This is a small world, getting smaller all the time. The old phrase of “six degrees of separation” has been replaced with 6 pixels, and I actually think it’s even smaller than that.
For example, today I was working on a project, and I sent an email to someone, assuring them we were getting to their needs as soon as possible. I got an email back that this person was interested in meeting me, and was friends with another set of podcasters I know well. Before you knew it, I had a connection to one of my long time heroes for a possible interview on my podcast. Wow. A connection I was hoping for, at some time in the future, through tenuous real world connections, was accomplished within a few hours online. (The interview is scheduled for early March!)
These A to B to C connections between people happen much faster online than they used to through traditional means. Strength of connections may be more tenuous, but they come with perhaps more degrees of trust as well. People can know you through your blog, podcast, videocast, or other online methods, and have a much greater sense of you before you ever meet or talk in person.
I know this, because I have felt this way about some of the podcasters I know, and now I find the same scenario playing out with me for others. It’s a heady feeling to get the sense that what you do makes a difference, that other people are interested, and perhaps more mind-blowing, want to meet YOU.
When I went to Podcamp Boston in September, I was intimidated by all the Podcast superstars that were there. People that were much cooler than I thought I could ever aspire to be. I had listened to CC Chapman, for example, for at least a year- and there he was! And he was as nice, and personable in person as he had been through email and online. And he made you feel like you mattered.
Chris Brogan spoke about each person in the room having super powers and being a hero in their own right. At the time, I felt so “new” and uninitiated into the podcasting world, I kinda scoffed. what powers did I have? I couldn’t see any. But like the kids in the “Sky High” movie, I had to wait until my powers fully developed. And even if my powers seemed lame in some corners, they have had their own, important uses. Now I have enough intestinal fortitude or cohones to present at PodCamp Toronto this weekend with two wonderful people, Mark Blevis and Chris Brogan, the Mayor of Podcasting Himself.
I could not have pictured myself where I am today a year ago when I registered my first domain name, or nine months ago when I recorded my first podcast. I still feel I have so much to learn, and not enough hours in the day to cram all the knowledge in properly. But every day is an adventure, that tests my willingness to take risks, step out of the box, and trust my gut sense of what’s right.
So far, the gut and instinct have served me well. I have moments where the scardy-cat in the back of my brain says “Are you sure this is a good idea? Is this the right time? What happens if they say yes? How will you feel if they say no?” I try to put the scardy cat aside, briefly check in with the rational analyst who says “nothing ventured, nothing gained” , and then grab onto the trapeeze, swing and yell “Wheeee!” So far, no broken bones, and a really good time.
I guess the scardy cat is still waiting for the other shoe to drop. People talk about making your own opportunities, engaging and changing the world through their actions, but it often sounds like platitudes. Things really great people like Dale Carnegie can do, but not us mere mortals.
In the end, Chris Brogan was right, back at the first Pod Camp in Boston. We are all super heroes in our own right- we just have to figure out what our powers are and then let them nurture and develop over time. This requires regular feeding and exploration of your limits. You can’t expect the powers to appear first thing one random morning in the future. You have to make the time to figure out your strengths and find ways to use them to your advantage every day.
My next post has been marinating around in my brain for a while, but fits in with this one- it’s about the care and nurturing of new ideas. If we don’t feed our creativity, those naiscent super powers won’t flourish. respect your native talents, and they will serve you well.