Blogging is hard work, indeed, as Valeria Maltoni recently put together in a brilliant article that I can certainly recommend everyone to go through. Specially, the superb links to a couple of other reflections from both Doc Searls and Dave Winer on the very same topic. Yes, blogging is really hard work. It makes you think. It makes you reflect on the things you are passionate about, on the things that drive you to work every day, on the many ideas that come through your brain on a daily basis and that you pick up one or two that you would want to share across in order to allow for them to grow further thanks to the wonderful exchanges with people in your (extended) networks. Yes, blogging is healthy, energising, inspiring, mind-blowing, in a way, if you would want to add, and perhaps what makes the Social Web unique, regardless of what other people out there keep telling you about the power of social networks. Of course, they are powerful, but never underestimate the power of the word, of reflection, of thinking deeply about what you care about, because that’s essentially what will help you grow both mentally and intellectually.
Alas, sometimes, life has got other plans though that you would need to adjust to, embrace and move forward with, because, when failing to do that, it all then becomes far too overwhelming and before anything else you get lost. Well, not really lost, but no longer in control of what’s happening to you and the circumstances around you. I guess that pretty much sums up some of the main reasons as to why I haven’t been blogging much over the last two months and a half. Yes, I know. Way way too long since my last blog post on “The State of Social Business – A State of Maturity?” and from what I can recall the longest blogging hiatus I have gone through since I started blogging back in December 2003. Almost 10 years ago! Goodness! How does time go by when you are having fun, eh?
Well, in the last couple of months I surely have had plenty of it and if I were to summarise it in less than 140 characters, which seems to be the current trending thought when engaging in social networking tools I guess I could do that with some original blurb, but then again my good friend Sam Driessen did that in a superb reflection nearly three months ago. To quote from a tweet:
The more we DO the less time we have to REFLECT #e20s
— Samuel Driessen (@driessen) November 13, 2012
That pretty much would do it for me. That pretty much describes, for certain, what I have been doing over the last two and a half months where I have been doing plenty, but reflecting little and I guess it showed on this blog. I know most of you folks out there would be thinking about, or musing, how I have been rather active on social networking tools anyway (My Big Three, as I call them) during that time as a social computing evangelist helping raise awareness with fellow colleagues, customers and business partners on Living Social, but all along I must confess it felt like I was missing something…
Something that I didn’t think I would be missing this much, but that over the last couple of weeks, while I have been mostly offline, enjoying some extended holidays, and spending lengthy periods engaged in deep thinking, I realise that I have been neglecting, big time, a part of me: the thinking and reflecting self. The one piece of me who is always trying to stay ahead of the curve on what I do, to design and define where to go next, what to do and focus on, to keep redefining that so-called purpose and meaning on everything that I do, so that I keep learning further along and, essentially, grow, both physically (As I get older…) and mentally, as well as intellectually, as my body learns to adjust accordingly and my brain keeps asking for that deep thinking time.
See? There are plenty of reasons why people out there would suggest to you to, every now and then, take a break from blogging. Perhaps one of my favourite articles on the topic is this one from Sté Kerwer under the suggestive heading “5 Reasons to Take a Break from Your Blog“. Really worth while reading piece for sure, but the interesting thing is that after all of this time that I haven’t been blogging much, it seems like those very same reasons that Sté talks about are the ones that could also explain why I have gone through that extended blogging break. Let’s see what I mean …
Mental and Physical Health
I have mentioned above how over the course of the last couple of months I have been engaged in doing plenty as part of my daily job as a Social Computing Evangelist making 2012, perhaps, my busiest year yet, as far as business travelling is concerned, as well as raising awareness on social networking for business and the extended social evangelism I have been embarking on during that time for fellow colleagues, customers and business partners.
That’s all a good thing, indeed, more than anything else because it looks like the business world is finally waking up to the notion of social networking as the next wave of business interactions with regards to collaborating and sharing your knowledge much more effectively, whether internal or externally, but, of course, it comes up with a toll: exhaustion.
Not that I felt I reached that level of being exhausted on a rather regular basis, but all of those work related activities did their draining bit. Call it a bit too stressful, or whatever other name. Lucky enough, in other years I would have continued further along, perhaps even reaching the point of burning out eventually. But, as most of you folks out there know by now, specially, those who have been reading this blog for a while, over a year ago I decided to focus a whole lot more on my physical and health conditions and that has paid off big time ever since I decided … “And Health It Is“.
I’m still having plenty of good fun with it all, so over the last couple of months there have been plenty of occasions where I needed to make a decision between blogging or running and, eventually, you guessed it right, running won the vast majority of times. And glad it did. It helped me fully understand, for instance, how this blog can always wait, pretty much like your various different online social networking activities. However, your body can’t. It needs constant nurturing and pampering to then empower you to do the best and most you can. So the time to keep neglecting my physical being has ended a long while ago and I can still see the results on the kind of impact that life changing experience has had in me, and those around me, over time. And it certainly has been quite an experience on its own.
Evaluate your priorities
See? On this one I think I let it go, perhaps a bit too easy for that matter, as well; you know, year end activities and all, full stealth mode all the way, trying to help out others as much as I possibly could to succeed on everything they were embarking on thinking that was the least I could do to help me become better as well at what I do. Alas, that didn’t reflect on the blog, since I didn’t have a chance to write the usual lengthy reflections while on the road on business trips, or while doing plenty of enablement education sessions with customers and fellow colleagues, or the public speaking events that I participated in and that I am hoping to share some further insights on over the course of the next few days. Essentially, while helping others, I realised my own priorities with regards to business blogging were no longer there.
Of course, that’s going to change. You know, it’s a new year, 2013 (Happy New Year, by the way!). I am still on holidays, but throughout that extended vacation I have been doing plenty of deep thinking and have come up with a couple of strategies that I am hoping will help me get back in shape not just with this blog, but with a couple of other places I have decided to revamp again and start fresh. But more on that one later… Oh, I have got a draft post where I’m going to reflect as well on the consequences of helping others excel at their own jobs and how that reflects on your own. Another quite amazing experience worth while sharing across, I am sure, specially, thanks to the wonderful and unexpected results that I didn’t think were possible.
Revitalise your business
Oh, yes! This one has already gotten started for yours truly. In fact, it’s been the main trend of thought that has occupied my mind, while re-charging batteries and unwinding during the holidays, and I can hint right here that the main keyword that keeps resurfacing from that reflection period I have gone through (And still not done with it just yet…) is this one: Changes. Some of them small, rather small; some of them, big, rather big. Actually, huge! But since I’m still figuring out the last few bits and pieces I will just keep it for myself till they are ready to go. Once they are ready though, folks reading this blog would be the first ones to know what happens next … (And where to…)
Gain a new perspective
I am excited about this one. Incredibly excited, actually! And I bet you may be wondering why, right? Well, mainly because along with revitalising my business, this has been my second focus area during this offline time and although I have already hinted it out what that new perspective would be like, in the area of Social Business, that is, I am hoping to develop further thoughts and insights on it, along with a new approach, over the course of the next couple of weeks. Suffice to say that when I mentioned I have hinted it already, I am referring to this CMSWire article that I got published towards the end of last year as my attempt towards venturing some sort of predictions for 2013 and beyond. If interested, go and have a read at “Social Business in 2013: A Challenge, An Opportunity, A Commitment“.
Can you have an educated guess as to which one of those three that new perspective I will be blogging about soon enough will be based on? It’s going to be exciting and rather massive. Incredibly energising, if anything, since it’s what I feel would be the next step…
Absence makes the heart grow fonder
And, finally, this is the main reason why I am back to blogging. I have enjoyed tremendously the last couple of months with the huge amount of work related activities I have been involved with, including the extensive business travelling, the customer meetings, workshops, public speaking gigs, the extended enablement and education sessions I have conducted with fellow colleagues, customers and business partners and the list goes on and on and on.
But there is a bunch of you, the faithful ones, my tribe, the ones who have helped me extensively grow both intellectually and mentally, who have been sticking around all along during this time, exercising some really wonderful doses of patience and perseverance asking me on a regular basis when I would be coming back to blogging. They missed my writing. They missed my blogging, my reflection time. My other self.
So far, in the last couple of months people have been exposed to the doer me, the one who executes, the 2.0 practitioner, the seasoned social business evangelist who tries to lead by example on what it is like Living Social in the big corporate business world without getting slammed much along the way (Oh, yes!! I am still going rather strong on “A World Without eMail“, too, by the way! – Hint: 15 emails received per week!).
But my faithful ones have been missing out on the thinker me, the one who gets to write, ponder and muse about those crazy little ideas that every now and then surface in my brain around Social Business and Social Networking for business and that they make it out there in rather lengthy blog posts, articles, and whatever else that, ironically enough, keep driving the popularity of this blog by tripling its traffic over the last year. Go figure.
Either way, it’s thanks to those faithful ones that I am back to blogging, wanting to acknowledge their extended patience and resilience to stick around all of this time and wanting to wish them all the very best in the new year with lots of exciting projects, inspiring initiatives and mind-blowing collaborative work with which they will keep rocking my world making a difference. A huge difference!
So, a big thanks! to all of you for being out there, for being patient enough throughout the last few weeks to hang in there, till I was ready to come back. A big thanks! for the encouraging words to reach out for that balance between me the doer and the thinker and for inspiring some pretty amazing offline conversations on the side that, you may not realise about it just yet, but they have completely shaped up what my new mantra and focus areas for 2013 are going to be: meaning, purpose, focus, trust, transparency, equity, transformation, change, complexity, uncertainty, authenticity, honesty, and, above all, engagement. Because, at the end of the day, it’s all about engagement, isn’t it?
And perhaps Social Business may, or may not!, have anything to do with it after all … We shall see!
Yes, I am, finally, back!
Ohhh and a Happy, Healthy and rather Prosperous New Year 2013 to everyone out there!
Let the fun begin!