“Love is a force more formidable than any other. It is invisible / it cannot be seen or measured, yet it is powerful enough to transform you in a moment, and offer you more joy than any material possession could.” ~ Barbara De Angelis
Today I am overwhelmed. With love. Today is the day I can point to in life and say, this was a day where engagement, love, kindness can actually be measured.
As I said in my last post when I was preparing to speak on the Digital LA panel on Monday night, I have been thinking a lot about the concept of engagement and how we measure engagement in the digital space. In that post, I wrote about choosing life’s moments over technology and other distractions, “Bottles vs. Blackberries” in our case, but you can really substitute anything for bottles like quality time with loved ones, keeping focused when on the phone with friends, or closing your computer screen when talking with colleagues in your office. Getting back to Monday night, and as I had expected, the question of engagement and measurement came up and various panelists spoke their theories about what engagement means and how you measure it and then it was my turn (or maybe it wasn’t but as you may have guessed I am not shy about sharing my thoughts, but in my mind it was mine turn:)) so I grabbed the mic and explained my theory that engagement in a campaign or content piece is really in the sum of the parts. Clicks, discussion threads, tweets, YT views, blog posts, Facebook ‘Likes’ and comments and so on. But really the measurement starts with what engagement and success means to you. As I said this, I could see some people nodding and agreeing and subsequently other panelists chimed in, but overall the topic of engagement in the digital space is still seen as somewhat ambiguous overall that is until today. Over the past 49 days, I have been on a new journey for myself, out of my comfort zone yet somehow strangely completely comfortable raising funds to support our March of Dimes team. As most of this entire journey has taken place through digital and social media, I can honestly say I can now substantiate what true engagement and support in the digital space can mean and in our case it means overwhelming love.
As I have mentioned in the past (and for those that have seen my spamming notes on Facebook:)), I had thrown out a goal of raising $10,000, partially because it sounded somewhat reasonable (I am used to asking for 6 and 7 figures professionally, low five figures should be achievable was the conversation I had in my head) and mostly because I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but I did know that we have an incredibly supportive group of family and friends but just how supportive was something that did not truly crystalize for me until today…hold please, while I tear up and am a little verclemnt…”talk amongst yourselves” ~ Churchlady:) But in all seriousness, I have been overwhelmed with emotion most of the past two days and have been tearing at pretty much everything because at 2:30 yesterday we reached our goal of $10,000. Perhaps it’s because when I figured it out, I was in West Hollywood, near the hospital I had gone to every day for 5-12 hours a day for 113 days, and as I was checking my email at a stoplight there was a sudden flood of emails from March of Dimes informing me of incoming donations. I was instantly overcome and transported back to the days of driving back and forth to and from Cedars Sinai Hospital when I would sit at stop lights and cry harder than I have ever cried in my life. The pain and hurt would pour from soul through the tears that would run down my face. This place in me has clearly not died…it is alive because yesterday as I sat at the stoplight I cried, wait, actually I bawled (please note, I do not always do weird things in the car as you might think due to previous posts, but I do live in LA so I drive alot, you end up living some of your life in car:)). I was so touched, moved, surprised, amazed and in ways smack dab back in the middle of all the emotions I haven’t dealt with because I have been “dealing” for so long. But, as I knew when I was driving back and forth to the hospital every day for 4 months, and for those 4 months, as I would get calls and messages from friends and family asking what they could do or telling me they were just sending prayers, love, positive thoughts, I knew we had an unbelievable foundation. You see, you are all the foundation for how we have have survived until now and two days ago this foundation grew beyond us and our immediate friends and family as you engaged your friends and family.
Going against all my discomfort for requesting favors, money, help, two days ago, I put myself way out there Facebook through a request for donations which is something very new to me but in my heart I knew I would need help. Later that night, I also crafted an email to friends and family. As I said, my instincts told me I would need help, and as we hadn’t heard anything from some of our closest friends through the March of Dimes email I had sent, so I figured it may not have gone through, and I sent an email from my personal account asking for help to spread the word. The response was phenomenal.
The response came out the gate huge starting with my very dear friend Lisa posting something on her adorable blog (www.lilhanson.tumblr.com) and continuing through today with family and friends sending personal emails to their friends and reposting my post on Facebook, the contributions started to roll in to our team. It was breathtaking. There is a country song by George Strait (I told you, I love me some country music:)) that says that “life is about not the breaths you take but the moments that take your breath away”. Yesterday and today have been that phrase for me. My breath has been taken away by your kindness, generosity, love and support. Digital and social media enabled this wave but it was the kindness and generosity of those willing to take a step and send a note, create a post, tweet a tweet, repost on their Facebook page or make a call that helped to push us to our goal. It is truly remarkable. This series of moments has transformed our lives and more importantly the lives of so many others. But for me it is the love. The fact that you all engaged with us, with our story, with our family, with our friends to ultimately benefit other people that so desperately need your support is powerful beyond words and I hope that one day I can repay you or your loved ones or your friends to help create this moment of love and joy more powerful than any other moment that I have known.
My cup runneth over and I hope you will all have or have had this experience of being able to measure this invisible force called love and that it will give you a moment of joy like you have never known. Much love to you all.