Tony grew up in a small town and had lived in the big city for the past eight years. His job had taken him places around the world he never imagined he would go as a kid. Although he had never been in to social media, the company he was working for asked him to establish a Twitter and Instagram account, so he could post information regarding the company product and all the travel locations he was visiting. As time went on, and Tony found himself in hotel after hotel, he found he enjoyed posting on Instagram and Twitter and looked forward to seeing how many “likes” he could get. He looked forward to his daily posts, and it started to become obsessive. He’d constantly check his phone for “like” notifications or comments and respond appropriately. Tony found that posting a photo of himself on the beach, or dressed up for an event, would not only grow his followers, but also triple the number of “likes” he’d get vs. the posts he’d prepare about the company. Tony was a good looking guy, and the women on social media loved him. As his connection to those back home started to dwindle, he relied more on social media and even responded to chat requests with beautiful women from around the world. He could hardly wait to get back to his hotel and “chat” with a new woman he’d met online. Sometimes just to keep him company, but other times the chats became more than flirtatious. In the morning as he’d pour his coffee, he’d feel the loneliness and isolation set in from the real people and real relationships he used to have.
As he was getting ready to board his flight back to Chicago, he had a new email from his boss asking him to set aside an hour to speak with him as soon as he arrived back in town. Tony wondered what that was about, just as a notification came in from a woman he’d been chatting with on Instagram. He heard the overhead speakers call for him to board his flight, and he hurried to respond to this woman’s message but forgot to respond back to his boss. He settled into his seat, turned off his phone, and put his headphones in for the long flight back to Chicago.
When Tony’s plane landed in Chicago, he turned his phone back on and had dozens of notifications from his boss, asking him when he would be available to talk. Tony could see his boss’s frustration with Tony’s non-response as the text messages became more and more annoyed, until the most recent text, which told Tony to come directly to the office as soon as he landed in Chicago. Tony’s stomach was churning as he remembered he should have made his response to his boss his top priority.
Tony took an Uber over to the office directly from the airport, and tried to quietly walk through the cubicles back to his boss’s office. The door was open and his boss was waiting for him and told him to take a seat. His boss proceeded to explain that the VP of marketing was very concerned with Tony’s social media postings, especially his Instagram account. Tony had overstepped the boundaries and had posted inappropriate photos of himself and locations that were not approved by the company. The VP had concerns about Tony’s obsession with social media and his boss explained he needed to close all of his social media accounts that were related to the company. Tony felt relieved they weren’t going to fire him, but when he went to delete his accounts, he felt his whole world would be lost, at least the online world he had built for himself in absence of real relationships and staying connected to his family and friends.
He was contemplating changing his handle on Instagram to a personal account since he’d grown his following to over 5000 followers in just two years. The dilemma with that option is that many of his followers were connected to his company. He started to get angry that he’d have to delete his account, and then realized he’d lost sight of why he had been asked to have the company accounts in the first place. Evaluating his options, he knew deleting the account was the right thing to do. As he clicked the delete button, he felt a sense of sadness that his online world was disappearing, and then he realized he’d lost site of setting goals, both in business and his personal life. He also recalled what his life was like before he had goals and knew he was slipping back into his old patterns. He chuckled to himself when he thought about some of the silly decisions he had made in the past. Mistakes, yes there had been a few, but nothing like the obsession he developed with social media. It occurred to him that while he had his share of defining moments...the success in life had been the result of making lots of small "good" decisions that made the difference.
There was a riverwalk outside his loft that led him down to Lake Michigan, so he grabbed his sweatshirt, and headed out. These walks along the lake gave him time to think about what was really important to him. He felt as if he’d experienced somewhat of a social and emotional collapse as he’d become more addicted to social media, and he knew he needed to spend those two to three hours a day that were previously spent on screen time, getting back to his real relationships. Tony decided he’d concentrate on his spiritual life, being more consistent with his physical activity, and then developing his leadership skills so he would impact and contribute positively to the company he worked for.
What are some ideas you have to start to make changes in your personal development? Write down one idea in each of these categories in an effort to bring positive change to your personal development.
Mental (Self talk/Positive Thinking)
Plan, Invest, Live™