When I was 29, I had a full on midlife crisis sans the red convertible. I engaged in endless self reflection and mourned that my 20s were gone. I changed my hair and considered jumping from a plane but I was too busy with work to schedule it. I turned 30 and realized I had wasted the real last year of my 20s being stupid. I patted myself on the back for completing yet another milestone ahead of the norm. One midlife crisis down and I could cruise until menopause, or so I thought.
At 46 I seem to have a midlife crisis every week. I often resemble a deer caught in the headlights as I yet again question my purpose, value and my bathroom scale. And yes, even as I write this I am checking the mirror to see if I now have the acne (or worse chin hair of the later years) to accompany my unexplainable teenage like angst. Oh no, what will the cool kids think?
Unlike the teen years, I don’t have to wonder about the cool kids thanks to social media.
Judging from the tweets, updates and emails I could conclude that the cool kids are stress and problem free. But I am not 16 and now know with certainty that no one is perfect.
So what on earth does this have to do with business? A fair question given that this is a very official “business” blog. Social media has a way of distorting reality. Viewing the world through 140 characters or more can lead you to draw conclusions that are riddled with gaps. Even in the age of transparency, it’s impossible to get the whole story in the time and space allotted.
Rather than using social media as a barometer by which you measure your success or failure, use it to ferret out ideas, challenges or insights for deeper exploration. What worked for another business may not work for you but when ideas or approaches resonate it is worth the time to examine them closer.
When possible reach out to those that have presented something of interest and ask if they’d be willing to share more – what were the challenges, what led to the decision about the strategy – get the story behind the story. I have discovered that with the right approach people are willing to be helpful. Be respectful and don’t abuse their time, or cloak your questions as an opportunity to get free services.
As for me, I have decided that my ongoing crisis is actually a good thing. I am constantly questioning and challenging my own beliefs because I care deeply about my life and place in it. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!)
There is an abundance of information available but we still get to choose what we allow in and what we ignore and most importantly how we allow it to impact us. The upside is that every day we have opportunities to expand our perspective and learn from others. Remember the cool kids really are just like us, albeit with better hair.
What about you, any midlife or other stories to share? Does social media ever make you feel overwhelmed or question whether you measure up? Add your comments, this is a no judgment zone.