Grace.

Why do I feel so connected yet so disconnected to the events of the past week? Grace is on my mind abundantly. Maybe it’s the motherland connection, also the case for my younger sister and two beautiful best friends here in New Zealand – we all travelled here in our early 20’s from the UK. Maybe it’s the smiling, unsuspecting final photo. Maybe it’s the ‘unsafe’ feeling that I have felt so many times before. Maybe it’s that I am raising a son, and the familiar heavy pressure of ‘being a good parent’ has just increased ten-fold. I find myself desperately wanting to avoid social media, yet hanging off it’s every word, waiting for answers. How, as business owners, can we avoid something as powerful and relevant as social media?

It is notable that during these tumultuous times, that social media is incredibly, incredibly powerful. It has allowed people to effortlessly break the law and outsmart the justice system, potentially impacting the entire case. It has provided a platform for the opinions of New Zealand, and the rest of the world, opening heated conversations surrounding violence, role-modelling, dating apps and behaviour. I don’t necessarily see this as a bad thing. After listening to Gary Vee at Success Squared this year, it makes zero sense for us to demonise the present rise of technology; after all, ‘the old ways’ is how we got here in the first place. There may be people posing with cars they own on credit via Instagram, but dominantly, social media brings out some majorly honest conversations, thanks to people feeling able to speak up from behind the barricade of their screens. This honesty can be somewhat refreshing, yet also leave me sat there wondering if some of the people responding are even people at all. My brain reminds me that bots are responsible for 61.9% of traffic across the internet, and for once, I find comfort in this.

This honesty, I must say, has impacted my friendships and purchase decisions. I have literally, in my powerless state, watched the reactions of those within the comments (another tip from Gary Vee, when asked how he stays on top of current trends – he monitors the reactions of others). The engagement of the public, has really highlighted the beliefs of the average  social media Joes (and Joannes). Has this impacted me as a customer to their place of work or business? Yes. Has this caused me to feel hugely disconnected from them as a person? Yes. Systematically adding these people to a list via the Reminders App on my phone, in order to never engage in their company, has been just one of my powerless strategies to deal with this obscure funk I’m stuck in. Mad, I know. But what can I do? How can you possibly build your business at a time like this?

We’ve all been there – simply not motivated. This I imagine, is across the board with my SCG Mums. We are all probably wondering what the hell we put out to our audiences at this time, or whether we should attend a vigil or not. Some of us are probably even thinking ‘what’s the point?’ I know each business that is created or nurtured through our doors has blossomed from the desire to do good and help others, so what’s the point if this kind of crap is happening? As business owners we want to do it all, help in ways that maybe others won’t. After all, Napoleon Hill states that only a select 20% of us are leaders.

The shameless advocate of productivity, I find myself sat on the couch wondering what the hell I can do. I’ve whittled it down to these 4 things:

  1. Top of the list; spend time with the people I love, and be present for them.
  2. Stop apologising for my opinions. Speaking up makes a difference, online or not.
  3. Embrace the funk, and the fact that so many people care.
  4. Strategise my methods of education – pinpoint how to effectively communicate the way I feel, in a tailored and sensitive way that impacts others.

So how can we navigate this time as a business? Ultimately I think the answer is to centre your ‘WHY’, and surround yourself with like-minded people. Set a goal to donate to a cause. Give yourself time to think about social change, and how your enterprise can contribute. The NZ Herald is a business. Facebook is a business. Even those organisations who don’t call themselves a business or generate a profit, operate in the same way as a business. Facilitate change, and remain true to yourself.

We’re the leaders for a reason.

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