Saturday, 21 January 2012

The Pros Tell Me I Have to Blog.

The pros tell me I have to Blog.

Read a sales magazine.  Read a business magazine.  Google a successful businessperson.  Guess what?  They have a blog.  Seth Godin, writer of what is very possibly the most followed blog in the world, says, if you want to take the first step toward success, blog every day.  Don’t worry if anyone ever reads it.  Just put useful information into the world, and your service will be rewarded.

So, I say to myself, (and I knew it was me, because I recognized my voice) (did I really just say that?) (am I really leaving this in?) “I also should have a blog! If other people find me HALF as interesting as I find myself, they’ll love it!”

So, in this, the year that I click over 3 decades, I have decided to start blogging.  And not without much debate and apprehension.  I have a number of decidedly-less-social-than-me friends who view my infatuation with all things social media as a sign of lack of self-confidence.  As though it’s some sort of co-dependent need for affirmation.  Okay, maybe I’ve projected this straw-man perspective on some of my more stoic friends, but the point stands.

So, do I do this for affirmation?  I’ll have to get back to you on that one.  But if you find that I stop posting for a long period of time, it will likely be because I’ve decided that I do this for affirmation.  Here’s why I think I should have a blog.

I haven’t given up on myself.

At one time I saw myself as a college dropout working as a ‘clerk’ at a flooring store.  Some job whose highest purpose is that ‘someone has to do it – it may as well be you’.  But here’s the thing.  You can pay a LOT of money to learn stuff in college, and at the end of it have a degree that may or may not get you a job and/or a raise.  Or you can pay a bit in library fines, podcast orders and magazine subscriptions, and you can continue to learn forever, and get better and better at whatever it is you find important.  And there are no pre-requisite hoops to jump through!  I don’t have to prove I can do long division before they teach me what subtle techniques influence people to take my side in a discussion.

So, I listen to audio-CD’s on leadership, marketing, and self-improvement – yeah, that’s right!  I do! (my first time disclosing this publicly).  And I get a lot of really good information.  And I read a lot of books (for a guy with a 3 year old, a full time job and an extra-curricular commitment that involves being the president of something).  But that still doesn’t answer the question of why to blog…

So, here’s why:

It’s not for you (directly).  Because I don’t know who YOU are.  Except my wife.  I’m assuming that she will read this.  Hi honey.  It’s for me.  I digest a LOT of rich information, and it’s hard for me to process it.  And I live a busy life.  It’s easy to read an article, listen to an interview, or finish a chapter, and then move on to the next one before processing the first one.  But I’m selling myself short if I do that, because I have a hard time reading a book twice.  And it’s really hard for me to internalize that kind of information when life is as busy and distracting as it is.  So, if I write a blog for a bunch of imaginary people who hang on my every word (that’s you), then I have a really good reason to process the information I take in, assimilate it, and regurgitate it in my own words.  So you (whether you exist or not in real life) are my accountability.  My way of internalizing and crystallizing the information I take in, so that it doesn’t just pass through me without making any difference in my life.

And believe me – I really love learning the stuff I learn!  So if you ARE a real person, and you ARE reading this in the real world, I hope you get some value from it too. Because the sense I get is that Seth Godin got ‘big’ not by dwelling on his numbers, but by learning cool stuff and then sharing it for free.  He makes me smarter, and I appreciate him for it (and read his blog every day).  Here’s hoping that, while I clarify my own thoughts, I might be able to do the same thing for you!

So, imaginary readers – enjoy!  And I welcome you to step out of the inter-web anonymity to make comments – because it doesn’t take much to make me smarter too!

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