Change Priorities

This past week, I reached out to readers and community members through social networks to learn where people discover Conversation Agent content, and whether they read specific articles, or just browse the site.

I'm listening for your answers and questions on the Facebook page, in Google+, and on Twitter.

Feedback of this kind contributes to retooling my own strategy and where I spend my time. It doesn't change my philosophy or strategy, just how I execute on it.


Each week, I will also select specific questions posted by readers on any of those networks so we can discuss them here.

This week, Christa Miller shares on G+ she is on the look out for content that is: something in between tactical case studies, and high level strategy.

Her priorities are:

1) Work out her own brand promises, and figure out where they intersect with clients' promises
2) Use that work to improve on promises she's been breaking due to allowing herself to become overextended
3) Put her own content on an equal par with clients'


I like this question very much, because I think it's what many of us wearing several hats face. It made me think of a post I wrote a long time ago about how free is not a benefit. This blog, for one, is not a benefit to you, unless you do the work for yourself.

All of these free tools and platforms encourage us to spend time using them to figure out their utility in our work (and potentially that with our clients). They are not a lazy way out from seeing or seeking to see more clearly how to continue to make better promises.

To me, the answer to the second point made by Christa, which is probably the keystone of the three, comes from learning to say no.

We need to get better at qualifying what is for us and what is just a distraction — and there are plenty of those in social networks. Relationships are built upon being or feeling connected by real things with people, so that's a start.

The second part is about gaining clarity on what we're willing to stand for, even if nobody were watching and taking note.

These are hard to do because being exposed to social networks also means coming into contact with what so many others choose to do and say. And we have this built-in mechanism that says "fit in". Except for we're not in high school any longer.

So building on my third piece of advice: follow through with what you choose to stand for:

  • learn to say no (no explanation required)
  • make connections through real things
  • be willing to stand for what you believe in and follow through with it

This week I will share more resources and thinking that will help with all three. A big thank you to Christa Miller for asking the hard questions we need to raise, and for the numerous contributions to this community.


[image by Christine]


0 responses to “Priorities”

  1. Valeria, I overwhelmingly get to your content via subscribing to your blog. I can say that I am not using twitter as effectively as I would like to. I follow enough people that it can be overwhelming to catch great tweets in a fast moving tweet stream.
    When feeling overextended, I do look for ways to delegate more effectively. I don’t think that most people delegate well, … at least I don’t. And “no” is amazing. The difference between a request and a demand is always the ability to hear “no” for an answer. I don’t like demands on my time.

  2. one of the reasons why I still read many blogs is that I prefer to think about stuff to reacting in real time. In fact, the more time I spend with social networks, the most I learn the value of building a context for conversation that takes into account how we’re wired when it comes to things that matter.
    I’m making note of your definition and difference between request and demand – thank you for that. I don’t like demands either. Which is why I will be ruthless in cutting out what doesn’t belong to my focus.

  3. Thank you, Valeria, for this post, and the coming ones. Ironic you should title it “Priorities”… I took today to spend with my kids. 😉
    To clarify, my being overextended has two causes:
    1) I consented, in my own mind, to “scope creep” because I had this intuitive sense of what I needed to do to get a job done right. At the stage I’m at in my business, I still look to gain experience. I have no qualms about asking for more money, or saying “no” if it really is something I can’t handle.
    2) Much more importantly, that desire to gain experience (and make money) has led to me taking on some clients that weren’t a perfect “fit.” I knew on one level that this could damage my own brand (as I specialize in a small industry), but thought the experience was worth the risk.
    I’m starting to understand that isn’t so, and I feel I’ve gained the experience I needed to see more clearly where my strengths lie and how to play to them. I think this is something every business owner goes through, at least to some extent.
    That is why I like the point you raise about the need to “fit in”. I try to follow bloggers and others who don’t talk about “right or wrong” but rather, who allow the room to think about how something might apply to my clients and me. It’s a first step toward cutting what isn’t my focus.

  4. your second point is key. I’ve learned that the hard way: in the long run, my ability to keep better promises rests on keeping good promises to begin with, and that is extremely challenging to do when there is no good fit. I prefer to make introductions and refer people to trusted members of my network in those situations.
    Something else happens when we have the courage to declare what we are a good fit for: we start attracting those kinds of opportunities. Mastery is real, and it frees you as well.
    Plenty of room for you here. You know I’m listening.

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