Bill Cheesbourg, My Grampa
My Grampa used to always say, “don’t drive by the rearview mirror”. Coming from an Indy Car/NASCAR/Open Wheel/Stock Car Champion, I interpreted this as a racing and/or everyday driving tip.  He also said things like, “drive three cars ahead of you”, and “second guessing instinct causes accidents”.  Looking back, I can see how he literallyapplied these sayings to life, and why he drilled them down my throat. He died before I had enough self awareness to realize the value of what these clever anecdotes would bring to my reality, and now hopefully yours.

Focus On What YOUR Track Looks Like
In racing you look for your own groove in the pavement or dirt.  And, as for worrying about who or what’s behind you, it causes you to start runningtheir race. At this point, it is easy to become consumed with your perceived competition.  Inevitably you start reacting in defense, instead of taking action with a strong offense.  As for hesitation and doubt, I strongly encourage having a plan or goals, but keep in mind when you are consumed by metrics/analytics, you start to make knee jerk decisions. I have seen radio stations yank on-air personalities after one bad ratings book.
We put too much pressure on ourselves to stay ahead of who we think is chasing us and, even worse, non teammates drafting on us. I have learned that when you are looking in the rearview mirror, it’s not surprising when you have an accident.
The Truth Is
The folks behind you probably aren’t chasing you at all.  Matter of fact, they might not even notice you. Quit worrying about what everyone else is doing. This is the New Media, populated by swaggering experts who think that there is one way *typically theirs* to get ‘er done.  So there you are, trying to stay on this Superspeedway while getting cut off and pushed toward the inside field. Palms sweat and insecurity mounts; you start to second guess whether you can even make it around a second lap and if it’s ok to drive this track your way.
I get this…been there, done that! I watch many self proclaimed Social Media experts in the broadcasting, entertainment, and music industry spewing rhetoric, believing that they know all the “right” moves. The contention is that, more often than not, they have never even run a basic Social Media campaign for a client, or practicing it for themselves.
The bottom line? How can you TALK it till you’ve ROCKED it? *or COUNTRY’d it*

The Pits
I’m in the garage, fixing blunders executed by dilettantes every day, mistakes made by the suit who had a cool PowerPoint which regurgitated what Social Media CAN do, and simply highlighted things the client wanted to hear or the neighbor’s kid, straight out of high school who was revered because he had 10,000 followers on Myspace.
Too many So(called)Media experts lead clients in the wrong direction by insisting they focus on metrics that don’t matter. The optics might make you look like a Champion but if you can’t move eyeballs…what good is that? In addition, where will you be if you rent your ‘house’ on Facebook, and then get evicted when Facebook disappears? *that’ll totally never happen, right? MySpace? AOL?*
Be Yourself Everyone Else Is Taken
If I had listened to everyone who told me that my website is too pink, the name of my company is silly, I’m too loud, I tweet too much, I shoulddress more conservatively, my hair is too blonde, and going niche withcountry music and social media is just plain stupid, I would have never even gotten on the track. Instead, I found my groove and keptmoving forward.
That’s my advice to you. Define your checkered flag; what does winning look like to you? Get dialed in, find the best pit crew to help you achieve your goals, and run your own race.
Whose race are you running? How is working out for you? Any advice or thoughts to share?