I attended the MN Blogger Conference this past weekend at Concordia University and not only was I inspired by the speakers and fellow bloggers that I had the pleasure to meet, but I found that many of the elements needed in building a successful blog mirror creating work success of any kind.
I believe that finding satisfying work is a vital element in creating a life you love. I have found that it takes calculated risk and sometimes a little luck to develop work that is in alignment with your values and allows you to share your skills and expertise. With tenacity, finding work you love can be accomplished.
Now in its seventh year, the MN Blogger Conference was an inspiring, educational and social day. These are some of the takeaways that impressed me as five key ways to create work that you love.
In her keynote address, Jennifer Kane, an author, educator, and consultant with more than two decades of experience working in marketing and communications, kicked off the day by encouraging attendees to ask themselves three important questions:
- Does your work move you? In other words, does your subject matter, tasks and role matter to you? Does it have significance for you? Does it reflect your values?
- Does the work love you? How does your work affect you mentally and physically? Do you feel contented and happy at the end of the day or does it leave you feeling stressed out and drained?
- Does the work have love in it? What kinds of energy goes into the work you do? Excitement and positivity or obligation and duty?
Meeting with a trusted friend or mentor—or journaling on your own—can help with uncovering the answers to these important questions and set you on a course for creating a work life that feeds you and provides value for others.
Devin Joubert, assistant editor at Design & Living Magazine, suggested we grade ourselves after each project we complete by evaluating the following: What went well? What didn’t? How can I improve?
I find this advice applies not only to creative projects, but also the professional roles we perform.
I know that I have often stayed in a job (where I was stressed out and unhappy) for far longer than I should have remained. Taking time to honestly assess my role and the culture where I worked, three to six months after my start date, could have saved me precious time in building my career by simply evaluating my workplace experience.
In most jobs, performance is rated in a formal review a year into the role, however, isn’t it just as important to do a self-review? In this way you can determine what is going well and what isn’t and taking note of any improvements that can be made. If adjustments cannot be made, then you have the option of considering it may be better to move on. Either way, timely evaluation is key in determining if your work is a good fit or if your talents are best served elsewhere.
In her workshop, Ashley Zeckman, the Director of Agency Marketing for TopRank Marketing noted that 50% of blog posts get eight shares or less. That’s pretty dismal when you think of all of the research, planning, writing, photographing and love that went into each article.
While it’s true that you want to create content, products and services that readers, consumers and users will like, I think there is also something to be said for rallying around your friends and colleagues who are having the courage to create that content, design that product or dream up that new service.
I know from personal experience that it can be a lonely road in the early stages of a creative project or enterprise and a kind word or gesture can really boost your spirits and strengthen your resolve to continue on with your plan, project or dream.
In what ways can you be a source of encouragement to others in your social media circles or professional field? Some workplaces have built-in ways to hi-five your coworkers, while others might require a little creativity. How could you express support, cheer on a new idea or congratulate a fellow colleague?
Our life and career is more satisfying when we have genuine, positive and supportive people populating and partnering in our everyday world.
Sonal Gerten founder of Tumblewalla, an organic line of baby and toddler-wear designed to inspire movement and improvised play, shared the value of collaborating with others as a way to benefit the success of both parties in growing your business, your blog, your brand.
Her advice is to choose your collab partners carefully; Only co-create with colleagues, influencers and brands with whom you share a genuine affinity.
In your work and life, who can you team with to plan an event, host a lunch or design a new process? Who could you collaborate with to create a new product? Who can you interview to learn from and then share his or her wisdom with others in a workplace newsletter, blog post or educational seminar?
Jasmine Brett Stringer, founder of the internationally recognized lifestyle brand Carpe Diem with Jasmine, stressed the importance of being authentic, knowing what you bring to the table and delivering on your expertise.
In her presentation she shared her journey from her corporate days to achieving her dream of becoming a lifestyle expert, author and media personality—with the very relatable pit stop of a job layoff in between.
In her story I found three critical takeaways that are a challenge in our instant gratification culture: Patience, preparation and perseverance. It takes time to identify your unique value, find opportunities and develop relationships that will take your career to the next level.
The flip side of taking the care and time needed to develop your expertise and grow your relationships in a genuine way, is that you’ll be ready to pounce when you come face-to-face with your golden opportunity. And no matter how large or small it is, she counseled, “Deliver and Be Great”.
Jasmine recommended discovering your answers to the following questions so you’ll be ready to deliver when opportunity knock at your door (or emails, calls or tweets you as the case may be).
- What are your intentions or goals—to build a brand, promote your new book, establish your credibility?
- How can you deliver in a way that others cannot? In other words, what unique value do you bring to the table?
- How can you use your expertise to share a perspective that’s not being heard? What is being missed in the collective conversation to which you can speak?
Such a wonderful day at the MN Blogger Conference and so much to think about!
Thanks for stopping by today and I hope you found my takeaways helpful and that you can Reflect, Evaluate, Encourage, Collaborate and Deliver your way to work that your love!
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