Today, October 3, 2012 I awoke earlier than normal and found the air crisp and after loading the coffee pot quickly got dressed to ward off the chill. Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t cold in my house, but it wasn’t warm either.
After getting my first cup of coffee in one of Grandma’s coffee cups I sat down at my desk and realized that the roses I had cut and placed there were faded. This brought a smile to my face.
Often (probably too often) I share pictures from my gardens. It seems that I now have over a dozen varieties of roses and hundreds of pounds of canna lilies. I didn’t plan this assortment of flowers, these are just those that have survived the many cycles of life.
Sometimes the summers are “too hot” or “too long” or the winters are “too cold” or “come too early” or “come too late.” My roses and lilies have fared the best. They are the resounding survivors.
With all the current unrest over the “government shutdown,” the recent overwhelming changes in my professional career, and the overwhelming losses of loved ones in my family over the last several months I have had to consciously take pause and find comfort in these basic things.
When you find yourself in a similar place, what do you turn to?
Okay I know; I am gushing! But I have been waiting for weeks, for the newest version of Trust Agents and The Impact Equation and they arrived together just in time for my birthday. Happy Happy Happy Birthday to Ms. Annie Sells!
I owe about 100 thank you’s to all the friends and family that reached out to make me feel loved and appreciated on the celebration of my birth. I owe the biggest thank you, to Chris and Z who made it clear that they love me without measure and wanted me to know it on my special day. But I owe a big thank you to these authors for rekindling a spark in me!
I have spent time “on-line” forever and was one of the first people I know to do AOL, to get a Yahoo account, I was on MyLife way before it was MyLife and I still slink around MeetMe which of course used to be My Yearbook. I remember when chat rooms were thought to never take on. Of course I have seen many more come and go. I miss Threadsy. 😦
I have advocated for online learning for over a decade and every degree and certification that trails my name was earned online. I respect and love higher education, but firmly believe that if colleges and universities don’t come a lot further very quickly, toward embracing distance and online learning that future generations will suffer.
However, I did not need to tell you any of this, because it is all out here on the world wide web for your viewing pleasure. Do a search for “Ms. Annie Sells” and you will find a lot, but do another search for “Ms. Annie Sells, social media” or “Ms. Annie Sells, Fort Smith” and you would be entertained for a while
I have tripped my way through a lot of trial and error just like Trust Agents and Thought Leaders. We are the guinea pigs that are testing everything and putting ourselves on the line, so that we can learn for ourselves and teach as many of our friends and colleagues who are willing and interested in learning. Trust me, if you take this route you will not need a resume’ or CV either.
What can I say? At home in Fort Smith, Arkansas it has hardly rained in two months. Even the watermelons are in short supply and they can grow in road ditches, given that they get enough water. Where I normally have a beautiful flower garden and vegetable garden, I now have a lot of brown and dying vegetation. The 100+ temps day in and day out are exhausting, horrible for the economy and well – depressing.
But on a much happier and lighter note the pool has been oh so inviting. Here is where my confession comes in:
I have spent as much time playing with my monkeys, as I call them, as possible, teaching my son how to swim, getting way too much sun and swimming, swimming, swimming. When it is too hot to breath and everyone I know is closeted in their homes under their inefficient air conditioning, I have had friends over for BBQs and playing in my much-loved swimming pool.
Today, I, Annie Sells had the privilege of talking to some really incredible people, one such person was Sherese. She and I where in the back seat of a car, being driven to dinner and I confessed to her that I haven’t been writing of late and have neglected my online friends and fans. She wanted to know why. I told her the truth. I have spent my time connecting as authentically as possible with the people in my life. For if you cannot connect authentically with the people who you can see and reach out and touch, how can you possibly connect authentically with people in your virtual world?
I say you cannot.
Now that I have a clean conscience, let’s get back to work.
I want to send a special thanks to Ms. Sherese Duncan of Efficio Inc. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with, speaking with and getting to know her both professionally and personally over the last 8 months.
Sherese you have reminded me of several things:
1. There is no box, only our core.
2. We must believe in ourselves.
3. We must be active and take ownership.
4. Only we can push ourselves to excellence.
I say thank you and pray that you like all the small business owners and entrepreneurs that I know experience true success, fulfillment and happiness in your work and in your personal life!
Do you now or would you like to own a small business? Have you ever worked for a small business? I can answer these questions with conviction and odds are that you can also. In my opinion, small businesses are where it’s at and they are the back-bone of America. (Non-profits aren’t too bad either.) Seriously, home based businesses, small businesses and entrepreneurs are the United States’ greatest source of innovation.
I make no bones about my passion for my home, the Greater Fort Smith Region, or about my passion for entrepreneurship. So why would someone like me utilize much of my free time studying, getting to know and interacting with small businesses, their employers and entrepreneurs? Why would I advocate the use of social media and/or teach others how to utilize these tools for their own personal use and/or for their businesses.
Let’s look at this from a different view.
Have you ever drawn your water from a well? Or had it gravity feed from a pond, stream or lake? Have you ever used a chamber pot or an outhouse? Have you ever gone without electricity and used candles, lanterns, and/or fire? Have you ever made hand crank ice cream? Have you ever tilled a garden by pulling a plow and/or by hand with a hoe? Have you ever ridden a bicycle to school or work?
I have done each of these things and would do them again tomorrow if I had to. But now I have running water and electricity in my home. I also have two toilets and I like ice cream that is already made that I can scoop, spoon, and swallow. I also like tilling with a tiller and I really love driving my jeep.
There is always more than one way to skin an animal and there are always many different ways to get to our destinations in life and in business. I do not advocate the use of Social Media because it is some magic bullet. I advocate the use of social media because anyone that is willing to learn new things, utilize new tools, put themself out there and to possibly fail can and will benefit from it.
We all have to generate exposure for our products, services and businesses.
We all want to generate more traffic, because then odds are in our favor instead of against us.
If we are online, we all want to increase our search rankings. People look for things online and they find them. Whether they find them from you or someone else is within your control.
We are always in the market for new colleagues and new business opportunities and increasing the likelihood of these is in our favor.
We are all in the lead generating business and anything that helps in that department is a step in the right direction.
We all want to get the most bang for our buck and there isn’t any better way to do that than to decrease our marketing expenses.
Improving sales is the name of the game.
So with the benefits who needs a magic bullet? I don’t. I have running water, toilets, electricity, frozen ice cream, tillers, jeeps and Social Media.
Responded in much appreciation and gratitude to those who have responded to my product.
Cannot stop thinking now, cause I’m on a roll.
Writing again, but this time putting all my cards on the table.
While reading, which we all know is a pre-requisite for writing I came across Chris Brogan‘s blog post entitled “100 Blog Topics I Hope You Write.” While on one of many flights he came up with a list of only 100 topics that he wishes bloggers / writers / journalists would blog about.
Why would a successful CEO, social media guru, public speaker and blogger want you to write about his topics? According to Chris, “If we’re going to show people how to use social media to drive meaningful conversations instead of being yet another marketing tool, we have to run out and educate at a break-neck pace, so we can bring more and more thought leaders into alignment with these big and not-so-big organizations who could use our help.”
I believe in writing, communication, connecting and what better way to do that than to contribute to the education of thought leaders?
Chris thank you so much for your suggestion and rest assured that your hope will see fruition, at least to a small degree in Fort Smith, AR.
How @sells_annie Uses Facebook – Count the Ways
1) Share my blog with friends and followers.
Chris Brogan posted a blog about his reflections on September 11th and how it affected him. His readers had a lot of comments on his personal opinion. Some folks did not smile upon his personal opinion and made it out like he was being selfish for sharing his personal experience.
September 11, 2001 changed my life forever. I was not “there.” I did not loose any close family members as a result of the day. However, I lost faith in many things and changed my life perspective entirely!
I was in Berea, Kentucky where I was then attending college on a $75,000 scholarship. I was in a Social Economics course (I was a sociology major) and we were focusing on consumerism. The television was playing in the next room and we HEARD the airplane hit the world trade center. Everyone in my class got up and ran to the television in shock. Our instructor had the nerve to say that there was nothing we could do about it, so we should return to our studies. We tried, but it was ineffective at best.
After classes were out for the day, I had to go to work in Richmond, Kentucky at the local Applebee’s as the fry cook. I remember walking into work and Bin Laden‘s picture was on every television screen, even though they were on different channels.
The following day on Berea College campus I remember sitting under a century-old-tree and writing in my journal about how everyone at school was going through the motions, but no one was present.
I was 715 miles away from home, without money or transportation and only wanted to be at home with those I loved. Uncertainly and lack of any security resonated through every fiber of my being and my life and I was not the only one, but we were all alone. Everyone to some degree felt as I did, but no one panicked. We were awakened nightly in our residential halls to fellow student’s having nightmares. The news was always on and everyone seemed to be waiting for salvation, yet it didn’t come.
My mother begged me to drop out of school and return home. But the sense of urgency that I felt and feeling that the life and place I was in, was a once in a lifetime opportunity and the need to stay and honor my commitments ruled.
Systematically I began to fall apart. It only took from September 11th until February 1st for everything I lived, believed and thought to completely fall apart and fall away. During that time I took a stress test and the results were over 700! Needless to say by the end of winter term, I withdrew and returned to Arkansas to lick my wounds and put myself back together. When I tried to return to school, they would not consider me for re-admittance.
I moved back home and stayed with my mother for about 6 weeks and then moved to Fort Smith, AR, rented my own place and proceeded to start over from scratch. It took me three years to pay off Berea College to get my transcripts released so that I could go back to school. By then I was married, a wife and a mother.
It took 8 years, but I did what it took to finish both an associates and bachelors degree. Do I sometimes still wish that I had been able to stay at Berea College and graduated in 4 years with a bachelors degree? Yes.
But 9/11 showed me in a very real way that my wish was not what was important. Being the creme-de-la-creme of Berea College in Berea, KY was nothing compared to living an authentic life and surrounding myself with my friends, family and the people I love.
There is always more than one way to shoot for the stars and to achieve success. My life-long I have believed that success is the fulfillment of God-given potential. 9/11 taught me that only God knew how I would be successful.
** Please note that this article in no way reflects my personal opinions on the cause of September 11th, only that such an incident forever changed life in my country forever.
Michelle, my friend and asset to Fort Smith, AR, recommended me to a friend of hers who interviewed me today. As of tomorrow morning I will be the newest addition to the Arkansas Association of Two Year Colleges (AATYC), as the satellite location’s secretary. I am excited about the change and to be going to work in the important industries of education and workforce training.
I have no doubt that the new “hat” will have its share of challenges and that there will be a learning curve of some measure. However, I will be working with professionals who have gone above and beyond to contribute to my community, to my state and to the lives of oh so many people seeking to improve their quality of life.
This position should be a great opportunity to put all of the skills that I have been working to gain and utilize to work for one of the most important causes, as far as I am concerned, out there. Working for AATYC should also be a great fit, as it is a part time position and I will be free to continue to pursue my other dreams.
I will continue to help with the Marketing of Tidbits, the Social Media management of TeamRVBN, writing as the Fort Smith Social Media Examiner and doing Social Media Coaching. It should be fun and if I feared lack of challenge and direction, then those fears are now assuaged.