Comment and Connect.

Are you a blogger? Do you remember what it was like to get your first comment? Your first trackback? I sure do.

Pure bliss. To know that people were actually reading what I had written when they could have clicked to a zillion other places instead, was both amazing and incredibly affirming.

Sure, there was some indication people were reading (or at least they were searching and ended up here); I learned to read the stats. However, for someone to comment and speak to me, or trackback and actually write a post of their own that connected to the provocation of mine, well, that was mind-blowing.

If I was not a blog writer AND a blog reader and commenter, I would have never known the JOY in my life which has come from connecting with Scott (his was the first blog I ever read) Yvonne (hers was where I was inspired to leave my first comment) Wayne (who taught me very early on that bloggers give away what they know freely) Toni (who gave me my first comment on Talking Story) Heath (who was the first to link to the then-unknown z-lister me!) Anita, Bren (who gave me my first trackback. Back then, most of us didn’t know how pings worked), Burt, Paul, Michele, David and Dave (with his NYEve comment, I just knew this “blogging thing” would stick with me.)

These 12 people will always have a very, very special place in my heart. Most of those early connections happened before Managing with Aloha was published, and my blog had to stand on its own slim merit. It was unbelievable to me that they actually noticed it at all. Since then?

Well, since then, I have discovered another way to get that same kind of high I had gotten with receiving those early connections, and that’s to give them. The very best of all? Giving them to a new blogger just starting to get their own good words out.

It happened again yesterday, and the blogger I had left my comment for wrote me a private email to let me know I was his first. Wow. What a feeling to know I had done that for him, not even realizing it at the time, and just wanting to tell him thank you for the gift of his writing.

I share this with you to ask that you not deny yourself this high, this delicious pleasure of giving new bloggers the encouragement of your comments.

I have a new challenge for those of you in the Ho‘ohana Community who are bloggers regularly receiving your share of comments now that you’re no longer a newbie. I know you’ve worked hard to build community and get where you are, however I still ask that you remember what it was like to wait for that first breakthrough comment to come through. I know you are terrific with your own readers because I visit you and see what a pro you have become at this :-) Now, step outside your normal conversation circles, and give someone new your aloha and some of that joy. 

Let’s reach out, comment, connect and encourage. When you arrive at a new blog and those comment numbers are mostly at zero, zero in on a post that intrigues you and say something about it. You are all so brilliant at being positive, optimistic and enthusiastic; I know this because that’s what you share with me here all the time!

For those of you who are new at blogging, I have a suggestion for you too
. Love the personal email you send, really do, however duplicate it in your blog’s comments for everyone else to read too. That’s the only way that other readers get the message that you do appreciate them, and that you are responsive.

If you invite conversation, you have to continue it! Once a commenter puts themselves out there, believe me, they need the public acknowledgment from you that you understand what a big deal it was. They reveal themselves in their comments, and the way you say thank you is to answer them back and keep the conversation going, or comment yourself on their addition, complement or insight.

Let’s talk story folks,
the blog post itself is but the humble beginning. The good stuff is in how the post keeps giving, and that giving is in the comments. Blogs are such great aloha-conductors!

For those of you who continue to comment here on Talking Story, thank you so much. Keep them coming!

Writing Elsewhere: Sunday Review 7

Two to share from the past week;

A Snippet…

Think about the best boss you have ever had. Chances are that part of the reason that relationship worked so well for both of you is that there was no confusion of roles. Chances are, that person tried to be only one thing for you, a great boss. “Boss” can be someone people admire, someone people respect, and someone people count on and ask for mentorship from.

The only place you can find and benefit from a relationship like that, is at work.

The work of being a manager can take on a whole new viewpoint of opportunity when you realize that this is who you can be for someone else. Being the “best boss ever” is a great role to pursue.

A Snippet…

We can’t expect managers to take on the full responsibility for employing people’s strengths and making them feel worthwhile and important at work; the bigger responsibility lies with each of us as individuals. Buckingham says it this way;

“Managers must be open, but it is your responsibility to give them the raw material they can work with.”

You are the raw material. See yourself as the expert and authority on YOU. Who knows your strengths better than you do? Be proud of them, own up to them, and articulate them. Why should managers have to guess what they are?

Not the Tomatoes!

Went to our local supermarket with hubby this afternoon. He knows that one of my favorite fruits to eat is the one we all think of as a vegetable; ripe, red, beautiful tomatoes. I’ll pick them up and eat them like apples; no full meal required. To consider them only an accompaniment to something else is not to understand their delectable heavenly glory.

There was a great display of them at the market today, and as I picked out some bananas at the other end of the produce counter, I watched hubby carefully choose the tomatoes for us (but really for me), gingerly putting them into a plastic bag one by one. Just watching his care with his choices put a big smile on my face.

Grocery shopping done, we arrive at the check stand and soon discover that our cashier is not a happy camper. No idea what it was, but by the time we arrived, whatever had set her off had cast a dark cloud over her entire countenance, and it was clearly affecting everyone else.

I watched as the two customers ahead of us quieted down and physically seemed to withdraw into themselves, visibly holding their breath in the hopes of finishing their transactions quickly, escaping any possible igniting of her seething wrath. To look at her was almost painful, and I couldn’t help but wonder just how long it had been since she’d last smiled.

It’s our turn, and hubby smiles at her and says, “Hello.”

She looks at him, still unsmiling, slightly lifts her head to just acknowledge that he said something to her, and starts to fling our items down the length of her check stand to a waiting bagger after she scans them. Corn on the cobb ” umm, okay. Oh no, not the bananas too! Yes, even the bananas get flung.

The tomatoes are next; and now unable to resist after all his care in selecting them, hubby reaches his hand out to grab the tomatoes the moment she’s scanned them so she can’t fling them down to certain bruising as she’s done with everything else.

He’s broken the spell. She looks up at him, as if she’s only seeing us for the first time, the tears start to come, and she says, “I’m so sorry, thank you for stopping me.”

Hubby responds, “It’s okay, you can do this. You can make whatever it is okay. I know you can.”

She smiles, the smile I was hoping would come, and in mere moments everything seems to be okay.

I wonder”
How long had this gone on?
How many other customers had been affected before we got there?
Was it just today, just with this one checker, or do others have days like this in that market?
Where was the manager charged with creating a great workplace? Could he (or she) possibly have missed seeing the darkening mood, the cautious customers, the flung food?
If not a manager, where was the co-worker to take notice, and to offer care?
Why did so many people choose to walk on the eggshells and not protect their tomatoes?

Please notice
. Just one employee can profoundly affect your business in so many ways.

From the archives; The papaya tree

Rapid Fire Learning | February 2007

Blaine Collins is hosting our Rapid Fire Learning at Joyful Jubilant Learning this month!

Stream of consciousness ” real quick ” 5 things I learned this month;

1. You might think you can prepare for something that is expected to happen, but all you can prepare for are the things which are under your own control. Other people are always wild cards. Still, being prepared yourself helps you deal better with those wild cards.

2. Life is simpler when you can stick to one role with the people who are closest to you. If you’re mom, be mom. If you’re friend, be friend. If you’re boss, be boss. And be the best at that role you’ve chosen.

3. I’ve written more about aloha than I ever thought it possible to write. Yet I’m not even close to covering all that is still to be written about it.

4. The older I get, the less stuff I need to have. Pretty liberating.

5. When more people jump on the bandwagon it doesn’t necessarily mean something is right. It may just mean that more people are wrong. It can help to just be right for you, asking yourself, “Now why am I doing this again?”

However, the RFL at JJL is a great bandwagon to be on! My why is to continually acknowledge and celebrate the richness that being a lifelong learner brings to my life. There are different events this month condensed into these five things for me, and I love knowing that each (or some of them combined) gives me the gift of learning.

This was how we started this last month: Rapid Fire Learning | January 2007. I encourage you to grab a cup of coffee and click through all the trackbacks.

You’ve got five more days in February ” what are your five learnings? If your month has been anything like mine, you’ve discovered that a short month doesn’t mean there’s less, just that there’s more intensity.

February is Blaine’s birthday month; blog your own RFL’s and send him a trackback here and here. Hau‘oli la hanau Blaine!