My colleagues Sue Heilbronner and Leah Pearlman Iaunched their Marco Polo Channel, Inside Coaching, this week. I joined the beta version about four months ago, and I can honestly say that it has made a marked improvement on my life. Here’s why and how I’m making the channel a part of my weekly routine. You can learn more and join the channel here.
What’s Marco Polo? Marco Polo is a mobile video platform that fuels human connection for millions of users around the world. Marco Polo created Marco Polo Channels to power expert-led, video-connected groups around certain topics or shared interests.
How it works: Sue and Leah share their thoughts on life, leadership, and the state of our world in quick video snippets, and invite quick video snippet responses.
Here’s what I love about it:
Sue and Leah are amazing. Every one of their 3–10-minute video posts leaves me with at least one thought-provoking kernel that causes me to completely change my assumptions or see something that I just couldn't see. I can’t think of a better return on my time investment.
Community on my time. I’m an introvert. I really value my alone time, but this pandemic has made me realize how much human interaction improves my mental health. I have a new appreciation for my relationships, but I still don't like the hassle of finding time to get together. I like to be introspective, and creative, and to get into a flow state when I work. It's hard for me to predict when I will want to be in conversations with others. Marco Polo Channels allow me to have human interaction when I need it, when I want it, and when it's convenient for me.
Marco Polo delivers where social media failed me. I’ve tried building community on my own time via social media, but I find that my mental health has an inverse relationship to the amount of time I spend typing and reading text on a screen. The video format works much better for me. The channel format also helps me avoid the keeping-up-with-the-Joneses mentality and the divisive communication patterns that I tend to fall into on social media.
It keeps me strategic and gives me perspective. I’ve started listening to Sue and Leah’s posts while I make my breakfast. When I wake up, my mind typically starts racing through my to-do list and all of the things I want to improve upon. I start my day in a state of overwhelm. When I jump on the channel, that little bit of human interaction often shifts my mood, and the topics of the posts shift me from my to-do list to big picture thinking. It completely changes the trajectory of my day.
Building authentic relationships. I’ve been working with Sue and Leah for six years, so we already have a close relationship, but the channel has brought us much closer. We have our own interests, we're often in different places, and carving time out for meaningful conversations can be hard. No matter where they are, I can see what's happening in their world and what issues are present for them. Because I can reply with my own video comments, they can see what's happening in my world as well. It's funny—sometimes just seeing the background of their living room makes me feel like I'm more of a part of their life.
I’ve also strengthened and built relationships with the other channel participants. The content of the posts and the community Sue and Leah have curated drive the kind of authentic conversations I crave.
How I got into the habit of participating on the channel
Watching the posts: When I first joined the channel, I felt like I needed to sit, be present, and watch each post from start to finish. Seeing their faces made me feel much more connected, but I procrastinated watching the posts. Now, more often than not, I listen to them while I'm doing other things. I pull up the posts, see their faces, feel that human connection, and then I multitask.
With this, I don’t have to wait until I can carve out the perfect time. The posts always help me when I am feeling anxious, overwhelmed, depressed, or a little lonely, or when I just need a bit of inspiration. I just pull up the posts when I need them.
Commenting: Marco Polo places a one-minute time limit on comments. I used to feel a lot of resistance to this, but I find that the time limit actually makes me more likely to comment. I don't have to put a lot of thought into what I'm going to say or carve out time to leave a meaningful comment. I can just share what's present for me. I can always carve out one minute of time.
I also learn a lot from the comments that others leave on the channel. Playing each one-minute comment doesn’t sync with multitasking, so I save the comments for walks around my neighborhood or gaps between meetings.
I hope you’ll join us. I have become a true channel groupie and would love to hear more diverse perspectives and thought-provoking comments on the channel. You can learn more and join the channel here.
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