March 25, 2015

What Do You Know?



The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.  - Isaac Asimov

Gertrude Glace, a woman dear to me, who lived to see 100 years used to say, “If you live long enough you’re going to get old!” I’m finding out she knew of which she spoke.

I’m also finding out that if we live long enough, we will pass through and survive enough that we too will come to “know” a few things. That’s certainly been the case for me. 

I thought l share a few of the things I’ve come to know in hope of inspiring you to take an inventory of your own “knowings.” The great thing about knowings is they’re the mistakes we don’t need to keep making over and over - we’ve finally messed up enough to have figured them out once and for all! So in no particular order here are mine:

I know that no amount schooling, formal or informal, will ever give you wisdom.

It will give you knowledge to be sure. Wisdom however, comes from experience. It comes from trying and succeeding and even more from trying and failing. It comes from “seeing for yourself” and that takes time. You can’t buy, sell, or borrow experience. Experience is how we internalize knowledge in a way that makes it meaningful and gives it relevance. 

It also does no good to try to impart wisdom on someone else. It’s like that awkward moment at the end of a story where your audience gives you a forced chuckle and smiles nervously while saying “I guess you had to be there.” That’s just it!  We all have to “be there” to really get it. There have been some experiences in my life that I hope no one will ever understand - because it would require them  to “have been there”  

There are other things - joy, conviction, and communion with wisdom outside myself, that I’d love to share but can’t. It remains locked inside a life lived and moments experienced and belongs, for better or worse, only to me. 


I know that the walls we build around our hearts, end up hurting us more than they protect us. 

Walls aren’t selective. They can block out hurt, but they also block out love and joy. Love can be painful. Sometimes the people we love break our hearts into tiny shards - and then we recover. We share an imperfect world with imperfect people, while being imperfect. Those are the rules like it or not. 

Sometimes pain is inflicted on us. At other times we inflict pain - sometimes intentionally and at others without intending to. Something as simple as personal preferences can cause another to feel hurt. There are some things that just hurt - there’s no way around it, but there is no heartache that hurts more or lasts longer than the aching heart, hungering for the love it refuses to let in.


I know that I don’t know everything.



(Please do share this with my parents. I had them convinced otherwise at 16.) I know that if I live to be 200, I still won’t know everything. How exciting is that?? 

Every day there is something wonderful to discover and others to observe as they’re making discoveries of their own. I’ve even given up pretending I know everything (despite what my husband may say to the contrary!) How would it be if everyone did?


I know that people are more alike than they are different. 

We all need love, respect, to feel valued and validated. If we lead with these assumptions, we may get disappointed from time to time. I’m willing to take that risk. Love first, ask questions later. I’ve made that my personal policy because I like myself better that way.


I know it's a really bad idea to open a tube of crazy glue with your mouth. 



It's amazing what a tight bond it creates between your upper teeth and your top lip! Enough said.


I know that cat's jumping off mantles do not want to be caught. 

I have proof and for a quarter you can see the scars.

Each life is a treasure chest filled with nuggets of wisdom. Open yours. Sort through it. Share what you can and sacredly savor the rest. Each nugget is priceless. Gathering them is why we’re here. Live your life in a way that allows you time to notice them sprinkled along your path.

I'd love for you to hear about the nuggets you've gathered! Caring is sharing! 

Photo Credit: Viktoriya Chrusena

March 19, 2015

The Heart That Bullying Built





When people hurt you over and over, think of them like sand paper; They may scratch and hurt you a bit, but in the end, you end up polished and they end up useless.  
- Chris Colfer


I'm not sure anyone gets through life without feeling intimidated, pushed around, threatened, or abused in varying degrees. Living in an imperfect world as we do and sharing it with imperfect people while being imperfect ourselves pretty much guarantees we'll all get our chance to try it out. Regrettably, some experience it with greater regularity and cruelty than others and will be affected more deeply as a result.

I have been subjected to bullying and I won't pretend it doesn't leave marks.


People who are hurt, hurt people and we live in a world where so many people are hurting.

This in no way excuses anyone from acting hatefully toward others. It can be extremely damaging if we don't find a way not to define ourselves by the cruel actions of others.

I wasn't born a duck so things don't naturally roll off my back. The ground I've gained hasn't come easily but it has come deliberately so what I share today comes after having paid my dues.

If you have been or are now being bullied, I hope you also find a way to free yourself from your oppressor - even if that means finally letting go of something that happened years ago. We're still captive as long as we're tied to them by unforgiveness or resentment. All negative energy we feel belongs only to us. Often the bully has long since forgotten their actions and can't image we haven't too. 

In many cases, we're only hurt once or twice by a bully, but we continue to tear open the wounds when we replay the scenes over and over in our minds. Healing means walking away from our victimology and claiming our birthrights as people of inherent value.

I've chosen not to share details of my experiences. To do so gives them energy that I've long since reclaimed and publishing them here offers no benefit to you. What I would like to share with you are the rich blessings that were born of those "terrible at the time" experiences. My life has been changed forever by them and thank goodness!

Here's a list of what I've gained:

UNDERSTANDING:  I'd never have understood the feelings of others who had endured cruelty without having shared the experience. All I would have had to offer is an empty "I can imagine it must be hard" instead of "I know just how you feel, and it will all work out to your advantage." 

MY VOICE: As a result of being bullied I have found my strong voice and learned that I am more than the labels anyone assigns to me.

PERSPECTIVE: I used to believe that everyone thinks just like me!  Naive huh? In reality we each filter our feelings through our experiences. How can I know the muck a bully has to filter through?

EXAMPLE: I learned how NOT to treat people! Though it's the same lesson my parents taught - "How would you like it if...?" - now I KNOW how I would like it. I no longer have to imagine. I may never have fully understood the pain that thoughtless and hurtful words can inflict.

COURAGE: I gained the courage to stand up for myself and look at myself through my own eyes, and the courage to be OK with what I see.

PATIENCE: I've learned that not all wounds are visible and it's taught me to give people the benefit of the doubt.

COMPASSION: Both for those who are bullied and also those who feel the need to act out their own pain.

RESILIENCE: Resilience only comes from what we overcome and can't be bought cheaply. Adversity's not a fun teacher but it sure is a good one!

PEACE: I've made peace (for the most part) with the past. There may always be echos but they're much fainter now and harder to hear and they have less power over me as time goes on.

I've developed a personal philosophy that's helped me overcome a lot of unfortunate experiences. I call it the "worse things" philosophy. It goes like this: There are worse things than being bullied - and one of them is needing to be a bully.

I find I can insert almost anything into the "worse things" mantra and come out feeling happier to be me than the other guy. Try it! You might find it helpful too!

March 14, 2015

Has The World Gone Crazy?




The only real conflict you will ever have in your life won’t be with others, but with yourself.  - Shannon L. Alder

Has the whole world gone crazy and I missed it?

I honestly can't remember how or when we stopped being responsible for our own feelings and emotions - but apparently there's been a huge shift in policy!

When my children were young, they'd take turns coming to me saying things like: "So and so called me a such and such!" I'd calmly ask them "Are you a such and such?" They'd whine back "Noooo...but..." 

I'd ask, "Well then, what does it matter what they call you? If they called you a horned toad, would you suddenly grow horns and crawl around on the ground?" Usually at that point there would be a little giggle with the whine in their next "No!"

I'd follow up with, "If they called you a cow, would you give milk?" At that point, seeing the silliness of their plight, the offended party would give up their righteous indignation and move on to find a bigger fish to fry.



WHY CAN'T WE ADULTS DO THE SAME THING? 

Why have we become so consumed with what other people say and do - often even without ill intent?  Why do we feel the need to do something about what other people say? Entire news cast are devoted to "catching" people saying something deemed by someone to be offensive. It's never been possible to compel civility before. Why do we believe it is now? 


Nobody has the right to not be offended. That right doesn't exist in any declaration I have ever read. If you are offended it is your problem, and frankly lots of things offend lots of people. - Salman Rushdie

 

Why has it become incumbent upon others to manage how we feel? Why do we want to give up that much control? Once we relegate our feelings we won't need to worry about the world someday being run by machines.

WE BECOME THOSE MACHINES!  

We can't legislate or force decency. Character is an inside job. There is no way to stop a person who's hell bent on being offensive so why expend so much energy trying?

There are also those people who can lift a rock and be offended by what they find under it. 


 Some people take offense like it's a limited time offer. 
 - Tim Fargo


When we find ourselves offended it's a good indicator that we're focusing only on ourselves - and that's great if we're asking ourselves important questions like:  Are our own lives being lived so completely beyond reproach as to never be offensive to another? Have we personally evolved past saying or doing offensive things from time to time - with or without ill intent. 


 When you open your mouth, listeners are offended.  When you close your mouth, the expectant are offended.  If a person seeks misdoing from you they will find it regardless of whether or not you deliver.  
- Richelle E. Goodrich


Are we expecting more mercy for our transgressions than we are willing to give others? Are we looking for reasons to justify our anger or resentment toward things we feel powerless over? Are we asking ourselves what does it say about ME when I feel so offended by a particular act or comment.

"Haters gonna hate." That's the long and short of it. How does our hating of their hating do anything other than add to the hating?

 
 Anything designed to be inoffensive isn't worth your time -- life itself is pretty offensive, ending as it does with death.  - Holly Lisle

Being offended is only ONE of many possible responses to a real or perceived offense. There are all kinds of ways however not to be offended. A great way is to busy ourselves with frying bigger fish! There are so many BIG fish that need frying! As long as a single person is still going to bed hungry we should be frying fish. As long as children aren't safe fish should be sizzling like crazy! As long as women - or anyone else for that matter - are being abused and denied their basic rights as human beings, there should be a huge fish fry that circles the globe and everyone should be invited!



  The moment you say that any idea system is sacred, whether it’s a religious belief system or a secular ideology, the moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible.
 - Salman Rushdie


Having someone hurl offensive remarks at us is outside of our control. Being offended however is a choice. Deciding to allocate time and energy to those offensive remarks is a vote to give energy to them - precious energy that could be going  better places!



It's now very common to hear people say, 'I'm rather offended by that." as if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more... than a whine. 

- Stephen Fry



What could happen if we spent less time concerned with political correctness and more time working for social correctness? Is monitoring political correctness giving us the feeling that we're actually doing something to change the world? Is it allowing us to justify ignoring the need to attend to other issues?

We can only be hurt once by what someone says or does but can hurt ourselves endlessly by choosing to dwell on it.

Instead of reverting back to our childhoods and running to our mommies and daddies crying "Someone called me a such and such!" why not ask ourselves: "Are we a such and such?" or "If so and so calls us a horned toads will we grow horns and crawl on the ground?" or "If they call us a cow, will we give milk?" If we can answer "No" to all of those questions, how much more energy does the name calling deserve? 

If we can't answer no to the "Are you a such and such?" question, then maybe that's another fish that could use a good frying!

PHOTO CREDIT: Original Artwork by Sarah Kopp

March 11, 2015

Imagine


  You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope some day you'll join us, and the world live as one. - John Lennon





Love first. Ask questions later. What kind of world could it be if that were the prevailing mindset? What radical changes would take place?
What could happen if complete strangers could meet each other with the understanding that, beneath our various presentations, we all start with the same basic needs and wants? How would it level the playing field to give each other the benefit of the doubt instead of seeing through our acquired filters of suspicion and fear?


Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can...



What if it were possible to give up the idea of me and mine and see things in terms of us and ours? Would we observe, conserve, preserve? Would it lead us to serve without worrying about what we deserve?

Would we be more generous? More willing? More available. Would there be less prescriptions written for anti-depressants? Would the prison system collapse? How many fewer people would go to bed hungry? Cold? 

Would hopelessness and loneliness become the things people wrote fictitious stories about? Would they be the modern day equivalent of "monsters?"



   ...No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man...




How long would it take to see the end of bullying, abuse, and the need to control? Would greed whither if we felt connected more to each other than to our stuff? Would envy pass away as we realized that we're all supposed to have different talents to make us interdependent - unique pieces of a grand puzzle that when fit together create a matchless masterpiece?


Looking at the world today this may sound like some crazy utopian fantasy. Maybe it is. Maybe however we can make it true - one heart at a time.

Here's the rub. Someone has to start. Someone has to be willing to love first and ask questions later. Someone has to risk - put themselves out there - take the chance of being rebuffed. No one's ever died from rebuffing, but you'd think it was lethal the way we avoid it - even at the cost of ignoring our deepest need to feel connected to each other. 


 Imagine all the people, sharing all the world...

 
 What if labels, instead of saying MADE IN THE USA or CHINA or INDONESIA, said:



MADE ON EARTH BY HUMAN BEINGS


Because that's the truth. The divisions, the separations, the yours and mine, the them and us, - those are the lies. 
It's not the truth that keeps us feeling isolated and alone. It's the lies. It's the illusion of separation and disconnection that keeps us separated and disconnected. 

WE ARE ALL PEOPLE!

People who bleed the same color, who love, who hurt, who strive, who win some, lose some and watch as some get rained out. We dream, realize some of those dreams and see others go up in smoke. We hope for better while dealing with the worst. We get sick, get well and most importantly ALL PAY TAXES!  

We may not see this in our life time, but how would it be to die knowing that we cast our stone into the pond that sent out these kinds of ripples? Hate is a learned trait. It has to be taught. What if we decided not to teach it? What if we chose to teach love and compassion instead? How many generations do you think it would take before people forgot how to hate? Wouldn't it be awesome to find out? 
 
You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope some day you'll join us, and
the world will live as one.  



Let's be the ones who go first - the ones who extend mercy before it's deserved, because if it has to be deserved it isn't really mercy. Let's take the risk - fly in the face of convention and refuse to be counted among the haters. 



Love first. Ask questions later. Do we dare? 

PHOTO CREDIT: Original Artwork by Sarah Kopp

March 2, 2015

What The World Needs Now...






Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle. - Plato

I've been blogging my brains out now for a tinge over a year and a most curious thing has happened recently. I've seen an exponential surge in my blog traffic, comments left, and conversations being started. Why? There can only be one answer. The topics of my recent blog posts, in one aspect or another, have touched on the topic of LOVE.

I don't believe in accidents or co-incidents so it's obvious that love is a theme that hits a universal nerve and sparks interest. It hasn't mattered one wit whether the topic is romantic love, a touching love story, or the need for more love for our fellow beings. They all command attention.

Recently, if you follow my blog, you'll know I was involved in project called #1000Speak where I joined with other bloggers from around the world to send out a call and highlight the need for compassion.  The number of times that post was read far outnumbered even my most popular posts by a HUGE margin! What's the message here?

It seems pretty clear that we're living in an era that is crying for compassion. Our world is changing - drastically. Social "media" is replacing social interaction and while it's bringing us closer together in many ways, it's also insulating us from "real" life. 

We can paint a pretty picture and post our most effervescent smiles while dying on the inside and no one is the wiser. Our families can be fall apart, our health fail, and our demons be dancing around the campfire of our minds completely without notice as we hide behind our facades. 

With our best foot perpetually forward, we get to pretend we live the lives we write about and garner the envy of our friends with retouched photos taken on our thinnest days and make believe we look anything like them - BUT TO WHAT END?

Even when the occasional person does post of trials and tribulations, we're off the hook quickly by clicking "like" or posting a quick "hope it gets better soon" and can go on with our lives basking in the warm glow - almost as though we've actually done something!

Meanwhile, our world is starving for love! Children are starving for their parents' attention as their parents are starving to be noticed, "liked", or "followed" by complete strangers. We monitor our social media score hoping it will be enough to fill the abyss of lack we feel from other sources - real sources.

We need to wake up and see that we're being led away from the central theme here. We aren't all separate from one another. We're all connected in a daily-growing-broader disconnect.

We need each other. The real each others - not the counterfeit each others that hide behind shiny screens and forced smiles.

We need to FEEL something, and have our somethings felt as well. 

We see our world falling prey to extremists who draw away our disenchanted children to help them act out their hate and wonder why. We scratch our heads and ponder how to defeat this growing evil and come up empty along with the politicians we task with the responsibility for handling it for us. 

This is not a war that will be won on any battlefield. It won't be the guns, the bombs, or the well planned strategies. Fire isn't really fought with fire - it's fought with water and hate cannot be defeated by throwing gas on the blaze.

This war will only be won in the hearts and souls of the ones who lit the match and tossed it on the tinder - US.


To stamp out hate in our world we must first stamp it out in our own hearts. We must give up judgement for understanding. We must refuse to remain ignorant to the trials of those around us. We have to open our eyes and see the truth that surrounds us - the beauty and ugliness of it.


We must find it in ourselves to begin with kindness, seek first to understand before demanding to be understood, and listen before we decide.


It is within each of us to change this. We can all start today to make small changes. We can make it a point to be present with those who are really present.


We can look up - away from screens - and actually see the faces of the people that surround us. Look into their eyes. That's where their stories are written - and we can only read them if we're willing to see them. 


We can begin to appreciate those around us who perform services for us - the check out people who stand on their feet all day so we can take our food home. The teachers who devote countless unpaid hours for the benefit of our children.


There are empty souls all around us that we can fill with gratitude, appreciation and compassion. The power to care is inside each of us. Let's not let it die, withered and unpicked on the vine. 


I can't express how deeply and passionately I believe that instead of looking for the answers, it is laid upon each of us to become the answers.


If we're to change the direction our world is headed, this is our best hope. No. Our only hope.


How will we respond? Might I suggest that we start today, in the very places where we are,
to reconnect with our humanity? I want to publish your experiences here to encourage a wave that will fill the earth.

Who's with me?

March 1, 2015

SPARKS: Moments of Creation Vol.11


Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much 
-Helen Keller



Welcome to the March edition of SPARKS, where we explore how ideas become dreams and dreams become reality. We have a double treat for this issue!

This month's guests have each been featured here before individually to share their stories (and you can read them here and here.) but I've invited them back together because together, they've created a third compelling adventure.

Something that holds particular interest for me is how much better we all become when we collaborate. It's as though combining ideas creates new inspiration that didn't exist singularly and elevates everything we do. I believe that "co" anything means a better everything and our featured guests today accomplished an amazing feat of collaboration. To share that let me re-introduce

TED COINE and MARK BABBITT

Imagine meeting someone on a social media site,and over time building a close friendship. Then imagine that although you live in different parts of the country, you decide to co-author a book. Well these two men didn't just imagine it, they've done it! Add to this that the book is outstanding and has been a huge success and there was no end to the questions I had about the process. Painfully, I've limited those questions to just a few, so let's dive in and hear from them about how they did it.


How do two guys, living in different places, who've never even met face to face, decide to co-author a book?


TED: That’s a great question – yes, this constantly surprises the people we speak to, but to us, collaborating long distance is just how it’s done. With all the cheap or even free technology available out there, it surprises me that so many companies still have offices, and still require some of their workforce to show up at them. That’s so last century isn’t it? So… Industrial Age?

The way it happened is that I had a book outline and a publisher’s contract, and I wasn’t writing it! I finally realized I needed a co-author, so I asked Mark who he might recommend. Mark said, “You know, I’d like to do it myself!” He knew all about the book’s theme – all the ways that social has so radically transformed how we lead our businesses – and he had plenty of insight on this topic as well. You see, we were both coming at this same topic from different perspectives: him from the career space and the intern world, and me working with the C-suite and business owners.

We had met face to face many times working together on Switch and Shift but it was all virtual, by Skype and hangouts. That isn’t as good as actually being in the same room – what a difference it made when we finally “met,” almost a year into researching and writing together! But consider this: He was in Tahoe, and then Seattle. I live in Naples, Florida. If we’d let geography limit the talent pool of prospective co-authors, that talent wouldn’t have been the two very best people for this book. (I’m not saying for any book, of course! Just for our book). 




MARK: Great answer! I’ll just add this: the distance between us was never, ever a consideration. We were both veterans of working virtually. We were both used to collaborating digitally. We both knew the material. We just jumped in! And then, as Ted says, when we finally met face-to-face, it just solidified the work and the mission.


How did it work logistically? How did you decide who would write what? etc.

MARK: The simplest way to put it is we each focused on our area of expertise in writing up the first draft, then relied on each other to make that draft better and better. We had an outline, of course, for the entire book and for each chapter. And then one of us would start writing.



The best part? By the time we  were done with the research, collaboration – and even testing each other’s logic – the chapters were seamless. It is quite difficult to tell, in most cases, who wrote the first draft on any given chapter!

TED: We outlined the chapters we’d need and what order we’d put them in ahead of time – you don’t just wing a non-fiction book, especially something with the scope of "a whole new age of business." That would quickly have become a mess.

Having said that, we moved stuff a lot as the work progressed. For instance, I thought Section 2 was too confrontational to do more than hide with an apology at the back of the book. Mark read my first draft of Chapter 7, The Death of Large, and I’m delighted to say he thought that section should go at the very front. He convinced me, but then our publisher strongly disagreed with us. So this whole section, three chapters, wandered around the manuscript looking for a home, almost like a tug of war.

In general, though, you got it right: one of us would start a chapter, just to get it started. In Section 2, that was me; with Chapter 4, The Evolution of Social Recruiting, that is Mark’s area of expertise, so he led. But that was just to get a given chapter started. By now, and I say this with no measure of hyperbole, I’ll read over a page and I won’t be able to identify who wrote most sentences. We’ve tweaked them so many times, and our numerous editors did as well, that A World Gone Social truly is a product of collaboration.


What challenges did you face? How did you work them out?

TED:
The biggest challenge was, we were trying to run two companies! Unless you’re Stephen King, a book advance isn’t going to be big enough to feed your family for a few years while you do research and write. We had to make time in between all the other important things already on our plates – not least of which is family. We both have young kids, and we hope for at least a modicum of face time with them, looming deadline or not.

Another problem with a topic like social, is that it’s a moving target. We put plenty of things in the book that were happening while we wrote. We also had to remove some things that had grown old by the time we finished. Fortunately for us this is a book of trends and principles, rather than here-today-irrelevant-tomorrow tactical advice, so it could have been much, much worse!




MARK: I think we can both admit that another challenge was that we “think” differently. Granted, we eventually come to the same conclusion about 99 percent of the time, but because Ted is very creative and I basically come with an engineer’s approach to writing, it sometimes took us a while to get on the same page (since this is a book, literally!)

Ultimately, our different styles complimented each other well. We challenged each other; we even butted heads occasionally. But in the end, there is no doubt: the finished book is something neither one of us could have done on our own – at least not within the established deadlines and while maintaining our business and family responsibilities.



How often were you in contact during the process? Looking back, would you recommend more or less communication?


MARK: Looking back, it seems we never had a firm process for communication; no set schedule – and no undue pressure (pressure, yes! Undue pressure… no!).

We pushed each other to get the drafts and edits done, of course. But that could come in any number of ways: email, phone, IM, Skype, and whatever else worked best at that moment. Text was also a nice bridge between Florida and the west coast; I'd often start my day with a text from Ted saying, “Get any sleep?”

TED: We emailed back and forth throughout the day, pretty much every day (especially in the crunch time of the last 3 months). We spoke on Skype or hangouts often, at least a couple of times a week. And of course if anything couldn’t wait, we just called each other. If we pick up, we’re available. If not, we’ll call back. The communication wasn’t that tricky for us. More or less? I recommend you communicate exactly as much as need be to create a manuscript you can be proud of. You can’t limit that kind of thing and still pull it off; you also need to respect each other as professionals with other commitments.


What did you learn about yourselves? Each other?

TED: One thing I realized about myself – and I’m surprised it took me till 47 to learn it – is that I really thrive under pressure. I actually enjoyed the process more and more the closer we got to our publisher’s drop-dead date. Then, when we passed it and were really under the gun? Man was that fun! Poor Mark did not prosper under those same conditions. He’s a perfectionist and a professional, and beat himself up a lot; I deeply admire where he was coming from.


One thing that we learned about each other, quite well, was how different we are. I’m highly creative and he’s incredibly organized. Working together on this project, we had both a right and a left hemisphere on steroids. That was an incredible boon!




MARK: Well, I re-learned the importance of pace, certainly. And that it is incredibly hard – for me, anyway – to sprint through a marathon. Ted would wake up already to go, three hours ahead of me, mind you, and be all “Okay, how many words do we need to write today… let’s do this!!” And I would be grumpy enough to say, “Down, boy… we haven’t even looked at yesterday’s work yet!” Ted’s enthusiasm would often win the day, and we’d get back to work.

And there were also times where I’d insist on following a process; on completing one task, section or chapter… getting it just right… before moving on. And I’d push back, and push a little more. One time, I got a one-sentence email from Ted: “Oh my God! You are relentless!



Your book A World Gone Social has been very successful. Is that a surprise? Why or why not.


MARK: The book, knock on wood, has seen some success… perhaps more than we could have imagined at one time. We did, however, have an inkling that we may be on to something… as our editors, publishers and colleagues read snippets, they showed genuine enthusiasm for the message. And then when the book came out amazing people – professionals and writers we admired so much – began saying incredibly nice things. So surprised? Yes… but pleasantly!

What surprises me even more: to this day, six months after the unofficial launch, the book is routinely in the Top 100 of many non-fiction categories on Amazon. How does that happen?

TED: It is certainly a source of pleasure. Anyone hopes their book is going to be well received, of course. We knew we’d established strong readership bases and social networks over the years. But would this book resonate, even stand out? We could only hope. And, to be honest, until we’re on The Daily Show, I know I for one won’t be feeling that special.


Would you ever try co-authoring again? Why or why not?



TED: I keep swearing I’ll never write another book! But I jinxed myself by saying that, and now I’m doomed. This book would not be what it is without the two of us developing ideas together, pushing back when needed, the whole thing. I’ll think long and hard before writing a book solo again.



MARK: Not only would I… I am! And I’m pitching another book to our publisher, this time a solo effort back in the career space. I’ll let you know which I like better!


What would you do differently if there was a next time?



MARK: I’d start writing earlier! Way before the deadline!

But here’s the thing about that… and Ted mentioned it earlier: Many of the anecdotes and real-world scenarios didn’t exist when we first started writing the book. The stories became more real, and gained greater impact, as the work progressed. Time, it turns out, was our best friend.


TED: Easy: I’d write a fluffy motivational book! I’d take a week to do it, add a lot of pictures, and be done with it.


What advice do you have to offer someone who may be considering co-authoring?


TED: Do it. Just pick your coauthor carefully. If they aren’t a good writer, you’re sunk. If they don’t hold you in high regard (and vice-versa), your project will be a miserable experience. And if they don’t play well with others? Well, you can’t just take turns on the chapters, or even the sections, because it’ll read like two very different books. In two words? Pick wisely.



MARK: Just don’t pick wisely. Deliberately pick someone different than you. No one wants to read a book where everyone has the same perspective. The lack of challenge shows. The lack of diversity becomes apparent. Choose a co-author who is not afraid to be a little stubborn, but still has the emotional intelligence to say, “Okay, you’re right… let’s look at that again… we can do better.”


What has been the most rewarding part of this experience?



MARK: The response from the social and leadership communities has been amazing. And I personally LOVE it when I see a quote from the book or one of our phrases like “OPEN” and “More Social, Less Media” floating through Twitter or Facebook.

The best part, though, is speaking in front of a live audience and watching the light bulbs go on. Those “ah-ha” moments when it becomes clear that a leader – from the youngest to the most experienced – realizes they must change… they must forget nearly everything they’ve learned about leading and become a Social Age Leader… that makes it all worth while.



TED: The feedback from readers like you, Anita – intelligent people who found value in this book we created. We wrote A World Gone Social to serve as the user’s guide to a whole new age of business. If people flip through it and don’t change anything in how they lead and think and plan, then we’ve wasted our time. It seems, from what our readers have shared, that this is not the case. That is the only reward that matters.

Thank you both so much for sharing your journey with us! I wish you both much continued success in your individual endeavors and also with your collaborative effort A World Gone Social. It's a great book that needs a spot on the shelf of every CEO who wants to stay relevant in the new social age.

I hope their story SPARKS you to dust off your own dream and realize that there are no obstacles that can't be overcome through cooperation and passion.


TED COINE
Mark Babbitt
MARK BABBITT

TED COINÉ
COINÉ
COINÉ
COINÉand MARK BABBITT