I read two really great blog posts this morning. One was from a person I’ve followed for some time, Kat French. The other was from someone I just met today, Wayne Kelly. The posts at first seem quite different. Kat is talking about 5 social media topics she could do without. Wayne is talking about how working hard and following your dreams is the secret to a happy life. I encourage you to go read them both.

What I found interesting is that even though both posts are about different topics, they are two sides of the same coin.

Kat points out an issue that she has (and many of us have) with what I like to call the social media bubble – a bunch of yim yams sitting around talking about the social media mumbo jumbo, posing at conferences, and complaining incessantly about inane topics like missing tweets or Facebook interface changes.

Wayne on the other hand, writes an insightful and autobiographical post about how he went from being on a career path that wasn’t right for him to being successful and happy after discovering his passion and seizing it.

Let’s explore what these posts have in common.

Every day, I find myself becoming more and more frustrated with this whole social media thing – to the point where I’m ruthlessly unfollowing and unsubscribing to people who don’t provide me value anymore. Spend all your time on Twitter talking about Twitter? Unfollow. Waste a blog post talking about all the social media “faux-lebrities” you got to drink beer with at SXSW? Unsubscribe. I’m not buying it, people. We’ve all had plenty of time to sit around with our eyeballs on our bellybuttons. Mark my words, if you are still doing it, you’re going to get left in the dust. Things are moving far too fast for you to still be circling your wagons around the possibility that someone’s going to find a viable business model in social media.

So what’s the solution? Well, for starters, how about trying to do some real work? Let’s explore what that means for a minute.

How To Know When Real Work is Getting Done

  1. People who go to conferences just to hang out with rock stars are not doing real work. People who go to conferences because they are speaking at them, representing a client, or ACTUALLY trying to drum up new business contacts are doing real work.
  2. People who talk about Twitter on Twitter all day long are not doing real work. People who use Twitter to connect, communicate, collaborate, and even socialize are doing real work.
  3. People who sit around and talk all day about how busy they are are not doing real work. They are being busy. The people who are actually making things happen are doing real work.
  4. The size of your bank account does not determine how hard you work. There are lots of lazy rich people. However, the amount of passion and drive and conviction you have can SIGNIFICANTLY affect the size of your bank account. And that, takes, you guessed it – real work.

Now, let’s take a look at Wayne’s post. Point number one that he makes is the title itself. “Stop Moaning and Make it Happen”. In other words, stop sitting around all day complaining about crap and actually go out and start doing some real work.

Wayne goes on to describe the long journey he had to take to wind up where he is now – as a video producer/editor/sound guy. He had to do crappy jobs, flunk out of school, and “in the meantime” jobs. All the while, though, he was doing one thing. Real work. Yup – even though he hated it at times. He still did real work. And while he did that real work, he thought about what he really wanted to do. While he still had that paycheck coming in, he learned to edit, and produce. Fate interjected and allowed him an opportunity to learn from a pro. Note how he seized that opportunity. He now was doing even MORE real work.

Wayne says something in his piece that is so true and is the entire point of this post.

“Work hard – but on the right things.”

That’s real work, people. Does it relate to passion? Of course. Does it mean sometimes it’s a means to an end? Absolutely – but that’s an important part of the process.

The real secret to success is not to walk around acting like you are a success. You WILL be found out eventually. The secret is to shut up. Sit down. And figure out what real, actual work you need to do to make stuff happen in your life. If your job is boring (or your don’t have one), then sitting around on Twitter all day is not going to help you. Sure, it might give you some connections. But it’s not going to change your situation for you.

You are the only one who can do that. Kat points it out. Wayne proves it.