It was one year ago today I left Chicago, headed to New York. The flight was into LaGaurdia and I used Google Maps to find public transportation to my Aunt’s house in Bloomfield, NJ. What I soon, or 3 hours later, realized is, the MTA bus, subway, PATH and NJT bus, was not the most effective way to get there. After finally joining my Aunt and her neighbors for a barbecue, I was told about the charter bus services that run into Manhattan from various routes in the neighborhood. That same commute I had, would now only take about an hour. Once we finally found a place to live in Nanuet, NY, I went through a similar process of finding the best bus route. Understanding that local knowledge trumps any app, was one of many lessons I’ve learned in my first year in New York.
Although I can not begin to tell you all the things I’ve learned in the past year, here are some of my top takeaways which can help anyone!
1. You Can Get Your Job Using Social Media
My job at HuffPost Live came from a Facebook post. It didn’t come from one post, but by making connections, before you need them. When you establish your community, you’ve taken your first step in positioning yourself for success.
2. Networks Are About Connections, Community Is About Relationships
The distinction between knowing someone’s email and phone number and having them call you, is subtle but important. Connections can fade away like blowing sand. Relationships are the roots of the grass which hold coastal sand dunes in place and protect the beach.
3. You Can Not See The Entire Picture When You Are Inside The Frame
We are so close to what we do, we feel that there is nothing we don’t know about what we do. However true that may be, only those outside, looking from a distance, can see the whole picture. These insights are invaluable to your product and experience. It’s never about you, it’s about how other’s perceive you.
It does not matter if you job title is community manager, social media manager, teacher or CEO, in the end, we are all community managers. Managers is not the key word. Being aware of what happens in our community is what counts. I’ve see receptionists, PTA moms, soccer coaches and bartenders all be true community managers. They recognize behaviors around them, they listen to what is happening, they know who to talk to before being asked. This is why we are all, or can be, community managers.
5. You Are Only As Good As The People In Your Life
When I left for New York, I was leaving my love and partner of the last 7 years in Chicago. Lori did not want to move to New York. She was born and lived in the Chicago area her entire life. When I accepted my job, it was with the understanding that it was for me. We would give it a year, living apart, her in Chicago and me in New York, and then see what happened. After 3 months, she made the decision to move to New York. Getting a transfer to another store, she gave up what she loved to be with me. In January, I decided to give her what she always wanted, to be married again. She got the ring and the ceremony in the Dominican Republic. Lori has be a rock in my life. She has supported me, literally and figuraly, over the last several years as I’ve pursued my passion. I would not be where I am today without her. Don’t ever forget to tell the people in your life how important they are. You wouldn’t be where you are without them.
What have you learned in the last year? If you haven’t, shame on you!