This post is by my friend Tristan Bishop. Tristan Bishop is a Senior Principal Digital Strategist at Symantec software. He deeply values content, compassion and customers. Opinions in this post are his own. You can talk to him on Twitter @knowledgebishop, which I highly recommend 🙂
We all know how it feels to have an off day, a rough night or a bad week. Some have had entire YEARS we’d love to forget. It’s in tougher times when we most need encouraging words from a friend. Margie Clayman is my friend. Though we’ve never met in person, Margie has lifted my spirits for nearly a year. So when she asked me to share “my social media journey”, the theme that jumped out is “encouragement.”
I like to encourage: I’m a “glass half-full” sort of fellow. I often see what’s “possible” long before it’s “so“. And then I truly and totally want others to see it too. So when I joined Twitter and began blogging one year ago, I did so with a deep longing to pour hope into cyberspace.
I began by exploring established blogs and hashtags for the technical communication profession. A few dear friends were already there, which helped me to feel comfortable. But what I found EXHILARATING was the willingness of new friends to share ideas and build connection. And, to my surprise, I’m receiving MUCH more encouragement than I could ever provide. Less than a year later, I feel richly connected to a wealth of wise knowledge workers, many of whom I can’t WAIT to meet at the STC Summit in a few months.
But connecting with my field was just the beginning of the encouragement and mentoring coming my way. Because of Twitter and WordPress, I have made literally hundreds of online connections to amazing, kind, brilliant people. So I feel compelled to highlight five people who took intentional action to coach me, and thus to build my courage and resolve this year:
- Marsha Collier, a widely respected author, invited me to join the Customer Service chat. This dialog (Tuesdays at 9pm on Twitter’s #custserv tag) is full of adrenaline, richly collaborative and joyfully instructive. Marsha took note of my contributions and began steadily encouraging me to speak boldly.
- The #custserv chat introduced me to Ted Coine, whose ideas rattled my preconceptions of how business ought to run. As I poured over his blog each morning, I realized that there hope for the soul of 21st-century business. Ted, in his gutsy way, was splendidly affirming and boldly encouraged me to share my thoughts on the importance of corporate culture.
- These themes led me to Trey Pennington’s blog, where the focus is sharing genuine stories. When I commented on a post that moved me, Trey graciously reached out and introduced himself. Trey encouraged me to develop the Servant Leadership themes in our conversations. He worked with me offline to guide me through my butterflies. He helped me share the message with a much larger audience. I will absolutely never forget his selfless and kind encouragement.
- Writing about servant leadership led me to Mike Henry, Sr. and the Lead Change Group. Mike encouraged me to lead from who I am, rather than from where I sit. Mike also coached me on my writing, providing encouragement and feedback as I prepared to become a contributing author for the group.
- When I finally figured out exactly what I needed to say, I was too scared to say it. I wanted to write about renewable leadership in a disposable world. I wanted to speak to the folly of living for quarterly revenues at the expense of employee loyalty and customer retention. I was terrified. And then, I met Shelly Kramer. Near as I can tell, Shelly isn’t afraid of anything! Shelly took me aside privately and helped me find some guts. She told me the fruit was sweeter out on the limb. She told me to go for it, offered to back me up, and kept her word.
I have been mentored. I have been spurred on. I’ve been coached. And mostly, I’ve been encouraged. I am grateful, and I want to conclude with this thought:
An intentionally sculpted social network is the most powerfully motivating tool of the modern era.
Margie and I would LOVE to hear how social media relationships have encouraged YOU on your journey? Is there anyone you’ve met online, who’s then come alongside you and made you more than you were?