Tough Decision

November 19, 2009 at 2:54 pm Leave a comment

Keeping the Racers Revved

I recently made a very tough decision, and though it’s been three weeks since I announced my resignation from my administrative position at Rocky Mt. Masters – a ski racing club that I’ve been helping to run for the last eight years – I’m still suffering from withdrawal. At the same time, my head and my heart feel clearer and lighter than they have in a long time.

Although I have thoroughly enjoyed my involvement with the ski team, I realized that I had allowed it to become too important to me. I wasn’t able to limit the time I spent on the details of keeping the organization running. As we all know, there are some projects that are never going to be complete; and, this is one of them. There are always going to be improvements and new things that can be done to make things run smoother and more efficiently. Subconsciously, I was always trying to plan for the unforeseen – to ensure that our events played like a finely-tuned instrument – a lofty goal, considering the varied cast of members, staff, venues and formats, and a relentless 24+ race schedule packed into the weekends of four consecutive months.

This may not sound like much to people who run big organizations or active households. But, it is quite a bit to add to an already full schedule of running a business and keeping up with the family. In fact, it was the imbalance of time and the realization that I was neglecting my business and my important relationships that forced my decision. Now that it’s done, though, I am looking forward with great anticipation.

Re-focused Energy

Anyone who knows me at all has heard me say, “I love to work!” So, put a job in front of me and watch me beam. But there is some danger in that. This isn’t the first time that I’ve kept my nose to the grindstone without looking up for so long that when I finally did, I barely recognized the landscape around me. This past summer (in ski racing terms that’s called the off-season) I did look up, though. My business pipeline had gone empty. My nieces and nephews who are now young teens with social lives, no longer needed babysitting. And, I recognized that my professional field – I’m a communications coach and consultant – was undergoing a revolutionary change. There was a new kid on the block. It’s called Social Media. Well, maybe it’s not THAT new – but it’s certainly gaining unprecedented interest and acceptance by everyone I work with. In fact, by almost everyone I know!

One morning in early May I was overcome with an uncontrollable urge to not be left in the dust. I had just put my skis in the rafters, my ski jacket in mothballs, and the ski rack on my car . . . well, I never did get around to taking that off . . . but let’s just pretend I did. The point is: I made a conscious decision to eliminate all feelings of obligation to the ski team, and answer the passion that was suddenly burning inside me. Then, I took the first step. I created a Facebook account.

I’m tempted to say, “The rest is history.” But that’s so cliché, and this seems anything but cliché to me. Some of the steps I took are documented in my blog and on the notes tab of my Facebook page (search 3D Communications), and can be seen on my website (which came about as a result of this whole adventure). The experience has been exhilarating and enlightening. Over the past seven months I’ve gone from euphoric to exasperated so many times within a span of a few hours, that I’ve gained a whole new respect for the phrase, “Don’t lose hope.” I know it sounds a bit dramatic, but we ARE talking about a passion here.

The whole thing took me by surprise. I went into the situation with great skepticism. Believe me, waves of doubt about the value, means and methods of social media still hit me at regular intervals. But I keep learning more (and “continuous learning” is one of my core values – so that’s helping to feed this frenzy). I’m learning about the how, the why, the when, and the who that has become “the what?” Social media. It’s infiltrated the lives of millions. (I can’t pass up the opportunity to spew a few facts that, these days, roll off my tongue like the saliva of Pavlov’s dogs. There are more than 300 million active users on Facebook. Twitter grew by 1,382% from Feb. ’08 to Feb. ’09. YouTube is the second most popular search engine – behind Google – and gets 300 million visitors a month.)

I know some people who are self-professed addicts. The resisters? A few have admitted to me that they’re feeling the pressure. They’re starting to feel like outsiders. A bit isolated. Left out. Ignored? Possibly. It doesn’t really seem fair, but unfortunately, people who defy this trend to get involved in the conversations and relationships that are developing on social networks may eventually find themselves cast out. Again, I’m sounding dramatic. But, in my defense, I’ve spent considerable time researching this phenomenon and the writing’s on “the wall.” (You Facebook people will get that.)

Loyalties Maintained

It was a tough decision to leave Masters. The truth be known though, I’m not completely leaving. I will still be at the races to cheer my friends on. And, before we get on the hill, I’ll help pass out bibs and point new racers toward the posted start list. But I’ll also be taking pictures and gathering “rich content,” all in the interest of my new passion: my social sites.

I will probably continue contributing to Masters, but it will be in my way, (the above work-in-progress may get posted on RMM’s website when it’s finished) reflecting my personal style and my purpose. It will still be part of my profession, but now in a way that supports me as much as I support it.

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Entry filed under: Learning, Productivity, Social Media. Tags: , , .

A Beholder’s View of the Art of Delegation My praises for For Immediate Release

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