Remembering What It’s All About

A friend shared a video on Facebook this morning that I found particularly inspiring. Although she shared it in the context of a responsibility that speakers have, the same message applies to authors, to coaches, to artists and to those who stand in a public spotlight sharing their thoughts and ideas with the world, in whatever medium them use.

For some creatives, we get caught up in the process of creating. Passion for our art fulfills and sustains us, and that’s enough.

The problem is, that’s a very self-focused view of what we do.

For other creatives, there’s the ego-boost that comes with having our work recognized, whether through awards or rampant sales.

And once again, it’s a very self-focused view.

That’s not to say that we ignore the business aspects of what we do, because we do need to earn a living in order to keep creating. There’s no two ways about it, unless you’re independently wealthy already.

However, we also have a responsibility. And the success of our business and the reception of our message, no matter what form it takes, can only be assured when we remember who we’re doing it all for.

If I cook a meal that looks delicious, but tastes awful, what have I accomplished?

We need to always remember the experience that we’re giving our audience. They are our customer, whether they’re paying for the experience or not.

It doesn’t matter if, as a speaker, I have an audience of 2 people or 2,000. I have to give the same performance and imbue my delivery with the same energy, because those 2 people deserve my very best.

Quality counts.

I don’t care if you’re self-publishing a book, choreographing a dance piece, giving a presentation at work, performing on TV, coaching a new client, or whatever other unique skill and talent you have to share with the world.

If you don’t take that responsibility seriously, you may as well not do it at all. Or at least, don’t try to build a business around it.

If it’s about you, it’s a hobby. If it’s about the person who’s going to experience what you have to offer, you’ve got a business.

Care to see the video that got me all fired up today? 🙂

Jamie Fox and Steve Harvey

To Tweet, Or Not To Tweet

Thomas Comer | B2B CFO http://www.b2bcfo.com/partner/tcomer/Thomas R. Comer, MBA, JD, a partner in B2B CFO. Tom attended a talk I gave at a NetworkPlus event in Westport, CT, this spring, which just happened to be of the same name. It’s one of my more popular Twitter talks, “To Tweet or Not to Tweet: Whether Twitter is a Useful Business Tool or a Devious Distraction.”

Without knowing what the topic was that day, Tom had brought along this poem he’d written. With his permission, I share it with you. (Apologies from both of us to The Bard.) 🙂

To tweet, or not to tweet, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of cyber-obscurity,
Or to take arms against a sea of competitors,
And by opposing end them? To log on, to search,
No more; and via Google to say we end
The heartache and the thousand natural junk mails
That flesh is heir to: ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To log on, to search;
To search, per chance a “hit” — aye, there’s the rub:
For in that SEO of hope what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this limited liability company,
Must give us pause — there’s the respect
That makes the value proposition so long.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of clients,
The promised referral, the proud man’s brochure,
The pangs of unreturned phone calls, the Internet’s delay,
The insolence of networking, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his laptop make
With a Facebook page? What would consultants bear,
To blog and sweat under a weary life,
But for the dread of something called LinkedIn,
The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus the hyperlink doth make cowards of us all.

What are your views? IsTwitter a useful business tool or a devious distraction? If you don’t know and want to find out, feel free to give us a call or book our talk for your organization.

Book Review: Cracks in the Sidewalk

While most of my book reviews are relevant to social media, business, job seeking, technology or leadership, I recently was offered the chance to read some lighter fare; a book by Bette L. Crosby called “Cracks in the Sidewalk,” which is an award-winning novel about a grandmother’s 20-year search for her missing grandchildren. Since I knew I needed a break from what I had been reading and the holiday season is upon us, I thought perhaps you might enjoy something different as well.

I first met the author, Bette, on LinkedIn, where we both participate in the Book Reviewers group. She shared an excerpt of “Cracks in the Sidewalk,” and I got hooked on the story right away. Bette creates characters that are believable and who struggle with the events of their lives. Some of the characters accept that life is not always a bed of roses. Others play the Blame Game, and do all they can to avoid responsibility for their own problems. As I read the excerpt online, I found myself wanting to learn more. Read the opening lines yourself, and you’ll see what I mean.

“I’m an old woman now. Some might say too old to dream, too old to still believe in miracles. But a dream your heart has held onto for the better part of a lifetime doesn’t disappear easily, it tucks itself behind the everyday worries that pick at you and waits—waits until theday you can again feel your heartbeat and know that hope is stirring insideyour soul.”

With those first few words, I knew I wanted to learn more about what was going on, and the rest of the story didn’t disappoint me. I walked alongside Charlie and Claire as they wrestled with the terminal illness of their daughter, Elizabeth, and the inconceivable response of her husband, Jeffrey. I was there as they made every effort to be a part of their grandchildren’s lives, even while mourning the loss of their daughter and fighting against the manipulative resistance of their son-in-law.

Each chapter is told from a differing viewpoint, so you are granted glimpses into the minds and hearts of the four main characters and those whose lives they affect. Perhaps we aren’t given as much insight as we, the reader, might like, but to do so would have made the book intolerably long. As it was, the story kept a brisk pace with lots to keep my attention.

If there were any significant disappointments at all, it wasn’t in the story or character development, but in the fact that the book could have used a thorough editing. There were many missing quotation marks, and repeated or misspelled words, which I personally find distracting and frustrating. But they did not detract from the quality of the story or the fact that I grew to dislike the antagonist more with every page turned, and that I admired the way the protagonist handled all that she went through.

Oftentimes, we can look at our lives and wonder why things happen the way that they do. We can even be tempted to feel cheated or gypped out of what’s rightfully ours. We can let bitterness rule our hearts, as Jeffrey does, or let acceptance and forgiveness rule, like Elizabeth. In the end, we may even be granted a second-chance we never thought possible, as Claire receives.