January 25, 2011
"Is that him?" Her words surprised me when I walked into the studio that morning. A lady who I had never met quickly looked up, pointed at me and asked the question.
As I stood there, frozen trying to figure out why she had such a sudden interest; it hit me. Her name was Ms. Flowers and she was a handwriting analyst who made appearances on morning shows around the country. She would analyze handwriting samples that were faxed in by the listeners in order to promote her expertise and services.
The morning show would pick out a few entries from hundreds of pieces of paper with scribbled names and notes. The people would be called to come on the air and be part of the show. Ms. Flowers would look closely at every mark; the way their "t's" were crossed and the "i's" were dotted. She would explain that handwriting analysis is a method of identifying, evaluating and understanding a person's personality through the patterns revealed by their handwriting. It was a very compelling hour and the phones lit up and the fax machine was overloaded with people looking for insight.
Each new person would listen to Ms. Flowers closely and express agreement and shock as she unveiled their true nature and personality traits that were always in reach and available to them, but somehow, they had missed it.
I had enjoyed listening to the segment, but wasn't expecting to be a part of the program until this moment ... and I really didn't want to be, but there was no other choice. She was holding a note in her hand that I had left for the morning show about a contest or some other piece of information, and it had just happened to be sitting on the console as she arrived for her segment. I don't remember exactly what it was about my writing that caught her eye, but I do remember what she told me. It was some of the most profound advice that happened in a moment when I was least expecting it.
She looked me in the eye and with the determination of a drill sergeant said, "Sammy, according to your handwriting, you spend so much time looking forward with blinders on, but the answer you seek can be found just to the left or right of you."
I have recalled this story many times in my life. My point in sharing it now is to hopefully help you to explore things like social media from a slightly different perspective.
It's not complex really, but simple.
The world is flat again as Thomas Friedman declared in his international bestselling book, "The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century."
The top-down strategy that has been successful for so long and our primary focus, is now being vacated for a sideways direction that gets richer with every click and connection.
You can no longer force it, but you can take an unfair advantage by using the resources all around you to see (and help others see) things through an experience that is unique to you.
What it is has always been there. Your attention may just be focused on what is up or down, when the answer lies just outside of the perimeter.
Give it a try and see how it works for you. You can always go back and put on the blinders, but I'm hoping you'll discover a new way to be social and a sideways direction to write your successful future.