I Am Not Superman

April 19, 2010

This is a post that is weeks in the making and one that has been pinging around in my head consistently as I’ve been going through some big changes.  Despite loving the REM song back in the 80s, I’m in fact NOT Superman.  This is hard for me to accept, but alas, it’s true.

I was reading Chris Brogan’s post a couple of weeks ago on Redrawing, and it really resonated with me.  I’ve never been able to wrap my head around how he has kept up with everything he has going on for this long.  My hat goes off to him not only for keeping all the balls in the air, but for realizing something needed to change and taking steps to make the situation workable for him.  A couple of days ago, Chris posted another entry about the importance of story in our lives.  Immediately I knew this was going to be an element of this blog entry.

Stacks Tower LoftI have been doing a bit of redrawing myself lately, and I have come to some pretty big decisions on what I want to get out of life, my career, etc.  The biggest of these decisions is that I’m selling my loft, which is the place I’ve lived for the past 8 years – the place I’ve lived the longest of anywhere except the house I grew up in.  You see, I have become attached to it and it’s been a large part of my persona, and for good reason – it’s a great space!  But what I realized is that the attachment to it was no longer healthy for me and I need to move on in order for the next chapter in my story to open up. This is huge for me, and I could not be more excited about this decision!

I have worked for the past 6 weeks on prepping the loft to put on the market, and if you know me, you probably wonder what I could have possibly been doing all this time because the loft has been pretty much ‘done’ for several years now.  But I’m a perfectionist, and I wanted to make things a certain way before I invite the next owner in.  After much thought and careful consideration, I decided that I was going to list and market the property on my own, without a real estate agent.  I came to this decision because I know that I’m the best person on the planet to tell the story of my loft and to truly give it the best push it can get.  I also figured this would be a good case study for my business, as it will give me a great example of using digital/social media to spread awareness and find the perfect buyer for the property.  There is no doubt in my mind that this is the best way to go, and it feels like it’s done already – all I have to do it let it unfold.  My long silence here is due to the immense work that has been occurring on that front, and the fact that I was advised that a strong push right out of the gate was the best option for generating buzz.  Now it’s out there, so I’m off to the races!

So, what does this have to do with being Superman?  For one thing, I have had to be gentle with myself during this process, because I have been going in a million directions all at once and trying to achieve big things on multiple fronts.  I wanted to believe I could do it all, but the truth is I am only one man and I have limits.  What I did realize however is that for me, it’s truly about being present and paying attention to the signals that I’m getting.  Sometimes I have to say ‘no’ to opportunities when they are not the right fit for me, and at the same time be willing to say ‘yes’ to others that might not seem proven or guaranteed.  I trust my heart more than ever before, and the work that I’m pursuing is truly the kind of work that I want to do moving forward.  I have been presented with some incredible opportunities to work with amazing people that are doing meaningful work in the world, and these connections are part of what is propelling me forward along my path.

I was talking to my good friend Lewis Perkins last week about being gentle with ourselves when we get frustrated that we haven’t accomplished everything we want in the time we think it should happen.  We came to the realization that for us, if we start doubting whether or not we are accomplishing anything of if we’re on the right path, we need to step back and look at the past 30 days.  This was a big realization for me.  I’m great at looking at a 24 hour period and beating myself up for not getting everything done that I wanted to get done.  But when I look back at a 30 day snapshot, It’s amazing the level of achievement!

Just in the past 30 days, I’ve done considerable work on my loft (installed additional lighting in 3 rooms, painted, cleaned, organized, installed shelving, developed a website, Facebook page and Twitter account for it, and 45 other things that I checked off the list I created), worked on a consulting assignment with an agency that resulted in another 4-week contract for April, connected with Lisa Dee at Vista Caballo, my newest client and all-around inspiration, and made several other client connections that I’m in the process of nurturing.  Also during that month, I helped my aunt and uncle move into their new house in SC, which involved two Uhaul trips and a lot of driving, and I participated in the Hunger Walk where my team exceeded its fund raising goal significantly.  So, while I would love to have everything ‘done’ on my list, the truth is that I’m making great progress and have achieved some fairly remarkable things.

We all have our dreams, our desires, and our life’s work, but it’s not always obvious what we should be doing about it.  For me, it has taken a lot of trial and error, but I believe I’ve come through the process with a sense of clarity of purpose that I didn’t have before.  I know that I can’t be all things to all people, but I realized that I can do my best with what I have to work with if I pay attention to the signs and stay present.

Lately, I’ve connected with some incredible people that are helping me realize that the story of our lives has so much more potential than we often realize, but we have to get still and be ‘present’ in order to make these connections count.  We don’t have to chase everything that appears in front of us, but we do need to pay attention to the signs along the way.  We don’t have to be Superman (or Wonder Woman if you like), but we just need to be our very best self.  For me, that means helping to develop community around shared interests and causes, while aligning relevant brands and organizations with these communities.  This is what I’m best at, so it’s what I’m doing.  Who’s with me?

Photo: My Loft at Sunset

14 Comments

  • Reply Tweets that mention I Am Not Superman | BrandonSutton.com – Embracing Community -- Topsy.com April 19, 2010 at 9:41 pm

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  • Reply Brandon101 April 20, 2010 at 4:58 am

    Thanks Ryan – I really appreciate the support! It's funny how so many of us are going through similar situations right now. Every day is full and then some, but this feels right and I'm going for it! I would love to catch up with you soon! How is next week looking for you? Shoot me a note and we'll get something on the calendar.Thanks again for the support!

  • Reply rwofford April 20, 2010 at 9:50 am

    Brandon, another great post to which I can directly relate! After seeing the listing yesterday, I was wondering if you were acting as your own agent. I can certainly empathize with the work you have put in and the work you have coming your way to get the property sold, as well as juggle all the rest of the challenges life throws at us.

    Again, I find myself in a similar place… still completely and overwhelmingly challenged by the new job, Adria & I are in the process of closing on our first place (which is completely stressful and time-consuming in and of itself), planning a wedding, dealing with friends and family, and I find that I want to give myself grief over all the things I'm not doing (like blogging more, for one).

    I think it's a great practice to take a 30-day look back over your shoulder as a gauge for what you have accomplished–finding the extra few minutes to make the list and pat yourself on the back for it can go a long way for your sanity and sense of self-achievement!

    Best of luck with selling the loft & let's catch up soon…

  • Reply jamiegordon April 20, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Brandon…great post. I think overachievers also tend to be their own worst enemies. some good advice i keep on a post-it on my desk is “do less better”. “patience” is also another one….that means patience with myself as well as others.

    We seem to be walking similar paths these days. I'm glad to see that introspection and sharing is something we have in common. I think too often we are scared to share our journey with others because acknowledging challenges can be viewed as weaknesses. I happen to believe it's a sign of great strength.

    I think you are an incredibly strong person and feel privileged to know you. 🙂
    Cheers to roller coasters that don't require theme-park tickets! 😉

  • Reply Brandon101 April 20, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Thanks so much for the thoughts Jamie! I absolutely relate to everything you said – especially about being willing to share our journey. That has been a big part of this blog since I re-launched the site back in November. I'm finding now that connections are forming that are perfectly inline with the vibration I'm sending out/operating on. It's exciting and invigorating at the same time!I want to talk with you soon about an idea I had for a gathering of sorts. I mentioned it to Jeff last week and we agreed that you would be a great person to speak with about it. Are you available for a quick call over the next few days? Oh, and there are 2 really amazing new coasters that just opened, so it's almost road trip time! ;)Thanks again!

  • Reply Brandon101 April 20, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Thanks Roger! I definitely feel resolved and driven by purpose. It's exciting to be creating the story of my life instead of reacting to the story that someone else dreamed up for me. It's a big shift and I'm loving every minute of it! Thanks again for the support – definitely glad we connected!Brandon

  • Reply rogerpisaneschi April 20, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    Brandon,

    Wow! Very profound! It sounds like you are resolved on how to move forward in your life while staying on purpose. Good for you. Too often it seams, people make choices based on what they think they “should do” or “where they think they should be” in life. As opposed to being thoughtful and intentional in the choices they make based on their purpose, and the story they either are in, or want to be in.
    Keep going Bro!

    Roger

  • Reply The Brand Sherpa April 20, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    Call me any time, sweetie…i am knee deep in research and will welcome the distraction.

  • Reply ja7 April 21, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    I just stumbled on this post. I admire you and don't even know who u r…maybe related to Superman at least:) Anyway, i was just inspired by reading these wonderful words. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and feelings and being passionate about many things including bringing community together. I am going to take a peek at what I have done in the last 30 days, and make it my own practice to make sure that I stay on top of being "proud" of myself…like I should be:)Sincerely,DJ

  • Reply Lewis April 23, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    Great post Brandon and oftentimes one of the hardest things to remember for those of us who live in the West and strive for perfection.

  • Reply Brandon101 April 24, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Thank you so much for the kind words, DJ! I'm always happy when my writing inspires others. I have been so fortunate to gather inspiration from some really incredible people that are doing amazing work in the world, and it's good to take a quick inventory from time to time to see how my work is progressing. I'm glad you were able to relate that to your life as well. Thanks for stopping by and reaching out! Hope you'll come back and check in again. 🙂

  • Reply Brandon101 April 24, 2010 at 8:16 am

    Thanks Lewis – it's definitely easy to get caught up in our stuff and think we can do it all. Sometimes we need to be still and let our intuition guide us to the next right thing.

  • Reply Brandon101 April 24, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Thank you so much for the kind words, DJ! I'm always happy when my writing inspires others. I have been so fortunate to gather inspiration from some really incredible people that are doing amazing work in the world, and it's good to take a quick inventory from time to time to see how my work is progressing. I'm glad you were able to relate that to your life as well. Thanks for stopping by and reaching out! Hope you'll come back and check in again. 🙂

  • Reply Brandon101 April 24, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Thanks Lewis – it's definitely easy to get caught up in our stuff and think we can do it all. Sometimes we need to be still and let our intuition guide us to the next right thing.

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