Posts tagged "Opportunity"

I Am Not Superman

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

Is Being Unreasonable A Good Strategy?

UnreasonableI was talking with a good friend last night about ‘the state of things.’  We tend to veer off into lofty conversations on issues that matter to us, and it’s often quite productive for me.  Last night was one of those nights.  While we talked, I remembered a program I ran across called the Unreasonable Institute – they are looking for 25 of the world’s most outrageous minds to encourage and enable to do great things.  The question that came to mind was – do we have to create things that are ‘unreasonable’ to get noticed or attract attention?  Has the status quo stifled our thinking to the point that we have to go far outside the norm to capture the imagination of our audience? I suspect this might indeed be the case.

It seems more and more non-traditional thinking is breaking through in all segments of society – in business, in government, in development, etc.  The fact that this is being celebrated is encouraging and reinforces that we’re actually in a very transformative period right now.

Last night as we talked about some of the opportunities on the horizon, I shared that I recently read a book my cousin Whitney gave me to check out called The City in 2050 published by the Urban Land Institute.  Pretty incredible stuff here – I highly recommend you read it if you are interested in urban planning, architecture, future development and related topics.  The book highlights some very thought provoking insights into a likely urban model for the future.

While we were talking, I Googled the initiative on my iPhone and jumped over to the ‘2050’ page to see how well they were connecting.  What I saw was an incredible opportunity to spread this message much further than it’s being spread right now.  The opportunity that jumped out at me was under the ‘Enter the Dialogue’ section.  If you click on the Creating Blueprints – Enter the dialogue link, it takes you to a page with a paragraph and an email address.  Most of us in the social media space would agree that an email link does not typically qualify for encouraging dialogue, thus the opportunity!  To be fair, ULI does have general links to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn from their home page.

Perhaps identifying initiatives like this one that are well established but lack a thorough engagement strategy and helping them connect with key audiences through social channels is a business model in and of itself.  Could working with ULI and other non-profits to help spread the word about initiatives that matter to the world without a pure profit motive be considered unreasonable?  I bet most people would say it is.  I wonder what the Unreasonable Institute would say?

What do you think?  Is being unreasonable a good strategy?  If so, what are some of the unreasonable ideas that you have for yourself or your business?  Do you find this kind of thinking is encouraged or discouraged in your organization?

By the way, if you are interested in applying to the Unreasonable Institute, you better hurry – the clock is ticking! 14 days and counting until applications are due.

Photo credit: iStockPhoto

Connecting…

RoadAheadThis is a new chapter for me, and I’m looking at the road ahead with much enthusiasm and optimism.  I decided to start fresh with a new site and blog and make a renewed commitment to be more active with my own writing.  In the midst of this shift, I dug back through some old entries from the past few years to see if I wanted to move them over and I decided some of the content is still relevant. Hopefully they may provide value to someone.  Maybe even to you.

Exposure

Julien Smith wrote a couple of weeks ago about ‘showing your neck‘ and I thought he had some amazing insights with his take on showing weakness in public. It’s a short post and if you have 2 minutes, I really encourage you to read it.   Essentially, in life, we are all humans. People.  We’re on this journey together, and the more we can connect with each other as people, the closer our bonds will become.  This has become increasingly clear to me, and I’m striving to keep the human side in my work and my writing as much as possible.   The point is that by being more authentic, including ‘showing your neck’ – i.e. owning up to weakness, flaws, etc., we are all able to relate to each other on a deeper level as humans.  A little neck every once in a while is good.  Thanks for that reminder @Julien.

I’m posting this and launching my new site before it’s ‘ready’ according to my typical standards.  Instead of waiting on everything to be just right and perfectly designed, I’m making the leap and showing a little neck.  Time is too valuable to waste waiting.

Working with Intention

I’m looking ahead at the way I approach business with intention and purpose.  The moves that I am making and the work I am seeking are intentional, or specifically due to their alignment with my core values and beliefs.  Aligning passion for life and passion for business is not a long shot – the opportunities are out there, and I believe we simply need to open ourselves up to them and allow them to manifest in our lives.  We really can create our reality.  Smart thinkers have been proving this for generations.  I’m making a personal commitment to listen  – not only to what’s going on out in the digital world and within my networks, but to listen to myself and to what my internal guidance system is telling me.  From this place I will be better able to make decisions with intention that will line up the opportunities to move me forward toward my goals.

Voice

For me, my voice is saying that being a part of and actively promoting a sustainable future is my calling.  The relationships that I’ve cultivated and those that I’m developing now are the building blocks for this future.  Working with sustainable buildings, products, programs, travel – these are all areas in which I’m passionate.  More than any point in my lifetime, these ideals are becoming accepted in mainstream culture.  The idea that we can and should do better has seeped into the thinking of some important leaders in businesses, governments, and other groups around the world. At the same time, we are all becoming much more willing and able to share information with our networks than ever before. In essence, we are expanding our collective voice.  This alignment of sustainable thinking and social channels is amplifying the message, which allows these innovative ideals to spread even faster.  Is there a better opportunity than right now to propel this movement?  I think not.

Even as I was writing this entry, I saw a really cool tweet pop up in my TweetDeck alerts – it caught my eye because it was referencing a TreeHugger article on Starbucks.  I stopped to check it out and it definitely had my head nodding.  The article was an interview with Tony Gale, Starbucks’ Corporate Architect – in it, he discusses the initiatives that Starbucks has in place to make their stores LEED certified, and other steps that they are taking to be good stewards and community partners.  This guy is doing great work – I can’t wait to meet him! Interestingly for me, it was just last week that a career opportunity working with the Starbucks social media team also popped up in my TweetDeck, which I jumped on right away.  One of the reasons I got so excited about the opportunity is because they are taking steps like this out in the community.  And of course, they are known as having a pretty bang-up social media program.  Seems like alignment at work to me.

Connecting

As I embark on this new chapter for myself, I encourage others to show a little neck from time to time.  We’ll all be much closer as a community if that happens.  If we haven’t connected yet – please check me out on Twitter at @brandon101.  That’s where I tend to spread most of my thoughts on business and social media.  If you’re looking to connect on a more personal level, we can connect on Facebook at facebook.com/brandonsutton.  My only request is that if we’ve never met in person or we’re only distantly affiliated, please include a short note in the friend request so I know the context.  I use Facebook differently than Twitter, and to help manage the volume of info, this is what works best for me.  Thanks in advance!

Calling

This is my call out to the world, with a little neck thrown in for good measure.  I’m looking to create and explore opportunities with people who share these ideals.  I’ve got a ton of energy and stamina around this, and I have an open mind about what comes my way.  It’s time to get to work, and I’m ready.  More than ever!

Does this resonate with you?  I would love to hear what you think.  Thanks for being here – I hope you like what you read.