What Can You Learn from Your Network?

For a moment, close your eyes and envision your network, the people you interact with, virtually or face-to-face, as a huge library with rows of books.   Think of how each person fits into the shelf as a category: self-help, motivation, business advice, how-to, friendship, humor; you get the idea.When was the last time you read a book from one of the categories?  Meaning, when was the last time you learned something from your network?  It occurs on a daily basis, if you stop to think about it.Each day we learn from others, from the people in our network.  It may be by reading status updates and fan page updates on Facebook.  It could come from answering a question or accepting a request to connect on LinkedIn.  It could be interacting with followers on Twitter.  We learn each time we interact, as long as we are open to learning and actively participating in the conversation.  How can you learn more?  Read more blogs, books and sites; actively participate with your network; ask your friends, followers and connections what they are involved with and how you can help.What have I learned from my network?  Plenty.  From @NursbevW (today, 1/25, is her birthday!) I have learned how to selflessly give to others and to put others needs first.  As the Founder and Director of Crafters with Love, Bev gives of herself to others.  She makes sure other families have Christmas before she does; working tirelessly to raise money and awareness to help others.  I have a long way to go before I give like Bev does, but I learn from her constantly.From @MickeJ57 I have learned how to properly thank others for their service.  Mickey has created a following on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube because of his Mick’s Pick videos.  Videos that highlight the men and women that have sacrificed and served our country.  Memorials are terrific, but Mickey is making sure that we know these individuals and thank them while they are still with us.  Thank you Mickey for what you do.From @Iconic88 I have learned that being a positive force can have a tremendous affect on others.  If you don’t follow “my brother” on Twitter, you should.  Tweeting the positive, encouraging random acts of kindness and reminding us all that we can make a difference in others lives is just a sampling of what this man does.  The Chief Happiness Office on Twitter lives up to his name and will provide a daily pick-me-up!On a daily basis I learn how to be better at what I do, how to better engage, how to write better, ask better questions and countless other things; all from my network.What have you learned from your network?  Let me know by adding your comments!

Social Media & Helping Others

If you are an active user of social media, you have seen the outpouring of love, Tweets, posts and money donated to the relief effort in Haiti.  As of the date of this post, Americans have donated over $377 million dollars towards Haitian relief.  The American Red Cross has received over $5 million with their text donation campaign.Twitter is filled with Tweets about Haiti and how individuals can get involved in helping with donations.  I encourage all users of social media to use this medium responsibly in responding to the Haiti tragedy or in promoting other ways to help non-profits and charities.  Tweet and post about how to help or provide links to organizations and charities you know and can recommend.  Clogging the Twitter stream with feel good Tweets about such tragedies does not help and can be counter-productive.Chris Messina has a great post on designing hashtags for emergency response.  Check out his post and be helpful by using social media responsibly in helping others.

Have We Forgotten How To Be In The Moment?

My friend Rochelle Veturis (@rochelleveturis) inspired me to update and republish this post. In a Twitter conversation, Rochelle mentioned striving for balance in 2010; whether you are striving for balance or harmony as you start a new year, being in the moment should be part of it.If we think back several years ago, being in the moment meant you paid attention to your surroundings; you gave the surroundings, the person, the place, or the action you were involved with your full attention. Do we do that now? I think in a lot of instances, we do not. We cannot drink a cup of coffee, walk down the street or have a conversation without an electronic device in our hand, diluting the ambiance.  There is even an app available for the iPhone that let’s  you type on the screen, while activating the camera so that you can see what is in front of you while you walk.  Some people would say that I need this application…A friend occasionally reminds me to be in the moment; its good advice because we are more connected now with more opportuniites to be distracted. With Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Email, Internet access on our phone and YouTube videos in the palm of our hand, it is easy to forget about what else is around us.When was the last time you hiked in the mountains with the cell phone turned off? When was the last time you stretched out on the beach with a book, and left the laptop in the hotel room? Maybe take a cruise without the international plan on your smarthone?  When was the last time you just paused, took a break and looked at what was around you?  These moments pass by us, and we can never recapture them; once they are gone, they are gone forever.How can you Be In The Moment? Here are some ideas:1. Take notice of the world around you. No matter what you are doing, take notice of the beauty that is around you. It could be something minor, but take time to notice it.2. Focus on whatever you are doing. Stop multi-tasking and focus on what you are working on right now. Enjoy it, focus on it, live in the moment.3. When you eat, just eat. Enjoy a meal without Twittering, checking email or talking on your cell phone/working on your laptop. If you are enjoying a meal with someone, they should be the most important person on the planet at that point in time.4. Be still and listen. Turn off the electronic devices, the music and other noise makers, you will amazed at what you will hear and how it can refocus you.5. Practice. Like any life skill that you want to improve, it takes practice.6. Use resources to make your more efficient; schedule tasks, employ the services of a Virtual Assistant, plan to work and plan to relax.So are you practicing being in the moment? Like me, can you stand some improvement? Does Social & Digital Media make it harder for you to be in the moment? Let me know what you think!

My Words – My Plan for 2010

In my previous post, I presented three posts on planning for 2010 from people I follow and admire.  I have put together my plan for the year (for the most part) and wanted to share it with you.The post by Chris Brogan, My 3 Words for 2010 got me thinking about my own words and how I would focus my efforts on making sure everything I approached this year fits into these words.Collaboration –  Collaboration is when two or more people or organizations work together toward a common goal.  The longer I am in the business world and involved with social media, the more I realize the importance of collaboration. I am involved in several collaborations with new opportunities presenting themselves on almost a daily basis.  I know that 2010 will be a successful year thanks to the collaborations that I am fortunate enough to be part of and the outstanding professionals that I get to work with.  Collaboration is the key to success in business, social media, and life.Education – When I was in college, many years ago, my brother told me to stay in college as long as I could.  Of course he meant to avoid having to work every day, but the overall benefit, I now realize, was the education that I would enjoy.  I am glad I was able to complete college, but have learned that education is a life-long process.  As  my experience grows in our digital world, I am constantly reminded of how much I don’t know, and that is okay.  I embrace the learning, the education and I feel a responsibility to educate others.  Education is a large part of my life and will help me to succeed this year.Networking – This is one that I shouldn’t need to be reminded of, but it amazes me how a conversation can lead to a connection that can completely change your life or provide you with a business opportunity.  Over the past year I have met people that have done just that, change my life and I am eternally grateful.  I vow to provide more networking opportunities for others and to use my network to help others in 2010.  This will lead to more success for those that I care about and I know it will come back to me with more opportunities.These three words will help to guide me through the year.  My plans include speaking and presenting more, in turn educating others as to networking, social media and how to connect people online and offline.  I will continue to grow my existing collaborations and look for opportunities to collaborate with others.  I will continue my own education, while striving for ways to educate others.That is how I am approaching 2010 and I will succeed.  What about you?  What are your plans for 2010?  Share your thoughts and hold me accountable!

How Will You Improve Your Business in 2010?

We have all made New Year’s resolutions and have set goals for ourselves as we head into each new year.  Most resolutions are forgotten before we complete the first month of the year, but goals, if properly documented, planned for and worked, are more powerful and harder to let go.I have read a lot during the holiday break; especially posts/articles about goals and plans for 2010.  I ask you; how will you improve your business in 2010?If you want a good read on how Scot Duke (@MrBusinessGolf) plans to improve his business in 2010, check out his latest post, 5 Things I am Doing for My Business in 2010 at ScotDuke.com.If you want a different way of thinking and planning for the year, ready Chris Brogans post (@ChrisBrogan) on My 3 Words for 2010 at ChrisBrogan.comLooking to hit the reset button on your life? Check out my friend Staci Shelton’s post (@stacijshelton) 5 Steps to ReBoot Your Life at StaciJShelton.comThese three are just a sampling of good reads on how to plan for 2010 for your life and your business; but what say you?  How will you improve your business in 2010?Stay tuned, I will post my plan in the coming days!