I met Scott Mason a few weeks ago after a presentation to our networking group. His glowing comments were heartfelt and sincere. I do appreciate commentary from fellow speakers! We bonded immediately because I, like so many others, cannot escape his warmth and exuberance. In return for his inviting me to speak to his group, I asked him to guest blog here. As you read him, you will appreciate his insight and artful use of language. I know I do.
Jump onto that kayak. Set your eyes on the horizon. Then let the river take you away. Just … don’t forget the oars.
My very first kayak adventure took place literally on the other side of the world: in Vietnam’s breathtaking natural wonder, Halong Bay. I had been given a heavy plastic boat to steer deep into the Bay, past towering and unearthly islets towards a secret, but supposedly magnificent, destination. As someone who has never been able to float, let alone swim with anything approaching skill, when I entered the boat, and felt it rocking back and forth, I began to fear that this excursion might be my last one, ever. But, after a while, I figured out how to use the oars. And, from there, I caught a current, and simply let the kayak go with the flow.
I oared forward until what appeared to be a large mountaintop sticking out of the water loomed in front of me. At the bottom was the mouth of a cave. I paddled towards that cave, not knowing what would be inside, and then through it. And suddenly, I emerged into a donut-hole lagoon in the center of the mountain. The sun glittered above me, and I floated in my kayak in circles, spellbound at the indescribably lush forest surrounding me. Transfixed, I soaked in the endless chirps of birds and the sight of a few monkeys, swinging from tree to tree. And then, having finally learned how to use those oars to take my boat to somewhere magnificent, I rowed back through the cave, uber-charged to begin yet another adventure.
I like to imagine all of life as a series of adventures, and the more we are willing to step into the kayak, the more secret lagoons we will discover. If we choose, our careers can be the ultimate boat ride on a truly wondrous river. But hopping on that kayak won’t get us anywhere if we do not use the oars to propel it to the next great destination. And such is the power of LinkedIn.
Taking the time to truly learn how to use LinkedIn — then consistently and purposefully doing so — has given my career unexpected momentum, in ways I might never have imagined when I was just sitting in my boat without oars. The ability to brand myself — to steer the boat — and the surprising connections I have made with people around the world — the water in the current — have not only made my career the ultimate adventure, but have set the stage for several new, and even more enticing escapades to come.
Take the time to learn LinkedIn, and use it well. Then ask yourself: are you ready to see that secret lagoon?
Scott Mason is a motivational and keynote speaker as well as the Principal of Scott Mason, LLC, which provides small business consulting and leadership mentoring services. Prior to that, Scott was co-Principal of The Brooklyn Press, a silkscreen printing company with locations in NYC and Newburgh, NY. Previously, Scott was the General Counsel and Vice-President of Operations for Urban Resource Institute, the USA’s largest provider of domestic violence shelter services. He also spent nearly 20 years in executive and in-house counsel positions with various City of New York agencies, including a time as the second-in-command the City’s administrative tribunal system. He is a graduate of Columbia Law School and Carleton College, and completed the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program in 2019.