Best way to learn? Experience. April marks my 1 year anniversary of blogging. When I began, I had 5 objectives. The practice and experience of blogging has taught me some great lessons in pursuing those objectives:
1. Build others up.
My primary reason for blogging was to build others. It’s my life’s purpose, “Build lives.” Whether reviewing a book, sharing quotes, some Biblical leadership insight, or just some thoughts, I have learned to keep this as my focus. If not building others up, why write in the 1st place? Comments in the past year have affirmed that building process and I greatly appreciate the encouraging words as well as the tweets and Facebook mentions you have sent out.
2. Clarify my thinking as a leader.
Writing a blog has taught me to pause and think about what I am doing, what I am writing. Not having a word count goal (besides not too long), has challenged me to focus on how I live and learn as a leader. The result of blogging has been to get better clarity, even greater passion, in leading. Focused leaders who are able to articulate that God-given vision go farther in leadership. The path ahead appears a bit clearer since I started blogging. In answering questions in meetings, I discover the words I speak refer back to blogs I had written, thoughts I had processed. My favorite has been Andy Stanley’s polarities question: “Is this a problem to solve or a tension to manage?”
3. Explore the role of faith and leadership.
I believe there is an incredible connection between faith and leadership. John Maxwell, Bill Hybels, Andy Stanley and Ken Blanchard have opened my eyes to that connection, my mind to want to learn more and my heart to have it fuel a desire to grow, to serve, and to let Jesus be the leader that I follow. In developing the habit of reading through the Bible in a year, blogging has helped me engage more with God’s Word and what it means for life today.
4. Share resources.
Turns out Jesus was right, “Give and it will be given to you.” I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I thought the benefit of blogging was the experience. Sometime last fall I found out that if you blog and you can read and write, some publishers will send you a free hard copy of their book to read, mark, inwardly digest and most of all share with others. What began with booksneeze.com through Thomas Nelson has led to other publishers who feed my reading hobby (maybe even addiction). The result has been I have become a better communicator (feed the mind, feed the soul, and you can feed others). A future blog post will look at these great gifts for bloggers to pass on to others as well as an answer to the comment I often hear, “you sure read a lot” and how I do that. Blogging book reviews led me to post my reviews on Amazon.com. I sarted like in the top 2 million in the fall and have gotten into the top 80k thanks to the need to read and review. Even better blogging book reviews has helped me process what I am reading more into my day to day life.
5. Become a better writer / communicator.
I have learned to think through word choice and still have much to learn. The discipline of blogging 3 times a week, and consistently hitting that Monday, Wednesday, Friday deadline has built a better discipline to write. Such deadlines and 3 times a week commitment has helped me to be able to face work deadlines better. The blank page is not as intimidating as it was before. (Finding the picture that goes with the blog is the bigger challenge!)
One of my goals in the year ahead is to get beyond 3 a week, but for now I’ll build up to that moment. As much as I love writing book reviews and gathering quotes (I’ve learned to get a bit more intentional about that in the last few weeks.) I also want to do some other resource sharing and idea processing. I have seen the benefit of blogging for others and also by the grace of God for myself, I want to keep growing in this area. Most of all, I want you to grow too.
To those who read, commented, encouraged and passed on what you learned here to others, thank you. I told myself if I was the only reader, I would still write because I wanted to learn the craft of writing and that takes practice and experience. Yet I admit it’s nice to know someone’s reading and sharing their insights with me. I have learned much along the way including picking up some additional blogs to add to my Google Reader account. Let’s keep the conversation going …
So you bloggers out there, what are the lessons you have learned about blogging since you started?