Think about it: reflections always differ and they change. Whether it is looking into a pool of water or a mirror, the reflection changes depending upon where you are standing (i.e. your perspective).

Sometimes, reflections are not positive. Many of us are just too hard on ourselves (or others), always looking for the imperfections. (“Is my hair really getting gray??”)

I’ve been involved in countless post-mortem project reviews. Many times the participants focus on the negative: here’s what went wrong, here’s who goofed up… You get the picture.

My training was a bit different, I was taught to look at the successes and challenges and to not point a finger at any person in particular: many times the process, system or entire team contribute to the project’s success (or lack their of). But I am getting ahead of myself…

ALWAYS BE THANKFUL

So, first and foremost, at the end of a project a manager, team leader or coordinator should thank their team… and so should you.

Thank those that made you (personally and) professionally successful: your clients, your mentors, your collaborators, your sponsors and your spouse.

Also, be thankful for the health and all the little things in life: you never know when things can be taken away. One of the challenges I faced this year probably wasn’t to hard to figure out, especially given this blog post and this ‘video‘.

I wasn’t going to share something so personal, but the experience has made me a better person and it cemented my love of social media. That is an example where my reflection yielded an unexpected result.

EMBRACE THE SOCIAL ‘VIBE’ AND GIVE

In 2010, I learned that social media is all about sharing of content (and expertise). Many of us are not afraid to ‘share’ with our colleagues at work OR our friends and family at home; however, many are afraid to offer an opinion on a social networking site or offer their expertise in a blog or content on a website. I must say though, I’ve seen several people transform from listeners into content creators: KUDOS for you! (Many thanks to the several parents that capture action shots of our children in their sports activities, especially: Gord, Barry, Mike, Scott, Lisa K., Sari and Howard!)

Thinking about social media, made me realize that there is a ‘vibe’ to give back. In this 2.0 world, that ‘vibe’ goes beyond one’s business or professional activities and you see a trend to give back to the community via volunteerism. Volunteerism today can take the form of being an advocate for an idea, an event or a cause. The challenge is for the community or charity to leverage the expertise and passion from their advocates.

More businesses, non-profits and the public sector are learning how to use social media as a catalyst in promoting their product, services and causes. And we must learn too…

LEARN SOMETHING NEW EVERY DAY

I know, I know: “Learning something new every day”, sounds like old news. Today more than ever, it is EXTREMELY important. You need to keep on top on trends, directions and discussions… The challenge becomes how?

One method that helps me keep up-to-date is micro-learning: learning in bits and pieces. There are so many articles on the web and many of them are short enough to read and digest in a few minutes.

The keys to successful micro-learning, that I have found are: finding and organizing content and then saving key information to refer to in the future.  Social media tools help with all of those, let me explain.

The best tool I’ve found to help organize my areas of interest and find content is a dashboard. The dashboard I prefer to use is Netvibes. Netvibes allows you to organize searches and RSS feeds into tabs and in doing so it saves you time and frustration. For example, I have a tab set up to collect all the RSS feeds regarding non-profits.

(If you are thinking this sounds like a great idea, then check out the short video tutorial on how to ‘Set up Your Social Media Dashboard’ available courtesy of the folks from CustomersWhileYouSleep.)

When I find great content I use a bookmarking tool to ‘file’ it for later (reading or) reference. Think about it: how many times were you searching for one thing but found a great article on something else? Will you remember how to find it again? So, take the guesswork and frustration out of it and start using a bookmarking tool like Delicious or Digg.

TRY SOMETHING NEW

Not only did I embrace the use of a dashboard and bookmarking tool, but I did something I considered ‘scary’: I became a guest blogger.

Being a guest blogger for my friends at Folkmedia was a milestone for me. (Folkmedia specializes in helping small businesses leverage social media and their ‘brand’ is to provide realistic actionable advice.) The article I wrote was designed to encourage people to leverage YouTube. My objective was to try to make it easy for a reader to create a successful video with their first attempt using the web camera on their computer.

In reflecting, I think *we* all have to start using video more often. It is extremely personable… Remember if given the option, many would rather watch than read. (‘Watch this space in 2011.’)

MOVING FORWARD

Reflect and be thankful. Pay it forward (i.e. give back), learn something new and get your courage together and TRY something new: you’ll be glad you did. Enjoy the ride…

Wishing you and yours all the best for a healthy and social 2011.

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Flickr Creative Commons Image by Jonathan Khoo

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