Saturday, August 20, 2011


Yesterday, I was the guest speaker at an event called #smbyyc. That's "twitter talk" for Social Media Breakfast Calgary. It's a great event that brings together the social media community for networking and idea sharing. My topic was "Inspiring Excellence with Social Media". 

I am not a social media expert. Hell, I am pretty far from an "expert". But I do know one thing for sure: The social media realm provides a platform where anyone can inspire excellence.

During my presentation I shared my Olympic story and then some social media "inspiring excellence" tips that I've come across in my journey.

Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Use social media for goal setting and accountability. Put it out there an commit! Your blog, twitter and facebook can be used to help you get closer to your potential.   

2. Be pro-active rather than reactive. It's easy to tweet about a negative experience. But who is that serving? Perhaps a better approach is to be ultra positive and create posts that make people want to be better. High Five!

3. Create good social media habits. Be purposeful. Set social media goals like blog once a day or tweet back to all of your mentions. Like anything in life, good habits lead to excellence. Avoid getting sucked into the hole of looking at random peoples facebook photos. That isn't helping your superhero - it's feeding your villain and wasting your time.

4. Be vulnerable. I think a reason why people enjoy reading my blog is because I try to be raw and real. My blogging experience before the 2008 Games was one where I really felt connected because I told it like it was.

5. Follow and interact with people who inspire you. Delete people who are always negative and complaining. Feed the good wolf.

6. Reflect and journal. Reflection helps us to grow because we only learn when we seek the learning in an experience. Often times writing is the best way to gain perspective. Words are powerful.

7. Karma baby - what you put out there is what you get back in return.

8. Focus. It's easy to get distracted and side tracked. Use a timer or practice the Pomodoro technique. Ask yourself the question: Is social media energizing me or is it draining me. It should be the former.

9. Share. Share. Share. Share. If you have an expertise or a passion for something, share it with the world. We need more people who are willing to share their secrets so we can all continue to learn.

Photo copyright of Donna McTaggart @donnamct
I loved being a part of the event. I was extremely overwhelmed when I got home and started to read the positive feedback on twitter. Some of the quotes I was reading made me think, "Holy smokes, I said THAT?" I was pleasantly surprised. 

Mark Tewksbury once told me that the best way to know you are a good speaker is when people come up to you after your presentation and tell you about how you made them feel. The biggest compliment I can ever receive is when people tell me that a lightbulb turned on inside of their mind. I want to make people think about their lives. I want them to question where they are at and if they are staying true to who they are. I want to explore what excellence looks like for them. I want them to feel a new sense of motivation to pursue their potential. I want them to see a new set of possibilities. I want them to feel powerful. I want people to leave feeling like there is no other option but to take action in making their world better. 

Every time I get a chance to speak in front of an audience, I feel energized and alive. I feel purpose. I feel engaged in my own life. I feel like my quest to make a difference in this world has just been fuelled and that is a pretty awesome feeling.

Thank you to everyone who attended the #smbyyc and for your wonderful support. My heart has been glowing ever since.

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