As I sit here in my office-away-from-home (AKA Caribou Coffee) with my sister WordQueen, Cindy, I’m struggling to keep my brain from exploding.
I’m typically not an early adopter of technology, so I tend to move slowly into the use of social media – except for those times when Cindy drags me forcibly forward at full speed. But I’m being good and learning all this stuff, because it’s in the best interests of both my clients and my business. My challenge is to figure out how to go about learning and applying the knowledge in a way that’s effective, fun, and non-damaging (I already know the potential for shooting myself in the foot is substantial).
I see a whole slew of benefits to becoming a savvy social media user: I share valuable information with fellow business professionals; build relationships with people I may or may not ever meet face to face; practice my writing craft; expand my comfort zone; and develop a gazillion new synaptic connections in my brain (as long as I can keep it from exploding…).
While I may be a copywriter by trade, I’m also a lifelong learner by choice. It would certainly be more comfortable for me to stay in my comfort zone and just focus on being a wordie, but I know it’s more beneficial for me to stretch the envelope a bit, to learn and do things that aren’t naturally in my skill set. I just hope I don’t inadvertently rupture the envelope one day. 😯
WQ Cindy here, all wrapped up after reading “The Big Leap”, by Gay Hendricks in my book club, and concluding I have an “Upper Limit Problem”. Hendricks defines a ULP as something everyone has, even if a little bit, that holds one back from achieving one’s true potential. I recently uncovered mine as the fear of going public.
I’m not a fan of being in the public eye. I’ve spend decades doing one of my favorite things, “doing deals”, in tidy back room offices, work rooms and board rooms with no need for anything but results, and the bonus: Fun. It was recently a giant stretch to finally build my website using my own name, for crying out loud, even though I’ve owned the domain name for years.
It should not have been a big leap for me to surmise that when WordQueens decided to offer copywriting services, creating written marketing content for our clients to broadcast their genius to the world, I would need to deal with my own “stuff” around a more external presence. During my growing up years, it was prudent not to outshine anything in my vicinity, to “blend in”. At 5’10”, blending wasn’t natural for me, which should have been my first clue. I could, however, manage a lower profile doing the work I offered the world.
Keeping with the Universal Law, What We Resist Persists, the creation of WordQueens’ website subconsciously unveiled my “public” angst again. It was no accident when WQ Kathleen brought two tiaras to a meeting one day, that I thought they were darling, amusing and symbolic. In private, that is. She went on to inform me that we would be taking pictures in the delicate headdresses and subsequently be posting them on our website. First thought: Not a chance. Immediate following thought: BPS. Borderline Professional Suicide. I don’t DO “public” in the first place and could even grasp that Kathleen’s petite presence could pull off wearing a tiara as a darling add-on, considering the main theme in our mission statement is “fun”. Yet, at 5’10” and having grown children…a tiara? Good grief. I wasn’t finding the humor and she didn’t mean it to be funny. She was as serious as a heart attack, told me to simply suck it up then promptly informed me where we were going to get pictures taken. You’ll need to hunt for my photo here before I make it easy for you with a link. Just sayin’.
Now technically, my picture is Not Visible right here. Yet am I Invisible?
“Public” is different now that communication is done through a device with a screen. The online world did that to us and for us. All day, every day, anywhere. Facebook just hit the 700 million users mark, meaning there are only two countries on the planet that have a bigger population than that online community.
Celebrations are documented as permanent. So are mistakes. Reputations could be made or ruined with an upload, sound bite or 140 key strokes – or less. Our reference to time changed, too. “Now” really is darn close to well…now. Remember when we would send faxes “now” and it thought it was instant, yet it wasn’t? Online posts and mobile texts can generate a response in a finger-snap.
What does “flying under the radar” or “working behind the scenes” really even mean anymore? Unless one is actually “blocked” on a social or email site deeming one truly invisible, then one is simply not visible unless sought out (or as some say, creeped) or stumbled upon in a newsfeed or some site link.
Is it an effective marketing strategy to be stumbled upon?
With the marketplace in some way screaming, “Pick Me! Pick Us!”, what is your Visibility Factor? Given the sea of choices your ideal consumer has available for the solution you provide, can they find you? What makes you their unique solution? What is the purpose of your marketing message and brand if isn’t to keep you top of mind for what you uniquely offer your ideal clients? If you are Not Visible, you are as good as Invisible in the marketplace.
Ok. I need to put away my mirror now…..
I, WQ Cindy, bring my work to a coffee shop. A lot. It’s a great venue for meetings with web or graphic designers or clients, doing some blog or copywriting, relishing a change of venue from my home office, etc.
I prefer a favorite chain of coffee stores in the Twin Cities area. Any quantity of caffeine isn’t a good thing for me, yet I like this company’s place best because it offers many options (one of my two favorite words) in drinks, locations, floor plans and traffic, so my Gemini self doesn’t get bored.
As I sit in the very place I’m describing, I’m looking at my paper cup with the plastic lid and the cardboard thing they put around the outside so my fingers don’t fry off. I wonder how many of these I’ve actually bought in this lifetime?
I never really considered that until now. I now know something I didn’t know before and I have a decision to make. New knowledge brings new decisions. Sometimes I like that. Sometimes I don’t.
Here’s what I know now: This coffee shop now offers a promotion that if I purchase one of their very cool branded products – you know, the stainless and some color thermal one with the screw on lid that in theory doesn’t spill in the car, or the fun new colored plastic one for the iced drinks and smoothies – I would get $.50 off any beverage I put in the cup from now until the end of the year.
I kinda like the white one with the flip up cover that will keep my drink of choice (ones allowed at a coffee shop) hot while I pound away at some marketing copy or product content and forget that it gets cold. It would cost me $15.00 plus a buck or so for tax, let’s say $16.00ish. That’s only 32 trips to one of these places between now and the end of the year. It’s a given I qualify for the finance part of the deal. The issue is to REMEMBER to bring my very cool branded cup back to the coffee shop with me and not fill the landfills anymore with the paper and plastic cups, since Heaven knows, I’ve done my share.
I’m confident I’ll get upset with myself enough times that I’ll come up with a “remember THAT cup” routine. Now, I must explore the brand inventory at a few more locations until I find “the one” that I choose to look at for the rest of the year…and not get bored.
How very fortunate I am that the Universe makes sure I get plenty of lessons in humility. 😐
It was my turn to contact one of our clients with questions. I chose to do so via e-mail and CC’d my sister WordQueen so everyone could stay in the loop. This would have been a complete non-event had not WQC informed me that I’d typed my phone number incorrectly.
I’m doing my best to see all the positives that arose from this mistake.
Who knew one little numeral could be such a good teacher?
One of the joys of being a WordQueen is that you have license to make up words, which is why I know that combobulated is the perfect word to describe the start to my recent day. I got up early—not a small achievement for a hard-core night owl. I got to my meeting in time to claim a prime spot in a busy coffee shop. I even managed to divest myself of almost all the dog hair donated by my Golden retrievers (one of whom, recently described by her vet as looking “like a coffee table,” has a lot to donate).
And then I got discombobulated.
Trouble getting online. Finding my back-up stash of business cards empty. Discovering I’d left an important file in the office. Taking a brief brain vacation while talking to a prospect.
I find when a day falls apart on me, I tend to react in one of two ways: (1) Curl into a fetal position and ingest mass quantities of chocolate, or (2) take a deep breath, do something that will re-charge and re-focus me, and ingest mass quantities of chocolate.
I’m so fortunate that I have a lot of people in my life I can turn to for help with Option 2. In fact, one of the reasons I don’t stay down from discombobulated days is that I have a stupendous support system I can rely on. Whether I need a “Poor baby!”, a whap upside the head, or some of that chocolate (dark, naturally), I know someone who can provide it. These people are at least as integral to my business success as my laptop or my contact list.
So, if you’re having a discombobulated day, who and what do you turn to to get back on track? If your support system is temporarily down, give me a call: We’ll go get chocolate.
It’s a cold, sunny day at the writers’ retreat. Cindy here with the other WordQueen, Kath, and several other prolific writers making a dent in whatever realm they are using the written word to bring forth their brilliance. I’m sitting in “The Workroom”, which is library-quiet, with the exception of keyboard and mouse clicks. And an occasional sigh or yawn.
This is Day 2 of this three-day retreat, and it is becoming crystal clear that the writing being done here, away from distractions of daily routines and obligations, is important. I’m surrounded by endeavors in writing everything from poetry to speeches to course materials to marketing copy to blog posts. The talent and intention is thick. We are all marinating in focus, accomplishment and creativity.
Surrounded by the beautiful, snowy woods in rural Minnesota, where the house was “popping” last night from the bitter cold, there is a silence that goes beyond this workroom. The removal of all that was left in the background to create a new foreground, a white canvas, so to speak, can be awe-inspiring.
It’s difficult to see options available to us when we are like goldfish swimming laps and circles in the same bowl every day. Can you really say to your friends, “Come join me…the water is wonderful!”? Could your party be different in a giant fish tank?
Pulling ourselves out of life’s “sameness” in order to gain a new perspective on our work, our life directions, our offerings, our relationships, our health or whatever, involves expansion. Whether this is done through travel, a new restaurant or even beginning a new sport or hobby, there is excitement in what the adventure holds.
I’ll raise my hand to be the first to say that I marinate in what’s “not working” way longer than either necessary, or functional, yet have experienced numerous times that a different environment will fan warm cinders of creativity into flames when my creative spirit is given oxygen.
If you are seeking to fan the flames of a project, a new business venture, a different exercise program, or an expanded marketing plan, what needs to be different in your surroundings or circumstances? Which environments must you immerse yourself in next that contribute to expanding your learning, awareness and happiness? Who in your circle can see what isn’t apparent to you and can give you input on sources to get you closer to your dreams and desires? How about even a few days to absorb nature or take yourself on a date alone where you can be curious, like a child, about something you’ve always wanted to explore and haven’t yet?
When you don’t have a clue about how to accomplish something or are an “epic fail” (using my kids’ terminology) at certain skills, make the choice to get out of your own way and seek resources that can handle those tasks for you. Seeing the world with “new eyes” can be both enchanting and fun!