words and deeds

kelsey j. cochran

Be better. Do better.

It's time to be a better person online.

According to Brené Brown, I'm a vulnerable person. And that's okay. In fact, as it turns out, it puts me at some kind of evolutionary advantage compared to most people! And according to Daniel Pink, I have a better chance at a successful career in sales because of my personality type! Gosh. What have I been doing with myself all this time? 

I walked away from a massive marketing conference this week feeling inspired, and frankly, pretty damn inadequate. 

My industry is not for the faint of heart. You have to be super motivated, organized, quick on your feet and apparently well dressed while you're at it. Marketing is weird. And although I love my work and what I get to do each day, I wanted to discuss the feeling of inferiority some of us feel when we find ourselves in a slightly uncomfortable environment -- where we may not have the confidence to believe (and I mean really believe) that we belong in that position.  

Here I was, at a major convention with 15,000 people who are probably all better at my job than I am. Would my boss be flocked with dozens of younger, quicker, sharper versions of me? Would he cancel my ride home and replace me with a newer, more efficient model? Would I ever make it back to Athens to see my dog? 

Speaking of Brené, she would have a fucking heyday with my emotions this week. It's Friday night, (well, technically it's 1 a.m. Saturday but you know) and I'm still wired. My mind is reeling with the stimulating knowledge that was dropped on me all week. 

And I realized something on the ride home. Marian Schembari said it well: you are enough. You are doing enough.  

I attended one keynote, two featured "spotlights" and four hour-long breakout sessions each day at this conference and walked away with tons of rich, yet somewhat contradictory advice. 

There was the content expert from a software company who told me how to better run my lead generation campaigns, yet some of her advice circumvented the actual tool her employer invented.  

Then, there was the man who, although he has started several successful companies, gave me some of the worst business advice I'd ever heard, but packaged it in a way that only an evangelist could so, naturally, the crowd ate it right up.  

Of course, most of what I learned was inspiring, uplifting and encouraging. I spent a lot of time considering the concept of "online community" and its meaning. Community. Online. Where's the beef? One woman seriously asked, "But how do you appear authentic?" 

Seriously. Authenticism online is only as good as the human behind it. If you're doing it for the wrong reasons, if you're telling your story for the benefit of people who could give you an easy break, financially or otherwise, you're doing it for the wrong reasons. #liveauthentic doesn't mean anything when it's deposited beneath a staged photo.  

Copyright 2015 Kelsey J. Cochran