I don’t just work as a communications professional. I live it. Every hour of every day, I am communicating – or thinking about messages and strategies and tactics. At the office. With my family. In the car. In my kitchen while I’m making dinner. The near constant analysis of words and messages makes me who I am. Even if that is a little crazy.
So it would follow, perhaps, that someone like me would jump right into blogging – a giant stage where I can share my thoughts and ideas with the world. I admire friends and colleagues who blog. I follow countless blogs written by strangers – people I have come to appreciate deeply because of what they’ve chosen to share on this stage. But for me, the idea of becoming a blogger has always just been one more overwhelming prospect in my already chaotic life. In roughly the same category is my lingering desire to make more of my family’s pantry staples from scratch. But when it’s Thursday, and I’m almost late to a meeting, and the kids will want toast in the morning … that loaf of bread on the grocery store shelf wins every time.
I recently had coffee with someone who offers me the wisdom and perspective that comes with many more years of experience in the strategic communications world. An hour or so into our conversation, he asked if I had ever considered blogging. I avoided the question.
He followed up by telling me not to be deterred by the “celebrity” aura of the blogging world, where the stars have masses of devoted followers and regularly are going viral about this or that brilliantly clever thing.
“You know,” he said, “you can blog without being a blogger.”
Okay, now I’m listening.
Immediately, I thought of another little corner of my life. A couple of years ago, I started running. It happened a little at a time, first walking, then adding in short bursts (if slow and labored actually qualify as bursts) of running. Eventually, one Sunday morning, I ran 30 minutes without walking, or dying. A huge accomplishment for me.
Over the next year, as I improved and got a little more confident in my running, I started getting ambitious. I looked for training strategies and tricks to improve my speed, my strength, my mental toughness. Maybe I’d run a 10K! Or a half marathon! I started talking to other people I knew – great runners – to learn from them and hear their stories about how they got to be so fast, so strong.
Fortunately, one of these conversations was with a coworker who issued me a warning:
“I can tell you enjoy running,” he said. “Be careful about getting too caught up in getting faster and stronger. Don’t call yourself a runner. Just run.”
In the many months (and three very modest 5Ks) since that conversation, I have realized that I’m not a runner. I run. And I usually run in the dark morning hours, which gives me the independence to evaluate my success based solely on my body’s strength and response. I don’t worry about anyone else, or my race time, or a bib on my shirt. It’s just regular old me, running. It’s empowering. Sometimes it’s even a tiny bit amazing.
So now, I begin blogging. Not as a blogger. Just as someone with a few ideas, with a desire to make the world a better place and with a passion for words, creation and expression. It’s a personal journey (friends welcome). And that’s exactly what I want.