Once in a while you meet someone who reaches deep inside your soul and squeezes the crap out (but in a good way). This morning at JiveWorld, when I heard Azure Antoinette's poem written specifically for Jive, that is exactly what happened to me. I'm not going to lie. There were tears and some feelings. Maybe lots of feelings.
But before I tell you that story, let me give you a little background about why this matters so much to me.
When I started at Jive, I wrote a blog about how Jive saved my life. I am not kidding. It really did. If you've ever really tried to live inauthentically, then you know the toll it can take. The fake smiles, hiding your weirdness, and always always always trying to tone it down. Acting normal is hard work, people, and after awhile it starts to take its toll from the inside out.
My move to Jive happened at a time when trying to "fake it" had reached a peak. I was worn down, losing myself, and decided that life was too short to let that happen.
Luckily I had already discovered one key way to express the real me. I started to blog. First it happened in a personal blog, then when Agilent adopted Jive, I took some baby steps towards telling my stories in a meaningful and honest way to my colleagues. It was risky. It was scary. But I did it anyway.
One of the things that Jive enables is a sharing of self (you know... the connecting, communicating, and collaborating part).
Well, let's face it, when you get past the marketeeze, what we are really talking about is being real. Getting it done. Being human while doing it.
Now back to my story.
I first met Azure Antoinette during the planning sessions for JiveWorld14. Having signed on to be the poet of JiveWorld and the voice of the Jive Manifesto, I knew that this moment would come... that I'd be writing a Jive Community blog about her poem.
What I didn't know is that I would get to know her as a person, to see what she cares about and understand where her passion comes from.
As you experienced this morning (if you were lucky enough to make it to JiveWorld14), Azure understands what makes us tick: the geeks, the nerds, the wallflowers, and the loners... She has this ability to know what it's like to have been that person growing up. She knows that you may not have had many friends but the rocket ships you built out of cardboard boxes could have made it to the moon and back.
And now, as a grown-up in the technical world, Azure knows the truth that even while you tweet-your-tweets and update your status to your 500 Facebook friends, none of this is where you really live. What really matters is working together with your favorite developer friend to build a better app. Or staying late to help your coworker write some content when they have too much to write on their own. Or going the extra mile to answer a beginner's questions when you just as easily could look the other way.
I won't attempt to capture her poem here. I wouldn't do it justice to summarize. I will say that I believe she captured the Jive experience that lives deep insides the souls of many of us. And I know I'm not alone.
I hope soon to bring her poem to life in a way that you can visualize. In the meantime, we hope to have videos of each of the sessions, including Azure's poetry reading online soon.
- Stay in touch with skin.
- Take the way that I live my life and infuse it into the way I do my job.
- Jive takes me as I am.