This story needs a bit of framing, so please bear with me.
Back in April 2006, I was speaking at a Search Engine Strategies event. There was another speaker at the event who took park in a link strategies panel. Her name? Rae Hoffman (aka Sugarrae). I have a hard time remembering the full set of circumstances, but I took exception to a few things she said on stage about the power of reciprocated links, and I even blogged about it right here: Rae Hoffman On Links At Search Engine Strategies Toronto and then here: Rae Hoffman Responds. The truth is that shortly after our email exchange - which ended with a sense of mutual respect - I began following her blog and her thinking. I didn't initially agree with her on-stage comments, I felt like a real jerk for calling her out on my blog, and then as I got to learn about just how smart she was (and still is), I felt even worse about my hubris out of the gates. To be honest, I don't think I ever told her just how bad I felt about our exchange, how seemingly childish it felt at the time, and how much it affected my blogging from that moment forward.
You don't know people.
It was at that moment that I made a decision. I was no longer going to do the whole "attack" thing. On people or on brands. Critical with depth? Sure, but if I can change or hide the names of the individuals or brands without loosing any sentiment on the power of the story, I would use my editorial power to do just that. And I have. With that, I am fully aware that I don't generate the same kind of linkbait that other bloggers do by calling out individuals or taking certain brands to task. Still, I have thin skin and that one lesson helped me course-correct so that I can both sleep better at night and have no issues looking at myself in the mirror. So, thanks Rae.
And then, something amazing happens.
If you have been following along with this blog for any amount of time, you would know how much I love Jonathan Fields and his Good Life Project (I was very fortunate to be a guest on his show: Mitch Joel: Time to Ctrl Alt Delete Your Life). I'm even luckier that over the past few years, we have become personal friends. Just today, I got my regular email from him announcing his latest show with his guest, Rae Hoffman. It took a couple of seconds for me to make the connection to the SEO and affiliate marketing professional that I had that little blog tiff with so many years ago. What was she up to? How did she connect with Jonathan? What brings her to the Good Life Project? Well, I spent thirty minutes watching the first part of this two-part episode and was left in awe. She has an amazing story (because she is an amazing person)...
And you should watch this..
Amazing people are everywhere.
We know nothing about people. Even when we follow them on Facebook, Twitter, their blogs or whatever. Most people post nothing about who they really are, but rather the person that they hope other people will see them as. I am just as guilty of this as the next Facebook profile that you will see. It's thanks to Jonathan and the courage of people like Rae that we can really scratch beneath the surface. I never knew much about Rae beyond her work in the marketing industry. If I would have followed her work more closely, I may have had more depth, but I get as lost in the haze of mass content across multiple platforms and channels as the next person. Watching this video made me realize one thing: amazing people like Rae are everywhere. I am so thankful that Good Life Project has brought Rae's story to life and that Rae was willing to share something so personal with the rest of the world.
More Rae goodness:
Read this blog post: 11 Things My Son Taught Me About Life & Business.
Watch her presentation:
Thanks for sharing your story, Rae. Truly amazing.