Going up when you’re down and down when you’re up

When you are feeling good, look around for someone in need of a little encouragement and share your wealth.

When you feel down, find that person with a bounce in their step and ask how they’re doing.

Keeping either to yourself makes things worse.

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Finding peace in the faces of others

Hospitals can be confusing and frightening places. My wife and I spent the better part of a day there recently because our five-year-old daughter tore her cheek open on a door handle. A horrific experience for all of us.

When they put her under, we were asked to leave the room while they stitched her up. For anyone with young children you will know that putting a child under is a frightening experience, mostly because they are obliged to inform you of the risks, no matter how remote n

So, my wife and I found ourselves sitting in a stark hallway, anxiously waiting to be told it was done. When the doctor came to tell us all was well, we breathed a sigh of relief. When a nurse came by and told the doctor

we need you back in number four

– that was our daughter’s room – that breath was punched out of us.

I found myself looking to the nurses and other staff going in and out of the room for cues. When someone ran or looked stressed, I clenched. Then, when I saw the nurses casually chatting and leaning on a desk, I began to breath again. I do the same thing on airplanes. When we hit turbulence, my gaze locks onto to the flight attendant to see if he or she looks stressed.

It’s amazing how much we rely on social cues to get us through. How much we – even unconsciously – we depend on the experience of others. Without them, we would be completely alone. There is a darker side of this, It’s called mob mentality. But, I think, more often it serves us well.

There are those who can’t read these cues, for a number of reasons. How very on their own they must feel.

My daughter was fine. She was taking longer to wake up than they liked and eventually we were allowed in to wait with her, so ours would be the faces she woke up to. Sitting there holding her hand, it was an anxious time. But a smiling ER attendant named Jeff, who did not seem concerned at all helped reassure me.

Talker’s Block – thank you Seth

I am a regular reader of Seth Godin’s blog, as are many, many others. I usually get something out of his daily posts and they invariably make me think or (internally) shout “Amen!”

His blog today was entitled Talker’s Block and he asked the question, why do we get writer’s block, but not talker’s block? The reason: we talk every day, we practice, we don’t worry so much about our talking being perfect. Applying the same approach to writing, he argues, will eliminate writer’s block.

Write every day. Write something every day. If you have a blog, write a sentence or a paragraph every day and it will eventually be easy, and the writing will get better. Those few of you who read this, bear with me while I take Seth’s advice. Seth is a smart man. He sees he common sense that many of us miss. If you don’t read his blog, give it a look.

Book review: Six Pixels of Separation

Wow, what a month. Did anyone see where August went? I discovered some new levels of busy in the last full month of summer and it took me much longer to get through the second of my 12 marketing books challenge than anticipated.

It’s a funny coincidence that the book is Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels of Separation and just recently Mitch blogged about the challenges of keeping up with your planned to do list.

I was not surprised that I enjoyed Mitch’s book; I have been a fan of his blog and podcast of the same name for years. Those active in the social media space will not find a lot that they haven’t heard elsewhere – especially if they follow Mitch, but where this book really excels is at talking to it’s target audience: business owners and executives who are unfamiliar with the social landscape. In fact, I decided early on that I needed to buy copies for some senior people in my company in the hopes that it would lead to better conversations.

Mitch does a fantastic job of showing business owners exactly why they should be using social media to grow their business. He also offers a good amount of how to for the do-it-yourselfer. If you are an entrepreneur or a business leader and you think you should be using social media, but don’t know why or how, buy this book. You will not regret it.

In it, you will find a guidebook to engage your audiences in an authentic, sustainable way. Why not give it a go and see what happens?

Stay tuned for the next book in my little odyssey.