Lynne d Johnson



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09.25.13 11:02 AM

How A Lack Of Focus Can Be Attributed To Fear

Today's meditation: "Those who do not move, do not notice their chains." - Rosa Luxemburg

For a long time, I've held the belief that I couldn't be an entrepreneur because I don't have the basic skills to make that kind of thing work. I've long held the belief that I lack focus. I mean, not like an ADHD lack of focus, but more like trying to do too much at one time lack of focus. I mean trying to do too much at one time so that I'm not able to discern what's going to be more enriching either financially, spiritually, or otherwise.

And I've held onto these beliefs for eons.

Many years ago, when I worked in a bookstore, I once told a friend who I worked with that I really, really feared failure. He pondered what I said for a second and then asked, "How do you know you fear failure, and it's not really success that you fear?" Whoa! BOOM! I tucked this one away into my back pocket -- for eons.

So here's the deal. A few times in my life I've been laid off from FT gigs for a slew of reasons, but mostly having to do with budgets. And I'd say that each time this happens, I get committed to becoming an entrepreneur, a freelancer, a consultant. But that's only until some FT job offer comes along and I simply bow out. I'm in one of those phases of my life right now and there's a long list of reasons why a FT gig sounds better.

That's especially true when I pile up all of these reasons why I can't go it alone. "I'm not good at the biz dev part." "I need more structure in my day and in my life." And, yadda, yadda, yaa. But doesn't that sound like fear talking?

This past weekend, while watching Oprah's Lifeclass with Dr. Brenee Brown on vulnerability and daring greatly, it clicked: This lack of focus is really masked by a little something called fear. So instead of things working out, I make things hectic. I bring the chaos and the drama. So here's what I'm learning to do.

VALUE MY TIME: This is also called having a plan. There are but only so many hours in the day, and if you want to be successful at being productive on the things that matter (be they personal or professional) you've got to plan them out. Sure, you can be Zen about it and just live in the moment, but even living in the moment requires a plan. What is it that you're about to do in this moment? How will you be present if you don't know what it is you're doing?

LEARN TO SAY NO: Now this is a big one for me and it goes along really well with valuing my time. No one person can do everything. It's just completely impossible. People will understand if you have to say no, and if they don't, oh well. They will get over it. That goes for both the personal and the professional. Multi-tasking successfully is a myth, so if you can't learn to say no, you'll be drowning yourself in a list of to-dos that never get checked off and you'll never have any time for yourself.

DON'T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF: And I'm sure you've heard this one a million times, but it's really true. That dialogue we start in our heads about why we can't do something, only creates a lack of focus. We start jumping from thing to thing without a plan, and unfortunately, without motivation. Trust me, I've been there.

Fear is that crazy thing that can make us do a pile up. A pile up of what ifs. And a pile up of things that we just won't ever get to. Don't worry if you don't answer all of your email or all of your voice mail. Choose a set amount of things to do each day. And focus on what's important. Use programs like RescueTime and TimeTracker to track how you spend your time. You'll be amazed when you see how much time you spend doing things that aren't a part of your plan. And then there's a slew of programs to help you block those distractions, once you figure out what they are. StayFocused and Concentrate work for Chrome. I settled for RescueTime, as a solution I could use on both my desktop and my phone, and track my time as well as block time-wasting sites.

And most important, stop fearing what people will think of you. And stop fearing that you're not choosing the right stuff to do. If you feel it in your gut, it's the right thing for you, right now.

The other side of the crazy fear is that it can make us stand completely still. Stillness is fine as it helps us to be mindful and clear out any misgivings. But when that stillness makes us completely immobile and unproductive for a length of time, well, it's a problem.

So do I fear success? Well, we can all learn a little something from failure couldn't we. We can learn to be successful from failure. Making mistakes teaches us how to do something right, or better. But it's about taking that risk and opening ourselves up to the possibilities of what's to come without judging ourselves or others in the process. So maybe there's more a fear of not believing that I'll get to success.

Do I suffer from a lack of focus? Certainly. But most of it can be attributed to fear. And well, I'm in recovery and already learning how to kick fear in the A.

And while I'm definitely not against taking a FT post again, I want to do it for all the right reasons. And I don't want any of those reasons to be that I was afraid to at least try going it on my own.

What do you fear?

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09.24.13 02:07 PM

Getting Ready To Beta Test Mail Pilot For Mac

Going to really enjoy beta testing Mail Pilot for Mac. It looks so intuitive, with a task-oriented approach to managing mail. Since Sparrow joined Google, I was using PostBox, which just felt too clunky and no better than using web-based mail. Actually ended up paying for PostBox, because I liked it's promise in terms of linking with your Dropbox or Evernote and adding social network info to your contacts, among other features like incorporating your to-dos. But on my machine, it simply runs like an old engine. Not sure why.

I'm in also on the beta for Unibox, but can't use it because my current computer is only Mac 10.6.8 and I need to be on Mountain Lion 10.8. So, I haven't been able to actually test it. (Don't ask me why I haven't upgraded yet. Seriously, don't.)

Anyway, here's a video of what Mail Pilot for Mac can do:

Unibox looks prettier than Mail Pilot, and it seems to bring all of your messaging into one box (including social network messaging). That's helpful, and saves time from having to log into so many sites (and/or apps). Can't wait until these innovations in Mail come to the Android. Right now, the only innovative mail app I've seen on Android has been Boomerang. I tried that Beta for a while, but it had too many kinks at the time. But I am thinking about going back to it, since it's a lot lighter than Gmail and enables you to "Send Later" and schedule mail, and track responses.

What innovations have you seen in mail? What are you using on your phone or desktop and why does it work for you?

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09.20.13 10:52 AM

What Happened To Knowing More About A Person By The Books And Vinyl On Their Shelves?

About a week or two ago, I was having a business meeting with a former business associate and friend who has always been an entrepreneur and consultant in some way. He was there with another friend who is an entrepreneur and consultant, who showed us a book that neither one of us had seen before. Immediately, I knew that if I were going to successfully do this consultant thing this time (or land the best FT job for me) that I was going to need this book.

This book, The Decision Book: 50 Models For Strategic Thinking, seemed like just the right book I needed to take things to the next level in both my personal and professional lives. It immediately signaled to me that it fit right in there with Edward de Bono's Lateral Thinking: Creativity Step by Step and/or Dan Roam's The Back of The Napkin. All three together, fully understood, it would seem, could make one seriously poised for better articulating and selling ideas. At least that's what I'm hoping.

But as much as I knew I needed this book. I waited. And I waited. And, oh, I waited. The wait was a process of debating whether to get it in print or as a Kindle version. It felt like I needed it in print, to carry it around, to feel it and turn its pages, to mark it up, and to reference it wherever and whenever I wanted to. But I wanted it fast, and now, and I had already killed nearly a week trying to decide whether I should get the print or Kindle edition. Some books just have to be in print, and this felt like one of them. But unfortunately, I had no more time to waste. I got the Kindle version. I didn't have to wait any longer for it. I didn't have to pay shipping fees. And yes, I could still mark it up and refer to it wherever and whenever. (To tell the truth, I still want it in print.)

And this experience made me think deeply about the question in my headline: What Happened To Knowing More About A Person By The Books And Vinyl On Their Shelves?

I remember back in the days, you'd go visit someone at their house, and you'd look at their bookshelf and/or vinyl collection and you'd pretty much know who you were dealing with and whether you'd be compatible as friends (and in some cases as lovers or partners). But today I wonder, now that so many people have digital collections of everything, how we'll any longer have this ability to know a person's character by the music they listen to or books they read. I doubt we'll become a generation of people who look into other people's phones, iPads, or Kindles just to figure this sort of stuff out.

So while everyone wonders how people become more social or connected in this age of digital selves, I guess owning digital property vs physical property gives us a little more to talk about. It gives us a little more to expose (to those we deem worthy I guess.) Nowadays, people will only know what we're listening to or what we're reading if we tell them. If we share it on social media, or write about it on our blog, or talk about it in conversations. Long gone are the days of sizing someone up by staring at their bookshelf or vinyl collection or stack of magazines on the floor for hours and hours and comparing what you know or own to what they know or own. While it's an activity surely and (sorely) to be missed, it also opens up opportunities for newer and different kinds of experiences and connections. Are these experiences richer? Well, it really depends on how we approach them.

I guess some of the newer questions to ask folks nowadays are questions like: what's the most played genre (artists, song, album, etc.) on your phone or iPod? What were the last three books or magazines you downloaded? Or we can follow them and look at their charts, or follow their profiles on Spotify or Rdio or Soundcloud, or any other music service that allows folks to have a profile and be followed. And we can learn more about what they read by following them on Amazon Kindle or Goodreads. These are the new ways of looking at someone's vinyl or book shelf. These are just new and different ways of sizing someone one up and getting to know more about them. Somewhat different, and just a little bit the same.

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09.17.13 12:01 PM

Developing An Engagement Framework

Back when I was at Waggener Edstrom, I was working on a developing strategy/recommendations for a software company that was interested in becoming a social business, or as it was sold in (making a social business transformation). When I came onto the project, it had already been handled by another strategist who had done a great job on handling the necessary research and insights necessary to take it to the next level. As well, he had already prepared some high-level recommendations for the company.

When I got onto the project, didn't seem I had a lot of time left on the project to fully develop the types of plans it seemed the company was seeking. A 3-month project was sold in, for what the company needed, someone needed to spend a good 6-9 months (if not longer) on their business to really make an impact. Initially, I didn't let that worry me though. I knew that whatever work I was going to do, had to be grounded in a framework and had to consider other methods of digital communications the company utilized (so as to not simply focus on social, but to connect the dots instead).

So I started with a White Board (as I tend to do when I'm thinking problems through). Starting with the notion that the client wanted to ATTRACT, ENGAGE, and INSPIRE its intended audiences, I came up with this.


I didn't think it was simply necessary for the client to think about how they engage audiences, but more into how they think about inspiring audiences. Engaging me, means simply you have my attention, but if you inspire me, you might actually drive me to do something. So Inspiring content or experiences go beyond engaging ones because they motivate me.

But this didn't seem to be enough. How was the client going to fully arrive at their business goals? They wanted to bring in new business and close deals, and they wanted to get their employees involved in social media. And so, I took it a step further, thinking more clearly about the stages. ACQUIRE, ACTIVATE, ADVOCATE.


I then realized that the framework had to be an amalgam of the two. With the right framework in place, I could apply to any client social media or content marketing problem. And not just specifically in this case. So here's what I finally came up with.

Based on this premise: Social media starts with uncovering your audience(s)’s needs, responding to those needs in relevant channels with engaging content that inspires them and turns them into loyalists and advocates who spread your message, converting them into brand advocates and ultimately sales.

Monitor & listen to your existing audiences and communities (employees, media, influencers, etc.) to uncover their needs and where they are so that you can deliver the right content in the right places.

Engage your audiences by creating compelling targeted content (campaigns, contests, crowdsourcing) tailored to specific audiences on specific platforms and distribute through paid and social media, implementing a process for tagging and SEO to acquire the right audiences in the right channels.

Inspire the audience with content that is provocative, visionary, differentiated, relevant, timely, positions you as a thought leader, fulfils their needs, and has a narrative to drive them to action. Include call to actions to share content, sign up for newsletters, take surveys, etc.

Acknowledge your engaged and inspired audiences via rewards (both tangible and intangible) such as RTs, Mentions, adding to a leaderboard, enabling co-creation (video or text story sharing), sharing in social stories, etc. Empower audiences to spread your story and awareness about your brand so that you can acquire new audiences.

Measure & Learn by setting up dashboards to measure against KPIs, to find influencers, to monitor sentiment, generate leads, and evaluate your messaging and campaigns in case you have to reset the agenda.

This is where your management and optimization comes in. Every few months you need to do an audit, not just looking at your own efforts, but your competitors as well. Also see what your influencers are doing (be they media, customers, employees, etc.). This will all help in developing future and better strategies.

And the cycle repeats.

What do you think? Are there any phases/steps missing from this framework/process?

NEXT UP: An Approach To Digital Strategy

PREVIOUS: Digital Storytelling For Brands

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09.11.13 02:48 PM

Content + Community Strategist Looking For New Opportunities

Hi there. I'm currently getting my grind on, looking for consulting and freelance opportunities but also open to FT gigs as well. (see my resume below after the details)

Looking for new clients now

Currently working as a Content + Community Consultant developing digital and social marketing programs and campaigns, with a focus on INSIGHTS, STRATEGY, PLANNING & EXECUTION that help brands build engaging relationships with target audiences in order to reach their business goals. Services include:

- Social Media Audit(s) + Benchmarking and Recommendations
- Creative Concepting + Campaign Planning (Across Channels)
- Content Strategy and Development for Blogs and Micro-blogs
- Influencer Strategy + Identification + Outreach
- Competitive and Industry Analyses + Audience Profiling
- Social Media Education + Workshops
- Editorial Concepting + Planning + Development
- Writing + Editing (Reports, POVs, Briefs, White Papers, etc.)

And more.

Resume below...

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09.04.13 01:14 PM

Digital Storytelling For Brands

I presented "Digital Storytelling For Brands" at Brand Camp University during Internet Week in New York.

I spoke more about an approach to digital storytelling, instead of exactly how to do it. Key points of focus of this presentation included what makes for a good story, what is the framework for developing a story, and understanding your brand. Flip through the deck to see the highlights, as well as the accompanying video of my talk below. (More on brand reputation and brand promise in "Developing Your Online Presence In Social Media," which should have been called "Developing Your Digital Brand.")

Here's the video of my talk that accompanies the deck above.

Overall, I'm not always as interested in the tactics as I am in the research and insights that go into developing the strategy. To me, that's the hardest part. For strategy, I start with 3 of the Ws, the who, the what, the why and the how and the when are all part of the tactical plan.

Brands and individuals looking to get their stories heard, must first start with understanding their audiences (their passions and their pain points -- and most importantly how they use technology and digital media). After making some inferences based on data and research, it's on to understanding why you want to tell this story or communicate this message. In other words, what are the goals you're trying to achieve?

Now let's dig deeper into the what. You know you want to tell a story about you, or a story about your company, but based on what you now know about your audience and your goals (and your competitors and the industry overall) what aspect of your story is going to resonate.

What is your strategy? Story = Strategy in this scenario. (More on that in the next post on "Developing an Engagement Framework") What is that differentiating factor that will make you or your brand stand out from the pack?

Once you have the first three questions fully answered, it becomes a lot easier to work on the how and when and where. That will be your content strategy. Your data gathering should have gotten you to the point where you can determine whether you need to develop a creative campaign, start a blog (or change your blog strategy), make some infographics, start a pinterest, etc.

More on that later as well. My next two posts will focus on "Developing an Engagement Framework" and "An Approach To Digital Strategy."

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