Todd Schnick

Founder and Editor-In-Chief of intrepid.MEDIA, Todd Schnick is a media + business strategist and talk show host + producer. He is a former marketing strategist, national political operative, and lobbyist. Todd has published five books, writes a business + lifestyle column, is a distance runner, and lives in Chicago with his wife Stephanie + family.

AUTHORS, BUSINESS, LEADERSHIP

Tom Peters: The Excellence Dividend: The Interview!

Best-selling business author and speaker Tom Peters joins us on the show today, to discuss his latest book, The Excellence Dividend.

Click here for the show transcript!

Discussion guide for my conversation with Tom Peters:

Hasn’t everything about doing good, quality work already been said by all authors and business gurus? Why was this book necessary?

Tom PetersSo, what is the Excellence Dividend, exactly?

One of the goals of the book is to discuss and understand the impact of technology on business, but more importantly, to remember what humans can (and always will) do better than a machine, correct?

You talk about EXCELLENCE. Do we ever truly arrive there? Or is the lifelong pursuit of excellence the true mission, the real point to the effort?

“Business IS the community.”

One of the most profound weaknesses of most people in business is their inability to LISTEN. With social media, technology, media, and all the noise, listening is even harder these days. We discuss at length how strength and influence comes with true listening.

In the book, there is an important discussion about joy, and that most people in their work are joyless. We discuss why joy matters, who is responsible for bringing joy to the workplace, and how being joyful inspires creativity and innovation.

Speaking of innovation, Tom and I have an important dialog about not only what innovation truly is, but how you do it. And while most of us overcomplicate, Tom explains how to do it successfully. And it’s just a matter of rolling up your sleeves and trying things.

To wrap the conversation, Tom shares advice on how to adopt the “Excellence Now” philosophy, and how to begin to embed the principles of his book into both our lives and our organizations. Not by sharing a memo, but by building this new culture one person at a time.

You can find Tom Peters’ book right here!

Who is Tom Peters?

Tom Peters is coauthor of In Search of Excellence—the book that changed the way the world does business, and often tagged as the best business book ever. Seventeen books and thirty-five years later, he’s still at the forefront of the “management guru industry” he single-handedly invented. What’s new? A lot. As CNN said, “While most business gurus milk the same mantra for all its worth, the one-man brand called Tom Peters is still reinventing himself.” His most recent effort is The Excellence Dividend: Meeting the Tech Tide with Work that Wows and Jobs that Last (Vintage, 2018). Tom’s bedrock belief: “Execution is strategy—it’s all about the people and the doing, not the talking and the theory.” In November 2017, Tom received the Thinkers50 Lifetime Achievement Award.

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BUSINESS, HR, HUMANITY, LEADERSHIP

Simon Sinek: Playing the infinite game

I had the distinct pleasure to listen to Simon Sinek’s keynote yesterday at WorkHuman18 by Globoforce.

I made these quick and dirty notes and publish them here for my learning, reference, and to solidify my long-term understanding. I thought you might enjoy the chance to compare your notes to mine.

If you attended this same keynote, let me know how your thoughts might differ from mine!

INFINITE VS. FINITE

Are you playing a short-term game? Or are you willing to take short-term losses to advance the cause for success in the long-term?

Think growth mindset verses fixed mindset.

WILL AND RESOURCES

The true key to success in any endeavor is to sustain the will to drive to success (and not lose steam along the way) and to maintain enough resources to get the job done.

Most lose the enthusiasm necessary to sustain the effort, and many run out of enough customers or money to get across the line in the end.

SACRIFICE FOR THE CAUSE (TO HAVE A JUST CAUSE)

Your organization must have a just cause to fight for and drive inspiration. It must be specific. It cannot be “growth,” it cannot be “to win” or to be “the best,” and it cannot be “to defeat the competition.”

Again, it must be specific.

And when you have that just cause, your people will make sacrifices to get there, and show up inspired to work.

INCENTIVIZE BEHAVIOR VS PERFORMANCE

We incentivize performance and results. Rather, we should also incentivize behavior.

We should reward devoted effort to unsuccessfully solve a problem, failure to successfully innovate, and to make honest mistakes.

Why? We want to encourage our people to try new things…to not be afraid to try, and to not hide from the potential ridicule of failure.

DISCRETION

You must free your people to use their discretion for when to make the right decision on behalf of the customer or to solve a problem.

Don’t trust your employees to follow your rules. Trust your employees to know which rules to break (and when).

HR SHOULD THINK PEOPLE FIRST, NOT EXECUTE EXECUTIVE DICTATES

HR departments spend more time executing the will of management (right or wrong), and not enough time exhibiting leadership to free and empower the people to do the important work to fight (and sacrifice for) the cause.

COMPETITION REVEALS OUR FLAWS

If you are solely focused on beating your competition, you will ultimately lose. And certainly not be inspirational.

No, the goal is to respect your competition, and learn from the things they are better at than you.

GOAL IS NOT TO BEAT THEM, BUT TO OUTLAST THEM

A nod back to having both the will and resources, again, your goal is not to directly beat your competition, but to have more will, more resources, and outlast them.

FIXED JUST CAUSE AND FLEXIBLE STRATEGY

Your just cause cannot change. It cannot be flexible. It is your purpose and destination.

But how you get there has to be flexible, adaptable to the roadblocks that will appear.

Too many organizations have a flexible just cause and will not budge on how they do things. This cannot work and leads to failure and frustration.

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BUSINESS, CONTRIBUTORS, HUMANITY, LEADERSHIP, PERSONAL GROWTH

10 alternatives to thinking outside the box

I am sick and tired of people saying that it is time to think outside the damn box. So, instead of fussing about it, I came up with ten alternatives. Here they are:

1. Step on the box. And move to a higher level. Use the box to get to where you really want to go…

2. Paint the box. Give it a new look. Sometimes the box just needs a fresh, new feel. Nothing has really changed internally, but doesn’t a freshly-painted house look brand new?

3. Poke the box. [h/t Seth] Just read the book. Right now.

4. Crush the box. Flatten the old, tired way. Start fresh. A flat box serves a purpose too. Plus, you can probably rebuild it if you wanted – or needed to.

5. Shred the box. Sometimes you’ve just got to begin again. And complete destruction is the only course. Damn the torpedos. (But don’t worry, if all else fails, someone will construct another box.

6. Hack the box. Sometimes boxes can be used for something other than storing stuff. Repurpose. Retool. Innovate. Open your mind to new possibilities. Come on, don’t be afraid. The people you are worried about aren’t really paying attention. Do it.

7. Rewire the box. Sometimes the box works quite well, and just needs to be rewired. This brings things (ideas) up to code, gives you a fresh start, and gives you confidence to move forward.

8. Deliver the box. Sometimes, you need different opinions, a different viewpoint, and fresh look. Give the box to someone else. Maybe they will do something that matters with it.

9. Bury the box. Sometimes, you just need to let it go. Put it away. Forget about it. Bury it. Move on. Because someday, someone will unbury it, and find wonder in the box.

10. Kick the box. When I was a kid, I loved taking boxes and simply destroying them. Kicking them, crushing them, clubbing them with sticks. I guess it was therapeutic to vent some energy. Sometimes, we just need to do this to begin again, to feel better, and feel alive. So go. Kick it, now. In the end, it is still a box. But you are different.

What are your other ideas? Please share!

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CONTRIBUTORS, PERSONAL GROWTH, SIMPLE LIVING

Why are you always in a rush?

I am tired of always being in a damn hurry. Tired of rushing through things. Hurrying up, and being stressed, trying to quickly get to the next thing I have to do.

Simply put, we are always in a rush. And I am here to declare: our goal in life should be to no longer be in a rush.

Now, as I write this, I think about two single mothers I know, each with three kids. They might read this and tell me I am full of it. “Dream on buddy,” they might say. But even so, I think it’s even more important for them to think about how they can be less rushed.

And of course, life happens, and sometimes we will be rushed. Sometimes it cannot be helped.

But the simple goal is to be completely focused on the current task that you are working on, without feeling pressure about doing something else/the next thing. Whether that is a work project, cooking a meal, taking the dog for a walk. Whatever.

In fact, that’s a good example of what I am talking about: Walking the dog.

Walking the mutt should be a very pleasant experience: Quality time alone with your pet; movement and exercise for both of you; a chance to get some fresh air; a break from the realities of the busy, fast world around you. This time should be fun; relaxed; enjoyable!

But for most of us, it’s stressful. “I don’t really have time for this,” you might think to yourself, “I have to get back to that thing I was working on.” And that’s when you get a little frustrated that Fido is taking too long to make a poop.

(And then, if you are like me, you feel totally guilty that you get frustrated).

What a shame.

So, stop doing it. Build a life structure that prevents you from always being in a rush: Do less work, say yes to fewer things, stop overscheduling yourself, build in more cushion time on the calendar…however this has to look/and work for you.

Now, quite obviously, the key to all this is honing your ability to prioritize.

Many have written of this before, but here it is again: A task list of twenty items per day will NEVER get done. So, what you should do instead is pick five of those tasks, and focus on those instead. ONLY THOSE FIVE THINGS.

But, pick the five most important tasks that advance your important goals. Leave the other fifteen for down the road. They aren’t nearly as important, and life will go on without them.

And don’t pick the five easiest tasks, just to feel good about completing something, and checking them off the list.

That gets you nowhere.

Instead, spend the day focusing on those five tasks. You won’t be in quite the same “rush mentality” if you have only five things to think about, rather than feeling the panic and pressure of knocking off all twenty tasks.

This is a big mindset shift, yes. Trust me, one I am still learning myself. This will also require serious discipline.

You have to want this. You have to be really tired of always being in that rush, in that panic, in that state of guilt that you aren’t getting everything done, and always feeling the clock running your ass down.

Hit the brakes and stop rushing through life. You’ll actually end up LIVING more.

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CONTRIBUTORS, LIFESTYLE

Please do not recline your seat back and other rules on proper airline etiquette

While I am not a billion mile flyer, I do travel more than the average person, and over the years, I’ve accumulated a few basic rules of common sense and basic courtesy that all should follow.

Frankly, I shake my head at what some people do on airplanes. And don’t excuse it because they do not fly very often – a lot of these guidelines are just common sense.

And if you follow these, you’ll enjoy your flight more, the passengers around you will too, and won’t want to smack you with a brick!

Flying On Commercial Airlines: The Guidelines:

1. Don’t recline your seat. The person behind you is in a sardine can already. Why be thoughtless and selfish? And every day, we hear about how the airlines are going to add more and more seats, and take away more and more room…

2. You are sitting behind me, yes. But that doesn’t mean you are allowed to use my seat back as a means of pulling your fat ass up from the seated position. You do realize you are sling-shotting me into my coffee, right. And every now and then, pulling my hair.

3. Why do you have to eat food in the plane before we take off? Can’t you eat in the terminal before boarding? Especially stinky food. Really?

4. Middle seat patrons gets both armrests. Period. End of sentence.

5. Go ahead and sleep. But if you know that you snore, be mindful. If you do, I will Instagram your face when you drool all over yourself.

6. Who in the hell farted? Jesus-age-of-Christ-on-a-popsicle-stick. Really?

7. It’s bad enough that TSA makes us take our shoes off at inspection. But don’t do it on the plane. Your feet smell.

8. Enjoy your music. Just don’t make ME “enjoy” your music. #VolumeControl

9. When the flight attendant walks up and down the aisle to gather refuse, this is not license to empty all the crap out of your backpack.

10. If I’m wearing headsets or reading, it means that I don’t want to talk to you.

11. Kids are going to cry and fuss on a plane. That can’t be helped. But the parents better make an effort to try.

12. Don’t kick the seat in front of you. You’d bitch if someone did it to you.

13. Don’t invade my personal space. Your elbow, shoulder, or belly is NOT allowed in my space.

14. If you’re boarding and wearing a backpack and you turn and smack my head with it, I may stand up and smack you right back.

15. When you are the last zone to board, don’t be surprised and don’t complain if you have to check your bag. #Reality

16. When the TSA agent says “Keep nothing in your pockets,” it means the following: KEEP NOTHING IN YOUR DAMN POCKETS.” No keys, no ID, no wallet, no coins and change, no pens, no candy bars…NOTHING. It’s actually quite simple…

17. Why do you wait until the last possible minute to get yourself ready for the TSA X-ray and bag scan process? As in, don’t wait until you get scolded by the agents to remove the STUFF FROM YOUR DAMN POCKETS.

18. When you put your carryon in the overhead rack, can’t you take an extra second to position it so that others can utilize the space too? That overhead bin isn’t your personal, private storage rack.

19. When deplaning, don’t stop immediately after exiting the jetway – and in the middle of the exit area – to check your connecting flight info. There are 200 people stacked up behind you. Get your head out of your fanny, and get off to the side.

20. If it is an evening (or early morning) flight, and you AREN’T reading or doing anything that requires it, please turn off your overhead light. That damn thing is bright.

21. A little hack I’ve devised over the years: If I am assigned to Row 20, I don’t wait until I get to Row 20 to see if there is space in the overhead bin. If I notice available space on my way back, say at Row 10, I’ll go ahead and put my carryon right there, and just pick it up as I deplane. Simple.

22. If you have an assigned seat, sit in the damn thing. Almost every flight I take, someone sits in a different seat. And every time, this causes stress and a commotion.

23. And if you are assigned a window or middle seat and take my aisle seat, don’t ask me if I want to switch. I specifically requested that aisle seat.

24. When getting your luggage from baggage claim, don’t jump all over me and step on my foot to grab your bag. I promise, it will come around again.

25. For gate attendants: We know that you cannot control weather delays, crew issues, or mechanical problems with the plane. But, for God-sakes, I beg you, please get on the PA system and keep us informed. That’s all we want. Well, and a cocktail.

26. When you arrive at your seat during boarding, don’t stand in the aisle for ten minutes extracting all the crap you’ll need for the flight. Get out of the way, there is a long line of people trying to get to THEIR seat too.

27. You don’t get to cut in line just because you are running late. We’re all dealing with tight flight schedules. Manage your time better.

28. Build in some time at the airport pre-flight. Why wait until that last minute? If you have time to kill, so what? No stress, and you’ve got time to grab some coffee or cocktails, and read a book.

29. When we are waiting to deplane and we are ALL standing in the aisle waiting to get off the plane, be sure to scan the area before you blindly open the overhead bin door and smack some poor bastard in the head as it pops open.

30. When we are waiting to deplane after landing, and we are all standing in the aisle, that’s NOT the time to try to lower your suitcase from the overhead bin. All you end up doing is smacking someone in the shoulder. Just wait for an extra 30 seconds until the folks in front of you have started to clear. #CommonSense

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This is BY NO MEANS a complete list. And I will continue to add and revise as time passes, and as new experiences inform new rules and guidelines!

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LIFESTYLE

You need to slow down

I’ve learned that one of the keys to happiness, contentment, satisfaction, improved health, and peace in your life — is to slow down.

How you ask? Is slowing down even possible in modern society? Well, here is a simple cheat sheet:

Slow down when you eat: Actually taste and enjoy the food. Stop shoveling it in.

Slow down when you prepare food: This is how my wife meditates. Preparing a meal should be a slow, creative, artistic endeavor.

Slow down on accomplishing tasks: Do one thing at a time. Focus on it. Do it well. This actually enables you to even enjoy mundane tasks like washing dishes.

Eliminate multi-tasking completely from your life. If you do nothing else on this list…

Slow down when you shower or bathe: Enjoy the warm water. Smell and savor the scents of the shampoo and body wash. Let the water run over your face.

Slow down when you wash dishes: Enjoy the warm water over your hands, strive for the squeak of a clean bowl.

Slow down when in conversation: Don’t rush to get something said, just because you can.

Slow down when in conversation: Actually listen to what is being said. And give a damn about what is being said.

Slow down when consuming media: Read the words, listen to the music, get lost in the imagery. If you are reading an honest-to-goodness real paper book, stop every now and then and smell the pages.

Slow down when driving: Driving recklessly and thoughtlessly won’t save you much time. Enjoy the silence and solitude when inside the vehicle.

Slow down when walking: Don’t walk with head down, buried in your phone. Look around you. Breath the air. Observe what’s around you. You’ll see (new) things.

Slow down when shaving: If done mindfully, it can be a very soothing process.

Slow down when writing: Be intentional. You’ll remember what you write. And be able to actually decipher it later. Don’t rush to publish.

Slow down when getting ready for work: If you are putting on make-up in the car, you are doing it wrong.

Make time to meditate: If you can’t carve out at least ten minutes, you need to rethink things. Once you see the beauty of meditating, you’ll find more time.

Slow down when thinking: Why are you in a rush? Take your time. Enjoy the creative process. Get lost in your thoughts.

Slow down when folding laundry: Why are you trying to complete this task in four seconds? Take care of your wardrobe investment. It’s how you look.

Slow down when texting. Those typos are no longer cute and endearing.

Slow down when you drink coffee: Relish the racket the baristas are making. Listen to your coffee maker percolating. Take in the scent of roasted coffee when it’s brewing. You might as well enjoy this important ritual each and every day.

Slow down when you are walking in the city: Really notice the little details of the architecture as you walk by.

Slow down when shopping: Why are you rushing this? Why are you not taking the time to carefully review and purchase the healthiest and/or the best products?

Ok, so you get the idea. At the end of the day, just slow down. There is no need to always be in a hurry. Learn to embrace a more relaxing pace. Remember the tortoise! And if the day flops, remember the sun will come up again tomorrow.

Key to success: Ignore the mob. Ignore the social media chatter about the hustle. Ignore the business pressure to multi-task and get one hundred things done in one hour.

Keep in mind the following: slowing down reduces stress. Slowing down allows you to live life in the moment. Slowing down allows you to enjoy (and actually notice) the little things. Slowing down allows you to breathe a little easier. Slowing down is better for your health.

This year, you need to slow down. It will change EVERYTHING.

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HUMANITY, LEADERSHIP, LIFESTYLE, PERSONAL GROWTH, SIMPLE LIVING, WELLNESS

25 key things for you to do this year

1. Eat less.
2. Be more active.
3. Read more.
4. Listen intentionally.
5. Stretch more.
6. Slow down and breathe.
7. Criticize less.
8. Encourage more.
9. Buy less.
10. Donate more.
11. Stop multitasking.
12. Save more money.
13. Stop lying.
14. Communicate clearly what you believe in.
15. Trust more.
16. Write/journal more (even to yourself).
17. Make something.
18. Pay more attention to the world around you.
19. Stop judging.
20. Eliminate regret.
21. Take pride in everything.
22. Value what you have.
23. Prepare better.
24. Enjoy right now.
25. Smile more.

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BUSINESS, HUMANITY, LEADERSHIP, PERSONAL GROWTH

Tommy Breedlove: You have a choice. And you should choose goodness.

Joined, on the New Business Mindset podcast, by Tommy Breedlove, the Founder and Chief Goodness Provider of Choose Goodness. You can learn more about Tommy below.

Discussion guide from today’s conversation with Tommy Breedlove:

Tommy Breedlove1. Are you missing significance?

2. Many business leaders get to a place where they might have financial success, but otherwise no meaning, no joy, and no truth in their lives.

3. “Unconscious living.”

4. How to go through a personal journey of self-discovery. What is the feeling inside?

5. Forget the idea that “it’s not personal, it’s business.” No, IT IS ALL PERSONAL!

6. “Don’t lose your humanity, for the profitability.”

7. You are allowed to have different evolutions in your life. You are allowed to make a decision to change direction and go down a different path.

8. The power of choice. You have power, because you can make choices.

9. Scarcity vs. abundance mindsets.

10. Taking a personal inventory.

This episode was originally published on Gareth Young’s podcast, A New Business Mindset!

About Tommy Breedlove:

Tommy founded the Choose Goodness movement to help individuals, leaders and organizations increase their positive impact on the world while gaining meaning and attaining financial success.

Tommy Chose to leave a lucrative international financial consulting career to create the Choose Goodness movement. At the time, he had achieved financial success and gained business notoriety and prestige. However, Tommy felt unfulfilled and had lost meaning and hope in his life. For 36 years, he felt he did not have permission to Choose, and the Choices he made were out of fear and the judgements of others instead of Goodness.

Prior to founding Choose Goodness, Tommy was on the Board of Directors, a shareholder, and the International Practice Leader for a large financial consulting and advisory firm where he advised large international and domestic companies on financial and operational strategies. Tommy and his international practice team won the 2012 Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce Global Impact Award.

Tommy enjoys traveling, reading, experiencing new cultures and food, continuous learning, all things outdoors, and strives each day to put his positive mark on the world. He and his wife, Heather (aka Mrs. Goodness), live in Atlanta with two adorable four-legged children.

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AUTHORS, BUSINESS, HUMANITY, LEADERSHIP, PERSONAL GROWTH

Stacey Hanke: How to achieve real influence, moving people to action long after the interaction is over

Joined in studio today by Stacey Hanke, Founder/Owner of Stacey Hanke Inc., and author of Influence Redefined: Be the Leader You Were Meant to Be, Monday to Monday.

Discussion guide from our conversation with Stacey Hanke:

Stacey Hanke1. How do you define influence? What are the myths of influence?

2. Why do most people believe they are more influential than they really are?

3. What do you mean by being influential, Monday to Monday?

4. What are the top challenges people face that prevent them from being as influential as they can be?

5. What are the three drivers of influence?

6. Explain the Influence Model you teach in the book. How, and why, does it work?

You can find Stacey Hanke’s book here:

About Stacey Hanke:

Stacey Hanke is author of the book; Influence Redefined…Be the Leader You Were Meant to Be, Monday to Monday®. She is also co-author of the book; Yes You Can! Everything You Need From A To Z To Influence Others To Take Action.

Stacey is founder of Stacey Hanke Inc. She has trained and presented to thousands to rid business leaders of bad body language habits and to choose words wisely in the financial industry to the healthcare industry to government and everyone in between. Her client list is vast from Coca-Cola, FedEx, Kohl’s, United States Army, Navy and Air Force, Publicis Media, Nationwide, US Cellular, Pfizer, GE, General Mills and Abbvie. Her team works with Directors up to the C-Suite. In addition to her client list, she has been the Emcee for Tedx. She has inspired thousands as a featured guest on media outlets including; The New York Times, Forbes, SmartMoney magazine, Business Week, Lifetime Network, Chicago WGN and WLS-AM. She is a Certified Speaking Professional—a valuable accreditation earned by less than 10% of speakers worldwide.

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CONTRIBUTORS, HUMANITY, MARKETING

Things I learned from being nice on social media

A few months ago, I decided to ONLY be nice and positive on social media.

I made this decision for two reasons: One, I grew tired of spewing my own social media venom; and two, because I grew increasingly tired of observing others doing the same.

Online, all far too many people seem to know how to do is SCREAM all day long; bitching and venting about this and that. It never seems to end.

Personally, I no longer wanted to add to the noise.

In terms of my past online behavior, this largely manifested itself in two ways: One, I bitched, moaned, and complained when a brand or organization wronged me (at least in my opinion); and two, I injected my political opinion into the wider dialog around a specific political news event or policy discussion.

At the end of the day, this was getting me nowhere. I needed to stop. I was getting frustrated. And it was causing unnecessary stress and anxiety.

And the spiraling behavior could only be dealt with by feeding it more. And more. And more. The process would never stop.

In the end, I decided that I needed to model better behavior online, the kind of behavior I’d prefer to see online, at least from others in my various social networks. I realized that I cannot control the whole internet, but I can control what I do and whom I follow online.

So, in addition to my stopping my own venom, an important part of the work was also to distance myself from people doing specific things online, activities that would ultimately provoke me into responding, or at least commenting. This would usually be something not very nice. Or at least not optimistic or supportive.

I grew weary of people picking political fights just for the sake of picking fights (not because they had a legitimate or principled stand on any actual policy position). They just relished the fight and heated, angry debate.

I grew to dislike people who stirred up trouble and controversy, not because they believed strongly in the issue, but because they wanted to have 100 people comment on their post, and stir the pot within the comments. It was more about the action there.

I also tired of people who spent twenty-four hours a day complaining about brands. Endlessly. It really came to a head for me when United Airlines had its unfortunate experience of dragging the poor fellow off the plane. It felt to me that people relished the chance to pile on to a brand who had done wrong…not to necessarily voice deeply-held, principled opinion, but rather, they loved the schadenfreude. That made me sick. I unfollowed more people after that incident than any day since. And have been a shadow of my former self on Facebook since that incident.

And when one controversy ends, they wait and pile on the next brand that does wrong.

On the occasion that I did offer my thoughts and opinion on a matter of political opinion, people would jump at the chance to shit on my opinion. No, these people never commented or engaged with anything else I did online, but jumped at the chance to smack me upside the head when I offered something political. It was almost like they were lurking in the shadows waiting for me to say something…

Finally, and most frustratingly, I no longer wanted to observe people complaining about their lives (and doing nothing about it).

All these behaviors combined, grew very, very tiresome. And I was tired of feeding it all with my own venom and vitriol.

So now, when someone acts in this way on any of my networks, I unfriend and unfollow, or disconnect however appropriately. It’s not personal, really, but I just don’t have time for it.

So, here are the basic guidelines I’ve made for myself:

1. I will no longer complain about brands online. I will contact the brand directly if I have a complaint that warrants further action.

2. I will not discuss religion or politics. I will conduct face-to-face, offline debates with people who are interested in understanding my point of view on an issue; not with people who just want to shout louder than I can.

3. I will not engage on someone’s post to disagree and debate. If I feel strongly enough to discuss it with them, I will do so offline.

4. When there is a big controversy that has got everyone commenting and offering their opinion, I will simply unplug, get offline, and read a book.

So what will my behavior look like? Well, I’m going to post lovely photos of my hometown, the food we eat, the travel I do, our crazy dogs, share music I am listening too, and document my marathon training (which is taking more and more of my time).

And of course, I will continue share the results of the work from my media company: Our interviews, client work, our business series, and other fascinating material generated on our platform from our collaborators.

Some of you might find that boring. But I make no apologies, because that’s my life. You’ll engage with it, or you won’t. I won’t lose any sleep over it.

So, how’s it going so far?

Well, for several months, I haven’t been negative, haven’t complained publicly to and about any brands, have ignored and/or unfollowed anyone who has been politically nasty, and disconnected from most people who spent all day long complaining about people, brands, and their life.

I will admit, it wasn’t always easy. In today’s crazy political climate, it wasn’t easy to keep silent, especially in the face of some pretty repellent behavior, commentary, and media coverage.

But I did it. And now, it’s like I’ve gone through detox. I no longer miss it. It’s easier and easier to disengage and not pay attention to all the childish antics and behavior.

Here are my key lessons learned and (sometimes surprising) observations:

1. Assholes have stopped picking fights with me. This alone was worth the effort.

2. I’ve literally stopped sending dozens and dozens of tweets complaining about things. Nothing ever really comes from doing this anyway. And I don’t even really feel better after doing it either.

3. When I do make a comment on something now, I have to put a positive spin on things. This changes how I react to situations, and that’s a good thing. I am more optimistic and positive, rather than negative. Big, positive mindset shift!

4. I have become more proactive on these channels, rather than always reacting to people stirring up trouble. This affords more control to my personal messaging.

5. Similarly, this has made me a better journalist myself, as I am no longer reacting to poor journalism. And I am learning what NOT to do myself.

6. I had long felt required to follow provocative people just to be able to react to them. Now, I can simply unfollow them, get their vitriol and poison out of my life, and stop wasting my precious time.

7. I’ve learned how to discern real news, rather than trying to count on untrustworthy sources to get their opinion on the day’s events.

8. When I personally stopped pouring gas on the fire, a lot of the negative crap went away, at least in my world (which saved me a lot of anger, time, and stress).

9. Instead of taking so much of this crap personally, I can now laugh at most people online, and realize how foolish they are acting. It now amuses me, rather than infuriates me. My blood pressure has gone down significantly.

10. I’ve learned how relatively unimportant social media is. For as a result of my decision, I spend a lot less time on social media, and much to my surprise, I really don’t miss it.

11. At first, the urge to go negative was strong. But over a couple of months, that same urge has largely gone away, and now, I couldn’t be bothered. I’ve got more important things to do.

12. And WOW the time I have saved from not getting dragged into useless, pointless debates with people whom I will NEVER convince otherwise. That time can now be spent on positive activities, at least for myself.

So, those are my key findings from being nice on social media for a couple of months.

As I’ve said before, I won’t judge people for how they act online. The beauty of these digital channels is that you can utilize them however you see fit. So, far be it from me to judge people on platforms such as these.

Do as you will, and as many have continued to do, do your worst. But for me, I’m over it. I don’t have time for that anymore.

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