Expression, Reinvention, and Transparency (or, A Rant for Being Honest)

Let it shine!

If you want to make an impact in the world, you have to express yourself. And the way you’ve expressed yourself so far has been good, in that it has gotten you to where you are now. But if you want to go beyond where you’ve come, you need to make a shift. And making a shift in how you express yourself is one of the toughest things to do. (Spinning plates, juggling knives, doing a back handspring? Child’s play.)

Expression isn’t about words, and it isn’t about style… even though these factor into it heavily. It’s easy to get into ruts with your language, your catch-phrases, your metaphors. Expression is about viewpoints. It’s about perspective. It’s tied fundamentally to the eyes through which you see the world around you, and all the filters between your brain and the world it’s trying to make sense of.

Try this: think about your business. Think about who you serve, and what you do for them. Write it down. Keep it simple. Got it?

Now, come at it from a completely different angle, and do it again. Try seeing it as you’ve never seen it before. (Go ahead, take a minute and do it. I’ll wait.)

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Dost Thou Twitter

Tweet tweet!
I’m twittering now… are you?

Love it or hate it, Twitter is a social phenomenon that deserves recognition. It may not be for you, and if you’ve tried it to find out, great. Enjoy the silence.

If you haven’t tried it, though, I’d recommend giving it a shot. It could just be the best thing you’ve ever found. Once you’ve had it demystified and myth-debunked, that is.

Update: I’m still Twittering, although less than I used to. Why? I think I’m still figuring out how to use it… although Havi’s post (look at that last link) has helped tremendously with my attitude towards the whole thing.

The Twitter community has also grown substantially, and there are some fantastic tools and resources out there in case you’re wanting to dip your toes in the pool. I heartily recommend TweetDeck as the best Twittering tool out there, and Darren Rowse’s TwiTip is an excellent site for picking up great twitter tips, especially for beginners.

Why You Should Speak Up… And, Stick Around

bad customer service usually results in a road trip

There is a saying in business: “If you are unhappy with someone’s service, ‘talk with your feet.'” Meaning, leave. They say that the window to please a customer these days is getting shorter and shorter.

But that’s a completely ridiculous course of action. (Not to mention, childish.)

The problem with this strategy is that a) you, as a patron, don’t get what you want, and b) the business doesn’t get what it wants. The business obviously wants happy customers, people to have a long-term relationship with and, ultimately, success.

But you want the same thing, right? You want whatever amazing benefit or solution you went to the company for in the first place. Say, for example, you went with a company because you liked the way they did things, i.e. you liked their service or you like their product, and while you were getting it, you were happy.

But then, they changed something. They changed the way they delivered the product, or they changed their logo or their colors (hey, I’ve known people who’ve jumped ship for smaller reasons!). Who knows what it was, but they made some change and you don’t like it.

And what is the typical response? Talk with your feet, right? You unsubscribe, leave, or just stop buying their product. Now, if you’re one of the rare few, maybe you give the company feedback before you leave, saying, “I don’t like this new change; I think you were better before.” But then, you’re gone.

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I Was Going To Write About SOBCon, but… Part Two

L-R: Kane, me, Cree, Garrett

L-R: Kane, me, Cree, Garrett

No exploding tires, no big catastrophe this time, don’t worry.

But I had it in mind to write a great review of what happened at SOBCon08, and then I thought—especially in light of all the great reviews being posted out there—would that really be helpful? Would it help you to hear about the things I did, the food I ate, the people I talked to, and the sights I saw on my trip to Chicago this month?

No, not really. It probably wouldn’t. (Other than to give you social proof that SOBCon is great, and you should really go next year if you’re even at all curious.)

So, what would benefit you?

  1. I had a great time. Now you can be happy for me (thanks).
  2. It was a great catalyst for a number of decisions I needed to make, and you’ll be hearing about the fruits of those decisions very, very soon.
  3. It reinforced for me the importance of friendship, community, and why it’s so great to go to events like this.

Because the information I heard was great, but it didn’t make as large an impact on me as when I went last year. At SOBCon07, I had been blogging about three weeks… so the information presented blew me away. Everything that anyone said was so helpful, so new, so eye-opening.
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I Was Going To Write About SOBCon, but…

gratitude is the key

This past weekend I attended SOBCon08 (the Successful and Outstanding Bloggers Conference) in Chicago, and today I had planned to write all about it. There were some fantastic messages shared, I made some great new friendships, lots of new connections, and had a blast with everyone I met.

Of course, writing about it was what I was going to do today, but… on the way home from dropping off my rental car, we had a tire blow up on the interstate. Knock on wood, we were fine, although the wheelwell got a bit ripped up when the tire’s tread flew off.

And, knock on wood, even though there were a bunch of cars around us, there were no collisions, no problems (except ours)… everyone was fine.

And, knock on wood, the tire actually still worked! The tread blew clear off, but the rest stayed on and inflated, so we could actually limp along in the shoulder until the next off-ramp. (And no, it wasn’t a retreaded tire… the guy at the tire shop said that what happened really shouldn’t have happened. But, of course, it did, so it just goes to show that improbable things actually happen all the time, just in case those of you out there with 100% normal lives were wondering.)

And, amazingly, we were able to drive on the busted-up tire all the way into the next town (over 10 miles), and then into the next town—ours—without incident. Why so far? There’s only one tire place on the way, and they didn’t have one in our size (it’s a truck tire shop, primarily). The shredded tire held its air for one last journey, and we made it all the way to Bob’s Tire Service

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