratching your head trying to figure out what to do with it. Well, even if you aren’t interested in Twitter on a daily basis, an event can be a great way to have fun with it. The Rugby Sevens in Hong Kong this weekend may just be the perfect time to try your hand at the micro-blogging social media tool. Just go to Twitter.com, sign up for an account, download a simple app for your iPhone like Tweetie2 or ubertwitter for your blackberry. You are now ready to start tweeting! Here are some reasons why you should give it a try!
1) It is a way for all your friends who couldn’t get tickets to the Rugby Sevens to enjoy the fun!
See there are these things called hastags on twitter which are number signs – # – and when you put that in front of a word like #hksevens or #southstands and then search by that on twitter you can see all the other things everyone is saying. So your buddy at home or stuck outside the gate can read that you just poored pint over poor Billy’s head and that Katie thinks the NZ team looks hot in their uniforms. You can even tell poor Joe at the pub watching you miss him.
2) Make new friends. You may find yourself chatting with someone across the #southstands and have the ability to meet up with the Pimms stand. Twitter can be easier than SMS in many cases because you can group in more than one person.
3) Become a Sportscaster! Tweet out the action on the field! Recording the event for posterity can be fun and when a lot of people are doing it from multiple perspectives and angles it is great. Remember when sports radio started? Sports Twitter anyone?
4) Put Hong Kong on the map – on Twitter! This is a massive world sports event and it would be AWESOME to see #hksevens as a trending topic!!! What does that mean? It means that the more people that are at the sevens talking about the sevens the greater the chance for the buzz to get big enough to make it a top talked about topic.
5) The number one reason to be on Twitter for the Rugby Sevens – the fantastic Twitpic opportunities in the #southstands! What could be more fun than iPhone’s snapping up fun photos of your friends in their most embarrassing outfits only for them to zoom across the Internet at warp speed? Snap – Tweet – Retweet and off it goes!
Since you will be so drunk you won’t remember the event itself, you can go back to Twitter, search #hksevens and see what happened afterwards!
Sometimes you see something come at you over and over and over and you think, “Ok already! I get the message, I am listening!”. Whether you believe in Source, God or that we are in a big snow globe being shaken by a troll, the idea that there are messages in the things we see in our everyday life put there by a greater force is not a new concept. I am sure there is some fancy-schmancy neuroscience chemical explanation someone has for my comment box, but I would like to go with my theory on messages – mostly – because they are cool, coincidental, and just come at the right time.
What messages are waiting for you?
Resilience is the message I have been receiving all day today. What a wonderful word. RESILIENCE. Per dictionary.com: 1)The power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity. Or 2) the ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; bouyancy. Such a powerful word. It says so much. It speaks to me on so many levels.
I saw a beautiful quote in an article today: “Resilient people are like trees bending in the wind. They bounce back.”
Then yet another article came my way, 30 Profiles of Resilience in Business. The first story however, of a woman who was a successful overachiever who ended up disabled and at ground zero in back in her parents house at age 35 really hit a nerve. It scared me. It moved me. But most of all it inspired me. So much of our life is how we choose to experience something, how we choose to look at it. There are so many lessons to be learned by reading other people’s stories.
Perhaps it is a reminder to me that I have to bend with the wind and that I do in fact have the inner strength and the resources surrounding me to “bounce back” from the challenges I face.
Perhaps it is so I can put the message out to pass it on to remind others that they too have the strength to carry on.
Either way. It was a message loud and clear. I have received it. And I am sending it on its way.