My Big Lessons From 2010

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I thought initially that this was going to be a search post with some of my biggest takeaways, but as I started to write I discovered that my biggest lessons haven’t really been the latest tactics or what has worked for me. Enough has happened in the past year, and it’s a good time to share some of the significant things I’ve learned. Not just in business, but personally (then again, the way we all work, it’s really not “just business” anyway.)

Painting by Owen Geronimo – Inferno Series

“Work” and “job” are two very different things
We are hired for a job, but what we do with our lives is work. Chris Brogan had a few posts earlier this year that really resonated with me in terms of making the distinction between the two, and he summed it up well: “Your boss isn’t looking to find meaningful work for you.” It’s about creating your own work.

Take care of your personal brand
The line between personal brands online and an employer is a blurry one, one that can work harmoniously in many cases. However just because you work for someone doesn’t mean they own your brand. If someone you work for wants you to tweet, or post, or share something that really has nothing to do with how you live your life or benefits your network, it’s ok to consider not doing it. Your audience is not your employer’s social media strategy.

Really listen to what people are saying, even if it’s something you don’t want to hear
There’s a quote by Albert Einstein that says insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Well the same thing somewhat applies when to listening what people have to say. If people are telling you something you don’t want to hear, don’t respond with questions to coax a different answer, it’s going to get you nowhere. Listen to what they are really saying.

Walking away is not failure
It’s working with what you’ve got. It takes strength, courage, and a good dose of self-respect. If you sense you are in trouble, or in a dead end situation, channel the bitterness and frustration into acceptance. Do yourself a favor and move on.

This may seem a bit heavy and  somber on the biggest party day of the year, but reflection is necessary in order to grow. (Let me clarify: I still intend to party like it’s 1999.)

Thank you to everyone for the support and generosity this past year. I would post a tribute, but I’ll leave that up to Alan, he’s far better at it than I am.
Here’s to an excellent 2011. And as Dr. Pete would say:
[Special thanks to Marty Weintraub and TJ Singleton – both who have resolved my WordPress issues from this morning.]