Life is a song – sing it. Life is a game – play it. Life is a challenge – meet it. Life is a dream – realize it. Life is a sacrifice – offer it. Life is love – enjoy it. ~Sai Baba
In August 2009 I still used a hot mail account and could not spell analytics , let alone knew what they were or how they were useful.
I was mocked by people who claim to love me including my BFF Pam Slim because I did not blog or use social media of any kind. No twitter, no FB no nothing. I even used Map quest!
But that all changed when I realized that to do the work I wanted to do, the way I wanted to do it I would need an online presence. This blog and website was birthed eight weeks later. I wrote my first post 3 years ago today. I was so scared I did not let it go live for 24 more hours. Like a new mama I needed to spend some alone with my new miracle. And just like a new mama I had no idea what to do with it now it was here.
Over the past 3 years I have learned much about blogging and life. Sometime the lessons have come hand in hand. So today I share my most important life lessons learned through blogging:
1. You have a voice,and it matters. When I first started reading other people’s blog I was always impressed with their breath and depth and knowledge. I did not trust that I had the same and that my voice was important. I knew I had 25 years worth of non profit experience but would people want to read about it and learn from me? Yeah, they would and yeah they have. I have been so fortunate to know that in this small part of the interwebs I can have a strong opinion and speak it true. Its really important that my voice shines and because of that I encourage others to do the same. My opinion only has power when yours is heard as well.
2. Your voice is your path to freedom and liberation .Not only does your voice matter but it will set you free and apart from the pact. It is scary to stand up for something you believe in. I get to promote, support and uplift what I love. I get to discuss big questions that change lives, I get to get angry and be vulnerable as I talk about big challenges and what we need to change if we want to evolve. I get to speak truth to power myself and for others. Take a stand it will set you free
3. People are paying attention. I really thought no one read my post. No one. Ever. Then I realized people did read them. That scared me but I kept writing . Life is a collaborative process and strong minds do find each other. You are seen and heard by those that matter. They may not be famous or powerful or rich but they love your voice, your humor, you inspire and uplift them at exactly the right moment. They appreciate your unique take on life and they want more. Continue to give it to them.
4.Community is everything. This has been my greatest lesson. Community is everything. A strong group standing behind you, teaching, sharing, laughing and crying with you is a force of nature. They love you even at times when you do not love yourself. They challenge you when you get a bit too cocky… they make you push on when you want to give up. They encourage your growth and demand honesty. And you do push on because the last thing you ever want to do is disappoint them. They are your family and you may have never met them in person but you are connected in a profound and meaningful way. They make you a better person. A big part of who you become is who you choose to surround yourself with
5.Not everyone will understand, and that’s OK. So not everyone will like everything you create. Sometimes you serve up your greatest creation and you will get crickets in return. Your art, your writing, your point of view are yours and sometime others ( even those that love and adore you) just do not get it. It is OK. You can stand alone in knowing you created exactly what you wanted. That you believe exactly what you wrote. THAT was your voice and you used it even when you stood alone and it was shaking.
6. You will fail, and that is OK. Sometimes you will stand in the front of the internet and people will point and and stare and you will make a mistake. A BIG ONE. Maybe you said something that was not factual or wrote something that was taken the wrong way. Maybe you tried to be funny or ironic and it just came across as mean. Sometimes we mess up and we have to own it and move on. Sometime we get laughed at and gossiped about or even mocked. It is OK because if you know you created from a good loving place and you are truly sorry, you made amends to those you hurt then it is OK. Failure is about ego and not about growth. Stepping on the stage and sharing even the smallest part of yourself is noble and brave. You showed up and it mattered. Lesson were learned.
7. Discipline is important. I am not a writer, hell I am not even a speller on some days. Yet, blogging is important to me so I make time for it. We make time for things that matter. Things that add value. I carve out the time to knock out a few blog post on average twice a week. It does not always work out but for the most part that is what happens. You get what you put in. When I put in crap or half ass it, guest what I get back in return?
8. No permission or approval required. I can do what I want. I mean it. I do not need to ask anyone for approval or permission to do anything. I can move to Namibia, trek in Nepal or go study Buddhism in India. I can start a business or close one. I can dance in the rain or sit on my couch and watch Hulu Plus. My life is just that MINE. My blog is the same way. It is mine and I can let it be what it needs to be unapologetically. I have great mentors that I call upon for feedback and support but ultimately a decision that I make is mine and mine alone. I do not let the opinions of others stand in my way or steer me away from thoughts or opinions that I believe in.
9. Being a creative is scary, hard and wonderful all at the same time. It is hard standing up everyday and exposing yourself to the world. that is why so few actually do it. You must follow your heart, and be who you were born to be. If you were born to create then know it is hard work. It is scary work and it is also the most life affirming soul- fulfilling work you can do. Hard does not mean impossible and scary does not mean don’t do it. Breath deeply and step into the work you were meant to do. Life is amazing
10 All you need is love. This may seem like a cliche or a cop out but I think it is true. If you come at your work even work that scares you with a full and open heart you will be OK. We were born to love and share our gifts. For some reason those are the things we tend to be the most stingy with and horde. Share your love and in doing that you share yourself. The more you give the more you get….Love your life, love your work, love your mistakes, love others, love your pain and more importantly love yourself.
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