Four uniquenesses you should totally grow into

In the post-information age it’ll become exponentially more difficult to be bigger, better, faster, smaller, or cheaper. But anyone can amplify their unique and distinct selves. Here are four you should not only “own,” but figure out how to exploit. Your point of view If you look at a pile of dots on a page, they’d all seem co-equal. The minute you choose one as a reference point, all the rest have a relationship to it (they’re close, they’re far, they’re moving towards or away). Value is always created from a point of view — wants, needs, and desires are human things. Only people have “whys.” When you bring a perspective to the world, it’s unique. You’re the only one who can be the “dot” from where you stand. Your journey through the facts “Everybody has a story” is getting tired, but it’s also true. Another version of why you should lean into yours is because everybody has your facts, but nobody has your story. The “dots” aren’t static, so your view in the world changes over time. Sometimes you’ve chosen a path, sometimes it’s gravity from outside influences that shapes that path, sometimes it’s both. Either way it’s unique. Your voice How you express your point of view and story are some unique combination of visual, verbal, written, auditory, kinesthetic, cadence and timing, and on and on. In other words, even if someone had nearly the same vantage point in terms of their point of view, your way of sharing is going to resonate differently. Your channels You can tell a story in a book or a movie, but...

3 principles, 4 practices to ‘build someone up’ at a distance

Often a business associate or team member is distant enough so that “grabbing coffee” is impractical. Here are a few principles and practices to bridge the distance to their heart. Principles to live by Time is still the most precious commodity you can give Why do we still value handwritten notes sent through the mail? They demonstrate a time investment that may not otherwise be demonstrated digitally. Nothing replaces time spent, and our finite supply of it is why giving or investing some of it is so powerful. Don’t underestimate the power of the spoken word Whether it’s the telephone or Skype, your voice carries additional meaning. Perhaps more importantly, they can hear what you don’t say when you pause and listen. Trust the power of “showing up” You don’t always need a “plan.” Serendipity happens when you are present of mind (even if you’re not present in body). Practices to give you wings Connect them to something transcendent Whether it’s God or a mission or a deep personal calling, nothing gets us through hard times or keeps us focused in good times like being part of something bigger than ourselves. Connect them to value Your perspective is, by definition, unique. Your reminder to them about how what they’re doing is valuable is valuable is likely a life-accelerator, even if it’s not new information. Connect them to another awesome someone Not all meetings and introductions have to be networking for a business purpose. Cool people who meet cool people generate cool connections on their own. Connect them to the world in a new way There are so many apps...

The boy on a board

The boy, about eight years old, was strapped to a board. He couldn’t move. Not because he was strapped to the board, but because he was paralyzed from the neck down. The board was just how the resource-strapped care facility could manage. The home, a care facility for children with challenges, was in a poor part of Capetown, South Africa. Naomi was still figuring out what to do with her humanitarian journey, and the little boy in front of her poked her in the soft underbelly of her own discomfort. The discomfort, she realized, wasn’t because the children made her uncomfortable. They didn’t. It was because she wasn’t sure what to do for them, feeling terribly inadequate. She was afraid of going up to them and wounding them by overestimating their ability or UNDERestimating their ability. She didn’t know what to do. As Naomi approached the boy on the board, a woman at the home explained that he’d been dropped on his head by a drunk parent. He was paralyzed from the neck down and couldn’t communicate at all. Not knowing what else to do, Naomi simply knelt down, reached out, and started to stroke his forehead. Slowly his eyelids began to flutter. Then tears began to stream down his face. Time stood still. She heard someone said it was time to go, and Naomi found herself trapped, not knowing how to get up and leave. She pulled her hand back, and his eyes opened, darting over to her as if to ask why she’d stopped. Naomi couldn’t get his face out of her head. That night she cried...

Four simple reminders for all who produce content

Many of you know that my past life included being a musician and songwriter, and fewer of you know that I still am…simply as my art. Quite fortunately I get the same same juice out of creating business content that has a message. In the last week, I found inspiration to work on an incomplete song — that I started more than 20 years ago! Then just yesterday the muse hit at a time when I had a bunch of other things to do. The muse — the opposite of writer’s block — never shows up when it’s convenient, right? I decided I could afford 20 minutes to work on the idea before getting back to the stuff that pays the bills, and BAM!, it just came out. Done in 20 minutes. And then the rest of the day’s work got done. There’s are four simple lessons  in this, not the least of which is for me since I can be pretty dense: Sweat is an investment, not a guarantee of how soon the investment will pay off If you have no margin, you have nothing to invest There’s power in showing up. If you don’t put a pen to paper, a mouse pointer to PowerPoint, a pick to the guitar, it’ll never happen It will suck before it’s good, it’ll be good before it’s great. It’ll never be great if you don’t suck, so if you’re afraid to suck you’re going nowhere. Cheers to some part of your day really...

Build a bridge or wait for them to swim to you?

Some people have nightmares about getting eaten by bears. I have them about being late, and this explains why the panic was setting in. I was on my way to have coffee with a newly budding relationship, our third time meeting, when I figured out that traffic was just not going to cooperate. Figuring I was now going to be 5 or 10 minutes tardy, I asked Siri to call the guy so I could let me know. And Siri just gave me a blank stare (of the artificial intelligence kind). Then it dawned on me. Every time we’d connect previously it was through Facebook chat. After two years of knowing Ryan and two previous meetings, I didn’t have the guy’s phone number. Perhaps ironically, I’m not a big user of Facebook chat, though I’ve long been a fan of instant messaging in general. Which is exactly the point. Today’s world is no longer one telephone and three TV networks. It’s as multi-channel as it has ever been, and it’s getting moreso. There’s another issue at play, however, which is this: Are you going to do what your client wants, or are you going to force them to do what you want? Repeatedly I hear people say things like, “LinkedIn is for professional, Facebook is for personal. And Twitter, I don’t really get it, and I watch some news go by. Take a realtime call via Skype? Did you just curse in the presence of women and angels?” Believe me, I understand. I used to say the same thing. This doesn’t make me a hero, it simply means I’m...

What to do when you don’t quite remember someone’s name

Connecting isn’t always about remembering someone’s birthday and the name of their beloved golden retriever. It’s about the thin thread between you and what you do to strengthen it. As the digital side of your life grows, it’s likely you will experience some of those “Who are you again?” moments with increasing frequency  — someone who seems familiar because you’re connected on relational media or someone else who you met once connected with online, but now forget their name at a gathering. One option is to limit yourself to relationships where you remember all the names and details. And there is a limit. The other option is to shift your perspective. It’s natural to feel awkward. The question is now what to do about it. Some have suggested tactics which are slightly manipulative (“What’s your name? No, your last name? …implying that you really did remember their first name). Rather, Exercise your EQ muscle, get over it, and forget trying to be cool. Remember that, unless they’ve got perfect memory, it’s likely they do the same thing. Stick out your hand and say, “In case you didn’t remember, my name’s Roger Courville. I recognize our paths have crossed in the past, but my mind is failing me at the moment. Remind me again what your name is and how we connected?” The worst that can happen is that you’ve been honest. Nobody on the planet remembers everything. The best that can happen, however, is that that thin thread of connecting is now strengthened instead of feeling wobbly — and I don’t have to tell you the many places that can...

How this viral #FIFA video is a risk for you

The video below is a slice of awesome. And it should also be an awesome reminder to put the gun down and back away slowly. Watch it, and I’ll explain. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-T7zyezBkuY One of consequences of ever-present technology is that we catch moments that used to live only in our memories. A tornado, a car crash, that kiss at a wedding. And this isn’t wrong. But it’s also increasingly likely that as we capture the weird, the fantastical, the stunning, we start to look for those all the time. Were the kicks in this video real? I’m sure they were. Were there probably a zillion tries? Was there a whole camera crew and production behind doing a take a zillion times before a dude kicks a ball over an overpass and drops it in the target bucket? What do you think? This isn’t wrong, either. It’s amazing and entertaining that any one of these happened, let alone all of them, even if there were a zillion takes. The risk, however, is that we fail to see the miracle of the ordinary right in front of us. We may start believing that somehow if we’re not experiencing these things that our lives don’t measure up. Or we pursue extraneous experiences, perhaps even addictively, either as participants or spectators, to the point of being comfortably numb or amused to death. Perhaps chasing the winds is what you are called to do, but if that’s so, you’re in the minority. But we are all made to be interesting and useful, to reach, teach, and lead in community. Every day. Carpe diem....

Podcast: Terry Brock talks Google Hangouts, Klout, relationship marketing, and connectorship

Terry Brock (@terrybrock) is an award-winning speaker/trainer, co-author of Klout Matters: How to Engage Customers, Boost Your Digital Influence–and Raise Your Klout Score for Success, and former enterprise blogger for Yahoo!. Join us for a lively discussion about “r-marketing,” building relationship in a multichannel world, Google Hangouts, and what it means to be authentic in a digital world without losing your mind. Grab it in iTunes Directly download the MP3 (you may need to right-click to download)...

The core measure of connectorship

Remember that one teacher that everyone wanted? Their classes filled up quickly, and you felt lucky if you managed to get in. Of course, you’ve likely experienced the opposite, too. Why? Why do two people who otherwise have the same knowledge radically differ in their ability to reach, teach, and lead? In an answer that’s easy to give and hard to define, one connects and the other does not. The ability to build and spend relational capital is easy to identify and hard to wrestle to the ground. The problem is compounded when we put that into a noisy, multi-channel world. In a way, connectorship is like the wind. We don’t see it, but we see its effects. One bit of evidence for seeing connectorship in action is what we, ourselves experience. Any marketer or social scientist, however, will warn of the dangers of using one’s own personal experience as an assumption of what’s normative. Another bit of evidence is by observing the effects, much like the wind, that a connector has on others. Are their lives changed? Do they mimic or reflect the influence the connector has had on them? Now, if you wish to be bold, ask those questions of yourself. Are others better off for having spent time with me? Do they turn around and use the ideas or words that I’ve shared with them? Perhaps even more importantly, am I jealous that they use my words, or am I ecstatic that they’ve grown in a way that will forever change their lives and the lives of those they touch? The best letter of recommendation you will ever...

Why learning leaders need to be connectors

One old adage, perhaps almost a cliche’, is “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  Caring is a great start, but in today’s world, it’s more critical than ever to be a connector. And this isn’t even factoring in where the world is going. Here’s why: Your full value often isn’t going to show up in an ROI analysis ROI is a perennially hot topic in learning and development. Why? Because HR/L&D folks are 1) always under pressure to prove their worth (explicitly or implicitly), and 2) this is usually under pressure from people who don’t fully understand or value the function (especially short-term thinkers). Yes, technically anything can be measured. But isolating, measuring, and monetizing the impact of something is usually difficult. In fact, while it sounds awesome, the value of better decisions needs to be greater than the cost of figuring it out — and often it’s not. Even worse, numbers can be made to say whatever you want (just ask someone on Wall Street). The result: you’ll probably always struggle to get love from people who are movers-of-numbers. People who are movers-of-heads-and-hearts, even if they have to make tough choices about running an organization, are going to be more likely to get you. Connect with them beyond a job description. It doesn’t mean you have to join an old boy’s network, but job descriptions are like interchangeable parts in an engine. Your goal is to be uniquely irreplaceable, and as much as we’d like the world to be entirely fair, it isn’t. People do business with people they respect, perhaps even...