Inspired by a number of other bloggers and authors, including Chris Brogan (Temple, Untangle, Practice), Jonathan Fields (Serve, Inspire, Transcend) and Chris Guillebeau (Finishing), I am starting 2012 with three words. I was tempted to say "launching" 2012 because that's what it feels like. More about that in a minute. First, my words:
2012 is going to be a year of adventure, excitement and hard work. Oh, and lots of unknowns. Why? Because I have launched a new company, Voxie Media. Voxie Media is a new hybrid. It's a next-generation publishing company that helps up-and-coming business authors to write and publish SHORT eBooks and SHORT beautifully-designed print books. Short is the new long, for both writers and readers.
We are also a boutique publishing imprint. That means we will publish select titles under the Voxie Media imprint, just as Portfolio, the business imprint for Penguin, published the original edition of my book. Voxie's focus is on nonfiction and business books - specifically, the topics of innovation, leadership, communications, agile business and the future of work. And yes, we are what's known as an indie imprint, one of hundreds of independent publishing companies springing up to compete with the big New York publishers.
Maybe "compete" is the wrong word. The new indies happily co-exist. One of the most talked-about indies of 2011 was Seth Godin's The Domino Project. Thank you, Seth, for opening the door and clearly - resoundingly - making the point that book publishing is being reinvented and that a talented nonfiction business author doesn't need the blessing or permission of a New York publisher to launch a book.
That said, the legacy publishers do a good job for a small number of star-status business authors with a large following such as Jonathan Fields and Dan Roam. But, with rare exceptions, the legacy publishing model doesn't work for lesser-known authors. If you want a juicy, insider's look, read author Sebastian Marshall's recap of his experience with a New York publisher. I can tell you from my own experience that what he writes is largely accurate. Take it with a grain of salt, of course.
But I digress.
Why Alignment? Because in order to execute on Voxie Media's promise (our first program sold out in less than 12 hours), I am trying to focus every day, every hour, on the goals we've set for this year. I want to consciously align what I am doing with where I want to go. That means no more wandering down the rabbit holes of email, Twitter and Facebook for hours at a time. Email, frankly, is the biggest challenge for me. And learning to confidently say No to requests to "pick my brain." My new response, "Happy to have a quick chat, but if you want to pick my brain it'll cost you. <smile>."
If there is a sub-word for Alignment, it is Quiet. I found Pico Iyer's New York Times article, The Joy of Quiet, particularly compelling. Quiet means practicing no email, no computer, no Internet. Very little work is accomplished while connected. The real thinking happens when you are away from your digital devices and from the Web. On my reading list is the new book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking.
By compassion, I mean forgiveness and patience. I am learning how to be more patient and tolerant of others. Others includes anyone who doesn't think quite the way I do. Or act or react, or whatever. It includes business colleagues and family members. This is hard for me. But it is so important.
I am also being more Compassionate with myself. I am pretty sure that Compassion is another sub-word to Alignment. Do what needs to be done every day. Cut out the time-wasting stuff. Decide on three things that contribute - directly or indirectly - to revenue and company growth. And focus on those things. If things go awry one day, course correct on what isn't working. And then get up the next day and try again. So while I am practicing Alignment and Quiet, I am also being more Compassionate with myself when things don't go quite as planned.
I have procrastinated big time on this blog post. I started writing it several weeks ago and here it is the 1st of February. Well, we just celebrated Chinese New Year. So I must be in alignment with new beginnings somewhere.
* Chinese New Year Dragon image courtesy of Hartanto Muliadi