By Suzie Cheel & Des Walsh
The beach is a magical place, ever changing and the morning we saw this spiral we knew that someone’s imagination was firing.
What do you do to fire up your imagination and leave a little bit of magic?
It seems that lately the words innovation, ownership and collaboration are cycling through my daily thought process and conversations at a rate that I can barely keep up with.
Innovation is our starting place. With social media weÂve created an outlet for emphasizing every disaster, whether itÂs a true world catastrophe or lapse in judgment. Instead of looking at the world with this emphasis of pain and failure, let’s look at it through the lens of ÂHow can we make this a better place?Â IÂm not saying those problems arenÂt real, but itÂs time we step up and take ownership to be part of the solution.
ItÂs a bit difficult to separate innovation and ownership, but taking innovation to action requires owning the problem and the idea with a commitment to work towards a solution.
The world would look drastically different if we spent more time identifying a problem to own, rather than fighting for more space, more time, or more money in our own little part of the world.
ÂLara Galinsky, Harvard Business Review
When we have a sense of ownership, we take pride in that thing we have owned, whether it be an idea or a project or a community. I recently made the decision to identify what IÂm passionate about and to learn to say no to projects that didnÂt fall under that umbrella. Not only did it make life far less stressful, but it also made it easy to focus on those problems I did choose to own.
There comes a point where we realize that despite our aspiration for innovation and ownership of the problem, we canÂt do it by ourselves. And why should we? When we connect with the right people, those whose goals are aligned with ours, our force is stronger and our reach is further.
LetÂs work together to make a difference.
Identify a problem to innovate. Take ownership. Collaborate for impact.
Solve big problems.
When you woke up this morning, did you grab your robe, shuffle to the kitchen, and press the Brew button? (Mine was a Starbucks Verona K-cup.)
Most people spend their entire lives in that same state of semi-aware robot sameness. They do the same thing every day, say the same things, write the same things, look the same way.
And then they expect something to change.
My suggestion is: zig when you want to zag.
Get unstuck. Out of the rut.
Things will change if you change them.
The Successful-Blog community is here to help. What can we help you get unstuck from?
Your writing style is something that is uniquely your own. While you can admire another writer’s voice, it would be a mistake to try to mimic it. You will only end up creating a pale imitation of the work you are trying to master. Stand up, take a deep (virtual) breath and be yourself. Follow these 10 tips to develop your own writing style.
Set aside some time to be creative regularly. It doesn’t matter if you are writing a novel, working on essays, blogging, or writing in a personal journal. Take time to explore the world of words regularly to develop your own writing style – and don’t forget to enjoy it.
Image via Flickr CC: Alan Cleaver
Are you still zesty?
When you first start blogging, you are like a kid in a candy store with a million bucks to spend. Ideas flow readily, creative juices are on tap, and the world is yours. Who knows how many shares your next post will get? Maybe you’ll hit the bigtime and huge brands will knock on your door to advertise. Maybe you’ll get a book deal!
Many posts are written.
Daily demands start to distract you from your initial excitement.
You go three weeks with no comments.
No book deal yet.
It’s been a year or so, the magical tipping point, right?
Where are all of my readers? Why doesn’t my Google Analytics page view chart look like the Himalayas instead of a flatlining heart patient?
Stop the shame spiral, and stop torturing yourself.
Maybe you’re posting too frequently. If you are pushing to crank something, anything out several times a week, and it’s a chore, consider scaling back to once a week, or even every two weeks. If you need to get more drastic, tell your readers you’re taking a sabbatical of one month and stop blogging for a while. I promise the world won’t end.
Maybe it’s time to get out of your rut. When is the last time you tried something new, or went to a strange location? Stimulating our senses or intellect with new experiences is a great way to get a jolt. Take a road trip, go skydiving, start the cold shower regimen recommended by Julien Smith…anything that shakes up your world.
You know those corporate retreats where everyone does the trust exercise? You can do that for yourself. Set aside a weekend, or a couple of work days to focus, and revisit why you started the blog in the first place. What made you say, “I’m going to be a blogger?” Write down your reasons, and keep them handy.
How would you feel? If it’s relieved, then it might be time to actually do it. Blogging should be joyful and rewarding. If you’re doing it right, it’s an outlet, not a draining slog. In fact, ask yourself if you would keep blogging even if no-one was reading it. That’s where you need to be.
Talk to your friends or colleagues who have read your blog. Ask them why they read it. Do a quick survey of your readers (even if that’s only a small group of people) and find out what they think. You might find out that your writing is inspiring people. A lack of comments doesn’t mean a lack of impact. Read this amazing story about the power of 5 blog readers, if you don’t believe me.
Maybe you’re trying to live up to a blogging ideal that’s unrealistic. Take the chains off for a while, and just start typing. Write as if no-one will ever read it (hey, you already think no-one’s reading anyway). Get all of that stuff out of your head and onto the page, and then sort it out later. Sometimes a loss of zest is simply coming from an out-of-control negative voice. Shut that sucker down and get your groove back.
Even if you’re writing a pure business blog, you can let your human side out. Maybe you’re having a hard time because you’re trying to put on a facade of “corporate” when all you want to do is run through the sprinkler. Don’t go TMI, but try adding a personal story into your writing and let your community inside. Perhaps that will encourage your readers to come out of the woodwork and share their own personal stories too.
What do you do when you’re feeling squeezed dry?