Passion is what we’re looking for


Passion

Ever notice how when you become passionate about something that you tear right into it?

In our search for happiness, Passion may well be the Holy Grail. It is the great motivator, and will help you do things you didn’t think you could do – and do it better than you thought you were capable. It will raise your bar and make you crave excellence.

When you are passionate about something, you can’t wait to do more of it. You’ll gladly run on nothing but coffee and adrenaline; minutes will pass like milliseconds, and help you produce some of the greatest and most satisfying work of your life.

Finding passion in your work – and in your life – is the ultimate rush. When you find passion in what you’re doing, you just can’t quit. And you’d never consider it.

Look for the things you are passionate about and you’ll leap out of bed in the morning, make millions, and discover pure joy. Try doing something without passion and you will slog through your day. And your life.

Ask, and Ye May Receive. But Stay Silent And…


Handing Out Literature 2

I don’t understand the evangelists who stand at my train station every morning.

That’s not to say I don’t like them. They seem like sincere, polite people, attempting to spread their faith in their particular religion. But in the seven years I have seen them standing there with their reading materials, whether they are wearing brightly-colored sun bonnets or skull caps and down coats, they have never once offered me a pamphlet or even tried to engage me in conversation.

Now granted, perhaps I am not their target demo. In fact, my physical presentation makes me quite sure of that. And if they did ask me a question or hand me a pamphlet, I would politely decline and wish them a good day.

But here’s the thing: they’ve never even tried. And by not engaging with me, they don’t even know whether I would be receptive to what they are offering.

The same holds true for business: if you don’t ask, you are certain to not get. And no business can survive on that strategy.

Be The Ball


Be The Ball

Every red-blooded American man’s favorite comedic movie (or darn near close) must be Caddyshack.

Among all the classic scenes is the one where Ty Webb instructs a young Danny Noonan to concentrate and just “be the ball” in an effort to help him become a better golfer.

The results were more comedic than impressive, but the lesson is a good one, no matter how far Danny’s chip shot landed from the pin. (“Right in the lumber yard.”)

And it came to mind as I crashed a project this week: a speech for a client that needed a top-to-bottom rewrite in just hours.

I was able to pull it off, to the client’s great delight, because I allowed myself to “be the ball.” I knew this person, cold: his logic, his voice and his factual information, to the point where I felt as though I was writing for myself. I put myself in the room, at the podium, speaking to the group of people he will address. I turned off all external inputs – save for spellcheck – and just wrote what needed to be said.

He was so happy he even allowed me to take a second pass at it this morning, and the results are.. well.. we’ll see tonight when he’s at the mic reading the words I wrote for him. But I think it’s gonna be just fine.

What are your best ways to write?

Xbox One Isn’t the Only One


XboxOne

The unveiling of the Xbox One has got my inner geek pretty stoked.

Tear it apart any which way you want, but this new console it represents a terrific leap forward in the way we experience and share media in our homes: music, movies, games and TV. The new functions look very cool, especially the improvements in Kinect. I will be getting my hands one as soon as possible.

It’s probably not the elusive “all in one” box that Microsoft claims it is, but I frankly don’t think we will ever get there, because we really don’t want to. As consumers, (especially us geeks, who thrive on variety and shiny new things that replace and outdo the old ones) we don’t like limiting ourselves to just one platform or one way of doing things. We like to integrate our systems together and make them do unique things that serve our purposes.

The Xbox One is also a good example of how we – as communications professionals and PR people – need to constantly keep up with evolving technology that affects our business.

I was a semi-early adopter of social media, and saw its potential for one-to-one, human connectivity right away. And while I’m better at it than most, I’m far from an uber-user or an expert by my definition of the word.

Part of the reason we fall behind is because things evolve so quickly, it’s hard to keep up. And yet, that’s also part of our business: recognizing the changes afoot and evolving our tactics with them. We need to take time out – hard as it can be – to experiment with these technologies and make them work for us.

Take time to turn off all your inputs and just experiment, at least once a week. Part of keeping up is making sure you do it with the frequency to make it effective.

Back At It


Priorities

I’ve taken a couple weeks off from posting.. things have been quite busy.

I have had so much going on at work that I had not one moment to think about creative writing, much less put something down on paper (or computer!), even though it was on my mind.

And although not posting anything new here is a bit of a failure on my part, it also points out an important lesson about priorities and workload.

I could have easily not completed a work project in order to take time to write something. I could have put this blog – a hobby of mine – ahead of something that affects my clients and my company. I could have sat and mused about writing something fun or insightful, worked the copy until I got it just right, found an interesting image and loaded in links for entertainment, posted it, sat back and felt like I had accomplished something.

But that would have meant putting off things that needed greater attention, that were frankly more important.

It illustrates to me the larger lesson of prioritizing and delaying pleasure in order to achieve a goal.

So much of life is about knowing when and how to prioritize, and when to set aside things that don’t matter.

Pardon me, now.. it’s dinner time with my family and I am turning this thing off. (see.. priorities!)

Getting In Focus


GettingInFocus

I have a confession: I am a total scatterbrain.

Completely disorganized. I get sidetracked so easily, I may not finish writing this post in a single sitting.

To combat this inherently anti-productive weakness, I know I need to employ helpful strategies to keep me on track. Maybe some of these will work for you too:

1. Make lists. I do this to the point of obsession. Mostly because when I have an idea, it disappears if I don’t write it down. That’s how I either fall behind in my work or simply forget to do something altogether. (See also: sticky notes, refrigerator magnets, emails to myself and strings around my finger.)

2. Work when you are inspired to work. This isn’t as flippant as it sounds. What I mean is, listen to your brain and its normal patterns. Do you get flashes of brilliance late at night? Do you go into creative lockdown after lunch? By identifying when (and where and how) you work best, you can train yourself to maximize your productivity and efficiency.

3. Use tools that help you be more productive. I write all my posts in Evernote (including this one) so they are with me anywhere I go, on any device. So if I think of something and want to add it to something already in progress, that key document isn’t somewhere inaccessible. Find the tools (hardware, software, apps or even coffee!) that will help you work easier.

Side note: there’s a phrase you don’t hear often, “work easier.” You hear a lot of “work better” or “work smarter.” The real goal is to make work seamless, zen-like, so it just flows out. And that’s the key. Work easier.

4. Automate the mundane. True or not, a favorite story of mine is the one about Albert Einstein having a closet full of nothing but brown sweaters, white shirts and khaki pants, and wearing the same outfit every day so he didn’t waste a second thinking about anything but his work. He just grabbed the next set of clothes in the line and kept moving. It’s why I keep my wallet and keys in one place, or park in the same spot at the train station. If I have to stop to think “where are my keys?” or “where did I park?” I am losing what could be valuable moments or a train of thought about something far more important.

5. Eliminate distractions. Everyone knows this, but it bears repeating because none of us do it all the time. Do you shutoff your email while you are working on a strategy document? Close out social media networks while you are not using them? I sit facing away from the window at client meetings. Get rid of the things that snap your head around the other way, or that make you zone out.

There are probably plenty of other productivity strategies that you have encountered too. What are some of your favorites?

No Surprises


surprise

Surprises are bad.

No, I’m not talking about surprise birthday parties, or a 50% off sale at your favorite store.

I mean business surprises. The things that sneak up on you and throw you off your game, sucking time and energy out of your day that should be spent on accomplishing the things you and your team have planned and committed to. And they are – for the most part – completely avoidable.

Surprises happen because of a lack of communication. In the case of a surprise party, that is intentional.

But in the work environment, people who are supposed to be collaborating can often surprise each other, and sometimes with disastrous results.

Not communicating leaves other people standing around waiting, or getting caught flat-footed when you need to call on them for assistance and support.

Team members can stumble to get up to speed, casting aside other projects because yours is “on fire” and needs immediate attention. Obviously, that’s not the path to success. And it can even make happy clients, well, not happy.

Like I said, it’s completely avoidable.

Institute a “no surprises” policy on your team.

Friends


FriendsJenniferAnnistonCourteneyCoxLisaKudrow

This is a simple post.

Friends. They are invaluable. They are irreplaceable. They are gold.

Cultivate good friends who will help you when you ask.

Keep good friends whom you will help when they ask.

The world works because there are people who will help other people. Even when they disagree.

Because brotherhood is more powerful than being right.

Are you REALLY working in that office?


Office Space

I try to be in the office as little as possible.

It’s not that I don’t want to work, or that I want to always be on a warm, sunny beach with a drink in my hand (ok, that second part is true).

It’s that offices can lull us into a false sense of security about what we are actually accomplishing. There we are, sitting at a desk, surrounded by colleagues that are doing the same. Phones are ringing, emails are being sent, coffee is brewing. But what are we accomplishing?

There are benefits to being in an office: we are around our colleagues, able to collaborate face-to-face. We can focus all our energy on tasks that need completion, without the distractions that are associated with being at home or in a coffee shop. And we have access to resources we might otherwise not have, including documents and computer files (although in our hyper connected world, if you don’t have access to your computer files wherever you are, you are sorely out of touch).

But there are also traps to being ensconced in an office, the worst of which is that being “at work” convinces us that we are actually working.

For those of us in the client service business, that’s a huge lie. And one that can cost us everything we leave our families every day and go to work for.

Let’s be honest: many of us can work from wherever we are in the world, so long as we have a cell signal and/or Wi-Fi. And getting out of the office gets us in front of people: those other humans we need and need to know, who help us collaborate and get things done. People who give us new ideas, force us to challenge our preconceived notions and give us a new appreciation for which way the world is turning.

Hiding in an office kills all of that.

I try to get out of the office regularly, to see people for lunch or coffee, to chat over what they’re working on, something interesting I have read or discuss new business or projects. I am lucky to work at a place that encourages that behavior.

Some office cultures despise and actively discourage being out of the office. Those cultures are destined to fail.

It’s All About To End


Meteor NYC

I wrote the title to this post a week ago, truly meaning to reference a great article on social media that I intended to share with all of you for Friday ShareDay.

Then this morning, I woke up to this:

I can’t imagine what people in that Russian town could have been thinking, innocently going about their daily business, as they watched the sky light up, brighter than the brightest sunlight, then watch something impact the ground just over the horizon, or down the street. It must have been terrifying. I’m thinking good thoughts for all those people who were injured or otherwise affected.

(P.S. Did I just miss the warnings from NASA and others? Because, I don’t know, when a meteor that’s big enough to NOT burn up in the atmosphere is on a trajectory to hit Earth anywhere, I’d like to know about it in advance.)

Back to the blog…

What I meant when I titled this post last week was a reference to our Friday ShareDay content, a great post on “3 Ways to Survive the Coming Social Bust.” Even if the doomsday title isn’t the truth, the advice contained inside is invaluable.

Happy Friday!