The chapters don’t end in our story. There’s more to be written…

People thought I was crazy. Leaving the comforts of familiarity and moving too many miles to count to an unknown start-up. Leaving behind the white picket fence. The great job and incredible manager. And friends and family. Then moving again! We were crazy. But that’s because big risk equals big reward.

So I started to write the chapter in my life with the title, “Yammer – taking me places I never imagined“. Quickly, we wrote this chapter together, and all over the world, you all included! We thought and wrote our pages as we were living them. Our story has characters of all walks of life, industry, and passions. We wrote it not knowing what would come on the next page.

And now, it’s time to finish this chapter and begin the next chapter. I’ve joined Hootsuite. Read more details here

My advice to you, don’t be afraid to write a new chapter. Even if there is risk. Even if you aren’t sure what story will be told in the chapters that follow. Fear, is the one way to miss out on authoring the pages of your life.

Dream big. Author your own pages. Title your own chapters.

And don’t forget that at the end of the day, its about people.

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(Selfie of my last training session with Yammer! They are PUMPED!)
It’s about people who you can share and re-live the stories you have written — that matter most.

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Keep calm and Yammer on

 

 


 

I wanted to capture my contributions to Yammer and Enterprise social in one post, more for my own knowledge but feel free to check out these links for more information!

 

View recording of my presentations of Yammer at Microsoft Conferences: Channel 9 Speaker (Includes Topics such as Power User Training, Enterprise Social Scared Straight, and Best Practices for overcoming Organizational Barriers to success)

 

Read more about my story here: Microsoft Careers Blogs

Yammer 101 Video

Yammer Blog Contributions:

Using Yammer to roll out O365

This is not your Parents Training Software

Using Yammer in your Training Programs

Social Onboarding

 

Other Yammer Related Articles & Blogs:

L&D Calendar Spotlight

Afterglow from ASTD 2014

Yammer for Internal Knowledge Sharing

ASTD Blog Publications:

Making you Yammer community work – Tips & Best Practices

Social Learning Fear Factor

 

Do we have our own Vanity Metrics?

Recently I am loving Lead Startup and Consumption Economics. I am reading and consuming so much lately that I haven’t taken time to reflect.

> Take a look at what I am reading currently. Lots to learn

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Friday, I got a brand new Garmin GPS  Heart rate monitor.

 

I’ve been wanting a new one, to help count steps and track distance. lf-lg

I’ve been running 2-3 times (sometimes more) a week for the past year or so. I’d usually run about 30-60 minutes around the neighbors or along a trail. I always bring my gear when I travel to explore the new cities I visit. Last week I visited the White House on my run. And I  don’t run anymore with my phone, as its my only time without a device in my hand and my time to disconnect.  This was hard at first, very “loud” actually listening to the sounds around me instead of the latest pop hit on Pandora. Now, I couldn’t imagine starting the day with it.

Today, early, before it started to get hot,  I went on my first run with my new GPS Heart rate monitor.  After a quick 3 mile run I came back satisfied. For one, because I actually knew the distance and how many calories I burned. I even knew how fast I had run each of the three miles! I felt like high fives were deserved all around. Look at me and all this data and information. I was chatting with my husband reviewing the numbers and he looked at me and said “For as often as you run, you should be running a faster mile than that!” Really? I thought to myself, had this whole time was I measuring the wrong things? Surely the calories and time meant something.

So here’s the thing. Because I was measuring calories and time, they were my vanity metrics (Vanity Metrics as described in Lean Startup are metrics that give the rosiest picture possible , more details here ). Calories burned and time spent running were metrics that look good, but displayed a different way, like the minute per mile, tell a different story.  In other news, I am slow! And probably why I haven’t  had any real changes physically, even though I have been diligent and consistent. The metrics were telling me one story, the one I was believing, but my results showed something else.

How often do we measure things within our lives, and the lens from which we measure, makes it look good, the rosiest picture has been painted.  But turn it a different way, it’s not quite as good as we thought. And then what questions are we asking ourselves? And what problems do we need to solve? Do we measure things in a way, that we try and trick ourselves in deserving an “atta boy” when we really might need a kick in the pants to get moving?

In our personal lives, its comparison. Of families, jobs, opportunities, houses, vacations and children. It our professional lives, its success. Big promotions, new projects, happy customers and traveling the world. What are our true measures of these things? Or are they just our own form of vanity metrics?

In Lean Startup, Reis writes,

The engine is turning, but the efforts to tune the engine are not bearing much fruit (p. 129).

 

What are you doing that isn’t bearing much fruit? Is that considered a failure? Or is it time to pivot, as Reis often recommends.

For me, and my running, its time to pivot and track what I should be tracking instead of patting myself of the back for what I was measuring. Even if I don’t plan on running a race, I want to get better, and go further.

6 Tips for Working at Home

So lately, I’ve been chatting with people who also work from home.

If you are new around here or wonder what my story is, here is a short post where I was interviewed by Microsoft Jobs Blog about how I got my current job (at Yammer, not Microsoft). And there is a Yammer group for us Remote workers, and its odd because you’d think we would want to talk to each other and sometimes we do share articles and tips, but if we don’t work together day in and day out, its not a very active group but we were sharing some tips today to spark this post. (Maybe I’ll write about how to use Yammer as a remote worker, because its helped me feel connected!)

So since working remotely now for 2ish years (and I love it.) I have learned a few things about how it works for me.

  • Get Active! If I am at home I always try and work out in the morning or at least get outside for at least walk before I stare at the computer all day inside. This helps get some fresh air. And when its nice out I can do a quick walk at lunch if I want to.
  • Create a space you actually want to be in! I have a standing desk that helps (and sometimes when I am lazy I just sit at my kitchen table, but I try not to..). I have decorated my office like as a place I want to spend time in. Its not perfect and something I want to re-design but I enjoy spending time here. I have a love seat too that I can go to sit in something more comfortable and I love my bookshelf of REAL books. I just gave a bunch away because I had too many…

Office 2

Office 1

  • Take a break from the screen for lunch or snack. Or you will forget to eat. I have done this.  (I have also burned through an entire teapot full of water because I didn’t hear it…another story for another time).   Don’t be afraid to walk away from your computer for 30 minutes for lunch and sit outside and read or something not electronic for a few minutes just to break the day up. This was hard for me at the beginning because I was like WHAT IF I MISSED SOMETHING!! But I realized that with technology, I can catch up pretty quickly if needed and get to it when I can.
  • Schedule. I like to try and schedule calls in the morning and then use the afternoon to crank through content, review things and catch up on Yammer. It doesn’t always work like that, but when I can create the time of uninterrupted silence, it helps me zone in and focus and bust through the content I’ve needed to get through without distractions. And there are always distractions if you are remote or not! Finally, I try and catch up on Fridays for mundane tasks like T&E so it doesn’t catch me by surprise at the end of the month or something.
  • See people!  Like literally, in person and use Video when you can (no makeup required!). When I can, I try to go to the local office if there is an event or when I need to meet a customer but I don’t go in regularly (mostly because the traffic is horrible and I don’t like to drive). And I haven’t ventured into the co-working spaces yet but its on my list for this next year! I don’t often go to a coffee shop to work, but I know people who do.  Because I travel often I like being at home in between (helps to throw a load of laundry too). And when you can, travel as much as you can to see your team in person! It helps build the relationships to make it better when you are back at home.
  • End your day! Have a stopping time for the end of the day. Otherwise you just work and work and work. (or get sucked into Yammer networks in my case, I could spend hours reading everything…) I really struggled with this when I first started working from home. My husband would come home from work, and I would just work and and work and work (and forget to eat!). So, now I try and set expectations letting him know I’ll be done in 30 minutes and not to bug me until then and then come and grab me away from the computer… It doesn’t always work but its a good practice!
  • Bonus tip… Create a THIS WEEK List instead! On Monday’s I like to make a list of “THIS WEEK” of things I need to take care of and finish and work through that list during the week, instead of a daily TO DO list. This helps me focus on what needs done now (urgency vs important) and what things I can work on in the next week.

 

With using Yammer and other technology like video conference and Twitter, I feel connected to people and to what’s happening. Sometimes you miss the “life” things that happen in your co-workers lives but I just have to be more intentional about getting and keeping in touch with them. And schedule time to catch up. Its good and worth it!

 

So, what tips do you have for working at home?