This past Sunday, I was channel surfing looking for a show for my son to watch. Usually I rely on PBS because they have great educational shows, and no commercials, so that is where I began my search. Much to my dismay, at first, the only thing on our local PBS was Joel Osteen. I am not a fan/follower of so-called motivational speakers, but I heard him telling a story and it was so compelling I felt I had to listen.
He was talking about a fighter pilot from the Vietnam War era who was in a restaurant, when a man approached him and said hello and explained that he was a sailor on the pilot’s ship. The pilot, a Captain, didn’t recognize the man. The man went on to explain he was not only a sailor on the ship, but he was also the one in charge of packing the Captain’s parachute. The Captain still didn’t recognize him, but said “thank you,” and that he would like to keep in touch.
The Captain and the sailor then said their goodbyes. Afterward, the Captain began to think about the fact that here was this sailor, who spent hours and hours making sure that the parachute was packed with precision, knowing it could save someone’s life—his life—and he didn’t even know him! Then he thought about the hundreds, even thousands of other sailors and crewmembers who were in some part responsible for his life during the war. He also thought about how arrogant he was back then; he was a Captain, a fighter pilot, and these other people were just sailors. He felt remorse about that and decided to speak out about those folks who “packed his parachute” back then, and even those who do it today.
I found myself glued to the story, so much so that I decided as the year of 2011 comes to a close, that I would do a blog post and acknowledge those professionally (I will acknowledge my personal parachute packers off line), who pack my parachute now and have done so for the last four-plus years of my journey into entrepreneurship, online and social media marketing. Those people who have supported me overtly, and some who probably don’t even know they pack my parachute (but they do), because they provide inspiration through their posts/tweets and online engagement.
Many people know my story— that I refer to myself as an “accidental entrepreneur.” A little over four years ago, I was a Wall Street Sales Executive and then boom, the mortgage meltdown happened. I found myself barefoot, eight-and-a-half months pregnant, in the kitchen on the phone with my husband saying “What do I do now??” He said, “You like to learn new things, go learn something new.” So that is what I did (of course he packs my parachute daily!).
I dove into online and social media marketing determined to learn everything I could. I was also fascinated by mobile marketing which, at the time, was a very new technology. I made fast friends with the person who actually wrote the first book on mobile marketing, Kim Dushinski. Kim very generously packed my parachute with great people to follow on twitter: Julie Eason, Anastacia Brice, and Mari Smith. Each helped me without reservation and continues to pack my parachute daily with their inspiration. Although we don’t speak personally as much as any of us would like (we’re too busy with writing, creating, launching and of course family obligations), I have Facebook and Twitter and other social sites to keep up with their great successes. I would like to thank you ladies for packing my parachute all those years ago, and for continuing to do it with your inspiring posts, tweets and updates.
Throughout these last years I have been blessed to know a great many people who have taken the time to pack my parachute. Some are business partners, Laura Rubinstein (Social Buzz Club) and Tamara Monosoff (Moms Helping Schools) who are wonderful to work with and learn from. Some are support staff, current and former; great VA’s and online business managers like Kera McHugh, and Raven Howard, my designer Erika Ruggiero as well as my friend and SEO go-to guy Tisho Richardson who has worked with me for the last four years and NEVER asked for anything in return.
Others are people who believed in me and gave me a chance, even when I was new to social media marketing and had no testimonials, track record or social proof at all. They include people like Traci Long and Angela Jia Kim of Savor the Success, and still more who support my efforts, such as Mark Levy, Payson Cooper, Heather Graham, Scott Bradley, Apryl Parcher, Bryn Johnson, Hollis Gillespie and Ted Rubin—even if it’s as simple as a share of a post, a re-tweet or listening to my newest (and perhaps craziest) ideas.
Some folks probably don’t even know they pack my parachute, but their support is invaluable. I learn so much just by watching them succeed! People like Denise Wakeman, Pam Brossman, Gina Carr, Susan Newman, Lou Bortone and Amy Porterfield–all supporters of my new initiative, Social Buzz Club.
I’m sure there are so many more that I’m forgetting but the point is – Who Packs Your Parachute? Don’t ever forget that none of us got here alone. We have all had those who helped us along the way, and I, for one, will not forget!
So I’m offering a heartfelt “thank you” here to all those parachute packers who have helped me along the way. I have also found throughout my life and career that it is very rewarding to pack others’ parachutes whether by offering a hand to someone in need, praising someone’s success or a kind word when they seem down.
I am looking forward to the many more thank you’s I will be giving out in the years to come. Tell me, who packs your parachute? Tell me here, but more importantly…tell them!
List of “parachute packers” and their Twitter handles/Facebook Page. I encourage all of you to “like” and “follow” each of them! You never know when someone will be packing your parachute!