If you are a business owner, a marketer, a concerned individual or all of the above it probably occurred to you that “community” is a buzz word that is generally misunderstood depending on where you stand.
Building a community is hard work. And, like any endeavor, without clear goals the chances of success are slim to none.
When defining a goal there are usually more questions than answers. What can easily be missed is in this process is the underlying intent behind the action.
Are you honest with yourself about why you want to build a community? Is it for money? Is it to satisfy your ego? Is it altruistic? Is it to amass power?
It can be all or none of the above.
Beyond understanding the building blocks needed to create a community (barrier to entry, influence, shared emotional values etc), it is important to be clear about your underlying motivation as well. Clarity of purpose (intent) and motivation will guide your every move going forward. Success will require following a predetermined road map along with enough gas in the tank to get you there. Intent and motivation provides the fuel needed to make the journey.
It’s a funny thing about human beings: we all perceive information differently and to a large degree will spin information so that it falls in line with existing beliefs (confirmation bias).
In “Blink” Malcolm Gladwell talks about our innate ability to determine truth from fiction based upon facial muscles, instinct, context etc. No longer is “do as I say, not as I do” a valid strategy. This falseness will be apparent to everyone. Like “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, let’s hope you are not the last to know.
Building a sustainable community requires being clear about your intent and motivation. The quickest way to discover that is to look inward with honesty. Your audience/community will then be able to determine if the value you offer warrants their attention. If they choose to participate it will because they perceive that membership is of higher value than the real or implied “barrier to entry”.
Is being “cool” a subjective term? For some, being cool is as attractive as a flame to a moth. For others it is something to be avoided. Whatever your opinion we all think of it as a “mysterious quality” that some people have and others don’t.
Don’t believe it. Being “cool” is a combination of three personality traits. And, regardless of your natural aptitudes your “coolness” can be nurtured and refined.
What makes somebody “cool”?
Having discipline, willpower and the ability to focus attention.
Like most patients I instantly feel more comfortable when my doctor comes into the exam room if I sense he is in control of his emotions, unflappable and can focus their attention on me, rather than the multitude of distractions available. In this instance being able to focus your attention really means being able to listen attentively.
Why is attentive listening “cool”?
Focusing your attention while listening is when the magic happens. Focused attention opens the door to making real and lasting connections. It is only after such a connection is made that you can be truly compassionate and empathetic. As the world continues to change at such a dramatic pace our attraction to authentic relationships will become more and more important. Great value can be derived by simply by listening well. Without even realizing it your “cool” factor will increase.
Why is discipline “cool”?
We all face difficult situations. Those who maintain their self-control usually manage to navigate through rough waters while those who react emotionally will have a more difficult time. The phrase: “cool under fire” comes to mind. Don’t we all prefer to be around people who seem unflappable?
Determination is defined as a “firm or fixed intention to achieve a desired end”. Why is Kobe Bryant, Michael Jackson or any other successful athlete or performer deemed “cool?” They have all used their willpower and determination to achieve their goals. We instinctively gravitate towards winners because at some level we want to share in and identify with their success.
And why is being “cool” so important?
We have reached a milestone as a culture. Almost without exception we have learned to spot a phony a mile away. We no longer will accept being sold a bill of goods.
Using social media effectively requires that you offer the reader something more than what you receive in return. What better than to offer them the chance to experience an authentic connection? Now that would really be “cool”!
Increasing your “cool” factor is not mysterious. It’s actually rather simple:
- Listen with focused attention (enabling authentic connections)
- Strive to be disciplined (staying on message)
- Never give up (pursuing your goals)
How will that change lives?
You will undoubtedly affect the lives of those around you. And, you may realize one day that you are, in fact, pretty cool!
“How Do I Deal With Deadline Pressure?”
Many moons ago when I first entered into the business I vividly remember being panic-stricken about coming up with ideas on demand. At the same time I knew that if I didn’t meet the deadline I might never get another opportunity. I lived in a constant state of fear and anxiety. I had stress for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
In hindsight I realize that the anxiousness was due in large part to the fact that I was completely undisciplined and unorganized about my time. I had no idea how to even approach the problem let alone deal with the situation effectively.
My mentor, Billy Byers, always used to say: “if you sit there long enough it will get done”. He was referring to the fact that most of us would rather be doing ANYTHING but sitting at a desk in a quiet room alone–for 12-16 hours a day. (remember- I started in the business prior to the advent of the PC). Needless to say I endured many, many sleepless nights.
Live TV has to be the most demanding job I can imagine. I would get an assignment on Tuesday for a show that would record on the following Monday and be on the air on Tuesday night. You have to be on your game because there is no time to do any rewrites. There was no time. And, if I didn’t deliver my reputation would read: doesn’t deliver on time meaning I was unreliable and no one would risk taking a chance on me. I couldn’t afford for that to happen.
What did I do?
I learned how to divide the number of score pages (or minutes if I was composing) into the days available to create a benchmark of how much I had to complete each day to stay on schedule. For example: I have 10 days to a session or deliver for a final mix. If I have 40 minutes of music to deliver that means I have to do 4 minutes a day to make my deadline. If it were an orchestration I would divide the number of days by the number of pages and then create an excel doc to keep track of all the details. I became a slave to my spreadsheet. I made a video about this that you can see on youtube.
The 15-Minute Deadline.
Back in the day I would write through the night to have music ready for pick up first thing in the morning. I would keep a small TV on my desk to keep me company and help remind me of the passage of time. I didn’t want to get “the stares”. Did you know that you can fall asleep with your eyes open? Many times the end credit music would wake me up on the hour.
When I really got stuck I would arbitrarily mark up the sketch into increments I felt I could accomplish in 15 minutes. That way I could kick myself in the butt if the alarm went off and I wasn’t keeping up.
I only used that in extreme cases. Whenever I had to do an all-nighter it proved to be very effective.
The point is this: to keep your sanity, maintain your health and relationships I strongly suggest learning how to be disciplined about how you spend your time. You can thank me later. 🙂
Coming up next: “Oh Great! I have to deliver on time AND BE BRILLIANT?”
“If you sit there long enough…it will get done”- words of my mentor that still rings in my head after all these years.
This was in the 70’s…fresh out of school.
As a young guy I wanted to light up the world and do everything. But, I was having difficulty focusing on the task at hand. My mind would wander as I sat in front of empty score pages…more often than not because I had no clue as to how to start, scared to death I would do something stupid and/or worse, embarass him.
Billy could sense my indecision as we would work together and would look over to me and at times be kind but as often frustrated with my lack of productivity. Deadlines don’t wait for the inexperienced. And in this business, if you miss a deadline you might as well pack up your things and go.
So the answer was to sit in the chair and, over time, train myself to focus. In the process I ended up becoming more disciplined about my work habits but at the beginning it was abject fear that kept me in that chair 12, 16, sometimes 20 hours a day.
In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “Outliers” he makes a pretty good case. In his words “the exceptional put in at least 20,000 hours of dedicated work into their craft”. The examples of this range from Bill Gates to Charlie Parker.
I have no idea how many hours I spent. I will say this: after about 5-6 years of concentrated effort the lightbulb went on and all of a sudden the world seemed different. I no longer had to struggle each time I put pen to paper…gone was the constant examination of all possible solutions to a musical problem. Yes, there have been times when I’ve struggled, we all do, the difference was I knew how to get to the end of the assignment.
So the thing to remember is that if you truly want to stand out and be exceptional, at anything, there is no shortcut. You have just have to sit there long enough….