Leaning in, Leaping, & LinkedIn

January 30, 2024

a photo of the sphere at EPCOT with a blue sky and palm tree

Dear Leaders, Entrepreneurs, Dreamers, and Creators of Great Things: I write these Love Letters each month with the hope of bringing you a little encouragement, some marketing help, and a few minutes of joy. Whether we are already friends or have yet to meet, I hope you’ll enjoy my stories from the road and some awesomely random takeaways, tools, tips, and updates.

Lean in.

“What are you in line for?” I asked the woman at the end of the queue.

“Pooh Bear!” she answered excitedly.

I was spending the day in Epcot before a speaking engagement last week and had brought my sister-in-law along on the trip. Her face told me she wasn’t sure about standing in line to meet Pooh Bear, but it was early in the morning so the line was short and I convinced her it would be fun.

We waited only a few minutes before being ushered into Christopher Robin’s bedroom to meet Pooh himself. He spread his arms (paws?) and enveloped each of us in a big, fuzzy hug. My brain was thinking about all the germs that might be on that fuzzy suit… but my heart was only feeling the warmth of that hug.

Did you know that Disney has what is referred to as “The Hug Rule”? The Hug Rule says that when hugging a child, characters may never let go of a hug first. The child may hug as long as they want. Apparently, the rule was instated because Walt himself once said, “You never know how much that child may need that hug.”

Hours later, after walking the entire park, eating all the things, and having a wonderful time, I asked my sister-in-law what her favorite part of the day was. She thought for a moment, and then admitted it was her hug with Pooh.

The next day, I had the opportunity to speak to a room full of marketers and recruiters from higher education institutions all over the world. Once a year they come together to share ideas and learn new ways to speak to their customers about the value of learning.

I talked about the importance of leaning into REAL, especially in this era of artificial intelligence. These days, more than ever, it feels like everyone is trying to find the easy button. “Just use ChatGPT” has become a standard response. Except, there’s one key ingredient that AI doesn’t offer: human emotion.

I believe that the only way to get our customers to do anything (click a button, call us, hire us, join us, believe us) is to make them feel something. If we can make someone feel something, we can make them think differently, and then take action. The thing that we humans are uniquely capable of adding to the equation is emotion. There’s simply no easy button or GPT for that. We have to put in the work to meet our customers where they are and make them feel heard, safe, secure, understood, and in good hands.

The Hug Rule is a beautiful idea, and it applies to our leadership and businesses as well. Don’t let go first. Lean in. Meet the customers where they are. And let them feel how much you care. In today’s increasingly automated world, meaningful and human interaction can make all the difference.

image with the words In the Rearview, lessons learned and stories from the road

Take the leap.

My coaching group is reading the book 10X is Easier Than 2X by Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy. It’s a heavy book to read and I am taking it in small doses because every single chapter is pushing me further and further into a very uncomfortable place: growth.

The key premise of this book is that we cannot do big things unless we stop doing small things. And we cannot do big things until we stop waiting to be capable of the big things. Basically – we have to do the big things before we are ready, before we are confident, and before we are competent.

This way of thinking goes against every single thing we are taught and it’s pretty wild to try and unlearn and relearn this thought process. We really have to lean in to the discomfort.

Last week, as I was sharing with the group how it was hitting me, I thought of this movie clip, which perfectly sums up the step we have to take to achieve big things in our lives and careers. (Watch it. I’ll wait.)

Yikes. Right?!
The thing doesn’t appear until we leap.
But we can’t see the thing before we leap.
This. Is. Scary. AF.

I think you all should read the book, obviously. But the big lesson here is… what are you waiting to do until you feel capable or confident? Why not do that thing now? Because here’s the crazy part… you won’t BE capable or confident until you actually do the thing.

image of a record player with words saying rockstars, awesome ideas, people, and tools

This is where I share the good stuff.

… the latest websites, books, & tools that are inspiring me, the people who are making me smile, and the stuff I have been writing on sticky notes.

I committed to stop scrolling Twitter/X this year. Instead, I have replaced that time with LinkedIn. I thought it would be a harder habit to break, but I have found that I am really enjoying the depth of conversations on LinkedIn!

Here are a few conversations you might like to join.

Thanks for reading, friends! If you want to get these in your inbox every month, be sure to get on the mailing list. And if you are looking for a speaker who will motivate your organization to get up, get moving, and face change head on, I would love to chat.