This past weekend, I was in Auburn, New York, teaching at one of my affiliate gyms. The school, Shogun MMA has become a second home for me. Kru Dave, the owner of the gym and one for my instructor candidates, has graciously opened his doors for me to teach. As a result, I have made new friends who have become more like family to me. I eagerly drove 9 hours from Norfolk, Virginia so I could share my knowledge and, more importantly, have fun with people that I love and cherish.
In preparation for my seminars, I spend a lot of time on the computer marketing for it. Social media has been a great way for me to share with the world my upcoming events. Through Face book, blogs, website posts and fan pages, I am able to tell my story of adventure and invite others to join me. I am a storyteller by nature (which is a nice way to say that I like to talk) Marketing allows me to do just that; tell my story to the world.
As a result, I find myself online more than I am in the classroom teaching. It takes diligence to keep your story current on social media, and often I have felt the burnout caused by staring into my Mac book daily. “Didn’t I get into martial arts to teach?” I remind myself. Is it worth it to me to spend the bulk of my days, blogging, tweeting and posting just so that I can teach?
My answer came to me as I ate dinner with my friends in Auburn. We had trained all day, and now the most important part of my trip was about to happen.
At dinner, we would talk about anything and everything. The importance of honest communication is the cornerstone of any successful seminar or training camp. Training has a unique way of bonding people. It allows us to open up and be more vulnerable which is the first step to building deep and meaningful relationships. We would talk about our hopes and dreams. We would laugh and sometimes cry together as we shared our deepest secrets within a circle of trust. More importantly, for the first time in a really long time, we would put our cell phones down. Blogging could wait till another day. The desire for instant recognition that comes from a “LIKE” of a post was replaced with something more long lasting and meaningful. It was replaced with true human connection; something that I feel this world needs more of.
We live in a world where social media has replaced true human bonding, but it does not have to be that way. Social media is a wonderful tool. It is a great way to share information and develop initial connections with people you may never meet otherwise. Ultimately however, our bonds with actual people will only come from face to face interaction. True relationships are built upon the touch a friend’s hand, a physical pat on the back, the sharing of a good laugh, or the opportunity to give someone a hug. We become chemically and physically connected to people by actually being WITH people. Though social media can spark initial excitement of a relationship, it is the physical presence of another that turns that spark into a lasting, smoldering flame.