Sunday, April 05, 2009

Soul Searching?

There have been times in my life when I felt settled, other times when I have been restless. Right now, it's a combination of both. And I'll lay out more than I usually do publicly.

Restless. It comes from the work/career part of my life. 6 years ago this month I returned to the radio business full time as an advertising sales person. During the past 1/2 dozen years I have worked for between 4 and 6 "bosses", had my job title and position change just as many times and I've never "left the building". When I was hired, I was one of 6 that was hired that month and one of 12 on the sales staff. We grew to around 20 and then shrank to our current level of 4.

The radio stations themselves have changed too. When I started we had a News/Talk/Sports station, a Top 40 station, an Alternative Rock station, an Adult Contemporary station and a Classic Hits station. They evolved and changed and now we have a Classic Rock Station, Adult Standards Station and a Hip-Hop Top 40 style station.

But while I believe in the power of the medium of radio, and what it can do for local business owners that want to invite people to do business with them, I also have a restlessness going on.

About 5 1/2 years ago I bought my first laptop and grew with the power of the internet and became a bit of a local "go-to guy" when people wanted to learn how to connect both on line and off line. My interests in advertising were not limited to radio advertising.

As a matter of fact, my interests in marketing were not limited to advertising. I have seen myself grow and evolve into more of a "relationship based marketing expert". That involves using human relationship principles to create advertising, communication and marketing that works no matter what form of media is employed.

My employment with the radio station is stable but limiting in the scope of what can be done. So a few years ago I expanded into the online world of blogs and currently have 5 that are updated regularly. The most popular is Collective Wisdom, which gets between 60 and 150 visits a day. Altogether, I have at least 30 to 40 weekly blog updates, spread over the 5 sites.

I also have become active with Twitter as ScLoHo, of course, and have been involved with the first couple of local tweetups. I joined the Advertising Federation of Fort Wayne a few years ago and serve on the board of directors as the V-P of communications. I was interviewed last year for a television show on Social Media. I serve as a marketing advisor for a local non-profit and a local financial services firm.

And yet there is this restlessness because I would like to perhaps tie it all together more. Time will tell. I find myself at an interesting age where I can relate to both younger and older generations with ease. I recall what my life was like when I was the age of my kids and wish I could ask my parents about what life was like for them at the age I am now.

But it was their deaths that brought me to where I am living now. 11 years ago, my Dad died of cancer, and shortly after, I moved back to Fort Wayne and helped my Mom move to the next phase of her life which only lasted 3 1/2 years. It was weird to feel like an orphan at the age of 41. Getting married again to a fun woman who shares spiritual values with me and a great sense of humor has also helped me move to the settled state.

Settled. A sense of peace, contentment, the balance to my restlessness. I think I first felt it in 1982 when I became a Christian. I was raised in a Lutheran church but in that denomination there is an assumption of being a Christian that I disagree with. At least in my own life as I cannot judge others. My point of disagreement has to do with salvation occurring at baptism which is traditionally done to infants. I have seen both sides of the argument, and I just know that in my life, there was a transformation when I was 22 when I specifically asked for forgiveness for sins and surrendered myself to Christ and accepted His death on the cross as payment for sins.

These days I am back at a Lutheran church even though I have some disagreements with some of their doctrine. My wife and I attend on Saturday nights because we like the contemporary style of the service and the time works well with her work schedule and my life schedule. In the past year, the church has also become less "Lutheran" and more "Christian" with actual Bible studies and small groups, etc.

To sum it all up, my soul searching is grounded in the settledness of my Christian faith and the restlessness of wanting to implement my gifts and talents to help others in real life.

Exciting? Yes.
Frustrating? Sometimes.
Boring? Never.

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