I joined LinkedIn one year ago at a friend's urging. "You HAVE to get at least 500 connections!" she gushed, flaunting her exploding LinkedIn network by dragging a long, manicured fingernail across her state-of-the-art, newest model iPhone's screen. "But I don't really care what other people think," I told her. "I know who I am. I don't need other people to tell me who I am. Why do I care if they want to connect?" She looked at me like I was out half of my mind as she hurried down the hall to take a call that seemed to be very important.
In the past year, I've watched the ebbs and flows of social networks on all sorts of platforms. Facebook. Twitter. Snapchat. Instagram. And yes, LinkedIn. I've come to one conclusion about all of them. We spend too much time giving a fat crap what other people think about us.
Do you really care if I love your business model? Or your PR materials? Or the many bells and whistles you put into your LinkedIn profile in order to sell yourself? You shouldn't. Because I don't care about your business model. I'm not interested in your PR materials. And next to your Facebook profile, the last thing I could care less about is your LinkedIn profile. If I meet you, I want to know YOU. Not what you think sells you best.
We can learn a lot about each other by scrolling down to the "interests" sections of each others' LinkedIn profiles. Invariably, the people who want to connect with me are following Bill Gates. Mark Cuban. Or some other CEO who seems to know an awful lot about making money. The sad truth is these people so many of us want to "follow" and emulate don't know the first thing about the most important thing in the word. Happiness. I do.
Happiness can't be bought. Traded. Sold. Or bartered. It's not for sale. It's never been on an auction block. And you can't get it by putting a bunch of fancy initials after your name that no one but you actually cares about. Let me tell you what I know about happiness.
Happiness is being a parent. It's about saying to someone who asks "And what do YOU do?" my tried and true response. "I'm a mom." I'll linger on their befuddled reaction for a while before I drop my atomic arsenal. "And HOLY COW, do I have stories about my five boys!" THAT usually shuts em up.
Since when did our worth boil down to professional accomplishments? Who let THAT happen? I did a lot professionally. I won gobs of Emmy Awards. They sit on my bookshelves gathering dust while I stay busy everyday drinking the marrow out of my life's most amazing work: raising responsible, loving, giving, honorable, respectful and honest young men. How does that look on my LinkedIn profile?
No one ever took their dying breath wishing they'd put more hours in at the office. But I submit to you that a mind-boggling majority of people knocking at death's door would give their right arm to spend another moment with the people they love. Be careful how much you want business success, friends. Because no business, no success, no money, no corner office... is more important than the love of your family.
So.... if you're thinking about connecting with me on LinkedIn, and you're a big fan of Mark Cuban, Bill Gates, Microsoft, Uber or Google... send me a personal message before you "connect." I'd rather know WHO you are. Not what you think you should be.