Many moons ago when I was first working I took a job with Community Service Volunteers (CSV) in England.
In fact, I held several positions with them working up from admin assistant to press officer over a two-year period.
For much of that time my boss was a woman named Rebecca Rendle. Sadly we haven’t been in touch for years.
Rebecca was director of corporate affairs. CSV is a big volunteering charity in the UK. And so it’s natural that hers was a big job: lots of lobbying Parliament, many meetings and being in demand.
It’s fair to say that Rebecca was one of several very important mentors in my life. And during my advancement at CSV I was fortunate to end up as her executive assistant for a time.
Most folks loved Rebecca. She was level-headed, fair, diplomatic and I liked her as my boss.
Sometimes she would be out at meetings all day. For days.
Internal meetings with her almost became a commodity.
When she was in the office I usually had a million and one things to ask her, a zillion things that needed signing and many phone calls that needed to be returned.
Today, because of Rebecca, I have applied a certain ethic to my work – one which I’ve come to realise is quite unique.
Even when Rebecca was up to her eyeballs in things she always got other stuff done: she always answered my questions, signed everything and returned all those phone calls.
She just did it then and there.
Whenever I needed something she would do it right then.
I asked her once, ‘How do you organise your time Rebecca? This is crazy.’ And she told me she just tackled things as they came.
For some reason, this stuck with me. It only occured to me last year that it was Rebecca’s words that ended up dictating my work method. I wondered why I was able to get so much done. Even when I had lots of people calling for my time.
Pretty much when anyone asks me, ‘Liz, do you have a moment?’ I always do. Unless I’m in troubleshooting mode, I’m on that phone, at that desk or in the office of the person that needs me.
I’ve learned it’s the only way to get stuff done and be part of a team.
So to Rebecca: thank you.
“Fear and risk are vital components for personal and business development.”
I don’t usually tackle something this heavily emotional but today I read a post by Jacob Morgan on fear and risk which totally struck a chord with me.
And before you think I’m going off topic, this is absolutely tied to social media.
Talking about his own risks, Jacob says he one day he threw all his clothes in his car and moved from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
While I didn’t make an impulse decision, I made a big upheaval in my life in 2003 and emmigrated from the UK to Canada at the tender age of 29.
It was and remains my single most life changing event.
I fantasized about it at first telling myself there’s absolutely no way it would ever happen. But it did. I was more excited and scared than I’ve ever been. And it was by no means easy. In fact it was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done for so many reasons. Yes, there were times when I nearly gave up and headed back to Europe where I’d had a successful marketing and communications career and fabulous friends.
But I stayed. I knew I had to make this new life work because it’s not something you get a second chance at.
Thankfully things eventually fell into place.
I found meaningful work, a wonderful relationship (and my baby Sadie Shih Tzu).
This experience taught me many things which were put into words by Jacob Morgan’s post about the importance of fear and risk.
My dad always told me that the darkest part was just before the dawn. So I’ve tried to live my life knowing that when things are super hard, they can only get better.
Which brings me to social media.
About two years ago I ventured into a new job – I sort of morphed into the job and along with that came myriad new responsibilities and emotions. That job was web manager for the National Screen Institute – Canada (NSI). At the time I was discovering a whole new way of working in the form of Facebook, Twitter and blogging. Each required an element of risk on my part.
And, it seems, I wasn’t alone in my apprehension about being thrust into the online world. To manage social media effectively requires a lot of ‘self.’
There are folks I know who still struggle with the idea of a Facebook account (my mother: all this internet stuff is so anti-social.) Their fear comes from different places and sometimes has to do with feeling exposed or simply a lack of understanding.
So I’ve been ‘putting myself out there’ for a couple of years now and it’s become easier and easier.
Then in May 2009 my personal blog was hacked. You can’t get much more of scare than that – I felt violated and wondered who had access to my personal information.
After a couple of days I stopped feeling attacked and found the process of rebuilding my blog to be rather cathartic.
All this to say that for personal and business development you must take risks, put yourself out there, face your fears and even create your own challenges. It’s vital to your growth.
My favourite excerpt from Jacob Morgan’s post is a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt which every marketer should heed:
“You must do the things you think you cannot do.”
God I love the web design blog Boagworld.
I’m the chief blogger on my employer’s website so I read this post from Boagworld with great interest: 10 harsh truths about corporate blogging.
You can’t beat a straight talker and a big dose of common sense.
URL shortening service Tr.im has shut down.
This particularly pissed me off because I not only used Tr.im but found the service to be one of the best.
It’s also very sad to see such a young service die so soon.
VentureBeat has written an interesting piece reflecting on Tr.im’s demise: URL shortener Tr.im’s demise: Social web is house of cards
I was worried this might happen.
Just look at the restrictions put upon employees at ESPN, the NFL and the US Marines.
Is the end of freedom really coming because organisations are uncomfortable about all these conversations?
… social media will become one more tool in the marketing /pr / communications toolbox. An important tool, but basically one more channel to be “managed.” Official Twitterers will be designated and scripted.
There will be no Scobles starting unapproved blogs under the radar. A lot of the spontaneity and diversity will disappear.
The unfortunate thing is that the humanised content generated by brands on sites such as Facebook and Twitter are a big part of the appeal. But as Bowles writes, many organisations just aren’t ready for all that transparency.
But many folks are missing the point – all this chatter has been happening online for ages.
The difference now is that there are a number of popular websites where a lot of that chatter is sort of aggregated.
I’ve never understood this reluctance to be open and honest. Why do big brands feel the need to micro-manage everything they say? That’s a rhetorical question readers.
Paranoia is the culprit.
Micro-controlling messages only becomes essential when there’s bad news to manage. The fact is nothing is really what it appears to be. And brands can manage messages all they like but the truth will out – the salacious British tabloids are a case in point.
Celebrities far and wide try to control what we read about them but the gutter press (I use that term with affection) usually leak the gossip before an official statement is released.
So while some companies may gag their employees, word will always get around. That’s the beauty of the social web peoples.