Shut Up and Do Some Real Work

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.

10 Signs That You May Have Found Your True Passion
What Cats Teach Us About Success


  • April 8, 2009 at 8:01 am

    Suze – Thanks for the mention and link. I think the connection between my post and Kelly’s is perfectly clear, and you’ve drawn it beautifully in this post.

    For the record, my own story is much like Kelly’s–I spent a long time doing “real work” I wasn’t that crazy about while I built the skills and experience I needed to do what I love.

    Part of the “skills and experience” part was learning to believe I deserved a job doing what I loved–but that’s a bit touchy-feely. 🙂

    Anyway, thanks again. Good stuff!

    KatFrench’s last blog post..5 Social Media Topics I Could Do Without

  • April 8, 2009 at 9:04 am

    I’ve been thinking much the same for a while now.

    I’m trying to make sure each “contribution” adds value as much as possible.

    I think this tweet might cover it off perfectly:

    “snolen: @DougSaunders I say this as your friend, and fellow author: unplug your damn wireless and GO FINISH YOUR BOOK.”



  • April 8, 2009 at 9:22 am

    It’s weird. I must have been put on some list somewhere because now I get like 20-40 followers a day. I do the same thing for each person though, I check there site and look at what they have tweeted. If they look normal, I follow for a while.

    But I only open Tweetdeck for like 1 to 2 hours a day. Or my messengers for that matter. I stick to my work, and then when I start working on my future projects, then I hop on.

    I think the idea is to try and get a few streams of income started now while you are working. And hopefully you can work easier later when these streams become torrents.

    Jim Gaudet’s last blog post..SEO First – How To Move your WordPress Blog

  • April 8, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Sums up perfectly a lot of the “I must be cool because I’m hanging out with Person A or Brand B or Blogger C” kiss-assiness of social media (yes, kiss-assiness is a word).

    I’ve actually started reading a lot less of what many of the social media “rockstars” are saying because it is so much back-slapping, and focusing on where the real initiatives are happening.

    Who you’re hanging with is just confirmation that you’re in the same town or city as someone at any given time. Did you say you were hanging with your school bud Joe on Saturday night? Or that the little shop on the corner you go to gives you just as great service as the big brands you’ve just face-sucked? If not, maybe it’s time to look at what you’re actually broadcasting.

    I love Kat French, her writing is always interesting. Wasn’t aware of Wayne, I’ll be remedying that for sure. 🙂

    Danny Brown’s last blog post..Do You Know What Your Social Mention Factor Is?

  • April 8, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Great post!

    I’m with Danny regarding social media rockstars. I definitely agree with the ‘kiss-assiness’ of some of the people. There are people that I follow (which I need to remove) that for the life of me I can’t figure out what they do all day other than talk about Twitter or the next soc media party.

    Using these tools effectively is important. I’ve spent less time on Twitter lately only because I discovered that the majority of my visitors on my site came via Linked In, a site I barely look at. You need to cultivate relationships where your audience is.

    Lindsey’s last blog post..Social Media Time Management: Twitter

  • April 8, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    It can be quite a shock when you have been working along and then you realize that you haven’t been doing real work. I definitely had that epiphany not so long ago.

    Doing real work doesn’t mean not participating in social media type stuff, though. I like Jim’s note about using these tools at key points during the day.

    I guess the point is to make sure your social networking time is spent on real work directly.

    Tobin Truog’s last blog post..Developing Your Attention Grabbing 30-Second Introduction!

  • April 8, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    This is one of the big reasons people and companies need plans when getting into social media. Its so easy to not get “real” work done. As you said there is difference when using things like twitter so plan it out to use your time effectively.

    Jared O’Toole’s last blog post..Former COO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK Explains Getting Free PR

  • April 9, 2009 at 9:21 am

    I noticed recently that when I was on holidays I updated my Facebook status with lighthearted fun stuff, but as soon as I returned to my work desk my status messages reflected much of the work I normally do during any given day. I have a ‘work Facebook’ and a ‘personal Facebook’ so I try to keep the personal one updated with more of how I ‘feel’. Doesn’t always work, but I try. One of the things I have to deal with is how many people are on my personal Facebook that really should be on my work Facebook. Its a work in progress so I don’t stress about it. I use the elements of it that are relevant to me and my work and rather than let it rule me, I rule it.

  • April 12, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    Preach it sister!

    I do love Twitter and find people connecting on all kinds of levels. I can post about missing my mom (RIP), about music, my kids or business. What I can’t do is be on Twitter ALL DAY cause…I’m working! Duh!

    Angel McClinton’s last blog post..Defense Budget: How A Free Tool From Youtube Can Save Your Business Time and Money

  • […] what’s the solution? How do we stop relying so much on these tools and get on to the real work? Well, the good news is you don’t have to hire some fancy consultant to figure it out, […]

  • April 16, 2009 at 6:43 am


    Kneale Mann’s last blog post..Friends – Colleagues – Storytellers



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