Have you ever started something and then had difficulty sticking with it for the long haul?
Several years ago, after reading a blog post by Chris Brogan, I decided to give his “three words” exercise a shot. You can see one here and another here.
As with so many attempts at trying new behaviors, I failed to not only stay focused on my guiding words, I couldn’t even remember what they were just a few weeks after completing my deep deliberation and engraving them into my calendar. Undaunted, I made the attempt again the next year, with similar results.
I believe the primary reason I didn’t stick with my resolve was my lack of support and accountability. I either tried to go it alone, as I often do, or else I asked for accountability from people who didn’t share my aspirations or zeal.
Getting encouragement is simply different when you’re receiving it from someone who has some “skin” in the game. Too often, I hear people talk about their dreams/goals/vision for their better selves. But they do little to put opportunities in place to actually accomplish them. Asking someone who’s already given up on their own weight-loss regimen to then encourage you to stick with yours ain’t likely to lead to a successful result.
This time around, I decided to seek my encouragement from an online community of people that Chris established who were walking the same trail. Although our goals and passions are varied, the purpose of each is to reach their individual destination.
For me, the purpose of the Brave group was to get some initial encouragement from Chris and others in the form of seeing their struggles and how they’re doing battle with their particular obstacles. But the ongoing process of encouraging others and seeing them move into and through their roadblocks helps me as I clear my own.
Throughout this year, I’ve extended my participation into several additional online communities, each with its own set of interests and pursuits. What I already knew in concept – but have watched play out repeatedly this year – is that web-based interactions call for many of the same commitments that face-to-face relationships require.
If you want a community to both grow and create a place within it to grow yourself, you must make a commitment to participate. Most people who participate do so because they want feedback and encouragement, but when they get busy, they often neglect giving those things back to others. It’s something I have been guilty of far more times than I want to admit, even to myself.
But having the community, as imperfect as it may be, to act as a cheering squad in the early stages of a new effort, and then give “shout outs” as you make progress, is priceless. I appreciate when someone has a hope that a plan will pan out. But having a structure and relationships that support it can have a far greater impact on it coming to fruition.
For too long, I have looked to build community with people based on proximity. I fought the concept of building a web of connection on the web. Although I’d prefer to have some opportunity for face-time with the web-based relationships, I trust that in time some of that will occur as well. In the meantime, the virtual relationships I’ve developed are feeding my resolve and giving me some of the support I was lacking in my previous, more solitary attempts at following through on my three words.
As for the three words I used to stimulate my growth for 2013, they were, focus, ask, and process. More to come on each in the following posts.
How ‘bout you? What do you need to further your vision? Is there any way that I could encourage your journey?