Last Friday night my husband and I went to the 91st opening of the San Francisco Opera and the “Opera Ball” at City Hall. We hadn’t attended for a number of years as we were busy attending our sons high school football games on Friday evenings in September.
As newer empty nesters, we decided it would be fun to once again join the excitement of this wonderful San Francisco fall tradition. Although we both appreciate opera, we are certainly not aficionados by any stretch , however we love the celebratory nature of the event, the ambiance, people, and of course hoopla that goes along with this grand opening night. We loved seeing the breathtaking dresses on the thematic green carpet- this years party theme was the Garden of Good and Evil to go hand in hand with the performance of SF Opera’s Mephestopheles. I wore a turquoise chiffon dress beautifully designed by well known and incredibly talented Azadeh of Azadeh Couture.
The Event design this year was created by celebrity designer Colin Cowie from New York and the devil was definitely in all the details- right down to the desserts; white chocolate and chocolate skulls filled with berries and custard- divine. We loved sharing the dinner hour with good friends who we don’t see nearly enough. Walking from City Hall to the Opera House and enjoying the performance in such a beautiful setting was a treat…All around It was a lovely evening and we had a wonderful time.
We enjoyed the cocktail hour upon arrival, as it’s always fun to connect with old friends and meet new people. It was also during this time I realized I spotted three women in particular who have “friended” me on Facebook (and one who even followed me on Instagram and Twitter) Back when they “friended” me I remembered thinking “Oh that’s nice- I’ve seen her around town socially, how kind of her to connect with me.” All three women are very active promoting themselves online for either a business, book or philanthropic endeavor through both social media and high profile social events. Great thing to do…I get it….but… Oh wait…when I walk up to them to offer a smile and look of recognition and hello I realize they have absolutely no idea who I am…Yes, I was just a number…. adding to their “friend count” and they look through me and move on…yes…true… And they want me to buy their book? Support their fundraiser? Use their services? Sorry, we may live in a tech savvy world but manners and real life social graces still matter. If you are going to connect with someone via social media, (especially in your own community) be aware that you may actually meet them one day in person and be ready for that interaction. Personally, I choose to connect and promote people who are socially aware and authentic. I would never expect them to necessarily remember my name- but not even a look of recognition or smile, or hello? Really?
By the end of the night my Facebook news feed was filled with their photos in full “self-promotion” mode as a glaring yet pointed reminder that if I am going to use social media in that way I’d better think about the personal touch and how I connect with people in the real world. Social Media is a wonderful connection tool and can be used to build a strong network but how far will a superficial network that focuses on quantity, and not quality really take you? Click: UNFRIEND.
I really want to blog, regularly. It’s true. – I don’t really know why I keep consistently putting it off. Why would I ever trust myself when I tell myself I want to blog and then I don’t? As humans we do this to ourselves all the time. There are a number of places in my life that I tell myself I want to do something and that it’s really important to me, but then I don’t. I don’t honor the commitments I make to myself. It also makes me question whether or not I can truly be there for others if I can’t often be there for myself- in the smallest of ways. The blog is a shining example of this for me. I see it on my calendar every day as an action item. And it gets overlooked. Meanwhile, I get a lot of other things done but there is something nagging at me that makes me feel unsatisfied and upset with myself.
At times we need to evaluate our current reality- We have to start by honoring the promises we make to ourselves. That begins for me with blogging regularly. Not blogging so that people can read what I have to say – but because it’s important for me to put my words out there in the world so that I can live by them. So that I can see what I value on paper, what’s important to me, what I like, and who I am. Seeing my thoughts reflected in writing enables me to better recognize where I am -and map out where I want to go. So without making myself wrong for not keeping these commitments, I am grateful that they have surfaced enough for me to realize how I can move beyond the obstacles.
A few weeks ago I joined a group of 7 other extaordinary women entrepreneurs at a retreat at a beautiful hotel in Westlake CA. We worked on our businesses and gained clarity about what we wanted to create in the upcoming year. In addition to lots of movement and shifts I recognize 6 personal takeaways that have stuck with me from the time we spent together. These are things I have to re-learn all the time but they are important.
1. Don’t compare yourself to those around you. This goes for biz and life. Period.
2. Stay out of judging people and sizing people up with first impressions. Every time I slip and do this, I then learn the story and realize why I was wrong to do this.
3. Everyone has a story and everyone is dealing with something. It may be different than your something but it is just as important.
4. Unplugging from real life is where the creativity and magic can happen.
5. Women together are a powerful force and connecting with like minded women keeps you moving in the direction you want to go and you can stay inspired!
6. We all need a tribe. Who’s yours?
Lately I have been thinking about this quote by Jim Rohn: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” I know how important it is for me to spend time with people who help me move into my dreams and want to talk about what is possible as opposed to what is not. Spring cleaning (on all levels) offers us an opportunity to take inventory of who is around us and what we may be feeling because of their influence in our life. I encourage you to surround yourself with people who make you laugh, support you and help you focus on the good.