Change Catalyst with Shanna Mann: Strategy & Support for Sane Self-Employment

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Run Silent, Run Deep

My sabbatical took longer than I expected, not only because I’m finishing up my book with Joel D Canfield, but because I’m spending a lot of time off-line, remembering what that’s like.

I discovered that I’d used the online world of ideas and conversation as a kind of retreat. I had recreated the ivory tower I thought I’d left behind in university. I had my own jokes, my own memes and touchstones, and anytime I wanted to share a new book I had read, I had to explain why it was only available in pdf format.

I found it increasingly difficult to relate to off-line people. Conversations would go like this:

Them: So, you work from home? On the internet?

Me: Yep.

Them: Are you on Facebook?

Me: Nope.

Them: …..

I had streamlined and my offline life to the point where to do all the household chores took me a little over an hour a day. The online world became my oasis, a semi-mythical place of intelligent people and charming ideas and brilliant conversation. There was no down-side, as far as I was concerned. And so, you see, I became rather one dimensional, simply from being immersed in a one-dimensional world.

Yesterday I went up to the mountains and went for a leisurely stroll. I watched chickens peck for bugs, speculated on the species of some trees I was unfamiliar with, and generally got used to noticing how much of what was in the outside world I didn’t know as much about as I wanted to. How ridiculous! Why had I tuned this out?

At first I didn’t realize what was happening. I decided it was just a residual side-effect of my sabbatical, not leaving enough of a buffer between the real work of transformation and getting back to post-transformation chores of collating my thoughts,revamping my message, and updating the site. So I let things slide… for one more week.

It took me all the way until Sunday to realize that I was simply resisting hooking back into the matrix. My RSS has over 400 unread pieces, I haven’t even looked at Twitter or G+ for almost two weeks— and I really don’t want to.

Well, why should you, you say? Good question. The only reason to come to mind is “That’s just what you do,” which, to my knowledge, has never been a good reason to do anything. So I’m not going to. But there’s still a little part of me freaking out, because that was my entire marketing strategy.

However, I’m wise enough to know that when I do things because I have to, nothing ever comes out right. So. What’s plan B?

Well, I think I’m just going to spend a lot more time thinking and writing. Writing Why We Lead with Joel was a fantastic experience… Something about having all that space to fill made me dive deep for insights that I never expected, and never would have needed to expand so broadly, and to be honest, ya’ll would have stopped reading long before I got to that point because a blog is not the place for that kind of long-form reading.

But it was clarifying and refreshing to do that. I want to do more of it. I had thought, before this week, that I would be able to do that and keep my online habits intact, but apparently not. Oh, well.

I’m going to be writing lots. Some of that is bound to spill over here. More of it will spill into the Catalyst (so sign up if that sounds cool). But I don’t think it will come on a schedule, so though I’m aiming to post here about twice a week, I’m not going to sweat it.

So, while you might not see me as much, I am still here, still very much interested in conversing with you. Feel free to drop me an email or ask me questions. Most of what I lost in my ivory tower was talking in practical terms, not in abstractions and theories. I miss that, and I’m going to get it back.

Tell me your plans for a productive autumn?

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