Five Years Later

Five Years

Almost five years ago, it happened: I finally worked up the courage to start a blog. Back then, blogging was just hitting the mainstream with the rise of WordPress and Blogger (and to a lesser extent Tumblr and others). My first blog post, “Sometimes 140 Character Isn’t Enough,” set the foundation for the 147 posts (and counting) that have come since. Looking back at some of those first posts is pretty embarrassing, but it also shows how God has molded and shaped me over the past five years.

Back in 2010, I was beginning my final year at John Brown University, serving as the student ministry intern at Harvard Avenue Baptist Church, working part-time for the Arkansas World Trade Center, and making a lot of big plans for what I wanted to do when I graduated that May. Between that first post and this one, I have launched a business, led a college and career ministry, attended several incredible conferences, gone on adventures all over the country, experienced the joys and sorrows in different interpersonal relationships, and a host of other events that have all served as inspirations for the posts on this site.

If you would’ve asked me back in 2010 what life would be like in 2015, my predictions would be quite different from my reality. And you know what? That’s not a bad thing! Looking back, some of the things that were on my agenda would have deprived me of some incredible opportunities. If I would have traveled to Europe or moved out of Siloam immediately, I wouldn’t have gotten to enjoy the rich fellowship with the believers at Harvard Avenue. If I wouldn’t have started AFS, I wouldn’t have gotten to learn about what it takes to bring an idea to fruition or meet some of the inspirational people in Arkansas and around the world that are passionate about improving the world through building innovative businesses.

The examples are endless, but the lesson is the same: God’s plans truly are higher than any plans I could have for myself. I’m not saying don’t set goals or pursue your “five-year plan”, but do so with the realization that God’s plans and yours may not line up… and that’s just fine. When you look back, you’ll see the grace in the way He has sovereignly directed your steps to increase your joy.

-Lawson
Learn It. Love it. Live It.

[image credit: Michael Ruiz on Flickr

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3 Reasons Everyone, Including You, Should Blog

BLOG

Once upon a time, if people wanted to tell others about what excited them, they had to write it down on paper, put it in an envelope, and mail it to a friend, family member, business associate, or publisher. The process took days and the original author didn’t have a copy of what he/she wrote in the first place (unless they made another handwritten copy). Then the telegraph, typewriter, and email came along and helped speed up the process; however, the scope and efficiency of the author was still limited.

In the late 1990s, the weblog, or “blog” as we know it today, format was created and began to flourish. Sites such as Blogger and WordPress made the blog much more accessible to the average user, giving almost anyone with internet access the ability to create a blog and share their story with the world. As of February 2011, there are more than 156 million public blogs in existence and are used by large companies, small businesses, nonprofits, clubs, organizations, pastors, artists, marketers, authors, crafters, moms, and ordinary men and women to quickly and efficiently tell others what inspires them.

With that in mind, here are a three reasons why everyone, including you, should consider blogging:

  1. Share your passions
    A blog is a fantastic platform for you to show off your expertise in a particular field or fields. Get excited about new marketing techniques for small businesses? Share your expertise, experience, and experiments with other small business owners (and maybe you’ll be able to turn it into a consulting and speaking gig). Do you enjoy crafts? Create a blog displaying a project you are working on and the different steps and materials involved in the process (you can even monetize it with the Craftistas widget). Travel a lot for work? Tell others about your trips and the fun/terrible places you encounter. Have a variety of interests like I do? Dedicate time to each one and show how they influence and interact with each other.
    Basically, a blog is a great way to give people a deeper look into what drives you while also giving your audience information that inspires, educates, or entertains them.
  2. Process your thoughts
    There is something about writing a blog post that is very therapeutic. It’s relieving to take an idea you’ve been bouncing around in your mind and put it into a tangible, written form. Processing the idea not only stimulates your mind; it also allows you to move beyond theory toward application. The blog format then allows you to transmit the idea and the thought process behind it to your audience for them to evaluate, comment on, and act upon.
  3. Build your brand
    Of course, there is a personal branding aspect to blogging. As you continue to develop your blog, your audience will steadily grow, especially if you are serving as a source of interesting and helpful information that relates to shared interests. This can be especially helpful if you are looking for a new job or want to develop a side hustle. Put your blog address on your resume (if it’s relevant to the position you’re applying for): it gives the potential employer something more to look at in order to assess your skills and abilities beyond a one-page resume and a 30 minute interview. Posting to a blog will also help establish your credibility within your field and potentially lead to opportunities to expand your influence through networking and speaking events.

Want to give blogging a try, but don’t want to go through the trouble of setting up a blog? Plenty of bloggers are looking for people to write guest posts. Reach out to one of your favorites with an idea and see if he/she will feature you. If you enjoy business, ideas, or theology, write a post and send it my way. I’ll take a look at it, offer feedback, and potentially feature it on here.

Operating a blog requires consistency, patience, and passion. You won’t get 100 views/day immediately, but as you continue to add more posts, connect with other bloggers, and create more content, your audience will slowly grow. Here are some “do’s and don’ts” to get you started. Of course, there is much more to blogging than the numbers, as mentioned above.

What are you waiting for? Start telling your story!

-Lawson
Learn It. Love It. Live It.

Already blogging? Share why you enjoy blogging (along with a link to your site) in the Comments below.

[image credit: Thomas Hawk on Flickr]

Learn It. Love It. Live It. [Post #100]

BITheader

I was recently asked about my blogging philosophy: “Why write (and tweet) about three different, and seemingly unrelated, subjects (business, ideas, and theology) on one blog?”  Well, the first reason is practical: I don’t have time to maintain three different blogs. Another minor reason is because I find blogging to be therapeutic and a great outlet for me to share my thoughts about the world I live in.

However, the primary reason that I blog about a variety of things is because it is an accurate representation of reality. Like most people, my life isn’t siloed into different interest areas. Each of the things I’m passionate about interacts with the others and affects what opportunities I pursue with my time and energy.

The same is true for each of us. We all have different things we are passionate about that combine together and express themselves in the way we live our lives. That’s why I end each post with the tagline “Learn It. Love It. Live It.” These three phrases sum up how we discover our passions and make them a part of our daily life.  Read more of this post

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