Even on this blog I’m often referencing my first book on leadership titled Embrace The Lead and my second book on leadership titled Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy. These are the first two products I have over there to the left.
One of the products I don’t talk about all that often is my two-part seminar series titled Keys To Leadership, which I recorded in January 2004. I feel it deserves a mention because it’s not all that bad (I go back & listen to it from time to time), I’m as proud of it as I am of all the things I’ve created, and it comes with a pretty good backstory. Continue reading →
Since today is the beginning of Black History Month, and I’m sharing a picture of Frederick Douglass, I’d like to share this with you… but I’ll be coming back to Douglass later on.
One of my biggest commenters on this blog, who I call Uttam, wrote me an email asking me some questions about blogging when he was starting out. Believe it or not, I don’t get a lot of email asking me questions like this, even though I always offer to answer questions, whether it’s on this blog or a question here and there via email. When I sent him my response he asked if he could put it on his blog; this is the link to that post which he titled Most Common Questions Of A Newbie.
Some of you know that my main career is as a health care finance consultant. My secondary career isn’t actually blogging, but the topic of leadership. I’ve written two books on the subject, the first of which is over there to the left, and it’s the main subject of my business blog, Mitch’s Blog. Based on my knowledge and dedication to the subject, as well as how long I’ve been in leadership, I like to think I know a little bit about it.
I started thinking that a majority of bloggers are actually pretty good at leadership… at least in their own way. Some have large followings, some small. Some are niche; some are all over the place. Yet, there are a lot of bloggers who, even if they have an ulterior motive (money, influence, consulting etc), are in the long run trying to help people do whatever it is they’re writing about.
For instance, our buddy Adrienne Smith has changed the tenor of her blog this year and is writing more direct posts with the intention of helping others become able to be monetarily successful at blogging. Her first post of the year started that trend, How to Improve Your Blog With This 90 Day Plan. That’s taking the lead at the beginning of the year and her writing has continued working towards that theme. Sure, she’s doing it for business, but what leader doesn’t have a secondary goal of financial independence in this world?
Recently I discovered a young lady (yeah, I’ve reached the age where I’m calling people “young lady” and “young man”; sigh… lol) named Kim George who also writes about blogging and has some fascinating articles that are aimed at helping people become better business bloggers. One of her recent posts was titled 15 Ways to Get Serious About Small Business Blogging, which I thought would be a nice compliment to a post I wrote titled First Seven Steps To Small Business Blogging. Take a look at it and tell me you don’t think it’s very helpful; I dare you. 🙂
You may ask “why is Mitch talking about leadership and blogging”? I’m talking about it because last week I came across another article asking Is Blogging Dead where the writer asked two big name bloggers that question. Both said no, but one of them, Mark Schaefer said these two things:
“for most people it’s becoming harder to maintain their audience and community”
“blogging is not dead, although it’s different and is probably less important than it was a few years ago… blogging will continue to evolve with innovations and ways to connect to people with long-form content”
That’s kind of scary isn’t it? Well, yes and no. The good part is that blogging isn’t going away any time soon; the bad part might be that it’s harder to connect with others these days, for multiple reasons. These include:
* more bloggers and blogs
* more large blog communities
* fewer people commenting or sharing links
* more places for people to get their information from on social media
* video, podcasts, new communication platforms
Goodness; that’s quite a list of competition isn’t it? It’s one of the reasons I wrote the post telling people to try something different on your blog last week. I caution that there are so many people writing and saying the same thing that we all need something that helps us stand out from the crowd some way. It’s one of the reasons I have two video channels, so I can offer advice on some of these same types of subjects in different ways, like this video I did talking about creating products by talking about cookies (one of my favorite subjects lol):
A quick sidebar. I add the link after the video because some people subscribe to this blog by email and not only can’t they view the videos there but if I don’t add a link they don’t know where to go; see, I’m teaching again. 🙂
Leaders innovate. Leaders educate. Leaders stimulate the minds of others. If you blog you’re probably some type of leader. Embrace that, use that to help stimulate your mind to write more, write better, rinse and repeat. Oh yeah; share others content, either via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, other social media or… lo and behold, your own blogs!
Why? Because leaders also embrace the thoughts and beliefs of others, take in what makes them stronger, and then helps others learn some of those extras they might not have shared before. That’s what Frederick Douglass did with Abraham Lincoln (see #2); that’s what bloggers do for others (I bet you didn’t think I would come back to Douglass did you?).
Be proud of yourselves. You’re bloggers… you’re leaders… you’re the best! 😀
In some ways I’m like everyone else when it comes to dealing with the concept of the term “expert”. The word has its connotations that make it something to eschew, and at the same time something to aspire to. I’ve hated being called an expert and tried to stay away from it at times. Then I came to grips with the reality that, as an independent consultant in different fields, the best marketing I can think of is to be seen as an expert in those fields where people might actually pay me for what I know and what I can do.
I taught these dogs to fly; no I didn’t…
I remember reading a book by a guy named Brendon Burchard called Millionaire Messenger, which I briefly mentioned in a post about two years ago, where his premise is that all of us are experts to someone, and we can turn that expertise into a career if we learn how to do it and have the confidence to do it. That kind of thing makes great sense to me, as in 2 days I’ll be celebrating my 12th year in business for myself. I guess that means I had that part figured out already to some degree.
However, you don’t have to always be making money at something to be considered an expert at it, or at least be trying to be an expert at it. I’ll go out on a limb and say that I might not have a skyrocking ranking when it comes to blogging, and yet I’d like to consider myself an expert at it. I actually gave a presentation on business blogging a year and a half ago that went over really well. Speaking in front of around 60 people or so, who crammed into a little room to hear me talk for about 45 minutes and seemed to enjoy themselves helped give me a bit of a boost that maybe I knew something of which I spoke.
It’s because of quite a few other things that I feel I have the right to call myself an expert on the topic of blogging. I’m expert on a few other things as well, and that’s more the premise of this post. What makes someone an expert, whether they want to call themselves one or not? I have some ideas, and I’m going to relate a lot of it to blogging. Here are 5 things I have for you; let’s see how you feel you stack up to it when I’m done:
1. Some knowledge of what you’re talking about – I like to think I know something about the topic of blogging. As it pertains to this blog, 10% of the articles I’ve written here are on the topic of blogging. Since I’ve written over 1,400 articles here, that’s not so bad.
But that’s not all. I also consider myself an expert on the topic of leadership and management, and to that degree 33% of the articles on my business blog are on that specific topic. Add to that the reality that I wrote a book on leadership and, until the last few months, also wrote a newsletter on the topic, and you could say that I’ve proven myself to be knowledgeable on the subject
2. Longevity – I’ve been writing and talking about leadership for 12 years now. I’ve been a healthcare finance consultant for 12 years now, with just about 30 years in the arena. I’ve been writing about leadership for that same period of time and blogging about it for 8 years, and I’ve been writing about blogging for 6 years now. For that matter I’ve been writing in some form or another for 33 years, which has prompted more than 3,500 articles online and nearly 100 songs and lyrics copyrighted; I hadn’t talked about writing earlier but I don’t necessarily consider myself an expert at that, even with the longevity.
3. Acknowledgement from others – This one is something you can’t really generate on your own (well, you can ask for endorsements on LinkedIn, but that’s not quite the same thing), so it’s nice when you get to be a part of something like this recent article including myself along with 32 others titled 33 Experts Share Their Secrets For Improving Reader Engagement. I’ve been a part of other interviews as well, and have been asked to write all sorts of guest posts and participate in forums here and there on the topic. And of course there’s my weekly Hot Blog Tips Hangouts on YouTube every Sunday, which is growing in popularity. There are many long time readers and bloggers who say a lot of nice things about my blogging ventures. Of course there’s many who have no idea who I am as well, but it’s not always numbers that make you an expert.
4. Willingness to continue learning – After all these years of all the things I’ve done, I continue trying to be better. I read more and I write more (maybe not so much lately but it’s coming back) because everything new I learn gives me a new perspective on things like and already know something about, gives me something new to write about and to help others with, and it all helps make me more of an expert which of course helps me benefit others.
5. Being willing to share – This is the big one. Back in the day there were a lot of people saying “You give too much away; no one has to hire you because you give it all to them already.” That may or may not be true; I really don’t know. I believe that over the years I’ve been willing to share what I think about blogging, writing, social media, and other things that I’m sure some people really couldn’t care much about but others might find somewhat interesting. After all, the name of this blog is I’m Just Sharing after all. 🙂 When you’re willing to give, you open yourself up to receiving as well; that’s what the cycle of life, or the laws of attraction, are really about.
My Keys To Leadership CDs is something I’ve written about before on this blog, so you can check that post out if you’d like. Of course, the back story is so much more fun. But I told that story on the other post; what more is there?
The day I did the first seminar, which led to the first CD, I was at a crossroads in the early part of my career. I wasn’t a happy guy. I was doing some sporadic subcontracting work with this other company that was leaving me very frustrated. The money was good, but the working relationship was not.
I’m all about communications. When I was a director, I made sure to keep the lines of communications open with those who worked for and with me. If something needed explaining, I made sure to do it right, especially if I needed it done a specific way. The owner of the company I was doing the work for wasn’t quite that type. She expected people to just know how she wanted things. That might have been fine for the people who worked for her where she lived, which was in the Baltimore, MD area, but I didn’t see her on a daily basis. I knew my work, but not how she wanted it presented all the time. Sometimes I’d give it to her and it’d be what she wanted, while other times I’d present it to her and she’d say that’s not what she wanted, without an explanation.
Still, it was bringing in money that I needed. But I wasn’t happy, and I knew I was going to have to make a decision at some point. That’s another reason I had set the seminars up, and even though I’d definitely picked the wrong time to do them (you’ll have to go to that other link to learn why), I figured it might tell me something about myself no matter what happened.
I gave the presentation that Wednesday night and it felt really good. And the topics I discussed made me realize that it was time to end that association, to drop that client for my mental health. So when I came home I wrote her, since she never answered her phone, and said I was done. And you know what? She never responded, never acknowledged, never asked me why… as if I didn’t exist. She could have cared less; I meant nothing to her except a body that might have had a few skills, and based on how she was treating me, I’d started to question that as well.
For the next two months I was floundering; that loss of money was big, and my mind wasn’t in a great place. Then I got my mind in a better place, not only after revisiting my own words when I was creating the sound files, but that’s when I started getting into motivational things. Within two weeks of starting that process I had both a short term project then a very long term project, and I was on my way.
And that’s the rest of the story. Anyway, this is am immediate download product; you can buy either one or both presentations, and on the site there’s also a sample clip, for those of you who’ve never heard any of the interviews I’ve done, so you can hear my voice as well. Here’s the product link to Keys To Leadership, which is also there to the left underneath my book.