As we look back at January and many of us finalize our plans and goals for the year ahead, I want to share some thoughts on the importance of developing – and then living by! – a personal inner scorecard.
Here’s what I mean:
I’ve said this before, but I hate social media. I hate the pressure of it and the superficiality of (much of) it. And I particularly hate the way the big tech companies consciously manipulate it – and manipulate us – to pull us apart, lock us into echo chambers, and amplify opposing ideas until the whole world and its complexity becomes reduced to binary and opposing factions.
BUT, I also recognize that social media is just a tool. And like all tools, it can be used for good, or for evil. So as I’ve grappled with it, I’ve decided to use it for good. And on my terms. I don’t have gazillions of followers, I don’t use gimmicks or bots to increase my reach, and I have a simple rule: if I use social media at all, it will be to share ideas that – I hope – add value to people’s lives in some way. Share value, or say nothing. That’s my rule.
But it is a rule that goes against so much common business “wisdom”. I am constantly bombarded by people who tell me I need to engage all day, “value bomb” other people’s FB pages, get likes and follows by any means necessary, and systematically be everywhere all the time.
But I don’t. That’s not who I am. That’s not living my values. So that’s not what I do.
And that’s the power of an inner scorecard. We make the rules for ourselves and then ignore the pulls of “industry practices”, “SOPs”, and all the other benchmarks that aren’t relevant to us… or simply, aren’t how we want to do things. We choose what’s important to us and forget about the rest. We run our own race. Do things our way. And be who we are.
Is it easy? Of course not. Is it without “cost”? No. Trade-offs are real. I am all too aware that by limiting my social media activity to what it is, I am losing out on potential clients, potential impact, potential business, and maybe a lot of other things too. But that is a trade-off I am willing to make.
And that is what we all have to do when we live by our own measure. We have to acknowledge that we might not grow as big, we might not make as much money, we might not get all the clients (then again, we might get the growth, money, and clients that are right for us). And we have to be okay with whatever trade-offs we are making.
So as you move through the rest of your year, decide who’s going to keep score: you or someone else. Decide what counts as a “win” and what counts as a “loss.” Decide. Choose. Keep your own scorecard and let everyone else keep theirs.