What Blogging Taught Me

I began to blog in all earnest, seven months ago. Since then, I have published 25 posts on my website and a guest post on Mark Schaefer’s {Grow} Blog. At the time, I gave myself 3 months and thought: I’m going to put my heart and soul into this and evaluate at the end of the 90-day period. If I don’t like it, I will stop. And if I really enjoy this ritual, I will continue. Well, 200+ days later, I’m still here. And now, writing a post on what lessons blogging taught me. 

1. Joyous Anticipation

One of the early lessons blogging taught me was the joy of anticipation. I started to look forward to every weekend! It became an opportunity for a creative space that was sacred and pristine. In the daily grind of responsibilities, schedules, and commitments, this became an activity that offered joy. And you might wonder how I could possibly create more opportunities for joy when I created one more thing to look into in an already busy world. Stay with me and please read on.

2. Playing to my Strengths

It allowed me to play to my strengths. Not just in the universal sort of way but also in the Marcus Buckingham kind of way (StandOut with Strengths – The Truth About You). In ‘The Revealed Series’ at Cisco, Marcus pointed out that “The purpose of work is to find that which you love”. When you expand that, you realize that the purpose of life also is to find that which you love. Not just in relationships but in everything we are and do. In the Strengths Framework, a strength is defined as an activity that energizes you. Blogging weekly is an activity that gives me energy and offers a sense of fulfilment when it is done.

3. The Discipline of Execution

A few weeks ago, a quote showed up on my news feed: “Commitment means staying loyal to what you said you were going to do, long after the mood you said it in has left you.” I couldn’t help a chuckle (and a wry smile) when I saw that. Declaring to my family, friends, and my team that I was going to do this was one thing. Following up on that declaration, week after week, diligently, is quite another. So what keeps me going? Lesson no. 4 provides some answers.

4. The Power of Grit

In this TED Talk called: Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Lee Duckworth, she defines Grit as follows:

“Grit is passion and perseverance for very, long-term goals. It’s having stamina. Sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

From world class athletes to hugely successful business leaders and public figures, it is probably fair to say that grit has played an invaluable role in their success. In fact, I will go as far as to say that it is the key differentiator between genius and perseverance. After all, what is genius without perseverance?

Week after week, blogging has taught me the power of grit and the reminder that I have to work really hard to stay in this, for the long haul.

5. There’s Magic (despite the madness)

From my social media newsfeed to the newspaper, I’m increasingly saddened by the news I read and the images I see. From violence to natural disasters to comments of rage and hatred, I sometimes feel helpless and wonder what on earth is going on in our world. Is there no end to this madness? When will we learn to live and let live? How can we take care of this precious eco system that has been giving it’s all to us from times immemorial?

Blogging weekly is a chance to better that state. One post at a time. It’s not heroic. It is not life-changing. And it’s not a miraculous cure. But it is one, small step forward. I choose to take that, despite the madness in the world around me. And in doing that, I find the harmony and magic I can create within my circle of influence. In one of my earlier blog posts, you will find a section called “Connect Deeply”. Once in a while, my readers share how inspired, informed, or moved they are by my post. There’s magic in that connected humanness. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

6. How to Be Courageous (despite the fear)

Blogging is for the brave! It’s a difficult and somewhat painful discovery I made. Wait. How can joyous anticipation be painful? Here’s what I’m beginning to understand: There’s joy in pursuing an activity that makes you feel strong, engaged, and energized. But Jeff Brown says:

“…Writing is a truth serum, one that is not always easy to drink. This is why people often choose to remain ‘one day I will write’ seekers. They can avoid the actual moment when they find what they are looking for. Because speaking our truths requires us to deal with many different challenges, including our discomfort with vulnerability, our fear of failure, the very real consequences of finally speaking our truths. Writing, like any form of revealing self-expression, calls us to the next stages of awakening. It’s seldom just pen to paper. It’s far bloodier than that. It changes our lives, calls us to grow, and transforms our consciousness…”

That is correct! Writing is one of the most terrifying things I have ever done in my life. The fact that something that emerged from my heart (and head) is going to be viewed by anybody in the world often makes me feel sick in my stomach. I’m afraid of judgment, labelling, and failure. And writing weekly means facing these fears, constantly. But I choose to push on because of one reason: the awareness and conviction that this is in line with my soul’s purpose.  

I’m sure there are many more lessons to come. But in the meanwhile, what activities do you pursue that bring you joy? How do you handle the fear that comes from vulnerability? Please post your comment below. Because, it truly a gift to be able to grow together.

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.


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