USE IT OR LOSE IT, the mortifying experience of having completely ignored my LinkedIn profile

Last week I had made the impossible happen: I had gotten a sitter to watch my 3 kids so I could attend a speaker session at the local chapter of the National Speaker Association. For a year and a half I had been “trying” (albeit half-assedly) to attend one of their meetings but work, kids and apathy continuously got in the way.  However when I saw the description of the October meeting I knew I would get there, no matter what.

You see I have been baking an idea for a few years now and have made headway on it and recently I obtained the trademark for it. Divorce Glow, a business in which I use my knowledge and consulting skills working with startups in marketing, branding and planning and apply it to women who are emerging from divorce and in need of a clear new brand of self, a mission to make the most of the often painful and underused opportunity that divorce can bring to a woman.  I have been quietly growing this for 2 years now.

So I saw the post on Facebook for the session and it simply read: “Anyone interested in learning about how to launch an on-line course?” and below it was this woman with short hair and an enormous smile and me, having little attention span but being highly intuitive, saw this women and thought, “I can sit for an hour and listen to her. I will go.”

And I did. My darling boyfriend watched my three little girls and off I went to learn, with unreasonably high expectations.  I arrived to the hotel meeting room. A few familiar faces were there which was nice and the speaker was seated directly in front of me facing the audience.

She was tall, thin, wore a purple fur shawl and I thought, “she looks European,” based on her bold fashion sense.

Each of the maybe 35 people in the room had to stand in 10 words or less say what they did.

I was immediately scrounging for a pen to write on my napkin.  “What do I do?” I thought. You see when you wear many hats as they say and have a lot of irons in the fire that question is not always an easy one to answer. But that night I was there for Divorce Glow, I knew that much.

“I teach women how to start fresh after divorce.” 9 words. I felt like I should win something.

Anyway the introductions were done and the speaker began to speak. I was right. She was a wonderful mix of all nationalities non-American. She was also smart, funny and compelling.  I am often so bored at sessions and lectures because they lack the practical hands-on “do this, not that” details. She delivered.

I took notes that I promised myself several times during the night that I would not lose. I nodded in agreement, I made eye contact, I smiled at her slides.  I was a legitimate and authentic ass-kisser because I was so honestly happy that she was so good.

At the end of the night things went a few minutes over and all I could think of was I had to get home and make sure baths were done and homework was done and pjs were on for my kids.

I said a few quick good-byes, ran to my car ( a loaner because mine was in the shop) and threw my body into the drivers seat effectively crushing my $16 Target sunglasses. I drove home too fast.

Fast forward to 6 days later.  Deep in procrastination of writing an article for my site I decide to dive into the abyss known as LinkedIn.

***Audible GASP!!!!*** Followed by “NOOOOOOOO!!!!” as I crouch down to my kitchen floor and cringe. There she was; short hair, big smile — right there on top of the “Viewed Your Profile” category: Sylvie di Guisto. 

I whimpered.  I have not updated my LinkedIn profile in God-knows how long.  It is a jumbled mess, a look into my entrepreneurial mind with a nod to my practical real estate business and dash of my love of photography.  You see all these things earn me clients. All these things make me happy. But none of these things is what I would say to Sylive di Guisto if I had 2 minutes of her time.

The worst part, she did not send me a connection request.  Deep, unreasonable sadness is all can do to explain this moment. My procrastination had caught up with me. I have been FOR MONTHS saying “I really need to update my LinkedIn profile or just take it down.”

And there it was smack in my face: Today’s business lesson: Use it or Lose it

Don’t self-sabotage by leaving dated, half-baked, forgotten social media profiles floating around on the internet with posts from so long ago that people who happen by your information quietly wonder if you are deceased.

Don’t update your profile after a few glasses of wine with what you want to do or think you can do or feel like you might do. Don’t, don’t do that.

Don’t pretend like just because a certain social platform doesn’t quite do it for you that you can just leave yourself out there like a rusty, splintered clothes pin forgotten on a clothes line. 

Either USE your profile or LOSE your profile.

Maybe Sylive looked me up because she looked the entire audience roster up.

Maybe Sylive looked me up because she wanted to know why I was creepily smiling at her through her entire presentation.

Maybe, just maybe, she loved my 9 words and wanted to know more about what I was working on, but my profile was so schizophrenic she bailed.

I may never know. I do know that I have set up a time next week to work with a women who specializes in helping people like me, people with a lot of talent and skills and ideas who can write about so much but who can’t seem to simply articulate themselves succinctly enough to satisfy a social media profile without feeling like we are leaving the best part of ourselves on the cutting room floor.

Sylvie — I loved your session. I am sorry if I creeped you out. I’d love to work with you someday but I can’t do that indoor stair running thing you do because I’ll probably collapse a lung. I would love to be a LinkedIn connection of yours, once my profile is updated.

Thank you so much for being the kick in the ass to updating my profile.

Julie Avellino

One comment

  1. Here I am. Again. Sitting in front of a room filled with speaker colleagues. Each of them with big dreams, and little worries. Or, the other way around. I still cannot believe that they spend their time and money to see me. You know, usually, I get hired by companies, paid out of big corporate budgets, and my audience doesn’t really have a choice. They have to watch me anyway.

    But these guys… they made a choice and decided it’s worthwhile their time and money to meet some of their speaker colleagues… and me. Little me, who came on a train hiding underneath this hilarious fur jacket. Everyone in the suburbs will be rolling their eyes, thinking: Oh gosh, she must be from the city, right? But it was chilly, so chilly. Talking about chilly… did I hang out their jackets for tomorrow morning? Wait, do they have afternoon school? Or a playdate? What day and time is it anyway? Are they already having dinner back home? Is there something healthy in the fridge? Well, their dad will probably take them out to some yukky fast food meal. Ugh. I should be there. Not here. But I so much love sthought pending time with my NSA friends. Anyway, they will survive, one more fast food meal doesn’t really matter at this point. No worries, I think. I’ll fix it over the weekend when I’m back home. I miss them. I really miss them.

    Okay, here we go. They start introducing themselves, each of them in less than 10 words. Now THAT is going to be fun. And it is. I remember the world’s only gero futurist, a lie guy who felt my pulse when walking in, a woman who adopted several children from Asia, a home organizer and a nutritionist. Damn. Obviously, I could use the later right now. And then there she is. This blonde, beautiful, gorgeous woman helping other women on their entrepreneurial journey after getting divorced. First, I think: How cool is that? I’m a big fan of niche markets, you should know. Then I wonder, she must have gone through a divorce herself, right? How could any man leave such a beautiful, stunning woman? And the moment this thought crosses my mind, it immediately hits me: Wait… what if she divorced him? Why am I so judgmental? I should know better. It’s probably her who is the lucky one. And who knows, maybe I’ll need her help one day, if mine continues to feed them fast food back home. I notice her glow; funny enough she calls her business Divorce Glow.

    They continue to share their lives in 10 words or less, and I start to feel guilty. I should have done my homework. I should have asked my host to give me their names in advance, and prepare myself researching their businesses, their dreams, their worries and how I can possibly help each of them. But honestly, when should I do that? That would have taken hours, right? I’d be better off using this time answering the dozens of emails waiting in my mailbox, or doing some healthy grocery shopping at Wholefoods. So – note to myself – let’s make sure that at least I connect with them on Linkedin afterward, to “stay in touch”. It must be easy. I have their names – the internet is an open book, and Social Media an easy option to connect with just one click. It will take just a few minutes, it’s a click. Nothing else.

    So. Let’s go. Let’s do this. Pour out my heart, soul, and advice to them.

    Days later a blog post hits me. Right into my guts. Right before I go on another stage. Here she is again, this glowing blonde. Whaaaaaaat? Why didn’t I connect with her? Damn. What has happened? Did I miss her on the list? Did I not take enough time to read her profile? Did I not find anything about Divorce Glow on her profile? It’s not an excuse, damn; I should at least have remembered her gorgeous smile and glow. Hmmmmh. Why don’t I remember any faces anymore, in general? What has happened to me? She blames herself and her outdated LinkedIn profile; the same way I blame myself for not remembering faces although I see hundreds of them every week.

    But out of a sudden, I remember the conversation I recently had with this year’s Cavett Award Winner, Randy Pennington. He too made the choice to take time of this busy schedule to see me speak. Me, little me. And even better, we had lunch afterward. There I was, at a table with one of the speaking legends, what an honor, what an incredible journey I am on. I got some of the greatest feedback about my performance, business, NSA and life in general. When I thanked him for his time, I had to share how unbelievable it is for me to be surrounded by people like him. I remember this summer, when it was Mark Sanborn’s birthday, that I picked up my phone to send him a text message. At this moment it hit me hard: Years ago, when I landed in Newark at the beginning of this incredible journey moving to the United States, “Fred” was the first book I picked up at the airport, and ever since I read every single word he published. He was and is one of my leadership heroes, and now – year’s later – I have his freaking cell phone number in my address book!

    And I scrolled through the entire address book, finding one after the other. The names and numbers of all those amazing heroes of mine, women, and men who offered their help and said, call me up if you need anything. I rarely do, because remember … little me.

    And Randy, he is one of them too. Can you believe it? He is in my address book. Seriously. And I tell him, that I will never be able to give back to NSA what NSA has given me. The opportunity to be surrounded by people like him, and the many others in my address book. And then he says: Well, Sylvie. Keep in mind, people are already looking up to you. Very soon they will feel about you the same way. Keep on serving the way you do. One day, someone will say, I’m so glad I can call her, when I need help.

    Two. Six. Seven. Three. Zero. Three. EDIT. Five. Seven. Seven. I truly hope, one day I’ll end up in this glowing, beautiful, smart, blonde’s address book. I hope she’ll call me if she needs anything. Anytime.

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