I am totally in love with Dutch student, Zilla van den Born, who faked her South East Asian vacation to prove a point that much of what we read on the internet is completely false. She spent her time off from friends and family using her Photoshop skills to create a fake experience. One that probably made her friends and family quite jealous.
I completely understand why she did it. She was proving what a lot of us think on a regular basis. That people make their lives seem more exciting than they really are. She took it to the extreme to make her point. We see posts from people that make us think they are happy; that they are rich; that they are successful; that life is perfect.
The truth is that some people are able to put on a positive face, even when things are tough. They are able to show the good things in life, even when things really suck. Yes, there are people who need/want attention and put things out there to get buzz. However, consider why they do it? Is it for attention or are they in need? Are they hurting in some way?
The internet is a wonderful place full of information that teaches us new things. The internet gives people a chance to connect, to have an opinion, share and debate ideas. It’s also like a dangerous game of telephone where facts get distorted and the simplest things can get misinterpreted. In some cases it is intentional. Either to create a stir or for malicious reasons. But in so many cases people’s emotions and own insecurities that spark misinformation.
As I have thought more and more about this, I have developed some some rules to live by:
- Don’t believe everything you read. Check multiple sources before you share something.
- Everyone has a hard time. Check in with people even if everything seems wonderful. You might be surprised by what you learn.
- Think about what you share and how it might be perceived.
- Get inspired by what you see. If you feel jealous, figure out what you can do that would be awesome. Not all happiness comes from fancy vacations and beautiful meals. Make your own fun.
- Don’t believe everything that you read on the internet.
Today, September 11th, is a day of reflection for many people. While I remember the day back in 2001 vividly, I was not directly impacted by it. For that I am grateful. Today, as I see so many people share their stories, it is another reminder of why it is important to be reflective every day, not just today.
We are in a scary time in the world. There are some really hard issues that people are dealing with. From economic hardships, to worldwide violence, to the unmentioned, and private struggles.
And yet, there is good. I am so very blessed to have a community of people in my life who support me. To see people sharing their “things to be grateful for” messages is uplifting. To see things like the ALS Challenge and how good it has done for an organization that needed a boost is inspiring. (This one is dearer to my heart as I watched my grandfather suffer from the disease.) What I see is people trying. People trying to help one another. People trying to do good. People trying to make the world a better place. With all of the really crappy stuff going on, there are great big bunches of good in the world.
For the people who are so incredibly generous to me, I thank you.
Today, I ask my community to go out there. And make a difference. Surprise a friend. Help a family member. Change the world of a stranger. Today, continue to be all that is good in the world.
Photo from MLB.com
Last night I read a discussion on Facebook that had to do with a rant about giving free consulting time. People are always asking consultants to pick their brain for a few minutes. The bigger your network and your brand, the more you get asked to dish out free advice. This happens to me pretty often and I know that there are many people who have a much larger presence than I do. In almost all of the cases, I say yes.
One of the ways that I make a living and pay my mortgage is through coaching and strategic planning. These are services that I charge for and people do, in fact, pay for these services. However, you never know where your next big opportunity will come from. And for that reason I always say yes to a quick chat. Are there people who have no intention or resources to ever hire me? Of course there are. Do I sometimes end up at a lunch or on a phone call that is a time waster? Yup. It happens.
However, I find that there are times when I thought something was going to be a flop and I walked away sending a proposal or receiving an introduction. I find value in almost every interaction that I have – even the ones that might have been a time waster.
No one can afford to give the store away. We all have businesses and we need to charge for our services. But, in my opinion, and I KNOW that others may disagree with me, everyone is worth a few minutes of time. Some people have no idea that their business idea is a bad one or that they’re breaking some unwritten code by asking for advice. People simply don’t know what they don’t know.
Why is it that I am happy to dole out advice? Because there were and are a lot of people who have made time for me to pick their brain for a few minutes. There are dozens, maybe even hundreds of people who have listened to my ideas or just let me blab about something. Those people helped me become who I am today and helped to shape the framework for my business. People helped me and I helped others in return. That’s how the world works from my perspective.
This morning I read the story of Ryan and Reese. At a baseball game on Friday, Ryan caught a foul ball. He immediately turned around and gave it to Reese, a little girl sitting behind him. When asked why he did it he said, “I’ve seen people do it before and I thought it’s a nice thing. And it’s good to make people happy.” Damn right, Ryan. Damn right.
So I challenge you today. Whether you charge for your advice or you are just a really busy person, who can you help today without getting anything in return?
Overall, who are you giving your foul ball to?
We spend a lot of time thinking and talking about networking. On special days, we obsess about it. Networking is a large part of the Seven Degrees Communications DNA. So after many years of studying networking habits, we have designed our research project on the topic of networking.
Operation: Network is our attempt to collect information about the motivations behind networking and to get a better understanding about where and how people spend their networking time and budgets. We have designed a survey to collect exactly this information.
The goal of the survey is to collect the information and then share it with our community so that they can benefit from the information as well. We will be conducting a detailed analysis and preparing tools that will help you better use the data. But, we cannot do it alone. We need your help.
Here is how you can support Operation: Network.
1. Take the Survey
2. Share it with your social networks
3. Email it to friends and colleagues
4. Include it in your newsletter or other publications
5. Do a celebratory dance that drives lots of responses.
We are very excited about this project and thank you in advance for your support.
Here’s to better connecting!
If you are like me, you send A LOT of emails every week. It can get difficult to manage follow-up and tracking. The good news is that over the last few months we have discovered a few tools that make staying on top of email a little easier.
Here is a sample of some of our favorite email management tools.
Signals by Hubspot. Want to know if the last email that you sent was opened? Signals tracks emails and notifies users that their emails have been read. It works with Gmail, Outlook and Mac Mail. This freemium product can integrate with other Hubspot products for more sophisticated tracking, but is a handy tool all by itself.
Boomerang for Gmail. This is a tool for Gmail users that allows you to compose an email and send it at a later time (perfect for those who works crazy hours and on weekends).I really like that it integrates with Google Calendar so I can plan messages that correspond with my schedule. It also has a reminder tool that notifies you to follow-up if you didn’t get a response from an email that you sent. It also has a nifty feature that removes an email from your inbox and makes it appear later – helping you keep focused on the highest priority messages. This is a free tool (for basic use) and only works with Gmail (business and personal accounts), but it’s a huge tool for effective email management.
Streak This tool has features similar to Boomerang and Signals in that it tracks opens and allows for future sending. It also split Gmail threads (a feature of Gmail that can annoy users).
Evercontact. This is a fantastic tool for keeping your contact database fresh. This tool works with both web-based email and Outlook as well as with several CRM systems including Salesforce. Evercontact looks for contact signatures and automatically updates your contacts. This eliminates the need for manual entry of contact details for the people whom you correspond with. It is an intelligent tool that identifies duplicates – keeping your existing contact base clean. The pricing on this starts at $59/month.
Which inbox management tool is best? The jury is still out. I have been experimenting with these solutions for several months and find some value in all of them. I am on free versions of all of the tools and that works well for my needs. It is clear that people are often overwhelmed with the email inboxes and we need better ways to keep our sanity.
What are your favorite email management tools?