I hope you are faring well in the wake of this week’s events.

Today I’m going to talk briefly about list management before I share my thoughts about this week.

List Management

We each have our lists.  Our Facebook friends.  Our LinkedIn network.  Our email lists…  And to each of us they each mean something different, have different purposes. 

Today, I’d like to encourage you to take a closer look at your lists.  Because the fact is, in a world of mass communication, our lists are some of the most important assets we have, because they represent real people with whom we share a connection.

In the world of online marketing, this is one of the first things you are taught: your list is extremely important – it’s everything.  No list, no connection.

But I think this concept is much less appreciated by folks who aren’t familiar with the strategies of marketing (that is, effectively reaching many people).  I’d go so far as to say most of us just take our lists for granted and don’t give them a second thought.  And I think this is a mistake.

To some extent, our lists represent our voice.  Because you can shout all you want, but if no one’s around to hear you…  Or if the right audience isn’t around to hear you… 

So who’s on your list?  Are you communicating with them?  How often?  Andwhat are you communicating?
As much as I’d like to communicate with everyone I know individually, this just isn’t feasible.  But I certainly don’t want to lose those connections.  Becauseeach and every one of them is important to me.  YOU are important to me.

So my encouragement is this: take some time to look at your lists.  Are the right people there?  Are the wrong people there?  Once you’ve spent some time considering what your lists mean to you, then take the time to consider what you’d like to convey and if you’re doing it.  We each have a voice, and our lists are a wonderful outlet for that voice, whatever the cause.

Don’t underestimate the power of your list.  Because it’s not the list that really matters, it’s the individual connections that it represents.  The human connections.  Is there anything more important?

So speaking of lists, and individuals and our voice, here are my thoughts on this week’s events.  I hope you find this meaningful.  I hope my voice is heard and appreciated, and, dare I say, shared and amplified through you.

“Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.”
― Tom Peters

This Week in America

I’ve heard quite a few words to describe what happened in our country this week: shock, disbelief, disappointment, outrage… the list goes on.

As for myself, the words that come to mind are “grief” and “hope”.

Let me explain.

I’m not feeling grief for the outcome of our election.  No, the fact is, I had long since given up hope that this election would bring about any sort of “goodness” in the form of elected “leaders”.

My family used to go hiking in the mountains and my younger brother used to play this game that we still joke about today.  He would think of all sorts of calamities that could happen to a person and ask what would be worse.  So we’d be walking on some beautiful trail in the high Cascades while he was asking “Would you rather get a tick in your tongue, or a tick in your eye?”  Charming.

But that’s basically how I felt going into this election.  I suspect much of the country felt the same way.

So my grief comes from several places.  First; the fact that we as a society have allowed this to happen.  And I’m not talking about Trump or Clinton here.  I’m talking about the political system that has devolved into a plutocracy of the rich elite running the show while the rest of us peons look on in horror and disbelief… and perceived helplessness.  The fact is; it’s long since been clear to me that our political system is no longer serving most of us very well.

Now let me pause before I continue.  I want to be clear here that I am extremely grateful for all that I have, and all that I’ve been afforded by a system that, to some extent, up to this point, has provided for me and millions of others quite well.  The reality is; WE are the 1%.  All of us.  Just look around at the world – if you can stomach it.  Half the people on this planet are just this side of starving.  So yeah, in the grand scheme of things – we have it pretty darn good.  And I try never to lose sight of that.  I live in gratitude every single day.

But this luxury WE ALL enjoy has come at great cost.

We’ve become complacent and comfortable and numb.  We’ve allowed greed and chauvinism and fear and anger and division and blame to eat away at our moral fiber.  How else can one explain this week?  The fact is; what happened this week is not a cause of this country’s problems, it’s a symptom.

WE are the cause.

Each and every one of us. 

It’s easy to point the finger, but we should instead each be looking in the mirror.  That may be a tough pill to swallow, but swallow it we must.

The second place my grief comes from is the seeming lack of awareness of this reality.  When I look around at this country, I see a populace looking to blame.  As I said, it’s easy to point the finger and say “if only the election had gone the other way”.  But that line of thinking flawed on multiple levels and is missing the point – and ultimately perpetuates the problem.
The problem is not who was elected – the problem is the system.  And we created it.
If we want to change things, we need to start thinking differently about our world – and about ourselves.  We need to stop putting our hope, our faith, in our elected “leaders”.  We must become leaders ourselves.

I went through a process this week in which I was forced (no, that’s not true – Ichose) to look at my own projections, my own beliefs and judgments, and own my role as a member of society.

I too, was quick to judge.  People who act selfishly.  People who act greedily.  People who’d rather be comfortable and complacent than rock the boat.  People who spend their lives working to support themselves and their families regardless of the extrinsic costs on the world around them.  People who fear scarcity.  People who have become hopeless.  People who choose not to be aware of what’s really going on in this country, and in this world.

And the inescapable conclusion I came to was; I am one of those people.

I have acted out of fear, out of greed, out of complacency and lassitude.  I have been (and continue to be) a perpetuator of the problem.

We all have.

So here is where hope kicks in.

My hope is that this week’s events will be the catalyst for people to realize that we each have a greater responsibility to do better, to be better.

It’s time we take a hard look at who we are and what we’re doing for society.
It’s not enough to go through life “just trying to get by”.  It’s not enough to identify problems and gripe about them.  It’s not enough to look outside of ourselves for solutions.

The solutions must come from within.

We must each choose to step into our full potential.  We must each choose to dig in and face our own shortcomings, our own fears, our own projections.

So rather than choose to blame or to feel hopeless or helpless, I choose toRISE UP.  I choose to be a better person.  I choose to do EVERYTHING I POSSIBLY CAN to be the best person I can possibly be.  I choose to step into my full potential.  I choose to take ownership of my role in society, and my own shadows that have helped create a climate that is anything less than I would want.  I choose to change myself.  I choose to love each and every person in this country, and on this planet, no matter what judgments may try and preempt that love.  I choose hope.  I choose empowerment.  I choose understanding and empathy and humility.  I choose to do the work.

We will undoubtedly have a difficult four years ahead of us but you know what; we’d have a difficult four years ahead of us regardless of the outcome of this election cycle.  The choice we have now is; what do we intend to do with the time that has been given to us?
It’s a beautiful world we live in.  Help me make it even more so.

I’m excited for our future because I know how much potential lies within each and every one of us.  I know how much potential lies with you.

Have a truly awesome weekend.

“You have to think anyway, so why not think big.” 
― Donald Trump