Self-Doubt? Get Over It!

lipsLately I am feeling a little handcuffed by my self-doubt.  I know that I learned a lot of lessons over the years and have a lot to share, but I have this nagging voice in my head filling me with worry.  I am a successful person, but I have also had my share of failures.  What is it that makes the negative voice loud and the positive voice quiet now that I have been laid off?   Why is it that I keep thinking about all the things that could go wrong?

  • Will people actually buy services directly from me instead of a big corporation?
  • Will people respond well to what I write on the blogs?
  • How embarrassed will I be if I can’t get any clients?
  • What will I say to the critics that I know will come forward when I put my thoughts out on the internet?
  • Who do I think I am to advise people on their programs and business anyway?

The self-doubt tape keeps running through my head.  It is like a soft wave eroding my sandy beach of confidence.  I have always held myself to very high standards.  Is that the problem?  I know that there are always set-backs in any career, but for some reason, my self-confidence is being shaken by the negative messages.  Old tapes seem to be getting in the way of my focusing on the positive ones to help me move forward.

00001Fear_of_Criticism

What I realize is that most of my fears are related to what (I think) other people think, about me.  Though I have tried to change, I am very sensitive to what people feel (empathetic, I think they call it).  I am driven by my need for people’s approval.  (Read my post on Self Worth Starts With These 5 Steps).   And, I think this is getting in my way of reinventing myself.

Dr. Tom Muha, a practicing psychologist and writer in Annapolis, Maryland, says negative self-talk like this “exemplified how people keep themselves from making meaningful contributions.”  He goes on to say that people “allow a toxic combination of self-criticism and comparisons to others to prevent them from taking a risk and putting their creative offerings into the public eye.”  (The Capital Newspaper, Sunday, August 4, 2013)

Everything I am reading and finding on the internet says that I just have to jump in with both feet and give up this self-doubt.  You can’t win the game, if you never even play.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”     ―     Theodore Roosevelt

When I think about it, I have been in the game for years.  Why does the fact that the audience has changed (no longer the corporate family) bring up so much fear and trepidation?  As an innovator and thought leader in Project Management and Learning Solutions, I had many of my ideas criticized and even shot down over the years at IBM.  It never stopped me before from finding new ways to get the job done.  What makes this any different?  What makes being outside the corporate structure so scary?  Criticism stings and it may set me back (it may even feel overwhelming at times), but not moving forward because of the fear would be the saddest thing I could do.

Are you dealing with self-doubt?  How are you getting through it?

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Keep up the good attitude. See you next blog.

– Lorian

Email: thedigitalattitude@gmail.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lorianlipton/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LorianL

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheDigital

(All the Social Butterfly’s views are her own)

2 Keys To Rebranding Yourself After A Lay-Off

If you already have your digital brand in place then there isn’t much you have to do after a lay-off.  But, I found two areas that I need to tweak  to  free myself from anything that may not be authentically me.

keysAs discussed in previous posts, the first step in personal branding is to focus on what makes you unique.  Whether you worked for a public or private company, or even for yourself, if you have your digital presence in good shape, the task to tune yourself up is not as daunting as it may seem.

When ‘Big Blue’ laid me off earlier this month, I had this nightmare that I had to totally reinvent how I looked digitally for the business world.  I was chained to my desk and reworking my profile, again and again and again.  This scared me awake!  A big piece of how I define myself and my brand is my work, and for the last 18 years I have defined myself as being part of a big corporate machine.  Once I started looking at my actual digital footprint however, I realized that there was little I had to change.

Your brand is your personal message.  This message is picked up by the people you interact with (physically and virtually). Branding has less to do with ‘who you work for,’ and is more about ‘what makes you unique.’  So, as I was reviewing my dossier for my resume rewrite and social network profile updates, I realize that most of me is the same as I was a month ago (before unemployment). My competency has not diminished: my knowledge and skills haven’t changed; my critical thinking capability is the same as it was; my technical knowledge didn’t disappear overnight.  My appearance is the same; my great sense of style, my infectious smile, the way I enter a room.

So what really needs to change in my brand?

Here are 2 keys areas to look at when reworking your brand after leaving a company:

return to sender1.  Give your old company it’s ‘Point of View’ back.  An important part of your brand is your personal opinions on things, also known as, your POINT OF VIEW (POV). You communicate to the world what you value through your opinions and positions on matters of interest. This is your attitude or the way you view things.

Companies, and even departments within companies, also have POVs.  And, when we work in them and do business for them, we take on the company’s POV along with our own.  They may call it – company values, organizational culture – but you know what I am talking about.  When you negotiate a deal for a particular company, you are doing it from the POV of the company you are representing.  If you write blogs or post things on a company site, you are (or should be) representing the company’s POV.

With the large push in digital marketing on the internet, most companies are aware that having a clear POV that the customer’s understand, is a critical success factor. Howard Shutz, CEO and founder of Starbucks, in his book Onward, talks about how he needed to re-communicate Starbuck’s point of view when he returned to the company in 2008 to ensure that customer’s knew exactly what Starbuck’s stood for.  When you think about certain companies (Starbuck’s, Walmart, IBM)  their POV in business is very loud.

That, is the first hurdle.  Being able to identify your own POV after being part of a larger and louder voice for a long time.  Many people, when first trying to define their personal brand outside their company’s, have trouble finding their social ‘voice.’ (Hatch and Schultz)

As an employee, we take on our companies POV (which is what we’re supposed to do), but when we leave, we need to make sure we re-find our own. 

answeringmachine2.  Update Your Message.  I don’t mean your answering machine tape (no offense meant to those of you that still have them).

After a while in any company, we figure out what the communications expectations are and how to work within the company’s culture. Even sentence structure and vocabulary is influenced by a company through years of interaction.  How information is delivered is influenced by the culture and acceptance practices of an organization.

Dale Cyphert, PhD, in a paper about business communications, relates operating in a corporate culture to traveling in a foreign country.  She says that “successful travel through foreign lands involves learning to eat, talk and behave the way the natives do.  Similarly, success in a business involves acting, communicating, and thinking ‘like a businessperson.” (Dale Cyphert)

We all learn how to communicate in our company cultures through an “exchange of information and transmission of meaning” (Daniel Katz and Robert L Kahn).   We learn how to operate through our communications with co-workers and colleagues, as well as, across boundaries of departments, regions, and organizations themselves.  Over time, the corporate way of communicating becomes part of who we are and, many times, part of our personal POV.  No matter how comfortable you are with your old company, it is time to find your personal voice.  It is like coming home after being in a foreign country for a long time.  You may still like to eat the foods of that land, but you have more options now, so is that still your POV?.

Your values and perspectives are uniquely your own.  There is nothing wrong with holding on to many of the values and ideas that came from your previous work, but now you get to decide if they really fit who you are.  This is your chance to tweak your message – to speak with your own voice.

I learned how to speak from my company’s point of view and how to communicate based on their rules – I am just looking at whether that still fits the newly independent me.

Have you thought of any other areas of your personal brand that may need tweaking to raise your unique voice?

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Keep up the good attitude. See you next blog.

– Lorian

Email: thedigitalattitude@gmail.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lorianlipton/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LorianL

(All the Social Butterfly’s views are her own)

References

  1. Relationship Between Organizational Culture, Identity and Image, Mary Jo Hatch, Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield University,Cranfield, UK, and Majken Schultz, Copenhagen Business School, Copenhagen, Denmark, European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 31 No. 5/6, 1997, p p. 356-365 © MCB University Press, 0309-056
  2. Business Communications Self Study, University of Northern Iowa, College of Business Administration, Dale Cyphert, PhD, 2007.
  3. The Social Psychology of Organizations, Daniel Katz and Robert L Kahn, 2d ed, New York, Wiley, 1978
  4. Images courtesy of Google Images

Thanks for the Attitude: Turning a Page

surround-yourself

The Previous Chapter

You know when you finish reading a great chapter in a book and you can’t wait to get to the next one because there is so much more you want to know about the story?  My departure this week from IBM, after 17+ years, is definitely like that.

IBM and I have grown and changed in so many ways.  As a global thought leader on multinational teaming, and complex program management, and an expert on developing project leadership, social project management, and digital eminence, I am so excited to have the opportunity to now take my story in a new direction.

The Acknowledgments

There are so many people who have influenced me over the years that it is impossible to thank them all by name. It was the people who I interacted with, both in and outside IBM, that made all the difference.  They will always be family.

I have been lucky enough to work with global teams almost all of my time at IBM and the places I’ve been and the people who I have worked with have all taught me so much and have left their marks on the memory of my total recall forever.

Thank you to my first IBM family at Amtrak.  As an IT Architecture consultant in Washington, DC, on local and wide area networking and program management, they taught me how to navigate the complex waters of a huge corporation and how IBM worked with the Federal government. Coming from being a private consultant into this very different world took some major shifts for me, and they were gentle.

Thank you to my HealthVillage Team. As a loaned project executive in Global Industries to healthcare clients, leveraging my background as a network architect and engineer, I got the opportunity to be on the ground floor of what IBM was calling at the time ‘Network Services’ (then e-business and today social business). What a great team we had creating one of the first healthcare web applications with our new family at Lotus, and being one of the first to use IBM’s newly built Atlanta Innovation Center for Web development.  Hey, guys, I still have the coffee mug from our launch.

Thank you to the IBM Project Management Center of Excellence and the Curriculum Steering Committee.  I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the perfect time as Lou Gersner, IBM’s CEO at the time, strategized to ‘projectized’ IBM.  Using my computer training experience, my technical capability, and my passion for people, it was awesome to help build the award-winning Project Management Curriculum.  I will never forget our fantastic curriculum development meetings with members from all divisions and all countries of IBM.  And thanks to all my friends on the PM Certification Board and the PM Professional Development Board.

How blessed I feel to be one of the first people to work with Standford University’s Center for Professional Development and IPS Learning to turn their classroom courses into e-learning for IBM’s advanced knowledge need.  Thank you to all the co-authors, curriculum developers, trainers, and pilot students, who made the work so interesting.  And to all my colleagues who have come and gone creating the Project Management Center of Excellence, if Carol Wright were still alive she would be very proud,

Thank you especially to Debi, Chrys, Sandy, Shirley, Scott and Steve, in the States, and Toula in the Outback.  It is not so hard to leave the work, but it is, the people. And thank you to Liam, Theresa, and Som in Dublin, knowing that you will carry on the good fight.

Thank you to all my PMI volunteers: Over a decade ago, I say the need for IBMers to have a low-cost and time effective way to study and pass the PMI Project Management Professional exam without taking a week-long class.  The PMP is mandatory for IBM certification.  This drove me to create the very successful PMI Exam Study Group.  I designed and produced a 55 page website complete with a full study guide programs, originally for US Public Sector, but today worldwide, through which over 6,000 IBMers have studied the PMBOK in 5 different languages.  Thank you to all the volunteer facilitators who did an outstanding job over the years, many of you still holding groups year after year.  Keep up the good coaching.  (And thanks to many of you for the nice notes on my way out the door.)

Thank you to my global project teams. Through the years of advising global clients on project leadership, professional development, organizational effectiveness and maturity, as well as implementing internal performance measure systems (like my PM Match which was reported all the way to the Chairman), I was humbled to learn first hand how challenging it is to implement a consistent competency process across 199 countries.  My team in India is outstanding and rose to every curve ball that I could throw them.  Thank you for all your efforts, Mohan, Soumitra, and Yamuna.  You will do great things.

To all the people that I have mentored, coached, and just plan prodded through their project management professional development over the years, you have made me a better human, please do link up with me on the outside.  And to my mentors and coaches over all these years, I am, who I am today because of your support.

And finally, a thank you to the incredible people in IBM doing fantastic things in the area of social collaboration and social project management.  They know that the great thing about the social web is that even though I am outside of the IBM Firewall, I am still as loud and social as I ever was.

I could go on and on, but you know who you are, and hopefully you know what you all mean to me.

The Next Chapter

Of course, I will continue blogging on The Digital Attitude and on my petblog, DogDaz.com.  I love writing the blogs and it is just such a great way to summarize knowledge and share and collaborate with others.

newroad I am in the process of starting up my own consulting company. It will take me some time to package my diverse experience and passions into a consulting practice, but I know that I have several things in my bag of knowledge to help client’s solve critical challenges. Look for the launch of THE DIGITAL ATTITUDE Consulting coming soon.

I plan to continue speaking at conferences and events, both national and international, especially on the topics of Social Project Management, Global Teaming, and Digital Eminence.  I am trying to put together a calendar for fall and winter and will share it as soon as I can.  If you would like to contact me about speaking at an event contact me at:  thedigitalattitude@gmail.com

Personally, my adjunct teaching at Anne Arundel Community College will continue in the fall with a monthly series I just created focused on women in business.  And my work on the executive board of the Anne Arundel County Commission for Women is always fulfilling.

But first, the family and I are off to the beach, because, it is always, always, about the people.

Thank you for keeping up with my attitude.

——————————————————————————-

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See you next blog.

– Lorian

Email: thedigitalattitude@gmail.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lorianlipton/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LorianL

(All the Social Butterfly’s views are her own)

Self-Worth Starts With These 5 Steps

confidence

I am a people pleaser.  That’s right – I admit it.  Right here – in front of all of you.  I spend waste a great deal of time worrying about what other people think of me.  My parent’s told me that I should always play nice and then people would like me. Winning approval from others is was important to me; partly because of how I was raised, and partly because of how I am wired.  It took me many years to realize that I was basing my self-worth on what other people thought of me instead of what I thought of myself.

“Self-worth comes from one thing – thinking that you are worthy.” Wayne Dyer

When you make choices based on other people’s expectations (sometimes explicit and sometimes assumed) most of the time, you regret them because they are not coming from inside you. You probably know someone who has made important choices like where to go to school, what career to pick, even who to marry, not for their personal benefit really, but because they wanted the ultimate approval from their ____________ (choose one or many) parents, spouse, friend, business associate, etc.

Living up to someone’s image of you instead of your own makes you invisible.  In the end it erodes your feeling of personal value – of self-worth.  There are many people who do not value their own self-worth and this shows up in their work, in their level of happiness, and in their brand.  If you build your personal brand with no self-confidence, it is like a house of cards, it will fall as soon as the wind blows.

Here are 5 things to work on to improve your view of you:

1.  You can’t please everyone all the time.  This is a hard pill to swallow for us people pleasers, but it is reality.  The sooner you stop wasting time trying to make everyone happy the better you will start feeling about yourself.  Someone is always going to not like something, so just be true to yourself and don’t waste time trying to fix it.  “I am thankful for all of those who said NO to me. It’s because of them I’m doing it myself.” – Albert Einstein

2. We all make mistakes.  One of my favorite quotes is by Mary Pickford: “If you have made mistakes, even serious mistakes, you may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down.”  The past, is gone.  Free yourself by leaving the past, in the past.  My daughter rode horses when she was little, and when she fell off (which you always will sooner or later), I picked her up and put her back in the saddle.  We all fall off from time to time, it’s how you continue the ride that makes the difference.

cat.lion3.  Find what inspires you.  Only you know what makes your heart beat a little faster when you think or talk about it.  Listen to yourself.  Self-worth is not a one time thing, it’s about constantly improving who you are, about continually reinventing yourself.  The more you tap into the things that make you feel fulfilled, the greater your self-confidence will be.  “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” – Steve Jobs

4.  Take responsibility for who you are.  You are in control of your attitude, how you react to situations, and your sense of self-worth.  Eleanor Roosevelt said, “no one can make you feel inferior without your consent,”  so don’t let them.  It is your job to prove to yourself that you matter.  We can not always control the things that happen to us, but we can control how we handle them.

seuss5.  Value yourself. “Self confidence is the most attractive quality a person can have. how can anyone see how awesome you are if you can’t see it yourself?” – Unknown   I bet you could write out a nice list of all your faults right now, but what I want you to do is write down your skills and abilities.  A big part of valuing yourself is stopping the negative internal talk and focusing on the positive things.   Everyone is good at something – be real with yourself.  Just name even one or two things that you enjoy doing.

Walk tall because, as Dr. Seuss said, ” you have brains in your head – you have feet in your shoes – you can steer yourself – any direction you choose.”

What have you learned about your self-worth?  Have you reinvented yourself lately?

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Keep up the good attitude. See you next blog.

– Lorian

Email: thedigitalattitude@gmail.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lorianlipton/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LorianL

(All the Social Butterfly’s views are her own)

References

Want Team Engagement? Embrace Ambient Awareness

team1Project Management, by its nature, is social. Communications is at the heart of what we do as project managers. We project managers are constantly talking to people. influencing, proposing, negotiating, mediating and, our favorite, updating. We are über communicators, and that will not change – but HOW we communicate, at least on my projects with my team – has.

Liz Pearce, CEO of LiquidPlanner, recently wrote a post on “How social tools work for project management, saying “Good project managers communicate, build consensus, persuade, and influence others to achieve goals. With the rise of social software platforms, many of them are coming to believe that transparent collaboration and planning make for faster work flow, better results and happier teams.”  And at the end of the day, adopting social project management practices means more engaged and happier teams which translates into better delivery and happier clients.

Using social software with your project team makes a difference. Mostly because of what the psychologist’s call  ambient awareness. User experience designer, Leisa Reichelt, says that ambient awareness “is about being able to keep in touch with people with a level of regularity and intimacy that you wouldn’t usually have access to, because time and space conspire to make it impossible.”[1] If you missed it, I first talked about ambient awareness in my post on Solving the Project Managers Social Dilemma – Part 2.

Using social software on projects allows teams to experience a level of connectivity never before realized, even in physical co-location.  Reality theorist Sheldon Renan calls it “loosely but deeply entangled.”  It reminds me of the Jungian psychology concept of ‘collective unconsciousness,” where a part of the unconscious mind is shared by a society, a people, or all humankind.  I’ll call what happens to the project team. the ‘collective present.‘  Everyone on a project collectively participates in the dynamic flow of the information and is accountable for their parts in a way they never were before.  They are responsible for creating and keeping up the data flow.  And, as part of this ‘collective present’ on a project, the connections are wider and contain more possible touch points for interaction.  The team, the client, the stakeholders, all those that are part of the collaborative process through social media, now are part of the ‘collective present’ of the project and have data-driven information (and accountability), elevating the project knowledge to a new level of engagement.

teensTo help you visualize this concept of ambient awareness, think about young people today and how they use their mobile devices.  They are in constant contact with their cohort.  They know where everyone is almost all the time because they ‘check in’ on social networks[2], they ‘Geo-tag,’ and they Tweet. No one has to update anyone on the who, what, where, and how, because ‘they just know.’ This new awareness is bringing back the dynamics of small-town life; where everybody knew your business and therefore, you had to be genuine and honest.  Think about it: you probably know more about your Facebook friends than you do the neighbor down the street, unless of course, the neighbor is on Facebook.  You know what is going on from your News Feeds [3], and you can pick and choose what to act on (“Gee, I need to call my sister about that”) or not (“Do I really care that Howard’s kid winning the science fair?”).

Incorporating the work styles of the digital generation into the more traditional business models, even into project management, is showing good rewards.  Ambient awareness improves the communications and project knowledge of the team, which in the end, translates into better delivery of the project. Being ‘in’ the project versus being ‘told about’ the project, changes the speed of understanding and the sense of personal engagement.  Seems like a ‘win’ to me.

Still don’t believe me?  Think about the traditional project manager – usually the single point person that updates the plans and milestones, creates Gantt charts, holds endless status meetings, and updates the team and client, maybe weekly. Now think about the social project manager – whose team collaboratively updates the milestones and activities as part of the project process, reducing the need for status meetings (since status is known by all ambiently) and where team members follow what each other are doing, subscribe to each others feeds, and basically, work in the ‘collective present’ in a new and improved way.  Team time is now for greater collaboration and development.  Even clients could be updated through the social process.

communications 2In Social Project Management, the project itself becomes the center of all things. It is the ’email hub,’ the ‘inbox,’ the ‘file archive.’  All data and information flows through the digital project center.  And, since every team member is working in this transparent way, the personal accountability is very visible.  How perfect for project management!  How refreshing to really be projectized and have everything organized around the actual work tasks and not the tools used to communicate (email) or store information.  When using social software for a project, the work assignments are clear to everyone, each team member sees what other team members are doing, the team gets out of ’email jail,’ tasks are maintain and supported in a collaborative manner, and, most importantly, working this way allows people to determine the appropriate level of engagement that they need to get their job done.

When I managed traditional co-located teams on projects, I noted that we would build a certain team awareness.  We were in constant communication and sharing mode.  We ate lunch together.  We spent time white boarding and brainstorming and sharing ideas, good and bad.  We moved as a team.  We had shirts and hats with our team logo. We knew the state of the project because we lived and breathed it every day, sometimes 7 days a week. But even in this scenario, we only knew the information that we shared with each other in status meetings or in the elevator.  Communications depended on physical meetings or emails.

As team size grew and my projects became global, multicultural, and more and more complex, I noted that time and distance between team members started to become a problem.  The co-located dynamics that made us feel like a team of course were gone.  I also noted that communications started to become more and more compartmentalized.   People only paid attention to their tasks and were less concerned with the whole project.  Information flow was a battle and email overload started to become a nightmare.  Many good virtual tools became available, but getting the dispersed teams to perform at the high level that was needed to deliver on time and with quality, got more complicated.

Enter Social Media.  I feel like Social Media has given me back team spirit and team vitality. Ambient awareness, which is only recently being applied to distributed teams and work flow, has given my teams and my clients, a sense of connection to the end goal, and to each other. This is not your old project management process translated into something social – social project management is a way of working that you and your team have never experienced before.  Once you take the leap into the collective present of project management, I assure you, you will never go back.

Are you connecting with your teams and clients using Social Media? How are you leveraging your ‘collective present?’

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Keep up the good attitude. See you next blog.

– Lorian

Email: thedigitalattitude@gmail.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lorianlipton/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LorianL

(All the Social Butterfly’s views are her own)

References

  1. Disambiguity — Leisa Reichelt’s Professional Blog. October 2011
  2. “Three Best Ways to Use Location-Based Social Media”. Riva Richmond, The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, Inc., September 10, 2010
  3. Brave New World of Digital Intimacy, Clive Thompson, The New York Time Magazine, September 5, 2008

Laid Off? 5 Attitude Adjustments To Make

change“To up the odds of survival, leaders at all levels, must become obsessive about change.”  “Change must become our norm, not a cause for alarm.”- Tom Peters, Thriving On Chaos, 1987

These were the opening lines of a speech I gave in 1988 on Change.  Funny, I must not have been listening to my own words.

I pride myself on being an innovator, a thought leader: of seeing where transformations are needed and helping others through their change process.  But, I, like so many of my colleagues, have gotten caught in this whirlwind of economic downturn.  I could rant here and say “why me?”  But, truthfully, it is not about me.  It is… just business as usual.  An expected norm.

Tom Peter’s said that being excellent is no longer enough; that companies people (my word change) need to be perpetually ready to innovate. They must be willing to make continual improvements because the business environment is so competitive. Rather than focusing on cost-cutting efficiencies, these improvements must stress providing customers with value. He predicted, in 1987, that this rapidly changing world – fueled by new technology – would be unpredictable, so companies people must learn how to “thrive on chaos” to survive the turbulent times ahead.  And he was right and these are those times.

As I have just learned on Wednesday, even when you do the ‘right’ things, make those constant improvements, show your value, and keep innovating, you can still get caught up in the undertow of corporate unpredictability.  So this Social Butterfly, me, has now been tossed aside, or given freedom, depending on how I chose to look at it, from my corporate parent after almost 18 years of service.  Ah, the lessons.

Though a constant change agent in my work, I question maybe I was not bold enough, loud enough, social enough, or something, to be of right value to the corporate machine.  Every day, in every way, I challenged my coworkers, my company, and myself, to move forward, just like Peter’s told me too. But the truth is, it had very little to do with me.  I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Once the shock and the fuzziness of being laid off subsides (it has only been a couple days but I am not the wallowing type so I hope it is soon), I will get grounded and get going. So, let’s look at several steps I plan on taking over the next week:

fisher

1.  Don’t lose focus

Remember that ‘it is just business, to them.’  Yes, it ticks me off!  But it is true. In most cases, when laid off, it is not personal. (That sounds so stupid doesn’t it? Because it sure feels that way right now.)  In my case, I think it is about the stock price and how they balance bad sales numbers – they’ve cut and cut everything else, so now all that is left to cut are the workers. There is absolutely nothing I can do about a corporate strategy from where I sit.  It is what it is. My job moved to a lower cost country and now, I need to move forward for me.

I need to really get down to the nitty gritty activities that are going to move me into my future and not wait until the dust settles.  I think that the key to staying focused is to create a very detailed ‘to do’ list that provides me with practical details and priorities.  Spending time every day designing my future is now my priority.  That IS my job (and shame on me, it always should have been.)

2.  Talk about it

That’s right.  It may be embarassing, but I can’t get caught in what the psyhcologist’s call “the dance of denial.”  Luckily, I have some trusted friends to listen to me.  It is important to engage in conversations with others in similar situations (heck, we don’t know the real numbers but there are about 6,000 of us just this week).  Be social. Seek out support both on and off line. (30 Websites to Visit When You Get Laid Off)  Find ‘healthy’ vehicles for catharsis, whether exercise, gardening, walking the dogs (that is mine).  I think it is best to focus on MY feelings about the lay off and not rant on about the ‘bad’ company (though that is easy to fall into).  This needs to be about me – not them.  Burning bridges, because of being upset or angry, is not the best path to the future – especially when you are a blogger.  Having an outlet is critical to moving on though.  This is a loss, it takes time to get over that: anger, fear, depression even, are all normal reactions.  I need to be gentle with myself (which isn’t easy for me).

3.  Let go of the past as quickly as possible

Generate small, success assured activities, even if it is just grocery shopping.  Right now, my self esteem is rocky.  I need to know that I can get stuff done.  I just read in some magazine that Sheryl Sandberg (Miss Lean In) writes down her  ‘to dos’ on a sheet of paper and then when done, tears it out of the notebook and throws it away.  I like that, because it is a physical act that celebrates completeness.  It is important to create rituals and celebrate closure on things so that I can start to embrace a new future.  Just keep putting energy into the future state (this may be a ‘fake it, until you make it’ statement, but I can do it, I have to do it!)

4.  Push the limits

Truthfully, I just lost my job and things (other than health) don’t get much worse than that for bread winners.  So why not experiment.  Identify next steps and go for them.  I need to find my moxie, my guts, and push myself to envision that which I really want.  Now is the time that I have to forge in a new direction: go back to school or maybe get The Digital Attitude consulting business off the ground ?  If not now – when?  If not me – who?  This could be a great gift – right?  As Dorie Clark says in her book Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future, ” To survive and thrive, you have to reinvent yourself and move on.”  Which takes me to my last point…

Shift-Happens-You-Are-The-Key-To-Change-300x2335.  Reflect and then move on

The one thing we know for sure is change is going to keep coming.  I will look back for a moment, do my lessons learned and move on.  Integrating this experience into the fabric of my life.  Give myself the time and space to reflect and review all the things that got me here and then articulate my vision for what will get me there.

How have you dealt with some of life’s major changes?  Any advice?

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Keep up the good attitude. See you next blog.

– Lorian

Email: thedigitalattitude@gmail.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lorianlipton/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LorianL

(All the Social Butterfly’s views are her own)

References

Thriving On Chaos: Handbook for a Management Revolution, Tom Peters, Harper Books, 1987

Life Changes: A Guide to the 7 Stages of Personal Growth, Adams and Spencer. Paraview Press (November 12, 2002)

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, Sheryl Sanberg, Knopf; First Edition edition (March 11, 2013)

Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future, Dorie Clark, Harvard Business Review Press (April 9, 2013)

6 Ways To Cure Social Media Resistance

fishAre you feeling like a fish out of water?  Do you feel overwhelmed by the social web revolution?  Well, if you do, you are in good company.  I have talked to many people lately, both non-technical and technical, who are avoiding using social media as much as possible, and have a long list of reasons why.

How does one keep up with all the changes and the new speed of social interaction on the web?  What if you don’t want to spend all your time on-line?  How does one deal with the onslaught of information and social networks?

Bisnode reported that 90% of the worlds data has been generated in only the last two years, no wonder people’s heads are swimming.  Here are some thoughts on what we should all be doing to deal with natural social media resistance.

1.  Give Up to Keep Up

Sometimes I think that I am the only person in the universe experiencing overload from all this digital data that is flowing into my computer, my smartphone, my TV, and my head.  Then I realize that no one, and I mean NO ONE, can keep up with this data flow, unless you are a machine.  So, first thing to understand is that you need to give up trying to keep up with the data flow, because you can’t win that one.

The internet has significantly changed the way we do business.  And social media has changed the way we manage information.  The rules have changed.  This is part of the reason so many of us are uncomfortable.  Take email, for example, something that has been around now for many years and is probably a significant part of your life.  You know what is expected of you around email rules and etiquette. If someone sends you an email, they expect an email back.  If they don’t get one, they send a reminder.  But, if someone ‘likes’ your comment on Facebook or Twitter, no response is required or expected.  Today’s social media moves much faster and uses different rules. You need to give up your old rules because they don’t apply to the new platforms.  To keep up, you need to give up your old rules.

2.  Pull up the shade at least half way.

tompetersAlmost daily, people over the age of ____ (fill in the blank), are asking me about the seemingly blurred lines between professional, public and personal privacy online.  It feels a little like getting undressed with the shades up. We were warned for years about privacy on the internet and now all those rules are being brought into question.  No wonder we’re feeling assailed.   The rules about privacy appear to be changing daily.  I don’t think anyone really knows the answers on this topic just yet.  And not knowing something as intimate as the privacy of our information is unsettling.  But right now, you need to be internet smart but also give yourself some room until the patterns of interaction sort themselves out.  There is no right answer in this case, at least not yet. But as Tom Peter’s said “When the window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shades.”  Though I won’t open mine 100% yet, I think we miss a tremendous opportunity if we lock ourselves out because of the privacy rules.

3.  Less is more

There are so many different social media networks out there now, that it is easy to be overrun and overwrought with what to join and participate in. I recommend that you pick one personal, like Facebook, and one professional, like LinkedIn. (For more info check out 4 Steps To Decide What Social Media Network To Join).   Ignore the millions of other social networks screaming for your participation because, less participation is more sanity.  Spend your valuable few minutes a day in one place where you can get to know others and have meaningful interactions.

4.  Show up, occasionally

You don’t have to be everywhere on the internet, but you do need to be somewhere, consistently, if you ever want to be known.  Once or twice a week on Twitter or commenting in a community, is enough to start building a rapport with others.  You do need to show up but it does not have to be 24X7.  Pick two days to make your ‘show up’ days and spend a little time building your online presence.

5.   Forget ‘transparent,’ go for ‘authentic’

privacyI have trouble with the term ‘transparent’ that is being used for social collaboration.  I think that is another reason that people are uncomfortable with the medium.  Transparent makes me think of that window shade being up again and everyone seeing into my dressing room. It is not about sharing every little bit of information about me on the internet, it’s about being in relationship to other people, in such a way as I can be real and speak from my heart.  When I write this blog for example, I don’t fill it with hype and fluff.  I share with you my genuine thoughts – the real me.  OK, I admit, I’m an extrovert and I am comfortable sharing a lot of my life story, but even if I was more private, or more introverted, as long as the stuff I share is authentic, then I think the connection will be there.  You don’t have to violate your privacy to be connected, but you do have to share something to make the connection, whether physical or virtual.

6.  It’s up to you

It is like the wild west out there on the internet highway.  Full of possibilities and “there is gold in them there hills.”  You just need to filter through some dirt to find it.  What does that mean, you say?  It is up to you to decide how you want to be on the internet. Then you can learn some of the tricks to keep out the unwanted noise.

What is it that you want your connection to social media to be?  Do you want to increase your digital reputation?  Do you want to build your business by using social media?  What are the positive things that social media can bring to your life and your work?

You have a lot to offer, really you do, or you wouldn’t be reading this.  Share a little of who you are on the internet, in your profiles, in your comments, and though I know it may be uncomfortable at first, you will find the virtual connections not only uniquely rewarding but surprisingly freeing.

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Keep up the good attitude. See you next blog.

– Lorian

Email: thedigitalattitude@gmail.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lorianlipton/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LorianL

(All the Social Butterfly’s views are her own)