Swings & Roundabouts

Getting bored with the blue masks, think I’ll try these on the bus!

I’m gaining weight, but the rate of gain has slowed, so I’m taking that as a big win this month! 😜

Somewhat grumpily, I’m still a non-smoker. And I’ve been forcing myself to chip away at my home & office decluttering exercise. During this process, I’m finding stuff I didn’t even realise I bigly needed. While I’m selling & donating the stuff that others need. Okay, it’s just crap I don’t need but hey, that’s one of those win-win things, isn’t it? Hate that hackneyed expression. Am I thinking outside the box now?

Clichéd expressions aside, if you’re stuck at home a lot these days, try a little decluttering. It can pay off. It also pushed me to do other things. With an even bigger payoff.

I started decluttering my social media feeds! This is big. I was following political sites. From all sides & ends of the political spectrum. I unfollowed all of them. I followed a bunch of investor types. Precious metals guys, crypto currency gurus, energy fans, even some that are into oil. I think a few got rich more because they were lucky, than smart. Or are they just messing with my head? They’re the rich ones, after all. Maybe I’m Dunning-Kruger-ing myself? It doesn’t matter, I unfollowed all of them anyway.

Not listening to all these people sniping at each other was uplifting. But I wanted even more. Guess where I got it from?

My friends! LOL

I’m not kidding, I’ve got friends on Facebook that were … I know you’ll find this totally unbelievable … but they were stressing me out a little. I didn’t even realize how much ’til I turned them off. Doesn’t matter if it’s about politics, religion, or vaccine positioning, you can kinda tell who isn’t fact-checking stuff & watching the news from both sides, can’t you? Or maybe not! 😜

Anyway, I try to avoid these conversations online. If we could get together & talk over a beer, that might be fun. Social media doesn’t seem to be the place for it though. But you can mute your friends for 30 days & they don’t even know it! If they’re still ranting when they are automatically restored a month later, snooze them for another 30 days! 😂😂😂

The calmness & serenity that follows is a relief & a joy. Maybe I’ll follow the Dalai Lama instead. Ommmm!

Or should I just join the melee? So many doing it. Is being nasty really that much fun!?! 😜😁

Sales, Marketing, Diet, & Civility

This is a different kind of post for me, so please stick with it if you come across an unusual comment along the way. It’ll come clear by the end, I hope.

Montréal Fast Food

Montréal Fast Food

I’m heading home from Montréal last Friday & it’s Montréal in December, so I’m at the airport early in case there are any weather challenges in getting there. My phone needed to be charged & , once at the gate, I sat at one side of those little tables with the power outlets & charging ports at the back. At the other side of the table was another traveller, doing the same thing. While my sales regalia is often chinos & a company-logoed polo shirt, this guy was dressed in a really sharp suit, with a nice tight Windsor-knotted tie. In my defense, I have to climb inside working machinery sometimes. And yes, I can do a nice Windsor knot too! His shoes, unlike mine, were polished to a high shine. How’d he do that with Montréal’s salted & slushy streets? While I love to chat, other than a nod & a quick smile, I tend not to bother other travellers, as many want to be left alone. Having the earphones in is the clue to that!

After a few minutes, he unplugged, & started to chat. OMG, was this a gay guy hitting on me? I was used to a lifetime of women swooning at my feet, wouldn’t it be natural for a gay guy to feel the same way? Turned out he was, shocker this, in sales & marketing. With a focus on social media & the digital universe.

I was immediately engaged & the conversation took off, with both of us fighting for airtime. This guy had a very different outlook to mine. Over the course of my career, I’ve greatly enjoyed the company of the people I have had the pleasure of working with. Sure, I’ve met a few doorknobs along the way but, for the most part, I have enjoyed the company of colleagues, suppliers & customers alike. And I’ve made some really good friends along the way. His response to this was pretty blunt …

“Are you in business to make friends? Or to make money?”

Can’t you do both?

Not according to my fellow flier! His approach is to isolate & attack, hard, his target audience. In part, by denigrating the “others”, other suppliers & other customers. His philosophy is like some maniacal abuse of the Pareto principle … Forget the 80%, they don’t matter. Instead, focus on the 20% with the highest potential return. And milk them dry. Any way you can. For as much as you can.

But what about longer term relationships? And repeat business?

All garbage, according to this philosophy. The immediate kill is where it’s at. There is no long term view. Other than just doing more of the same with new prospects.

This went against everything I believe. I was gobsmacked, time & again, listening to his gospel. But he was relentless. He took a look at my blog on his phone & ridiculed that. Brutally. And, given the weight-loss bias of the blog, he laughed out loud as he rolled his eyes, while nodding towards my waistline, and passing a very sarcastic comment. One I’m too embarrassed to repeat here. Then he told me, guaranteed me, that I’ll do better with my diet after hearing his message. I’ll come back to that point below.

Montréal is a great town to eat in. I often think that spending my early years in Canada, in Montréal, contributed to my circumferential challenges. I had just enjoyed a week of dietary debauchery in this great city. I had had lunches & dinners with suppliers & customers. Though he ripped me apart for my choices of dining companions too. The bottom line was that I knew the scale would echo his condemnation when I got home.

Despite the scars, I held my calm demeanour, even if only on the outside at times. I wondered how it might have gone in my younger, more volatile, years. That gave me pause for an occasional smile, & that seemed to throw him off stride every now & again!

Before leaving, this wasn’t his gate, he gave me some blogging advice. Most of which was far too callous than I think I could ever use. But he did relent & give me a couple of milquetoast (his description!) things to try. They’re in this post, did you spot them? Send me a message & let me know. I’m curious to see if he’s as good as he thinks he is.

Despite it being a great conversation, I still think there is more to be said for just being a little more caring & civil towards each other. Sales is all about taking away a customer’s pain, not inflicting more. I want my customers to come back to me. Again & again.

Oh yes! The rat was right about one thing, my diet is going better since I returned. In fact he was right about two things, he also told me that I wouldn’t have the balls to do the post without explaining it, or putting a warning label on it. I guess my warning label was the opening paragraph. Go figure!

Trying to be Kind in an era of Anti-Social Media

Trying to be Kind in an era of Anti-Social MediaAntiSocial Mediea

If you’re thinking I’m avoiding talking about my diet because I’m not doing so well at the moment … you’d be right! 🙂

For the purpose of this piece, I’m going to blame my current, & hopefully temporary, lack of dietary success on the stresses of social media. Some folk are posting & sharing thoughts & beliefs that I could never have imagined coming out of their mouths. These are nice, kind, feeling, thinking people. I’ve spent time with them, eaten dinner with them, had a beer with them, & I can absolutely say that they are nice people. So why would such nice people flip out every now & again, to spread unkind thoughts, memes & tropes?

We seem to be pretty tribal by nature. We prioritize our family, our friends, our neighborhood, our city, state & country, over those of others. Maybe that’s okay up to a point. But it’s not so okay when we start belittling or taking action to lower the “others” position. If, without changing our own position or circumstance, we somehow feel elevated when we take down another, we are in a bad place.

Today’s social media platforms are an amazing way to stay in touch with family & friends around the world. They can be used to spread fun, joy & happiness. They can also be used as tools to denigrate each other, with the safety of that digital distance & anonymity between us. I have been so surprised by some of the posts & comments in recent times, that I renamed my social media app folder “AntiSocial”. Each time I open a social media app, it’s a quick reminder for me to think before I post.

Remember that old saying: if you don’t have something good to say, say nothing. It’s probably still sound advice, isn’t it? Now, I wish I could claim the high moral ground here & say that I am that kind of person. I wasn’t always & indeed, I’m sometimes not. But I think it’s worth trying to be that guy. And I am occasionally reminded of that, most often when someone has higher expectations of me, than I have of myself. We all have the capability of being good people.

This is a great day to remember all this because today, March 20th, is the International Day of Happiness. And spring arrives today!

Now that sounds like a great day to share a little of the good stuff on social media, doesn’t it!

Peace, love, happiness & all that sloppy, mushy stuff (Cut me some slack, I have to preserve some of my bad boy image here! ) to all of you. I hope each & every one of you finds an extra ration of happiness today, tomorrow, & beyond.

PS … I will get back to the diet talk, please bear with me while I battle my demons! 🙂