Personal blogs are a different…no…special…part of the internet.
Has it been a while since you have posted on your blog consistently?
Because it is yours.
Personal blogs are a different part of the internet. Special in my opinion. Some people write long enough (and well enough) to make some money…but many (like me so far) don’t.
Because it is mine
Perhaps it is just my generation (I fall smack in the middle of Gen X and Millenials) but a blog/website that is mine and mine to do what I want with…has always felt special.
I have followed a blog by Greg Morris for some time now: gr36.com. I also follow Greg on twitter @gr36. I don’t remember how I came across his site but I have always been glad I did.
And I follow him for no other reason than I enjoy the thoughts he puts out in to the world through his blog…and I feel like if we knew each other in real life, we might be friends.
He has done things that I have done here: switch blogging platforms, turned ads on and off, tested features, pontificated on whether or not he should keep writing, etc. Greg has treated his blog much like I treat mine…as an avenue for him to write, create, think aloud, seek feedback…and he has done it for quite a while.
Because it is his.
It is ok
The beauty of a personal blog is that (hopefully) people are there for you…not necessarily for an ever flowing feed of information, gear reviews, etc. It’s personal…it is yours….it is you.
And that means it is ok to step away and take a break every once in a while. It is ok to try something new, to write on a completely new and random topic…or to take a deep breath and think aloud…while writing those thoughts down.
Don’t worry about the optimal time to publish and there is no need to sweat the thoughts of how long a post is or if it has too many pictures.
It is ok.
Because your blog is just that….yours.
Let me encourage you my friend…the world is better when you are in it…and in this day and age a personal blog is my favorite way to contribute to the digital world we all operate in.
Start that personal blog…or keep the one you have going…make it yours…hit publish whenever you want to…it is ok.
What I wanted my blog to be changed, and although I tried to rekindle that romance last year, it is now something made just for me. A reflection of myself.
I’ve enjoyed Greg’s blog for a while. Primarily because it’s just what he says…his.
As someone who has started and stopped his own website/blog a couple times, I like hearing (reading) someone else who has done the same. One of the few reasons I didn’t just stick with writing over on Medium was that I wanted my space.
When I find a company that knows what it stands for and it aligns with my own beliefs…I am all in.
I’m not just referring to the couple soft goods companies in this blog post title. E-commerce company Next Jump has a culture I got to experience that changed my life. Simon Sinek has written books and given TED talks that I write about often and that I will buy immediately in the future – no questions asked.
These aren’t just companies or individuals that have social assistance programs to check a box or “mission statements” that sound good. Rather, these are organizations that make moves that stand by their beliefs but often seen as counterintuitive to traditional success…like Patagonia’s “Don’t Buy This Jacket” campaign.
I’ve been a Patagonia fan since I first started reading about how the founder started the company and my affinity grew as I saw how committed it is to sustainability, quality, and family. Living in Ventura, where the company was started and is headquartered, I met people who worked there and loved it. The stories you hear about employees taking surf breaks, child care at work, and the overall quality work environment are not exaggerated.
Are you surprised that my social media accounts are some version of @PatagoniaDad?
The 1% Rule
I came across the below video by YouTube’s very own Captain Sinbad. I encourage you to take the couple minutes to watch it. He’s very good and I can see why he has over 300K subscribers.
If you don’t want to watch the video…
The 1% rule is simple: improve just 1% each day. The idea is that if you do this, the good habits you develop stack over time. Rome wasn’t built in a day and you won’t be either.
Stop focusing on the end result and start paying attention to the process.
When I said I have a bad habit, that tends to mean that I fall down rabbit holes of learning about these amazing companies…and then buying a ton of their stuff! Fortunately for me, this means that I am buying quality items…usually over a long period of time. (I can neither confirm nor deny that I’ll be writing about a bunch of GoRuck stuff that I might have after Christmas) 😏
One of the many things that struck me in his post was the below chart.
Crazy growth aside…what struck me was those first couple years with $0 revenue. And while the chart displays no data for ‘growth’ for those years…I would argue that they were growing a little bit every day.
Consistency and The “Why”
Simon Sinek is most famous for his talk about the Golden Circle and pointing out that successful companies plant their flag in their “Why” first and their product second.
I believe that the companies I’ve mentioned naturally follow the 1% rule because they are founded on a belief, a purpose, or a mission that speaks them, their employees, and ultimately their customers. As Captain Sinbad pointed out when talking about the movie ‘Money Ball’, Billy Bean shifted his focus to metrics that actually matter.
These companies are focusing on what matters…they know their why. They consistently stay centered on their why and communicate about their products through that rather than vice versa.
People don’t buy what you sell. They buy why you sell it.
When you frame your work life around something foundational to who you are or what you believe…it almost becomes easy to improve by 1% every day. As long as that why is genuine and (in my opinion) not self centered.
“Our findings suggest that the psychological reward experienced from helping others may be deeply ingrained in human nature, emerging in diverse cultural and economic contexts,” said lead author Lara Aknin, of Simon Fraser University in Canada, in a news release.
A great definition I saw for questioning is that questioning enables us to organize our thinking around what we don’t know. So, in a time when so much knowledge is all around us, answers are at our fingertips, we really need great questions in order to be able to know what to do with all that information and find out way to the next answer.
I like the point of framing what you are putting your brain power towards by organizing it via the right questions.
Muir reflects on the singular, counterintuitive life-affirmation of autumn:
In the yellow mist the rough angles melt on the rocks. Forms, lines, tints, reflections, sounds, all are softened, and although the dying time, it is also the color time, the time when faith in the steadfastness of Nature is surest… The seeds all have next summer in them, some of them thousands of summers, as the sequoia and cedar. In the holiday array all go calmly down into the white winter rejoicing, plainly hopeful, faithful… everything taking what comes, and looking forward to the future, as if piously saying, “Thy will be done in earth as in heaven!”
Then there’s memory. Print book readers retain more information.
As a new study from the Developmental Neuroscience Laboratory at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology argues, the same goes for writing. Handwriting helps children and adults remember information better. Typing is a shortcut.
The team, led by Professor Audrey van der Meer, hooked 250 nodes to each participant’s head to collect 500 data points per second. Once they were strapped in, a dozen 12-year-old children and a dozen young adults wrote by hand, typed, or drew. The clear winner: using paper, not devices.
This makes me happy.
Because while I do love my tech and productivity apps, there is just something about writing (journaling, note taking, etc) that cannot be matched.
If you want to lead better, work better, live better…and help others do the same, then join me on this journey.
One year ago I pushed publish on my very first blog post here.
For some odd reason, that is still my highest viewed post ever. That may be because of the way my site was first set up (requiring a click to view each post) vice how it is now (endless scrolling with full posts). It really doesn’t matter as that is not the whole reason I started yet another blog.
I was quite up front about trying to see if I could make any money from my “side-hustle” site this go around. I’ve tried affiliate links to amazon, signing up for various affiliate services, creating merchandise to sell, and a couple other things. I’ve posted almost every day over the past year and worked towards better SEO…although I wouldn’t say I did so aggressively. (I do have a family and a full-time job)
All of that has resulted in zero money but, more importantly, a few realizations on my part.
1. Creation is One of My Favorite Parts of Starting a Blog/Site
I really enjoy the act of creating a site.
I love pouring through templates, seeing what is new that people like and what is old/classic that I still prefer.
Selecting and testing out fonts and color schemes scratches some sort of artistic itch that I’m not sure I could identify or satisfy otherwise. Serif versus Sans Serif, complimentary color schemes, underlining links that change color on hovering over it (via customized CSS), viewing spacing and sizing of headers and paragraph text. I love it all.
Is that weird?
I don’t know. Maybe.
I enjoy it nonetheless.
2. Volume is Not What I Want to Do Right Now
Coming up with 6 posts a week is not a lot in terms of a normal website volume. Yet, if you’re running your site solo, then it can add up over time.
Don’t get me wrong, I was able to get a pretty good routine that allowed me to come up with 3 weeks worth of material over the course of a Sunday, but that normally excluded my Wednesday posts. I tried to make those Wednesday posts a little more of an “actual post” that required me to sit, think, write, edit, and smooth for publishing.
And shocker…those Wednesday posts tended to be my more popular posts…those and the Saturday affiliate link posts. (according to my google analytics stats)
Remember though…I was attempting to make money this time around and I thought a consistent post a day would translate to something over the course of a year. Which it didn’t. At least not for what I was posting about.
I’ve experimented, learned, and will adjust.
3. I Want “Fulfillment over Victory”
Those Wednesday posts I mentioned I actually enjoyed a lot more. The critical thinking aspect of writing them is often what I look for when I get that urge to share a revelation, thought, or growing concept that I want to process.
That is probably why I enjoy making my Vlog so much…it takes planning, knowledge, experience, experimentation…technical curiosity, creativity, and effort.
The thoughtful pieces are so much more fulfilling that working towards that Google SEO to try and bring in more clicks.
I don’t really want to “win” in blogging…I want fulfillment in what I do and share with others.
Basically the payoff is in the journey vice the destination.
I just started reading his newest book, The Infinite Game, and I realized that I have been expending all this effort on my blog for purely selfish reasons…reasons that I don’t really believe will succeed.
I don’t really think that I will succeed on this blog if I am only doing it to try and make money. That has never really been a driving factor for what I do in life and I’m not sure why I put that as my foremost reason here.
I Am Sorry
I should have known better than to stray from what really drives me in life and work. People who know me, know that I want to lead people be better versions of themselves and to teach them how to help others the do same.
I can’t do that when money is my focus.
In life, at work, or via this website.
My focus should be, as Simon Sinek says, on the “infinite game”.
So should yours.
Why am I doing this?
Do I have an “infinite mindset”? (a just cause that will outlive me)
What drives me to make others better?
This blog will change from here forward.
The name will stay the same for now, and I will occasionally post some of the same things I did before (interesting links, inspiring quotes, vlogs) but my focus here will be to make you better and to teach you how to do the same for others.
Quality over quantity I suppose.
I do not know how this process will play out going forward…but I do know that I am more driven by that purpose and will thus be more likely to stick with it.
If you want to lead better, work better, live better…and help others do the same, then join me on this journey.
I recently surpassed 100 direct followers and I wanted to thank everyone who has commented, liked, and hit that follow button here.
If you see my about page, you’ll see that across all my platforms I am over 8,000 followers…but I’ll let you in on a little secret. I hit a hot streak over on Tumblr a few years back and most of my “followers” are from over there (where I still cross post). That was back when I was climbing and photo focused.
Tumblr’s state of affairs is a whole separate topic, but please know that I consider my followers here much more “present” as I see a lot of interactions via likes and comments from you all.
I remember posting over there once that I was shutting down an old website of mine. Of the over then 7,000 followers I had I got one email.
However, that one email was from someone who told me that my posts had inspired him to start his own climbing inspired website. He even sent me a climbing chalk bag that I have to this day.
I had posted over there as the “caffeinated climber” from my now defunct climbercafe site. A site that I enjoyed creating and building but ran out of time to keep up…but I inspired one person to action.
And that one made it all worth it.
If you take anything away from this today, remember…write for the internet you want…you may just inspire that next one to action.