The Drift

The Drift

How We Show Up.

We tentatively emerge from two years of inconsistent isolation only to feel the gravitational pull of the economy. Ironically, even as much of the world was down and out, our sales numbers and performance were up and to the right. Now with the sun out, many of us are watching the last days of a rough second quarter tick away. Is that a recession ahead? Are we truly back? And what does that look like anyway? Anxiety is both by-product and fuel source for uncertainty, and right now uncertainty abounds.

Fortunately, there’s one set of decisions that we absolutely control. Leaning into these decisions won’t necessarily change the numbers or the circumstances, but they will change the narrative from one of anxiety and randomness to a story of perseverance, growth and personal victory. They may not change your Q3 number, but they will change you.

We all get to decide how we show up. Every call, every interaction, every day. I’ve chosen to start out this week, this day, by showing up and trying to say and do something useful and productive for the readers of The Drift (who, by the way, I haven’t done enough for this year).  How will you show up tomorrow?

Show Up Curious. Don’t settle for good questions. We all control how much we really want to know about how our customers’ businesses work, the nuances of their competition and more. Genuinely curious people are magnetic. We can all decide right now to commit to real learning and understanding.

Show Up Prepared. Not just for customer meetings, and not just with your story laid out. Real preparation is about critical thinking, about anticipation. Preparation in business is like defense in basketball: it’s really all about desire and dedication – no exceptional talent required.

Show Up in Service to Others. Diagnose and think things through. Why does this customer truly need our help?  What gap genuinely needs to be filled? What can we really do to help complete this customer’s plan, to genuinely make it better? And don’t stop with your customers. Show up in service to the people around you: pick up the slack for a coworker, spend a little extra time and patience in explanation and mentoring. It’s what you give away that makes you richer.

Show Up with Empathy. Behind every pair of eyes is a unique story, a different struggle. Take a beat. Consider that something may be weighing on the other person, even if you’ll never know what it is. You’ll create the space of humanity for real collaboration and sharing.

Show Up with Joy. Don’t buy the excuse that Zoom is a flawed experience. That’s a decision. We choose to make – or not make – every interaction more human and joyful, whether it’s on a screen, on a walk or over a desktop. Have some fun. Be a good host. Make it special for the other person.

You may righteously ask, what does all this have to do with business over the next few weeks? Isn’t it all advice about how to live your life?

My point exactly.


More Posts

The Swift-Boating of Yahoo!

(Full disclosure: Yahoo! is a long-time Upstream customer, but I'm not consulted on -- or privy to -- any of their long range M&A plans. No one at Yahoo! was consulted on this edition of The Drift, and…


The Year Of Living Smart

Summer's done, kids are back to school and we cruise into the final quarter of the best year in the history of the online advertising and marketing business. Even though it's autumn, a million well planted…


Tear Down This Wall

Consumer generated content is to media what third parties are to electoral politics. OK, so I'm a political geek and I think almost entirely in metaphor. But stay with me on this, because I think there's…


Seeing-And Missing-The Next Curve

HEADLINE: AUDIT BUREAU OF CIRCULATIONS INTRODUCES RAPID REPORTING "...a new rapid reporting service for magazine circulation...The service will allow media planners and buyers to get precise circulation…


Media Without Borders

To those who might have been confused by my "farewell" column" (The Truth) last week, please accept my apology, reread the first paragraph and pay close attention to point number two. Now - freed of…


The Truth

This is the final edition of "The Drift." But let me be clear. You see, I'm going to write the column for a long time to come, God willing. It's just that I decided to write the final one now, while…


Medium? Too Small.

Say it with me...it's cathartic. All together now: THE INTERNET IS NOT A MEDIUM. At first blush this statement may seem both superflous and semantic, but I assure you there's a very real issue at stake…


The Death of Ad Sales

Easily the most provocative and thoughtful book I read this summer - or any previous summer for that matter - is "The World is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century" by Tom Friedman of The New York…


The "B" Word

It may surprise many people under 40 that the term "liberal" was once a viable term within our national political structure. Not that everyone ascribed to that particular ideology - a third of the country…


Wagging The Dog

Last week's iMedia Summit was kicked off in a rather novel fashion. No, I'm not talking about the Jay Leno impersonator, but rather about a central idea that we discussed on stage to jump start the event's…


Google's Excellent Adventure

Like many people in the industry, I'm now resigned to the fact that every utterance from Google headquarters in Mountain View is going to take on the mystical significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls(http://www.upstreamgroup.com/googlearticle.htm).…


The Transformers

Online advertising is on an amazing roll right now. The ground really is moving beneath our feet. Major marketers are emotionally and financially committed to interactive marketing. Broadband is washing…