My Blog, My Birthday and The End – Exercise #31

We have finally arrived and the end – day 31. When I started this exercise I had no idea that I would get as tired of it as I have. Not tired of the writing itself, I still really enjoy that, but tired of the topics for the A Caboose at the Endexercises. Yup, totally my fault for not looking a little further down the line in terms of what would be asked – but it did force me to stretch a bit.

Well the exercise for today (is this the final exam?) is to tell you why I blog. Why does all this exist at all? In fact though, I have alluded to that answer more that once as the weeks wound on. My blog, this site, as it stands now is a way for me to flex my writing muscles while at the same time imparting some useful information occasionally. Not much of that useful stuff has happened over the past month, but then again nobody is perfect. If you do want one of my more useful posts recently, go back and read the one about professionalism – and then go fill in your Gravatar information! That is still driving me nuts.

Anyway … Long ago the purpose of this site was purely computer professional in nature. It is where I would write articles on things going on within the computer field, such as virus outbreaks or Microsoft Outlook email problems, or on the elements of web design, running a small office, or even book reviews.  What the site has morphed into over time is just more of my writing on whatever I want. All my more “technical” writing is over on other sites and blogs, so while there may be pointers to it here, there is no reason to repeat it all. I do still have my other sites, Michaels Trains, Charleston Rail, and Just British, for some of my other interests, but those are hobby sites and not updated anywhere near as often.

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What Inspires You?

We all know the feeling of not wanting to go to work in the morning. Heck, there are times we don’t even want to get out of bed! But there are other days, and you know you’ve had them, when you can’t wait for your feet to hit the floor. You set the alarm clock a little bit early and you even wake up before it goes off. Those are the days we live for. Those are the days that make us come alive.

The RoadSo, what is the common thread in those days? What is this thing that you do, maybe only occasionally, that makes you want to take on the world before the day even gets started? Maybe it is that project that you are working on that is so interesting and important to you that you stay up past midnight without even realizing it. Maybe it is a place you go that has you pressing your foot down on the gas harder than you really should. Or, as is the case with those such as me, it is the topic that you go on and on about until the eyes of your listeners glaze over and they make excuses to escape.

Or hopefully, and this is the great rare case, it is the topic that you speak about with such passion that your audience is caught up too. Your sheer heartfelt devotion to this cause is so powerful that it is contagious to those around you and you start a movement – by accident. The cause may be civic, political, religious or even very personal, but you have no choice but to give yourself up to it and be carried forward by it – with no guidance of your own.

You are lucky when and if you find such a cause. Do not resist it. Do not try to turn away from the calling – not only will it keep beckoning to you, but deep inside you will know that you have turned away from the path you should be on. The trick is to hear that calling, be honest to it, and then let it guide you. We will all be better off if you are on the right track.

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

– Howard Thurman

You Do What You Can

Once a man was walking along a beach. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. Off in the distance he could see a person going back and forth between the surf’s edge and and the beach. Back and forth this person went. As the man approached he could see that there were hundreds of starfish stranded on the sand as the result of the natural action of the tide.

Starfish On The BeachThe man was stuck by the the apparent futility of the task. There were far too many starfish. Many of them were sure to perish. As he approached the person continued the task of picking up starfish one by one and throwing them into the surf.

As he came up to the person he said, “You must be crazy. There are thousands of miles of beach covered with starfish. You can’t possibly make a difference.” The person looked at the man. He then stooped down and pick up one more starfish and threw it back into the ocean. He turned back to the man and said, “It sure made a difference to that one!”

Man On A Mission!

Have you ever thought about a personal mission statement? Recently I have been working on a mission statement for my up and coming business, and to tell you the truth I have been having a hard time with it. But, while at the dentist this morning, and yes under the influence of gas and Novocaine, I realized why. I am having a problem coming up with a professional missions statement because I don’t have a personal one.

This is of real importance since, seeing as this is my business and a sole proprietorship, Mission Direction Sextantthe business’s mission statement should closely mirror my own. If I can’t communicate what I personally am trying to achieve and what is important to me, then how am I ever going to be able to transfer those values to a business? I must know where I am planning on going before I can ask anyone to share that path.

I also started thinking about the ever growing concentric circles of missions statements for self, family, community, business, greater community, etc… If you can start to define yourself it makes everything from choosing a presidential candidate to selecting a vacation spot much easier. I didn’t say simple, just easier!

So I am going to start working on my personal mission statement, and when I am satisfied for the time being I will post it here. I won’t say “finished”, because a statement like this should be reevaluated and evolve over time. As my life and those around me change, my beliefs and mission will change as well.

I would love to hear what you think about this. Do you have a mission statement for your life? Your blog? Or your personal business? Why or why not? Would you care to share?

And, if you care to work on your own, here are a few resources:

Meeting Goals

Goals are wonderful things – well they are when you make them. And thanks to the help of many of you reading this I met my goals for February. Honestly I will attribute meeting my goals to two important things – the choosing of reasonable goals and some hard work. OK, there may be a little luck in there too, but not much.Soccer goal

One of the things I really want to do in 2008 is get my blogging and websites to “work”. To do this I decided, or was convinced by some great articles that I read, that I needed to establish goals and work towards consistently toward those goals. That makes sense since it is what you should be doing with any endeavor that you care about succeeding at. Since December is an anomaly in many ways and I was already towards the end of January when I made this decision, I formed my February goals based on my January numbers. I also looked at where I wanted to be at the end of the year. Finally, I based all of my goals on three distinct metrics – simple hits for all my sites, the number of RSS subscriptions to my blogs, and income from all sources for all of my sites.

What I decided was that I needed to double January for February. Then in March I will need to add on again the numbers I had in January. Basically, at the end of the year that will leave me with monthly numbers that are exactly twelve times what I was doing in January of the year. And here is the cool thing – I met my goals for February! That means I had twice as many readers, twice as many subscriptions, and twice as much income as in the first month of the year.

Now I will be honest and tell you it is all still pretty small, but if I can keep this same growth going forward then by this time next year things will be going well. Will I be able to quit my job and live on a beach somewhere? No. But I will have a nice little bit of additional income and a whole lot more expertise and experience. Those last two things can translate into many more opportunities and outlets in the future.

So tell me, do you have goals? Are they written down and do you work on them daily. And on a personal level, how are you doing with them, and what can we do to help?