This weekend I attended an amazing event in Orlando, Florida called the Social Media Smartphone GPS Summit 2012.  It was a wonderful experience.  Not only was I able to meet my mentor for the first time in person, I also was able to hear Gary Vaynerchuk from Wine Library TV speak about his thoughts on building a business in the social media culture that exists today.

Whether we like it or not my friend, the world is changing and social media and smartphones are creating that change.  No longer are we separated by huge pieces of land and oceans because through Facebook and Twitter we can be connected 24 hours per day 7 days per week with thousands of people around the world.

During the Summit, Gary Vaynerchuk asked an audience of 250 people to raise their hands if they had been in contact with someone through Facebook that they hadn’t spoken to in 10 years.  About 60% of the room raised their hands.  Then he asked how many people had been in contact with someone through Facebook that they hadn’t spoken to in 20 years.  I was amazed when at least 40% of the room raised their hands.  I have to admit, I am in the group of connecting with someone I hadn’t spoken to in over 20 years.  It is just phenomenal.

Within the last week, it was announced that Facebook hit 1 billion members.  That is staggering isn’t it.  Think about it, 1 billion people are now connected that would not otherwise be connected if it weren’t for Facebook.  Chances are you are in that group.  It’s a community and a culture all rolled into one.  For those of us that are business owners, it gives us the opportunity to build relationships and make connections with people around the world that 10 short years ago would have been impossible.

I learned so much this weekend.  I wish each of you could have been there with me.  Thank goodness it was all video recorded and I will be receiving a copy because I’m sure there will be so many things in the recording that never made it to my notes.  I want to share with you a few of the things that stood out to me this weekend as a way of bringing you along on my journey.   Ready?  Let’s go!!!

1)  Market your products or services like you don’t make any money from them.

Wow! That was a powerful statement given by Sandi Krakowski within 20 minutes of the event starting.  I admit that I still have moments when I ask myself, “Is this the right time to promote that class or product?”  However, I’m not alone, even multi-million dollar businessman Gary V. said he wonders about that as well.  When is the right time to “sell” your product or service?

If we market like we don’t make any money then it takes the stigma of “selling” out of the equation.  How quick are we to recommend a new restaurant, massage therapist or product we found at the grocery store.  We tell everyone under the sun don’t we?  We tell our neighbor, our child’s teacher and our manicurist.  We tell everyone!  But when it comes to our own products we clam up.  Why do we do that?  Because we don’t want people to think that we are trying to “sell” them something and be considered one of those sleazy sales people.

If we make the shift in our mindset and imagine we don’t make any money we can feel good about talking about our services and products.  I can feel my perception changing already.  If I have a product that could make someone’s life easier then why not tell him or her about it.  The same goes for you and your products and services.  It’s a win-win situation.

2)  Could the reflection you see in the mirror be a mirage?

This topic presented by P.J. McClure could be a 3-day seminar in itself but I want you to get a feel for this concept so I’ll do my best to condense it.  Imagine for a moment that you have a brand new mirror.  It is crystal clear and you can see your reflection perfectly.  The reflection that you see in the mirror isn’t the real you, it is just a reflection. Right?  However, when we look in the mirror we think it is the real us.  Whatever we see reflecting back to us must be the real deal because we are seeing it with our own eyes.

Suppose the next time you pick up the mirror and look at the reflection you see that it isn’t as crystal clear as before.  Let’s pretend it has a film of hairspray over it.  You keep looking at the reflection and can’t quite figure out why it isn’t as clear as it was before.  You are looking at a clouded reflection.  Does that mean that you’ve changed?  Does it mean that you are somehow different because it isn’t the same reflection you once had?  The answer is no.

You are not the reflection you see looking back in the mirror.  The mirror can have smudges, dirt, hairspray etc. all clouding what you see.  The mirror can be defective or faulty.  It is no different than the judgments others place on you or you place on yourself at any given time.  The judgment clouds your vision and can make you feel less than you really are.

None of that matters.  What matters is that you know you have an enormous amount of potential and need to share your gifts with the world.  Stop focusing on the smudges on your mirror.  Instead, focus on your gifts and talents.  Stay strong that they are your calling and you must use them wisely.

3) Focus on what you’re good at.

This was a topic that Gary Vaynerchuk talked about.  He said, “Focus on what you’re good at rather than fixing what you’re not good at.”  Hallelujah!  Someone finally said what needed to be said.  I am so tired of the world trying to make us all the same.  It’s an epidemic that must be stopped.

Have you been there?  I know I have!  I used to have an employer that wanted each of us in our department to know and perform exactly the same.  It didn’t matter that some of us had natural tendencies to perform better in one area or another while others were better suited other areas.  All that mattered was that we did everything the same.  Effectively, we all ended up hating our jobs because we could only do what we were good at and loved some of the time.

It happens in our school systems too often as well.  Instead of focusing on a student’s natural abilities and desires, they are told that they need to excel in ALL areas.  Preferably to the tune of a 4.0 grade point average.  I have to say that when my kids were growing up I was hypnotized by this way of thinking and put pressure on them to excel in all areas of their academic education.  If I had to do it all over again….. well you know.

The moral of the story is do what you love and what you are good at.  Invest in your skill and master it.  Build a business that you can be proud of and that speaks to who you are at your very core.  If there are parts of business that you’re not particularly good at, then outsource them whenever possible.  You are going to be much more successful and happy if you live life this way rather than trying to be good at everything which will only produce mediocre results.

Well, there you have it.  Three key lessons from hundreds of key lessons I learned this weekend.  Thank you for letting me share them with you.  I would be honored if you would come over to my Facebook page to let me know how this article impacted you.  Did one of these topics hit home and make you see things from a different perspective?  I look forward to seeing you there:

With love,

Karen Pattock