It’s OK To Say “no”

Lake Michigan Sunset at PJ Hoffmaster State Park

Life gets in the way.  It gets in the way of what’s truly important and we sometimes forget that it’s OK to say “no” to things just so we can get back on track.  Tonight I was going through Google Reader and Twitter and saw  posts from Becky Johns (Take Control of Your Stream) and Nikki Stephan (22 Important Questions to Ask Yourself).  They were about different topics but for me anyway they had the same message…take a step back.

My work (as I’m sure yours) has been ridiculously out of control as of late.  It wasn’t until this past weekend when I took 2 days off to have a long weekend camping that I was able to relax.  It was a wonderful 4 days at PJ Hoffmaster State Park spending time with the people that matter the most to me…my wife and kids.  And as you can see by the picture above, we even took time to watch a beautiful sunset over Lake Michigan.  When I got back to work this week, I began to take inventory of what I do daily and say no to the things that don’t provide value.

Becky’s post really encouraged me to take a look at my social networks.  As I continue to learn from this beautiful creation of “social media”, I need to remind myself that more is not necessarily better.  It has to be quality over quantity.  When the numbers get too big, the chance of authentic and valuable friendships becomes limited.  It reminds me that one of the objectives for me in this space was to ultimately meet people in person through events like Future Midwest, Social Media Club Detroit, or October’s 140 Conference Detroit.  I’ve tried to become more selective in who I connect with especially on Facebook.

Nikki’s post reminded me that saying no to busyness and spending time with my family is so important.  Tonight I put my blackberry down for just 30 minutes and played with my 1.5 year old son.  It was fun seeing him laugh hysterically as I tickled him.  This past weekend I watched my 5 year old son hit balls in a batting cage and went body surfing with my 2 girls in Lake Michigan.  Those are the memories I want to have of the summer and not get so caught up in work that time flies by.

What do you need to say “no” to?  How are you taking control of your life so you can enjoy what matters most?

My thoughts on Future Midwest 2010 (#FMW10)

We are almost 1 week removed from Future Midwest 2010.  I can’t tell you how much of a joy it’s been to read the other recaps and thoughts from bloggers in the area throughout the week.  One thing is for certain, if the goal of the organizers of Future Midwest 2010 was to educate, inspire and motivate the attendees…mission accomplished!  The overwhelming themes I’ve been reading are about taking this energy and excitement beyond just a 2 day conference and making it a part of every day life in metro Detroit.

If you haven’t read a blog about Future Midwest, here are four you can choose from:

Soul Excursion (@bryanwillmert)

Detroit Moxie (@becksdavis)

I’m Working On It (@beckyjohns)

How to be Amazing, and Take Over the World (@CAGarland)

You may ask, “So Patrick, what did you take away from Future Midwest?”  Well…a lot!

  • I got a lot of great quotes (which I share later this week).
  • I received confirmation that what I believe about the social web is true…customer focus and building relationships always wins.
  • I once again realized the true value of the social web is getting to meet the people I’ve interacted with online in person!
  • Detroit and the Midwest can come back because of the amount of talent and smarts that I saw at the Royal Oak Music Theater on April 16 and 17
  • This technology is here to help bring us back to the roots of business…relationships.
  • The value of online community is research…finding out the questions we didn’t even think to ask (Thanks Ben Smithee for that one!)

The greater challenge will be the “what’s next” that I mentioned above.  How can we make an impact now and carry this momentum forward?  It will take passion, hard work, and an idea that the area can rally around.  That’s where I think you can help.  Stay tuned later this week as Bryan Willmert and I propose an idea to Detroit’s tech community.  We’ve all talked and blogged about making a difference.  Now is the time to take you up on that.

Have a great week everyone!

P.S. If you attended Future Midwest, the organizers are seeking your feedback.  Click here for the survey!