Mark Schaefer gave me this advice on blogging: “Disclosing your own heart and your own story is hard but makes for the best blog posts.” I have decided to accept his challenge and tell my story today. It is not easy to tell a story of challenges and failures, but it has made me who I am today and led to what I consider the three components of social media success:
Mindful Content + Passionate Engagement + Heartfelt Collaboration
So how did I learn these lessons? Let’s begin.
Mindful content is the first step in the journey
I had been running in the corporate rat race for more than a decade. I was fed up with the pressure and decided to burn my boats and jump into the water. The only real positive I had going for me in this period was that my blog was gaining traction in less than six months of its launch and I was already gaining popularity among my social media connections (largely my ex-students). But my content was primarily motivational quotes from others. Not so great blog posts!
The stress in my life at this point was too high and meditation (along with attitudinal shift) seemed to be the only option to take charge of my story (and of course my mind). Thankfully, there was a keen desire for something which motivated me to meditate for an hour every day. After six months, I started to feel such clarity of thought and that was beginning to be reflected in my content. I actually started to feel proud of what I was producing.
The first lesson was that mindful, audience-centric content can only be generated with an uncluttered mind. It must add value to people’s lives by motivating, energizing or helping them resolve their current life challenges.
Passionate engagement touches hearts and lives
An uncluttered mind helped connect me with my deeper self and I began to realize what motivated and inspired me deeply. Once you discover your deep passion, passionate engagement happens naturally. You don’t feel drained and strained by putting those long hours on the computer.
I have never been a member of the group which plays the “victim” blame game and sometimes that’s difficult to maintain. After all, playing the blame game, makes you feel intelligent as you place fault with others and your circumstances. But looking within and taking responsibility also means you need to accept that sometimes you make a fool of yourself. Wisdom comes the hard way, when you are scratched with the sandpaper of relationships, which exposes you to your deeper weaknesses and the rough edges in your personality which need polishing.
But taking responsibility for your life improves your attitude, you become more positive toward people, even negative people.
Heartfelt Collaboration comes through trust
Any collaborative effort requires risk. It requires you to look at situations with the explorative mindset of how they could be made win-win. We all have emotional baggage and I had plenty of it. After all, I had been a child with spectacles right at the age of four, who had been humiliated, kept out of outdoor sports teams and who had missed out on the childhood fun in so many ways.
Could I forgive, forget the past, and learn to trust people? Would I ever be able to collaborate straight from the heart?
Only through taking that risk of trust and working through successful collaborations that I was able to shed my emotional baggage. As I was becoming a genuinely positive person, I noticed more positive people coming in my life and through my example sometimes even cynical people began to see their positive side.
Nothing succeeds like passion-inspired success and nothing fails like the self-esteem’s failure. I had seen the later already and now was gracefully welcoming the former.
In the not so great first innings of my life God was the villain, and I was the battered victim. I did not want to live that way. In the next innings of my life, I would rather let God be the Director of my life and my story. I do believe that God helps those who help themselves.
And I believe that through my content, in some small way, I am also beginning to write my next chapter, my destiny.