Here is some of what I learnt by not blogging for six months.
* Information is like money, you can’t take it with you.
* Perfection is the enemy of Production
* When content consumption surpasses content creation, you are NOT on the path to success.
During those six months I didn’t put up a blog post. I also didn’t post comments on other blogs, respond to LinkedIn requests, take any freelance writing gigs. I didn’t even take part in the Freelance Writers’ Den, which has courses that I PAY for!
There are multiple reasons. I got promoted (YAY!!!), I lost my focus (DANG!!!), I entered an art competition (Finally!!!) but most of all I got overwhelmed.
Here is what I learnt from each of these.
I got promoted.
Despite being with the same organization more than ten years, an interview with Senior Management is still required to get promoted. I used The Briefcase Technique (Thanks Ramit) and it does make the job interview that much easier to endure, but there is no technique to escape the increase in the workload. That increase required a change in my habits and tested my abilities, which in turn threw off the rest of my game.
Takeaway: In middle management as in mid-life being able to change your habits is essential to your development.
I lost my focus
Why was I blogging anyway? Didn’t I want to be a part-time freelance writer? Was I doing my best writing or just sticking to a posting schedule? Where was the money I’d planned to make?
Some of the questions remain unanswered but I took the time to come up with the one answer that counts. Why does this blog exist?
It exists because I want to be successful at whatever I do, and I want my friends (meaning, you) to be successful too. Any information whether observational, statistical, or anecdotal that helps me, I take in, strip down and pass on.
Takeaway: After several close calls with death I’ve realized that information is like money, valuable but you can’t take it with you. I share because I care (Yes, it feels just as sappy for me to write as it is for you to read)
I entered an art competition
In 2009 I promised that I’d take my woodturning to an artistic level. Despite improving over the years, nothing I created seemed “good enough” for an art show. One night at a gallery opening, I was bemoaning my sad lot to John Beadle ( an internationally known Bahamian artist) who explained the illusion of ‘good enough’.
“You [as the artist] always see the flaws and the differences between what you envisioned and what the finished piece looks like. The viewer doesn’t know all that. They just decide whether they like it or not.”
I began to blather about still needing to improve before entering, his response?
“ You ever created anything perfect?”
“Then shut the f*ck up!”
After getting such clear instructions, I spent ONE hour per WEEK on learning a new woodturning technique until I had an entry for the Central Bank of The Bahamas Art Competition which commemorated the 40th Anniversary of Bahamian Independence.
Takeaway: Listen to the experts even when they curse you.
Takeaway 2: Perfection is the enemy of Production. Just “Shut the f*ck up” and get it done.
I got overwhelmed
Posting comments on popular blogs, answering questions on LinkedIn, reading Slate.com, Rollingstone Magazine/Politics, Tribune242, enrolling in courses from Carol Tice, Ramit Sethi and Corbet Barr plus my heat problem all added up to me being so mixed up I could hardly put my pants on straight.
What is my heat problem? By the end of April winter is over and it heats up again. For someone born in July, I don’t take hot weather that well. I fatigue easily, and then I get grumpy and morose. As I get older the feelings get worse and last longer. So, I’m only at my best for a few months of the year.
NOTE: The next jackass to tell me global warming isn’t real, I swear I’m going to bitch slap them with the latest copy of the IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Anyway, between May and October, I get little done which means that between November and March, I’ve got to do twice as much. From here on in, I’m limiting my social media and reducing the number of blogs that I read. (Sorry, Dany)
Takeaway: Know thyself. Plan to do your best work while you are at your physical and mental best.
Takeaway 2: If content consumption surpasses content production you are not on a path that leads to success.
Good habits and grit are more likely to lead to long-term success than any other set of personal skills than can be developed. Being able to change some of my work habits has allowed me to resume blogging and improve my wood turning. As for blogging, no amount of online courses, mentoring, free e-books, etc, can change its most fundamental aspect, WRITING.
If I write more, read less and plan better, I’m a lot more likely to keep this blog going.
So what are your thoughts? Is there any area of your life where you’ve stalled out or quit? Why?