Masters of Retention

While I’ve been knees deep in construction and home repairs, the blessed break I’ve been giving myself is with lots of reading time. I’ve been a little blocked in the outline process for season two of The School of Moxie Podcast, which got me looking at new ways to change the narrative a bit.  Literally.  As in, novels.  Lots and lots and lots of fiction.  (Hello Fourth Wing and ACOTAR universe!)

Here is what I know about humans and the ways we process information (or fail to process the information)… We require not just time and space to process our learning material but also a clear set of intentions.  Those intentions are not just about retaining information but about connecting that information back into your real life experience.  Otherwise, it’s just random sets of data without purpose.

One of the things I’m preparing to change in the structure of how I script out season two of my podcast is to reduce the assumptions I made in season one. These were overwhelmingly dominated by my inherent belief that my business community will, on their own volition, take the time to connect the dots as they digest ideas and thoughts.  Do *not* mistake this as an insult!  I think this gap in the process is a symptom of modern day survivalism because the pace at which the conversation clips along is so freakin’ fast, it doesn’t invite any of that spaciousness for you to activate your inner genius.  And unless you’re trained in the digestion of information, it’s really easy to skip right over that process.  When you don’t see your favorite celebrity entrepreneur clearly demonstrating the time & effort to process their thoughts, you would think it’s normal to skip right over that.

But the problem is that as entrepreneurs, we need to connect those dots.  Otherwise, you just end up sounding like everyone else around you who is regurgitating the same generic material. You end up parroting those same celebrity entrepreneurs and now we’ve got a discussion that’s stuck in a vacuum.  It becomes boring as hell and when we have major market shifts like we’ve been experiencing since the end of 2022, you end up scratching your head trying to find solutions to new lead gen.  Guess what?  So are the people who are ahead of you.

Maybe it’s the spring season that is in the air, but the number of people I’ve coached in this first quarter of 2024 who have told me their desire is to make a mark as a “thought leader” has been way high.  I didn’t hear people saying things like this in the second half of 2023.  I don’t think the desire is so much for becoming a “thought leader” so much as becoming someone who finds solutions that other people are looking for and currently cannot find either.  These things are not necessarily the same thing.  In the same conversations, these bright minds have also admitted to being stretched too thin and not being able to connect the dots on what they’re observing in the world.

Whatever are we do to?  Well, I know as a librarian that this is a learned skill that requires patience and practice.  And I know that I will be building in some cheater notes to my podcast to help my audience (looking at *you*) digest what you’re hearing.  The goal is to apply your aha moments to your own world and increase those unique solution angles that you’ve been itching for, rather than just feeling a vague impulse in the center of your chest that screams “purpose” without any real purpose behind it.

Enter into the picture, the art of annotations.  I stumbled upon this delicious corner of the YouTube universe when I saw how many #BookTok’ers were showing their annotation process for their favorite novels.  So then *I* went down a rabbit hole looking for entrepreneurs to show me how they equally love annotating their business books.  Surely these people with massive audiences have the luxury of time to show us what they’re thinking and how they’re getting there.  Cue the disappointment.

Crickets.  Do you hear the chirping crickets??

Y’all.  Where the fuck is the actual thought leadership or innovative solution??  And it suddenly dawned on me… the clarity was mind boggling… Of course the online biz community is struggling to be unique and dig itself out of a lead generation hole.  So few people are making a concerted effort to have a conversation with the books and materials we work so hard to get onto best seller lists. The next time you run out to get that person’s book, ask yourself if you have blocked out the time to truly digest it and apply it.

Meanwhile, #BookTok is serving up your ass on a platter through romantasy fiction in a truly spectacular display of analysis that I have not seen from any business YouTube or TikTok video.  #forshame

My knee jerk reaction was to create a YouTube video to explain annotations and while I haven’t ruled it out in the future, there are honestly so many good ones out there, I’m not trying to recreate the wheel right now.  Not when I have bigger fish to fry.  So, you can expect me to share a lot more about synthesizing all of this business information in 2024 as I connect the dots on this information gap in our business culture.

If the #BookTok crowd can do this, so can you!  And I’ll bet you discover that there is sooooo much room for you to make your mark this year.  There is so much repetition in the business dialogue out there, but I hear amazing takes on strategy from people with tiny audiences.  Let’s flip this script and get some traction for the smaller voices that take the time to really solve the problems.  For most of us, the answer is in first (re-)learning how to synthesize what you’re trying to learn.

This video was one of my favorites that I found on my rabbit hole adventures. She explains the annotation process beautifully and her list of supplies is wonderful.  Super clear, super inviting, and lots of room to find your own way in this.  May you find new wisdom in all the things you read this year…