Cast Off the Shackles of Yesterday...And Share More, Suffer Less

Our daughters daughters will adore us....

I know I've preached before that people are stupid. (Here. And here.) But I really don't think all people are always stupid all the time. Instead, I may merrily suggest that as a group we're rather Winifred Banks sings in Mary Poppins.

Take, for instance, our reservation to share. Buttress that with the what we learned in kindergarden and it's no wonder we have a society bent on shame, confusion and contradiction when it comes to something as simple as sharing. Sharing is one of the first life lessons we gather at home, church, school, play groups and more...yet it's one of the hardest things to do - and do correctly - once we gain entrance into adulthood.

It's exactly the reason why Tough Love couples is such a great show.
It's exactly the reason why the Survivior series of television programs have such a cult following.
It's exactly the reason why so many companies feel so intimidated when it comes to approaching new ideas, new technologies or new ways of connecting directly with employees, stakeholders and customers.
It's also the reason why the American divorce rate is so high (especially in Vegas!).
It's also the reason why we get to hear (and snarl) about Presidential "big effing deals" and watch "shitty" legal proceedings regarding flagship banking institutions crashing and burning before our very eyes.

Because we, as people, are afraid to share.
So I'll admit it. I don't particularly enjoy sharing details about my life that I don't have complete control over. Which, let's face it, is most everything that happens from the time I awake until I return to my pillow. That's probably the reason why it's so easy for me to ramble on about things like news, trends, statistics, facts and strategies within my professional field. But I'm not talking about me. I'm talking about we.

Before I keep with tradition and share something that which fits the definition of the above statement, I'll say this much; I realize the need to share more and to share more deeply. I intend to work on that.

In the meantime, I wanted to share something that is worth sharing. I know this particular slideshare deck (by Altimeter Group; entitled, "Social Strategy: Getting Your Company Ready") is worth sharing and I am confident in saying that a former company I worked for paid thousands of dollars for something very, very similar. Here is how that happened: my VP called to say that he had secured a rousing guest speaker for our next social media strategy discussion, simply by the luck of having sat next to him on a recent flight. "It pays to pay for first class!" He said. Never having sat in first class, I said, "Great. Who?"
He said, "Dr. Gupta." Ummmm...okay. As in, one of the sexiest men alive in 2003, as ranked by People magazine? Ummmm...okay.

It turned out not to be the sexy man, but his father. A retired Ford engineer-turned especially brilliant and sought-after speaker (go figure; his wife was the first female engineer at Ford and his son is, well, sexy, but not as sexy as Steve Ward, named Cosmo's Hunk from Pennsylvania in 2003 and host of VH1's Tough Love), this guy sat next to my guy on a plane and somehow accepted an invite to come and talk about social media, of all things. Oh boy. I saw this coming from a mile away but who am I to rain on a VP-endorsed parade? No one, that's who. So instead, I suffered through a couple hours of common sense mixed with less-than-eye-opening tactics on how to embrace social change, manage expectations and engage the engage-able. When all was said and done, the old boy packed his sandals and quickly shook hands and passed out business cards promoting himself as a "enlightened" corporate speaker. My own corporate leadership in the room stumbled over each other to shake the hand of the man who told them basically what we had been discussing for the last 6 months...that people were stupid, but that people were people, after all. My VP thanked Gupta for his time and his generous thoughts. He even scheduled a follow up meeting. Then a few weeks later my VP got the generous bill for said time. And canceled the follow up meeting.

I'm telling this tale not to embarrass anyone. We are all human, after all. Rather, I am sharing this story because it's what I do. Share. Stories. It's easier to bear and share life's pains and pleasures from a story perspective because no matter how indifferent we are - or how different we are - we all have our stories. To share. So share more, and perhaps we will all suffer less.

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