I was sitting in the audience at the The National Speakers Association annual meeting listening to Jay Baer, the author of the social media how-to guide, Youtility, talk about how to promote blogs. After hearing Jay list many of the things I’ve been doing with this blog for years, I elbowed my seat neighbor Scott Halford in the ribs and rolled my eyes.
“Now I’m really bummed about my blog,” I whispered.
“What are you bummed about?” Scott asked. “Your blog’s great.”
“That’s the problem,” I answered. “I’m not unhappy because my blog is bad. I’m unhappy because it’s good.”
Scott made a face that said I was crazy and turned back to listen to the speaker.
Although it’s been attributed to many different people, in her book A Return To Love, Marianne Williamson wrote:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’”
In his latest blog post Would They Burn Your Jersey?, Randy Gage wrote about LeBron James leaving Miami to return to Cleveland:
“If you want to be a thought leader, market leader, or change the world – you have to give up the need to be liked. Telling people what they want to hear makes you popular. Telling people what they need to hear makes you relevant, empowering, and significant.”
Relevant, empowering, and significant. THAT’S what I want my blog to be. Come to think of it, that’s what I want my professional advice to be.That’s what I want my parental advice to be. Hell, that’s what I want to be. Relevant, empowering, significant.
Looking at it through that lens it should be pretty easy to figure out what to write next, what to design next, what to do next. Being relevant, empowering, and significant means that the ideas that are shooting around through my head need to be creative and focused and delivered in such a way that they matter to others simply because they matter.
Being relevant, empowering, and significant means that social expediency has to take a back seat to real-world usefulness. It means we need to speak our truth even when covering it up might be the easier thing to do. It means we have to be willing to suffer the slings and arrows – literal AND figurative – that the others who don’t want to hear our message might fling our way.
Being relevant, empowering, and significant means that we have to strangle our circumspect misgivings, the ones that ask Williamson’s question, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?” and answer it with her second question, “Who (am I) NOT to be?”
Being relevant, empowering, and significant means we have to stand up and deliver what we know to be right – even when we’re not so sure that anyone wants to hear it. Because the alternative is unacceptable. Because the alternative trades momentary comfort for eternal uselessness. Because the alternative opens the door to the darkness.
Being relevant, empowering, and significant means that we have to accept the importance of what we do, think, and feel and move forward with the true conviction of belief even when we’re not entirely sure we are actually strong enough to believe in the first place.
Rebecca Staton-Reinstein introduced me to the Japanese psychiatrist Shoma Morita who entreated us to, “Know your purpose. Feel your feelings. Do what must be done.”
Morita, Baer, Williamson, Gage, and so many others are trying to show us the path to being relevant, empowering, and significant. All we have to do is take it.