“A great story arc involves and depicts the hero’s struggle to orchestrate change; for himself, herself, or for others, by finding new ways to work and invoke lessons and the causality loop that life is based on.”
— Penina Rybak, The NICE Reboot: A Guide to Becoming a Better Female Entrepreneur, page 166, (2014)
“Your time is limited. Don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”
The new biography on Steve Jobs came out today, and even though I haven’t read it yet, it’s gotten me thinking. I never met him but he had a tremendous impact on me, personally and professionally; something I mentioned in this tribute video. Thanks to his gracious funding of the NY TRAID Project in the 90s, and accepting me into that program with Westchester Institute for Human Development, I became one of the first speech therapist/ed-tech Apple™ evangelists in special education. I wrote about this, and him, in my business book.
It’s been roughly a year since that book, The NICE Reboot , was published by Maven House Press. Approximately 1 year since I spoke about it, and my work as one of the prototypical Apple™ educators and evangelists, at a panel discussion (where I was the only woman speaker) in Silicon Valley with other social entrepreneurs sponsored by Hack for Big Choices. A year since I started blogging about woman leadership and founders (and about the state of female entrepreneurship) for The Huffington Post. A year since I systematically and consistently provided my NICE perspective on everything related to startup life in the iEra.
I’ve written about so many things in my various blogposts…. here, on Tumblr, and on LinkedIn. I’ve shared many insights and links of others, from the 3 E’s of the technology revolution to the rise of the storyteller entrepreneur, from retaining one’s humor to honing creativity and a collaborative mindset. I’ve also tried to shed light on the true nature of the woman entrepreneur’s journey today; so different than that of yesteryear and of her male counterpart. From mentorship to the myth of the lone warrior entrepreneur, from open letters to the Startup Sisterhood to one about the power of positivity, I hope my posts have been entertaining, as well as educational!
When my best friend and mentor lost her battle with breast cancer in 2012, I honored her last request; that I begin writing “Penina’s Pointers”.
So I did.
In addition to blogging, I wrote misc. seminar handouts for my special education Socially Speaking™ Program which I’ve been lecturing about around North America since 2010. I wrote white papers about entrepreneurship on Slideshare. I created the Socially Speaking™ iPad App, and wrote two books, the second of which is about my trademarked social skills curriculum, finally out in this spring.
For a long time, I strongly felt that providing thought leadership was my part of my calling, and I heeded that call. Now it’s time to heed another one.
I now have opportunities in real time to heed other calls related to my work as an Autism specialist, iPad Evangelist in special education, and social entrepreneur. I will be focusing on that. I’ve learned so much from the forks in the road to get to this point, especially when I took “the ones less traveled by”. I have gained much from my unique travels since launching my company Socially Speaking LLC.
I want to express my gratitude to my readers and fellow entrepreneurs. I want to thank the diverse people I’ve met, the eclectic virtual mentorship I’ve been exposed to, and the social media contacts I’ve cultivated. I am grateful for those who have crossed my path, enriched my life, and enhanced my appreciation for the most noble of human traits; curiosity.
Many people have asked me what I’ve learned, and what takeaways I can provide other authorpreneurs. They want to know what to expect, especially as I get ready to publish my second book, Autism Intervention in the iEra (which is about the integration of toys and tech i.e. iPad Apps in today’s lesson plans). I don’t have all the answers, and am certainly not speaking for all writers or entrepreneurs who got published, or for women leaders for that matter.
I’d like to simply share 4 lessons I’ve learned based on my own journey, my own readings about the paths others have taken, and what I’ve seen along the way. What became clear to me as I took time for the past 18 months to explore detours, make mistakes, try new things, and ultimately, stay true to my company’s mission; to better balance humanity and technology in the iEra.
1. Consumers have changed, and their expectations re: interaction with an author, have changed with it.
Consumers have come to expect a social media presence and a clearly laid out digital footprint from authors, well before the actual book comes out. Their buying habits have changed, and there are many distractions and “blingy” products out there clamoring for their attention. That’s why understanding and implementing personal branding, digital marketing via social media, and strategic collaboration (online and offline), is so important! Especially with people outside of your industry! We are all in sales, no matter what job we have! As Shakespeare said in As You Like It:
“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances.”
2. Content driven experiences for storytelling and marketing purposes must be part of the book, and the social media hype surrounding it.
The process of telling stories and sharing them online or at speaking engagements has taken on new meaning, thanks to the ease with which we can use pictures and video as popular mediums, find free visual images online, and understand and utilize the structure of storytelling. Think of the Super Bowl ads. Think of how Canva went viral in a relativity short time. Think of Pixar’s Rules of Storytelling and Ed Catmull’s excellent book, Creativity Inc.
3. The Digital Age has changed the rules of engagement and ease by which a person publishes/distributes content and streamlines it for niche markets, but it doesn’t change the fact that quality trumps quantity.
It’s becoming much easier to become an author, but just because people can write a post or book, should they? This applies to a book’s reading material, demographic, and even Amazon reviews of the work of others. It’s why I have carefully chosen to have my first book published the traditional route, and my second self published. It’s why I decided to write one book about female entrepreneurship best practices, and one book about Autism intervention and social communication development best practices. It is also why I carefully choose which books to read and recommend. Think of it as careful content curation for future thought leadership, authorpreneurship, and/or digital marketing purposes. Think of it as proactive digital reputation management, part of due diligence in today’s workplace.
4. Readers want static information at their fingertips; something taken for granted in this age of websites, Google searches, mobile devices, and overall instant gratification. But it’s important to remember that a true authopreneur fosters innovation and problem solving for others, and acts as as an agent of change in his/her ecosystem by connecting the dots that are unseen.
We human beings are hardwired to seek answers and pursue a life of purpose, while at the same time yearning for a “quick fix”. We want to push the envelope re: the unknown frontiers such as space and science, yet maintain a healthy respect for the intangible such as faith and love. This oxymoron is what us towards self actualization, the highest achievement in Maslow’s Hierarchy. It’s what makes for the conundrum every authopreneur faces…. If we learn by doing, then how much should we be telling…. in our books and blogs?
This question is on my mind today. This question will continue to resonate with me as I take time off from blogging (but not from social media:)
I am taking time to explore and check out new horizons and vistas and new job opportunities. I hope to learn new things from new fellow travelers I meet; all catalysts and comrades on my personal and professional odyssey to live a life that matters, has meaning, and allows me to better balance humanity and technology.
It’s time to concentrate on my “live” ecosystem and work towards crafting a self-sustaining legacy. It’s time to say “no” to some things and “yes” to others.
A successful ecosystem, whether in real time or online, is only as successful as its members who become agents of change. That means that its overall impact is predicated on the impact its members have on others. On the impact its members have on what they don’t do, don’t follow, and don’t say, just as much as what they do.
A successful ecosystem has educators who act as catalysts for change. It has authors who act as scribes, bards, anthropologists, and analysts. It also has individuals who take entrepreneurial action to disrupt the status quo. People who take a stand, make an effort to stand out, try to collaborate with others. Those who diligently work to bring others together; country, culture, and rituals. So that we can all find new solutions to old problems. So that we can all positively affect the people and the planet. So we can change our overall inner script, our family life, our community life, and our work/life balance in the process.
Let me leave you with this question:
What would you do with more time?
To be continued…..