Two years ago today I launched this blog. I began much like I did when I was a kid learning to ride a bike—having no particular destination in mind but somehow trusting that the ride itself would be the ultimate reward.
Now, two years into this journey, it’s time to take a moment and 1) celebrate the distance I’ve traveled, 2) recall the scenery I’ve enjoyed along the way and 3) reflect on life’s lessons learned.
Here are a few random thoughts and observations about my blogging journey:
- This is actually fun. I enjoy writing and I like being a blogger. I give myself enough editorial freedom to have fun, and I’ve never seriously considered monetizing this effort, though some bloggers make good money from their writing.
- This is also hard work. Like riding a bike, the fun comes only with the exertion of energy. I’ve mentored several wanna-be bloggers who started and then, for a variety of reasons, never continued. Maintaining a blog for two years is a worthy accomplishment.
- I blog best when I follow my own rules. I’ve read countless blogs and books about blogging. They all contain rules I’ve mostly chosen to ignore. For example, they say that success comes with frequency of postings. Well, I decided long ago to publish only when I had something to say and I refuse to be bound by an arbitrary, self-imposed quota. Last year, for example, I let several guilt-free weeks slide by without posting.
- This isn’t as social as I imagined. Two years ago I anticipated that my blog—being on a social media platform—would stimulate comments and conversations. I now realize that my writing style does not evoke such interaction. I also know that most of my comments will come via Facebook. When I announce a new blog post on Facebook, my friends will click on the link, read my blog in WordPress and then return to Facebook to comment. I’m okay with that because that’s the platform where I want most of my online interactions to occur anyway.
- First, I write for myself. I’m the target audience of my initial draft because I want my first articulation of an idea to be raw and primal—an artistic expression of something deep inside needing to released. The truth be known, I often do not know what I really think about an issue until I’ve experienced the labor pains of bringing an idea to life. Blogging helps me to organize and clarify my thoughts.
- Second, I write for my current boss. Though I do not exclusively target this blog to my CEO, I write and edit best when I visualize a specific person with whom I can have a conversation. It helps to have a boss like mine who is really cool. He already gets what I’m saying, so I do not need to whine or preach to the choir. I try to explain things in a way that will help him to understand what I’m doing and to put things into their proper context.
- I also write for my next boss. No, I am not in a job search and I have no plans to look for a new job any time soon. But in today’s uncertain world, we never knows when the winds will shift. One reason I blog is to provide a safety net for my career. I want to be “findable” online when a prospective employer might Google my name prior to scheduling an interview. Through my blog posts I openly share my philosophies and my approach to work. A tech-savvy business leader can read all of this before we have our first conversation.
- I write to strengthen the profession. I have benefited from mentors who once shared their wisdom with me and now I hope in some small way to pay it forward and inspire others. I especially want to encourage those curious and creative individuals pursuing careers in marketing and communications. Hopefully, many of my readers are also fortunate enough to be working in the nonprofit sector.
- I find strength in vulnerability. Since the dawn of the social media revolution, we all live and work in a world where success comes by being authentic and transparent. Unlike some, I embrace technological change. Rather than viewing social media as an unwelcome infringement upon my right to privacy, I choose to live my life as an open book with nothing to hide. I strongly believe that strength is found in vulnerability. Therefore, I live, work and write as a real person who is open, transparent and even vulnerable.
- I deliberately blur professional and personal. Although this is a personal blog, I openly share my experiences as an employee of the American Red Cross. Technology no longer allows us to neatly compartmentalize the various facets of our multidimensional lives. I’m okay with that. In this blog, I make disclaimers to let readers know that opinions shared do not necessarily reflect those of my employer. Yet, I am fortunate to work for a large, complex business whose leaders recognize that, in the final analysis, the Red Cross is made up of real people committed to helping other real people. I’m one of those real people, warts and all.