The best part of my Social Media odyssey to Las Vegas wasn’t a panel or a discussion. It was a poker game.
I’m a HUGE poker geek. I read blogs about it, follow tourneys on TV, and play when my bank account allows it. My dad told me about a charity poker tournament benefitting Ante Up for Africa featuring some of my favorite pros.
Let me get this straight: Charity, Poker and meeting (possibly playing against) my favorite pro players? I must have annoyed the hell out of the organizer making sure that I had a seat. (Thanks for the genetic markers for OCD, Mom.)
When I got there and sat down, I had the time of my life, but not because of the cards. I got to hang out with Chris Brogan, who is just a super cool guy. We were joking and laughing together, Andy Bloch was in on the fun (and as Chris points out on his blog, did a real solid to keep a guy in the game), and everybody had that great attitude that comes from helping other people. While making conversation, Chris helped me realize something really important. I realized that I’ve been keeping a big part of myself held back.
I come from a background in entertainment, doing improv comedy, sketch comedy and any other kind of comedy you can think of, but when I sit down to write these blog posts while I might throw a little something in here and there, but I keep it “professional” and “informational” and “serious” so I can be taken “seriously”. The things I write come from the heart and I really mean the things I say, but I’ve definitely held back. They read like I’m giving a friggin’ college lecture.
Well, class is dismissed. I’m not Mashable, or Seth Godin, or Chris. But I’m a pretty damned good me, and I’d be doing myself and everyone else a disservice if I was anything different. Not everything I write is going to be gags and bits, and I do have things to share that will be a bit more serious, but I can’t run from what I love and who I am. I love making people laugh, and when Chris laughed so hard that he spit up his drink, it made my night. I wasn’t “networking” with Chris because of who he is; I was making friends with someone who is nice, kind and shares my twisted sense of humor.
Think about how this applies to you, too. People do business with people. People do business with people they like and trust. People won’t know if they like you unless they really get to meet and know you. Let them in. We all worry about influencing and reputation and branding, and while that’s important, when the brand is you, be you. Not a projection of you.