Don’t Force Connection

You can’t force it.

Make sure you aren’t trying to light wet wood.

Either:

  • Spend time drying the wood so it can light [Support the people you have, provide air cover, etc.]
  • Find some dry wood to light. [Find new people, new places, new experiences, etc.]

Connection only happens when both sides want connection.

Don’t waste each others time.

Do What You Need to Do

No one cares.

No. The people around you don’t care, especially if the following is true:

  • You show up when they need you
  • Your contributions matter
  • You bring ideas to the table

If you are reliable, interested, and curious, people trust you. So when you have to disappear to get something done, they aren’t thinking about you.  They know you bring the goods.

If you earn trust, feel free to use it.

The only thing you can’t stop doing are the three things above.

 

Connect the Circles

We all know a ton of people

Google Plus, a social media service, has a concept called “circles.”

In them, you place people of a certain quality.  For example, your brother and sister go in the “family” circle. The people at your job  go into a “job” circle. So on and so forth.

You give each circle a particular update, share particular things and give priority.

When it first was created, I thought it was a genius idea because that is how my mind worked, compartmentalize and keep people in their circle.

It’s a good way to sort. Not everyone needs to know everything.

With that said, if you notice a connection that can happen from one circle to another, try to connect them. Bringing someone relevant to you, with the eyes of an outsider, can lead to great breakthroughs in their own work.

Maybe they know someone too? 

@GaryVee Led Me To Snapchat and I Realized Something

My natural inclination was to stay away for social media

For most of my life, I thought social media apps were time sinks (or wastes of time), where when I engaged, I felt like I didn’t connect with my greatest moments. Even worse, the social media stuff was boring.

If you look at my Instagram before 2016, it’s horrific. There is a ton of emptiness, and the pictures that do exist are a horrible snap shot of my life. It is a mix of me trying “artistic” shots and wondering why the app existed – and then it becomes nothing.

If you looked at my other social media outlets, it’s more of the same. There is no consistency, there is no story. In fact, instead of me reaching out and trying to connect, most of my posts are me being someone I am not.

Another part of the Dayjob

A photo posted by Adam Thomas (@thehonorableat) on


What does this even mean?

Changes…Changes…

In 2014, I read Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World, and I got introduced to Gary Vaynerchuk. At first, I thought, what a loud brash guy, but he was a Jets fan.

 I thought I understood the book, but it took almost a year for it to snap into focus.

What I didn’t see is that social is about connection. The apps don’t exist to show off my life, they are there to allow connection at scale.

But I still didn’t get this yet. It took some time, and I had to get obsessed.

So what did I do

Of course I went all in, signed up for his YouTube, and got into his other keynotes, mining for information.

I heard him talking about Snapchat, and raving about it. So like most people, I went ahead and gave it a spin.

I found it boring.

I realized the boring came because most people are awful at it.

All sunshine and rainbows

People use “the snap” for things that are better suited for other networks.

I don’t think Snapchat is for that. The value add that comes from Snapchat is impromptu connection.

It is connection, through the randomness of life. It is learning through doing. Snapchat wins for the content creator because it gives us a view on what you do, honestly, in bite sized chunks. The shortness of the snap, the chance that you might miss it, having double opt ins, all mean that you have to want the material, and you have to digest it.

This is the greatest move in gaining attention in the moment.

The best people I see using the service do so in a candid way. You put a piece of yourself out there, and it opens the door for honest conversation. It’s why when you answer a snap, you find the conversation going in a million places.  You get more from adding and getting than you do from subtracting and synthesising.

So, if you want a service that builds on you talking about your day, about connecting with important work, about getting to know people, Snapchat is your deal. It is a place for real insight.

Find me there , @thehonorableAT, and be ready for a message. I love interacting, and talking back 🙂

How Bold Is It to be Yourself; Fighting Self Doubt By Running Towards It

A sign of being on the right track is a huge ping of self doubt.

I remember recently, sitting at the computer, literally cursing at myself with each email I wrote. But before we get to that, lets talk about the price of being yourself, and what that delivers to you as a human being.

How bold is it to be yourself?

That pang of self doubt

It’s a scary thing. The moment you decide to break away from the comfortable, the things as they are, is the moment that guy starts making trouble for you.

The reason it is so bothersome is because since our youngest years, we’ve learned to not stand out, but to conform. We’ve learned horrible things like “be realistic” instead of listening to that internal rhythm.  We follow the group, not because of what we want to do, but because it’s safe.

Make no mistake, it takes a lot of confidence to walk into a place as yourself.  It also takes a lot of energy to tell other people who you are. Not the representative (the person sterilized by society, the one that fits in) but you, the person you are.

Cursing over emails

I found myself internally struggling. I sent a bunch of emails out, and with each one, I cursed out of frustration.  What kind of email was I sending? One that said  “Happy New Year”.

That wasn’t the part of the email that scared me. The part that scared me were the links to this blog that I sent. The biggest one was the end of 2015 post, one of my most personal. I bared a lot with that post, and it wasn’t a lot of great news in there.

If you wanted to hate me, I gave up some ammo.

The benefit

By being vulnerable, I found a lot of people felt safe enough to do the same in return. I appreciate their boldness.  Through being myself, I gained more connection, which I am learning, along with time, are the greatest currencies we have.

Now that I don’t have a regular 9-5, I don’t have a boss. What I do have, is that pang of self-doubt. I know if I am running towards it, and conquering it, there is a chance that I build a connection.

That connection always beats the cost.

 

Disconnect Challenge / FOMO

I have a challenge for you – disconnect

I want you to take the cell phone you have and do two things (if you are reading this on your cell, do it afterwards :-] )

  • Turn it on silent
  • Turn it over
  • and I want you to leave it there for 10 minutes.

Don’t look at your twitter, don’t look at your texts, don’t look at the latest score. Just sit there and enjoy the moment. Just disconnect.

Do you feel that, the urge, the need to look at the phone, and the idea of slipping and not getting to see the latest thing. That is Fear of Missing Out, and I think its one of the biggest sores on our technology.

Phone drain

The cellphone made us connected, connected in a way we haven’t been before.

There is always a price, and that connection cost us concentration and focus. We lost that focus and concentration and became addicts to that connection. The connection becomes all.

It becomes our happiness and our sadness, our fears and our bravery. Either way, it becomes our comfort, because it is the thing we know.

Comfort makes us lazy.

So 10 minutes?

The reason why I proposed 10 minutes is because 10 minutes is just long enough to get you antsy. It isn’t too short to not find it in your schedule, but ten minutes is long enough for you to really feel it. Just long enough for you to disconnect without missing anything.

It’s hard to find an excuse for 10 minutes, so in performing this challenge, any excuse gets magnified. Did you need to check twitter or was that text that important?

It is difficult and that’s scary

If you told me 10 years ago that the little thing in my pocket was going to create a habit, I would have laughed and said no way texting and calling is that interesting.

But here we are in 2016, attached to our phones, and its taking away our opportunities to connect to the world around us.  So, take 10 minutes and disconnect.

 

End of The Year! My Mega Post On What’s Happened and What Will Happen! 2015!!!!!

The end of the year

As we walk into a new calendar year, I want to take the time to lay out what went well, what happened unexpectedly, and what went wrong. Each of these things have a lesson in them, especially the failures, and documenting them helps not only me, but anyone who reads them know that there are lessons in anything.

The end of December is a great time to deal with clean slate thinking (since everyone else is) and work out what didn’t go well and what did go well over the last year. It was both exhilarating and painful to write this, but so is anything else that’s good.

What happened in 2015

I spent the last few days sitting over and thinking about the goals I set in 2015, and what they mean for me. Usually when I do this, I try to pull a bunch of notebooks out and crawl over the notes, hoping to find some nugget of wisdom to move into the next year, but having this blog, and forcing myself to go through that process every month, made me sharper in dealing with whats important and knowing what to write.

So, my process got better.  But what did I do that got better over the last year?

 

Expected

  • I expected to get more confident – I wasn’t confident. Over the last few years, I saw my confidence erode due to problems at work, an expanding waistline, and, dealing with some of the darker sides of comedy. So, I made a point to get confident again. It started with reading, then doing. Tools like online workshops meshed with networking events. Building my contact list and providing value to the people on it gave me more juice. By the end of 2015, I am starting to feel like the old me again, and I love it since my plans for 2016 involve me making a few scary leaps.
  • Better read – I worked myself into a good reader. I started the year as an “ok” reader, taking time to read when I could, but by the end of the year I got back to enjoying books. It’s become a bit of an addiction. The benefits are tremendous. 100 books later I feel like a better reader and a writer. I read so much I learned I had to change my strategy though, but more on that later.
  • Connecting more with family/friends – It felt like I didn’t talk to anyone in 2014, but now my relationships are in a great place. It started strangely, automating my texts to friends and family (sounds cold but it worked by forcing me into a conversation) and then  eventually spending more time.I made sure the time meant more too with no cell phone, no computer, no books. I put my attention on them.
  • Clutter – I started this year with a ton of stuff. Now I don’t have that stuff anymore. It’s nice to walk in my apartment and have room to move and nothing to clean up. I feel like my mind freed up.
  • Physical Appearance – It’s always interesting to see how things morph. At first I thought of ways to exercise, but I found out about coaching in February and took a chance. She walked me through and taught me a ton over the 6 weeks we worked together, and now I am the sharpest guy in the room most days. That gave me the confidence to lose weight (down 30 pounds this year) and work on the other parts of my appearance (Sharp haircut, shoes, etc)

Unexpected

  • The video blog  – I never thought about doing video until this year. I hated recording. Now, I am glad its out there. Its been a way for me to try to understand how I come across, and work to get better in a medium that is just getting more and more widespread.

  • My social media – I read Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World in 2014 and thought I understood it, but it took almost a year of thinking, and finally experimenting (because of this blog) to get the most out of the book.
  • This blog – Speaking of the blog, I knew I was going to write more in 2015, but to look at this now and see that I’ve done over 300 posts in a year amazes me. I’ve become a better writer, better at getting my ideas out, and better at delivering content. I can’t wait to see what lessons writing for over 350 will do for me next year. Better content begets better content.
  • Being a Godfather – I am the godfather  to a wonderful baby girl(Hi Skyler). Very important to me and a cherished honor, especially since my life was headed for calamity at the time of her birth.
  • Jury Duty – After having a period of crisis earlier in the year(A lot of flux and starting a bunch of scary experiments that turned into the wins above) I received a jury summons. It was the last thing I wanted. What I thought would be just an interesting experience to check out the courthouse for a day turned into 4 months away from work. I got to do a lot of thinking and reading during this period,and it changed my life for the better. An experience I recommend for everyone.

Losses

  • Job – For all my personal wins, my job suffered. I concluded that I didn’t want to deal with it anymore. My chance at delivering my best isn’t here, so 2016 is a year I venture into the new.
  • Submitting content – Where I was great at generating content, I was horrible at submitting it . I put out 1 guest post and ended up doing 1 writing packet. Number I won’t repeat in 2016.
  • Calendar – I didn’t give deference to my calendar. I learned how to deal with the tactics, but never invested in it emotionally.
  • Comedy – I didn’t do it nearly the amount I wanted to in 2015. There were pockets of working on it every day, and weeks where I didn’t see a stage.
  • Meditation – Like comedy, fits and spurts. The good news is, I could have said the same thing for the blog, and now its a pretty strong habit.

What will happen in 2016

The future is interesting because it isn’t set. If you would have told me that I would spend a quarter of my year in a courthouse last December I wouldn’t believe you. Life changes, and to try to plot it out in on big chunk isn’t the way to go.

Sadly, I did that in 2014, and I fear I missed something because our limited energy, and when we focus on something, we miss out on another thing.

So, its time to experiment, and go for something newer that gives me direction, while letting my mind roam. I am going for big themes and little milestones.

By doing it this way, I am going to learn a ton and make some mistakes, but the plan is to have my 2016 process get bigger. I spent 2015 looking at what was in front of me instead of the big picture planning that introduces huge reward.

Themes

Execution

My biggest failures are failures of execution. It’s also where I find the most opportunities. This year, some places I executed well (this blog) and some places I executed badly (brand expansion).  One of the things I want to focus on in 2016 is how to expand on executing not just for myself, but for the community around me.

Abstinence

Some of the greatest lessons come from cutting things away. I learned that in 2015. I want to expand on it in 2016.  What can I remove in my life, a physical or emotional object, that will let me know that everything is OK – that life goes on. I did it with my cell phone for a month and if I handled that, I know I can handle much more.

Education

I read over 100 books. This was great, but only a first step. I never plan on reading 100 books again. My plan going forward, is to pick a great choice of books that I read through last year, and study them fully. I did this on accident with Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World , but now I plan on doing it on purpose with several books I read this year. I will still take in a new book and read it, but I want to put my energy in the books that have the most to share, because often you don’t get everything out of it on the first read.

Communication

Communication was always scary to me. In my past,I dealt with a ton of shoot the messenger (i.e. getting in trouble for bringing bad news) so I learned how to avoid saying things. What I thought was a strength turned out as a weakness. Vulnerability is critical here, because often the reason I don’t make the first move is fear that the other person won’t like it.

Big Ideas

Around September this year I had a frightening observation. When I looked around me, I only saw what was in front, I never looked down the road. I rarely pursued my legacy.I am not going to repeat this mistake. Now its time to take a swing at big ideas, and I will keep up time to work on just that. Clean up time is over, now its time to bat for the win.

In Conclusion

This was a good year. I ended up fixing a lot of the problems I had. It led to huge development, not just in my self, but network and community.

I think the 5 themes for 2016 only help building those three things and in a year, I will be back here, revisiting how that worked, and how it makes me work. If you have any questions, please tweet me and lets discuss your goals and plans.