When I did a Google Search for “why you should blog”, the search engined returned 39 million results. Many of them inform what consistent blogging can do to your career, brand, and business value. They’re all great and some of my absolute favorites include: How to get off your ass and start blogging by Mark Schaefer, Writing in the Middle of Chaos by Christine King and 10 Reasons You Should Start Blogging on HuffPost. In this post, I will share with you why I blog and hope that you too will find ways to consistently engage in activities you look forward to doing.
1. Celebrate ‘Normalcy’
My first job was in a leading psychiatric hospital in South India. I was absolutely thrilled but it didn’t take long for my excitement to die down. The first couple of weeks were downright depressing. On most days, I sat in the Out-Patient Department (OPD) and looked for cases relevant to my project. And I was very disturbed by what I saw there. From cases of anxiety and depression to cases of paranoid schizophrenia and delusional disorders, all I ever saw was sickness, sorrow, and suffering. Almost overnight, my reality changed. And it made me question the whole idea of normalcy. This was no longer a binary world where people were well or unwell. This was a continuum with layers of complexity that was incredulous and sad, all at once.
When I shared this deep sadness with my professor (and boss), he said: “Look at the brighter side of it. They are here because medical sciences have advanced enough to give them hope to lead a relatively, normal life. In some cases, a vastly improved quality of life”.
Working there for a couple of years reminded me to appreciate the incredible blessing of cognitive skills. Normalcy was no longer a black and white term, for me. In the midst of carnage in other people’s lives, I learned to value every semblance of normalcy that served me and didn’t wound.
2. Preserve a legacy
My dad is one of the most remarkable people I have ever met. He saw the start of WWII in 1939 and was involved in the fight for Indian Independence in 1942. Of the most notable Indian freedom fighters and political leaders, he saw include Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. He also saw Col. and former President of Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser, the leader who nationalized the Suez Canal. During my dad’s stint in Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, here’s the list of aircraft he saw (and flew in!):
- Hawker Tempest – British Fighter
- Supermarine Spitfire – British, single-seat, fighter
- Percivel Prentice – British RAF military trainer
- de Havilland Canada Chipmunk – Two-seat trainer
- de Havilland Tiger Moth – bi-plane and trainer (my dad flew in this one!)
- Douglas DC-3 – American Airliner and Transport Aircraft (and this one)
- de Havilland DH-104 Dove – British short-haul airliner
- de Havilland DH-106 Comet – World’s First Ever Commercial Jetliner
- Fairchild C-82 Packet – Cargo and troop aircraft
- de Havilland Vampire – British jet fighter
- Consolidated B-24 Liberator – American heavy bomber (and this one too!)
- Different amphibian planes
Is it any surprise that my first post was titled A Million Goosebumps and stands as testimony to my love of planes. My dad’s career spanned several decades. His magical and curious mind recall many stories. From planes and their history to his unique experiences with them, they form a great narrative. I wish to capture them and share with you, my readers. It is a small effort to preserve his lasting legacy and influence on me.
3. Persevere even if it’s terrifying
IBM CEO Gini Rometty once said: “Comfort and growth do not co-exist”. It was so apt and powerful that it just stuck with me. If you’re familiar with the approach of StandOut 2.0, my primary role is that of a Pioneer. It’s no surprise that I can’t help looking for new ways to engage with myself and my life. I enjoy being outside of my comfort zone. I love the adrenalin rush that comes from thoughtful risk-taking. And writing is enormously humbling and terrifying. It’s a great leveller. It asks with pointed sharpness about the things that I care about. It demands clarity, authenticity, and the willingness to confront truths that are often, terrifying. Thanks to the wonders of technology and the WordPress platform, I’m able to do this on a consistent basis.
4. Connect Deeply
We create content but content also creates us. If you’re not using this amazing, historic, opportunity to publish, you’re missing out on one of the greatest, technological gifts of our generation. – Mark Schaefer
Earlier this month, I received an extraordinarily gracious note in my inbox. My heart leapt on reading that and I had to contain my emotions before I could respond. When I shared the note with my dad, we didn’t need words. Our tears were testimony to how we felt. It seemed as if something good had come out of that heartbreaking tragedy, after all. Here’s an excerpt from that e-mail:
I came across your blog about my father yesterday evening and wanted to thank you for writing about him. After all these years, I had begun to wonder if it was just I who thought he was wonderful in the way a child does or whether he really was an extraordinarily good pilot. I had also begun to wonder whether the story about his HT2 being caught in the jet stream of another plane really was true. I’m grateful to your father for remembering mine so clearly. I looked up the video of the HT2 – it looks so tiny and so breakable. And I’ve ordered a secondhand copy of William Stevenson’s book in order to read the chapter you talk about.
Once again my heartfelt thanks and every good wish in the world to you and yours,
This was a response to my post on a great, Indian aviator, Capt. M.V. Namjoshi. And it came from his daughter, Dr. Suniti Namjoshi. I had just experienced the power of connection through the wonders of social media. My effort was merely an attempt to capture the iconic, aviator’s story. Somehow, it may have helped heal (?) the memory of a tragedy that happened 60 years ago.
5. Experience Happiness as Frequency (not magnitude)
I view stories on my news feed of perfect families, perfect selfies, perfect bodies, perfect smiles, and perfect love. From motivational quotes to perpetual positivity, there’s no dearth for ‘happy’ content on social media. My world is far from perfect. And I deal with challenges, every single day, like most people. Happiness isn’t an accidental visitor in my life. I strive for that just like I strive to live by the values that define me. Whether it’s through Check-In Rituals or through my Gratitude Log, I have learned to appreciate happiness with the discipline of frequency (and not magnitude alone).
I blog weekly because it gives me joy. I look forward to this sacred time. It gives me a sense of accomplishment. And it keeps me to the discipline of a schedule. I have new-found respect for accomplished writers and authors. I now know what it takes to write a 1000+ word blog post, every week! Yes, it’s definitely part of building my brand, reputation, and becoming Known (yep, the Mark Schaefer way) but those are incidental. It’s not that I don’t care about that. I care deeply. And my motivation to blog comes from the intent to connect in a meaningful way. In a world that is increasingly divisive and filled with hatred, the ritual of a weekly blog holds great promise for me to:
- keep believing in our connected humanness
- remember our shared gifts and frailties
- use the power of the written word to lead and serve with love and grace
What keeps you blogging? What joyous activity do you look forward to, every week? Let me know!
Anitha Aswath is an HR Consultant and Strengths Coach of Leader Success in the Leadership and Team Intelligence Practice Area at Cisco. She has the unique privilege of meeting Cisco clients from all over the world to serve, teach, and enable the success of their teams.
THIS IS A PERSONAL BLOG AND VIEWS DON’T REPRESENT CISCO’S STRATEGIES OR OPINIONS.