Here is a podcast I recorded this morning over at Cinchcast.
On any given day I process quite a bit of information. From the alert emails I review for my job, the Wall Street Journal news alerts on my phone to my friends and associates statements on blogs, LinkedIn, news feeds, Twitter and on Facebook. My point really is there is an abundance of information bombarding me every day. I am always amazed how rewarding the process of reading is when I stumble across something truly profound:
“All of us here in this Yard, at one time or another, have seen human tragedies that broke our hearts, and yet we did nothing – not because we didn’t care, but because we didn’t know what to do. If we had known how to help, we would have acted.” Bill Gates – in a speech to Harvard University 1997
I believe this quote identifies an important part of human nature that every single one of us will struggle with in our lives. In the face of human tragedy or extremely disturbing situations we often feel powerless or over-whelmed and do not know how to respond – so we do nothing. A perfect example is when we are a witness to an auto accident, it is our legal and moral responsibility to stop but how many cars zoom by and do nothing with drivers confused and un-sure of how to respond. Understanding this can lead to a very reasonable outcome – being prepared.
Self preservation probably plays a large role in this, but we know human beings can overcome these instincts and remain calm in these situations. One key is preparation. First aid classes are a good example of a responsible and meaningful thing you can do to be prepared for some of these situations. Another key is mental preparation – try this exercise and after doing it you may decide there are additional things you would like to do to be more prepared. Consider what you might instinctively do and what you should do in the following scenarios:
- You are on a train and a passenger collapses to the ground near you.
- A patron in line in front of you gets very verbally abusive and threatening to the cashier.
- You witness an automobile accident and several cars in front of you do not stop.
By preparing and visualizing, it is much easier to do the right thing when you face the situation in real life. Item #2 was a real world example for me; I was in an office supplies store when this occurred. I did not intervene but I was mentally preparing myself for what I would do if the situation escalated beyond threats to actual violence. Had I not had a chance to prepare, what would I have done? Hopefully the same things I had planned to do if it had.
I’ve reduced this issue to a much smaller scale and made it more personal for effect, but I would encourage anyone reading this article to consider this same concept when facing a significant crisis anywhere in the world. Instead of not acting, understand that these issues are complex and find out what you can do and do something. It does not have to be huge but I believe the greater your commitment the greater the reward will which reminds me of this Chinese proverb:
If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day, go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.
If you like what I’ve said here I would recommend you visit a local service club, for selfish reasons I will recommend Rotary. I have been a part of the Danville/Sycamore Valley Rotary club for over 2 years and it has definitely given me inspiration to build a lifetime of happiness.
Today I watched part of the Arizona – Green Bay playoff game. I left to take my son outside to ride his bike and thought the game was a blowout. I noticed a friend had posted on my Facebook comment about the game that Green Bay was making a comeback so I turned the game back on. At that point I was riveted to the game, exchanging comments on Facebook as a very close game was decided in overtime. It reminded me how important in life and business it is to never give up. You will win and you will lose, learn from the mistakes and don’t let the victories make you complacent.
I’ve had a number of conversations with friends who are facing job transitions, most of them unemployed. Through this process I’ve compiled 3 things that I have done and received extremely good feedback from my friends. The purpose of this article is simple, to share a formula that you can use to help friends (or yourself!) if a jobless situation occurs. If you’d rather just listen, I have a podcast at the bottom of this post.
Step #1 Information Gathering
I ask my friends about their situation, specifically:
- What kind of work do they do.
- What kind of work would they like to do.
- Where would they like to work.
I then use that information to make constructive suggestions based on my own personal experience and the activity within my network. I also make sure that I am very supportive of them to try to embolden them to drive hard to the finish line (find a job that they will love!).
Step #2 I know this person that….
I then look at my network and think about who I know that might be able to help them. I make virtual introductions usually via Email and offer to help facilitate a connection. I’ll follow that up with another communication in a week or two and ask if they were able to connect and if that person was able to help them. The top person on my list that I refer people to is my neighbor and friend JP McDermott. JP has done a lot of outreach with people that are in these transitional situations. JP has a career coaching column at examiner.com.
Step #3 Support
Being jobless during a bad economic time with high unemployment is not a happy place to be. Step 3 for me is simple, I do everything I can to be supportive of my friend who is searching. I write encouraging comments on blog or social media posts they make, I re-tweet some of their key tweets, or I just send little follow up messages to encourage them. Mind you this is emerging opportunity, I don’t setup a schedule and I don’t do this equally with all of my friends.
You can do this, anyone can do this. I know there are jobs out there sometimes it’s just about getting the right people together. The sooner these jobs are filled with the right candidate the more quickly that company and the employee can start building an economically viable relationship. The net result is we all win. I hope you find this useful, please share your stories and tips.
While watching a video today by @garyvee today I was both validated and also inspired to write this post. Gary’s point was simple – if you want to get anywhere using social media to promote something, you have to grab it. You have to engage the people who can make a difference for whatever it is you’re interested in doing. This could be anything from getting a job at a certain company or getting a certain celebrity to wear a product you are marketing. I want to add to what Gary said in his video. We have to understand as a people that the opportunity to network has never been greater in our lifetimes and it is not only possible but it is likely that this window will diminish in the near future. I believe there are two reasons for this and I will get into both of them a little more in depth.
Reason #1 it’s the Economy
A bad economy gives you access to people in an unprecedented way. Case in point – I formed a business group in early 2009 called 1 Degree, several of the members of this group are simply people that would not have joined a group like this had their businesses been running at the typical brisk pace they had been just about every year prior. When you lose your job or customers to a bad economy, you get creative, you put yourself out there. Networking has never been more prolific than it is today, in a good way.
Reason #2 it’s the Technology
Every “new” technology is given a pass on many issues early on. Think back to the chain letters that seemingly reasonable people would forward in the early days of Email. These same people today would not even think twice about it. Or how about the early success of the Email SPAM industry, had it not worked so well people would not have continued to do it. SPAM has to be facilitated today on a huge scale to have any impact. Social networking is really no different from this. Today many people are using geo-tagging software that in essence tells the world where they are at a given moment in time. At some point in the future there will be high profile events that remind people that some privacy is a good thing and these technologies will be used much more sparingly. Or how about the prolific Facebook application posts that are already a bit of a taboo? I’ve seen a number of people create brand new accounts to avoid annoying their real life friends from the prolific wall posts of the latest Zynga game or similar Facebook application. Or how about the “50 things you don’t know about me” it’s a bit like the Facebook equivalent of a chain letter – tag 10 of your friends and post this on your wall.
So Gary is right, but we need to also encourage people to strike while the iron is hot and be prepared for the next stage of this ever evolving world. 15 years ago I forged relationships on Internet Relay Chat with a bunch of people around the US and the World that were Windows NT administrators. The dealings of this group have included quite a bit of commerce over the years and the core is all still communicating with one another. Today similar relationships are being established on Facebook, Twitter and other Social Networking related sites. There will be winners and losers but the people who do as Gary has suggested will find a way to win regardless of the circumstances. I think we all need to evaluate which technologies fit us best and pursue them for personal or commercial benefit. For me the value of the medium is much greater in terms of personal satisfaction for the friendships and inspiration but it’s nice to know that these efforts will continue to open doors for commerce. Let me know what you think. Share your story, plenty of room for your comments here.