We are all #HashtagtheCowboy
I was scrolling social media this morning, through terrifying statistics and harrowing personal stories. Then I paused at an article about the social media account for the National Cowboy Museum. Because of the current crisis, all staff but a lone security guard and his team have been sent home with no one to fend for their social media account. Necessity is the mother of invention, so their marketing team handed off the reigns to Tim.
Tim has little to no experience with social media, so he’s making it up as he goes along. And the results are simply delightful. Here are a few of his early messages:
As Tim continues to wrangle this new duty, Twitter takes notice. He becomes a viral sensation. As he goes along, he gets a few tips from his social media guy and gains confidence.
This is the hat and eyepatch the Duke wore in the movie True Grit. They are part of our Exhibition about the 2 True Grit. Lots of interesting props and clothes. I’m told I can’t try it on. Hashtag John Wayne. Lucas, my grandson, told me to use hashtags. Thanks, Tim
This necessary stop-gap solution during a difficult time has delighted many and created a good deal of buzz for the museum. #HashtagtheCowboy is trending, all thanks to Tim, the advice he got from his colleague and by Googling, whoops, asking Twitter how to do it.
We are all Tim at this moment. Maybe your job never worked remotely before, and now your team is having huge tech issues. Or you're facing uncertainty for your job or your company. Perhaps you're being thrust into a role you're not comfortable doing. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be brilliant at it.
This moment in time is bound to have some tragedies. There's also a massive opportunity for growth inside the uncomfortable. How do we make room for strikes of inspiration or comfort during troubled times? Let's look to some ole cowboy wisdom for help.
"If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'."
Finding yourself in a hole is common these days when the thing you did every day in your physical office doesn't work under this new circumstance. When you approach a problem, pause. Get up and walk around. Change tasks for a moment and come back to it later. Sometimes space around a problem allows us to look at it from another angle.
"The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with watches you shave his face in the mirror every morning."
Just because you're working at home now, that doesn't mean you have to go it alone. Creative problem solving doesn't exist in a vacuum. Google, Pixar, and others are careful to structure the shape of their offices to encourage cross-pollination on ideas between departments. Talk to someone who may not be in your industry about the issue. Call, Slack, email, whatever! Reach out to your colleagues.
"When you lose, don't lose the lesson."
We're not going to get it right all the time. But we are going to learn from these mistakes. After this is over, companies and people will have to pivot how they do business. Remote work will have to be possible for the future. Instead of this being a curse, realize remote workers stress less and get more done in a day.
"Talk slowly, think quickly."
Ponder the issue at hand, but don't be rash in your decision making. We've all gone to the grocery store in the last few weeks and panic bought cans of food we already have just because it's there. In moments of stress, pause. Take ten deep breaths. Doing so rewires your nervous system and helps you process from a less panicked place.
"Don't worry about bitin' off more'n you can chew; your mouth is probably a whole lot bigger'n you think."
Studies show talking to yourself in the third person enables you to distance from the issue and come up with solutions more quickly. Give it a try! You'll be astounded at this new superpower.
"Courage is being scared to death - and saddling up anyway."
We're all in this uncertain time together. It can be scary and lonely and concerned about our loved ones. The news seems to shift significantly every day. But one thing is for sure; the human spirit is strong. This time is going to take a heck of a lot of courage. And when you don't have it for yourself, ask for some from your neighbor. Or practice encouraging it in others. The simple act of giving it can inspire that within.
Take care of yourselves out there now, you hear? And check out the National Cowboy Museum to keep track of Tim and his antics at @NCWHM on Twitter.
For more cowboy quotes: http://www.cowboyway.com/CowboyQuotes.htm
On third-person self-talk: https://www.thecut.com/2017/08/to-de-stress-try-talking-about-yourself-in-the-third-person.html
Tim & the National Cowboy Museum: https://twitter.com/ncwhm