I once did a monstrous blog post entitled “The 50 Tweets That Businesses Should Be Doing.” It was my far-reaching attempt to coax clients (and you) onto Twitter. “We don’t have anything to tweet about,” I’d often hear. Nonsense. You have much to discuss; it’s just that some of it doesn’t have anything directly to do with selling stuff. I followed that post up with one entitled, “10 Tweets To Leave on the Cutting Room Floor,” or something like that.
One of the tweets I advised you to cut from your tweeting repertoire was offering the quotes of famous people. To me, they just seemed empty and pointless. Now, I just wrote a book that, like many books, offers inspirational quotes at the beginning of each section. So basically I’m a total hypocrite. Or perhaps, I learned from my mistakes.
Recently I was emailing my friend Joshua Arnao some advice, and he asked me, “What are one or two quotes that inspire you?” In an attempt to answer his question, I came up with what you see below. The first quote is from me (I’m not famous!) and the second is from Maya Angelou. Let me be clear on this first quote: no, I do not inspire myself! Rather, I just want you to know that this is one of the prisms through which I view life. And of course, the Maya Angelou quote is actually a “famous quote,” and she did inspire me during her lifetime (and still does).
Let me know what you think down in the comments (if people still do that).
1. “The literal ability to perform an action and the advisability of doing so are two very separate things.” ~Chris Reimer
Here’s what this means to me: To a varying degree, we are all given power in our lives. Power at home, power at our jobs, power to shape the lives of others. We have the green light to fire someone if they break rule XYZ. It’s in the Employee Handbook. However, the green light does not always have to mean “Go!” For instance, decisions made while angry have an above-average chance of being short-sighted, damaging – what you’d call “wrong.” As I allude to in my book, in life there are the blacks and the whites – the extremes – and then there’s a very deep pool of grays, and that’s where most of the swimming in life is done. So get to know that deep water. Understand it and the other people swimming in it. This is important! I like to live my life in a results-based way – what am I trying to accomplish? – versus following every single rule to the letter. You do not merely possess the power of “do.” Don’t look at it that way. You have the power of “choice.” The choices you have been entrusted to make are not preordained “correct” simply because you are The Big Cheese.
2. “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~Maya Angelou
I quote this in my book. It means the world to me. Achievements aside, what’s really left at the end of the day, and at the end of our lives, is how we feel. Hopefully we feel accomplishment, and hopefully we feel good about ourselves and the world around us. It’s hard work to do right by people! Don’t kid yourself. And we too often ignore the people in our lives and what they’re going through. We should not ignore each other’s struggles any longer. Our work lives depend on it, not to mention our overall health. The world needs more empathy, and I think Ms. Angelou provided us a strong, crystal-clear reminder of the importance of treating each other with love and respect.