The 7 year itch



Alas, it has been seven years
 since I began blogging.  It has been a learning curve of the creative, expressive kind.  That's okay since I'm a self-described "knowledge junkie".

I've had fans and cheerleaders, supporters and mentors to which I owe a lot.  They are patient with me.  Some read faithfully.  I know because although I rarely have comments, the readership spikes show on the stats.  

346,000 page views over 7 years
doesn't seem like that many when you consider the many blogs that exceed that in a day.  I will take what I can and I appreciate every single view counted.  I like to check what posts gain the most traction and it seems that when I blog about sales or business there is the most attraction.  You can see which ones are popular because I leverage the tools that Google's Blogspot affords me:  on sales.

It seems cool on the one hand that one of my blogs has gained a nice following.  Rewarding to see how others it resonates with.  In all cases, I write from experience to help others navigate the waters on sales and then some on social media.

In neither case do I propose that I am an expert.  For hardly can anyone acclaim expertise and shout it from the rooftop of posts, shares, retweets in order for it to become so.  Nor is my name noted on any list of experts on any one topic.  

If you look at the average person starting out on social media or blogging, it seems a daunting task to attract a few followers, never mind thousands.  I appreciate every single one.  Sincerely.  Heartfelt.

One reader or one page view is a celebration in itself.  If they return, then a happy dance should be done.  If I've helped one person think differently about sales, leadership or social media and improve results, then mission accomplished.

Depending on the perspective of who you are, you extrapolate opinion on the writer or the message.  Even if you don't have a compelling temptation to comment, if it crosses your sphere in a way that you want to share it, then that is a gift.

One of the things that I have done over the past seven years is continuously try new things, experiment, stretch my imagination or be inspired to share more.  

However, I don't have the luxury of writing or being a social media person online as a means of earning a living.  But it makes living worthwhile when what you write does help someone else gain a new perspective or try things a little differently.

I suppose on the one hand, I scaled back on writing about sales because I'm not actively working in the sales field.  Then I remind myself that social media is all about selling yourself,  every time, every click, every post.    Selling one's self is far more challenging than selling for an organization, a service, or a product.  Increased activity can smooth over gaps and improve results.  Unfortunately, I haven't always applied that theory to my own blogging.

I allowed myself to become scattered, or scatter what I write about under different umbrellas.  I've even gone so far as to create a website www.graFX.online which hardly appeases me since it isn't the finished product I foresee nor the resource I've imagined.

Sometimes it is far more difficult to examine one's own short-comings than it is to opine about someone else.  In the world of social media, having an opinion is a common ground that is either shared or ignored.

I've supported some pretty cool ventures by those whom I've connected virtually with over the years.  I've cheered on some great initiatives by others that seem to springboard them to success.  Not because of me.  Perhaps a few ideas percolated after our interactions, or new adventures sprung from sprinkled ideas, conversations, reading.  I'm amazed and proud of some of the great things that have happened to some pretty amazing people.  Not because of me, that is for sure.  Yet by our association, I lent witness to their climb to successfully reaching a pinnacle of their own doing.

I do hope that some of it has rubbed off on me.  Learning from others who try new things or stay on track, on message, while trying different approaches.

I scaled back on writing about sales most likely because I couldn't define the road I was on or where I wanted it to take me.  I couldn't see myself being where I've sat in the audience myself before, listening to a key note address at a conference, sales celebration, or networking event.  

Ironically, I could probably do it.  After all, I spent 10 years learning the trade of public speaking, testing myself, stretching my comfort zone.  

Maybe I haven't believed in myself enough, even though on paper denoting awards and recognition, the proof has been there.  I've chalked it up to not being pretty enough, or young enough to take a step in that direction.

Maybe I've expected a golden glow of a halo to surround me in a way that would attract the right person or company who would see some gift or talent that could be maximized, nurtured or expanded.  

Certainly, many women, particularly, freeze at attracting too much attention or wonder if any attention is a good thing.   

Being a wife, mother doesn't always springboard someone to traveling around the world and creating an identity that compels others to invite you to speak, teach or train others, or even give advice to help others travel the road less traveled.  

I for one can tell you that nothing happens over night.  I can almost take a step back and objectively ponder some of the better habits I formed in order to do well in sales.

I can safely say that I got turned off creating any label to myself that glimpse what I see others projects.  I see people who never had to cold call, set up seminars and talks on cold calling.  

The definitions in sales are sometimes subjective, often ambiguous and selective by those adopting best practices or paying to hear or read what someone else professes to be the holy grail in magically being able to transform their lives by becoming a sales superstar.

From my standpoint, the ones who become the best sales keynote speakers, are the best at selling themselves, not necessarily at sales.  Sure, you have to have a story to tell that sells others to think that mere moments with them will shed light on bypassing any self-limiting dialogue with themselves to becoming so confident in the story telling and the charisma to tell a story, transcends the optics of the claims being made.

I've seen someone whom I recruited into Toastmasters become a well spoken conveyor of sales wisdom.  A sticky name or created catch-phrase claimed as a new, amazing way to catapult past so many others if they just follow their path.  That person is able to sell themselves, put action to vision that so many others cannot.

I've seen someone else who really was placed in a plum assignment in sales, not by pure sales stamina or savvy, but by shear personality, cuteness, booming laughter, or a number of many characteristics we were attracted to on the elementary recess playground or the cool high school crowd.  Not necessarily, were they that then, they clearly climbed from the chaos of learning to the maturity of believing in themselves.

I've had some pretty amazing supporters and mentors in my 30 some years of working.  I can name drop some recognized people with skillful talent.  I've ridden on their coat tails or participated on the sidelines to cheer them on.

Sadly, most people find a lot of different sponsors, supporters as they climb the ladder.  More often, they then shed the ones from the bottom rung.  Being one of the left behinds is sometimes hurtful, unless you're the one who put the distance there yourself, whether by actions or decision.

Belief in one's self is a hard thing to do.  Most people take a lot of knocks.  The very best have more than most, can dust themselves off, learn from it, and move on to the next step.

One step forward, two steps back
is not always a bad thing.  The distance in the step forward can usually amount to a greater achievement than the two steps back.

We learn from our mistakes
or our mistakes burn us.  Out.  Pulling one's self out of the ashes of disappointment is no easy feat.  

Humility and humbleness
do not go hand in hand with confidence in a society based on the thermometer of wealth or acclaim.  People tend to want to hitch a ride on the rising star.  They are quick to jump ship as they smell pending failure.   Others prefer to disassociate themselves with anyone that may hold them back or slow them down.

Often perceived success
outweighs value.   Value is determined by philosophy and beliefs, often aligned by economic fruits.  

What can you do for me
seems to be more important than what can I do for you.  If you can give your time, your support, your skills, does not protect you from falling to the wayside to others that can provide value by means of boosting an ego or forking over money.

There are a number of things I've learned from these seven years on social media and writing about sales that carry the identical message:  you can't cut corners, there are no shortcuts, and quality takes time.

In sales as in life
you usually have to depend on your own stamina, ability to stay motivated, focused, and inspire yourself with the right messages.  

Nobody else will dust you off
or kick you in the pants to keep you moving forward.  Who you surround yourself with communicates a lot about how you see yourself as a person.  

These days I see myself lucky to have some fairly amazing people around me.  Some are family, some are friends, while others are almost strangers if it weren't a connection in a virtual world.

Perseverance, belief, continuing on
is only something you, yourself, can do.  Others can help with their support, their words, their cheer.  People have a tendency to evacuate when they see a storm on the horizon.  No less when you stop believing in yourself.

People like to cheer on winners
and stay clear of defeatist attitudes.  Sometimes low morals, low morality, unfolds and doesn't seem to inhibit the message or discredit the messenger.  

Accountability resides in your own head space
with reminders close by on which road you travel.  I've chosen to mostly travel with integrity, honesty and consistency.

That is why I was able to sell and achieve results.  Not by snazzy language or schemes to move around the basics.  Yes, I still see lots of that going on, outside of my control.  I have to be thankful that at least I have learned enough to identify such trespasses.  It isn't for me to identify or cry out when corners are cut or untruths help others to go farther.

I should at least have the wisdom to know that those who get by on lies or dishonesty, eventually get caught on to or caught up with.  It is a short and quick path.  Not usually long serving or life long.

I will continue to write and continue to experiment.  I will endeavor to be honest and to help others without any credit on my contribution.  That becomes frustrating and usually unrealized.    Regardless, I will continue to be proud of the ones I've helped along the way, and ignore whether I'm thanked or not.  That is part of growing and growing up.  Being accountable for one's own actions over preference to being recognized as a positive conduit that others have learned from.  

Eventually, the right results will speak for themselves.  As in sales, I did find out.  By working hard and keeping a mirror close for my own self-examination, rather than allowing others to diffuse my abilities in order to make themselves be better known, better recognized or considered more successful.  

I have to believe in what I am capable of and not allow what others may have done to me, deviously or innocently, to try to knock me down.

Some bounce back stronger than others.  Others are knocked a few more times than most.  Maintaining a fine balance of optimism, convictions, ethics is a far steeper path to follow.  Yet it can be far more rewarding.