I received a newsletter today from an organization that I do business with. The cover story was titled, “Put it in Writing.” The article itself focused on legal means for defining business relationships for long-term success. It got me thinking… Why write? Or, more specifically… Why blog? Why journal? Why make lists? Succinctly put, writing it down is a good way to document what you have to say, to remember something or to hold yourself (and others) accountable for taking action.
Blog. I must tell you, though I never anticipated it to be true, writing this blog has become my biggest guilty pleasure! This blog started back in November 2011 as a way for me to share a system for networking that could work for others and I felt compelled to share it. Though, within the first 30 days, I had documented what were the most salient points at the time, I continue to blog now because hidden gems of information continue to present themselves – information that might be helpful to you in your ongoing networking efforts since they have been so helpful in mine. And, selfishly, I feel great each time I publish a new post. It provides me with an outlet for self-expression and long-term documentation of ideas that are important to me.
Certainly blogging has become quite prevalent. I personally follow several – some that I have kept up with for year running from well-known gurus in their respective fields – the likes of Seth Godin (sales and marketing) and Brad Feld (entrepreneurship, venture investing), for example. They certainly have something important to say. I look forward to posts each day from these experts and feel like I learn something new from them each time.
Recently, several friends started blogs that I now follow religiously. Each is very different and I eagerly dive into each new post. Like my passion for networking, they, too, have passion for specific topics in their lives and they have something to say. Check out these great blogs:
- Around the Table (tips, insights and beautiful photos about home cooking and organic farming);
- Our New Normal (parenting experiences from the mom of an ADHD child); and
- SheVenture (ideas, information and creative exchange for female entrepreneurs).
Do you have an idea for a blog? What is it? Is it a topic that inspires you? That riles you up? That urges you to share your opinions with others? I think blogging is a wonderful way to share your input with the world – or at least anyone who will take the time to read what you have to say.
Journal. Journaling is a great way to build and grow. It enables the author to record thoughts about moments in time, it can spark ideas, it can organize one’s thoughts, not to mention that it can serve as a stress release in that one can simply “get it off his/her chest.” In the spirit of full disclosure, journaling is not something that I have done successfully, though I have tried and I think it is, in theory, a good idea. Those who I know who either do journal on a daily, weekly or simply occasional basis tell me it is a great way to document ideas before they are forgotten, to capture the names of people with whom they come in contact (and how they made the acquaintances), to take note of important conversations, quotations, etc. They also number and date their journals to keep them orderly and so they may refer back to them from time-to-time. In fact, for you innovators and entrepreneurs out there, journaling is really important – especially if you plan to seek patents or intellectual property rights. Journals provide a very practical means for proving when ideas for inventions came to you.
Lists. I am a consummate list maker. Grocery lists, holiday card lists, things to do lists. I find that if I write it down, I get it done. In fact, you may have heard the old adage (I believe attributable to Peter Drucker), “What gets measured gets done.” Well, I find there is no finer way to measure my productivity in completing my list of things to do than by ticking them off, one by one, as I complete them. The lists help me to hold myself accountable and avoid procrastination.
Let’s take a call list for example. A sales professional that I know tells me that the most important part of his day is making his current and prospective customer calls. He says that if he does not have a list to get the day started, those calls don’t get made. It’s exhausting to try to remember who he said he would call if that list is not sitting in front of him. His approach is to prepare his list for the next day the evening before. By doing the prep work and research needed in advance, once he gets to the office, it takes him no time at all to whip out the list and start going through it. Having a list helps him maintain focus.
The same holds true for networking. By making a list of people with whom you would like to connect, you may be more likely to pick up the phone or send an email to schedule a Coffee date. I challenge you to do that… NOW!
Whether you perceive yourself a writer or not, documenting your thoughts can be downright cathartic. Remember, this is coming from me, the math major! For self-expression, for peace of mind, for accountability sake, I encourage you, indeed, to write it down.