Yesterday was a hugely inspiring day. I learned about social media, a hip and current topic, from a hip and current diverse group of locally-based professionals. Fabulous, interesting, nice people, good food, lovely venue. The Social Media Breakfast is a regular event which has been going on for a while now, but this was my first one.
My first UNconference
It was also an UNconference, (not UN as in United Nations, but as in ‘not’) where the participants define the topics and lead the sessions on the fly, so the dialogue is always fresh and relevant. We talked hootsuite, facebook, twitter, blogging, google + and so much more. As the organizer pointed out, because the participants so uniquely shape the content, it will never be the same experience twice. Cool huh?
I left early. I had a to-do list 15 items long by 2:45 pm and I just couldn’t sit and talk anymore.
This is no slam on the event or the folks I met at the event. I had a great time! But I had to honour the shift I felt inside – from the ideas-acquiring phase to the DOING phase. Or perhaps it was a recognition that I was already in the doing phase, and that I’d reached my capacity for new ideas and socializing.
It’s GO time!
It’s not always time to shake things up, to rethink, to innovate, to create new dreams and connect new dots. Sometimes it’s time to execute, move ahead on the plan, and follow the focused and stubborn pursuit of excellence. Like this guy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbV6knbeUFE
Grand visions of sushi
As the most accomplished sushi chef in the history of Japan, how much time did Jiro spend learning to be perfect at putting those rice, fish and condiments together? How much patience and dedication did it take to earn that legendary status? He couldn’t change things up every week. (He probably didn’t have a social media strategy either, or spend very much time networking, but that is definitely not my point.)
How in the world did he sustain that kind of attention, resist the temptation to re-invent and re-arrange and switch everything up? How can any of us resist that temptation in this fast-paced, inter-connected, boundlessly idea-ed world we live in?
Simplicity in doing hard work you love
A possible answer comes from his beautiful advice in the trailer: ”You have to love your job. You must fall in love with your work.” A passion for what you do will sustain you when things get boring. Becoming the best – or even just great – isn’t always exciting. There’s a heck of a lot of hard work involved in between the cool bits that might land you a client, an investor, a book deal or an Emmy. Just ask entrepreneur and digital media guru Natalie MacNeil, who spoke at the event yesterday.
The neat thing about the era that we live in, as opposed to the Jiro-style school of business, is that you can connect with thousands if not millions of others about the process you’re going through. You can share your love for what you do in real time. You can share with someone across town or around the world. For extroverted types like me who gain energy by bantering and bouncing ideas around – whether it be the big crazy ideas that change the game, or the details of how to invent and implement something incremental, social media tools are very powerful and useful.
One hazard, though, is that they can knock you over with the sheer volume of information and ideas they bring to you, like a tidal wave. Much as I love being submerged in ideas and swimming around for a while, it’s not practical for me to stay there.
Soon after, I need to climb out and get focused. I am going to try (mentally) hanging out with Jiro on a mountain top the next time I feel overwhelmed, since it seems like he is really onto something: focus on one thing and do it really really really well. Eat it, sleep it, dream about it – let everything else fall away.
How do you avoid idea overload and hold your focus on your goals? I’d love to know – really!