Before you can write a blog action plan for 2018, you have to know the WHY. It may sound daunting, but I did it and I’m going to show you how to find the WHY for your blog action plan. Because it’s important ~ really, really important. Think of these age~old sayings: “Rome wasn’t built in a day” or “You can eat an elephant ~ one bite at a time”. Or, a 1,000 mile journey starts with the first step”. Yes, we’ve all heard those. We’ve all been told that in order to achieve anything, we have a have goals. A few days ago I shared my goals for the past year ~ what goals I reached and what goals I missed.
But what is a goal? The most basic definition is “the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.” That covers a lot of ground: “I want to lose 10 pounds, I want to be rich, I want to be the number 1 salesperson in the company, I want to have the prettiest yard in the neighborhood.” The list of goals goes on and on and on. I learned in reviewing my 10 blogging goals for 2017 that you can reach a goal and not feel that progress is made or you can fall short of a goal and still feel that you made great strides. What makes the difference? The WHY. You have to find the WHY first before you can write a blog action plan.
To be honest, I’ve never liked the process of setting goals. When I was in sales, I hated (strong word) the “sales goals” form account managers had to fill out: how many new accounts, % of increase of existing accounts, increase in margins, increase in revenue; it went on and on; talk about headache. After 3 years of very successful results (increases in all areas), I never actually met those numbers. And neither did any of the other account managers. Why? Because we all just sort of made them up. And here’s the strangest thing ~ our company’s owners admitted that they didn’t even look at the goals we had set; they were more interested in our efforts and our actions. The goal setting form was just an exercise to make us think about what we needed to do to reach the goals. The goal wasn’t the important thing ~ it was the effort we put forth.
Finding the WHY in Your Blog Action Plan
In 2017, I realized I had reverted back to my old habit of using numbers as a way to state goals and measure them. It wasn’t the numbers that mattered; it was what I did to reach them that counted. So for 2018, I decided to use the lesson I learned long ago in my sales career. Don’t think about the goals; think about the effort, the action. Focus on the effort and the results will come. But first you have to think about the WHY.
Why You Should Start with WHY
Have you met a person for the first time (cocktail party, neighborhood, friend’s house) and the first thing you ask is “WHAT do you do?” Happens all the time. Have you ever asked someone first, “WHY do you do what you do?” I haven’t and I bet you don’t either. I bet you everyone can tell you WHAT they do without even thinking about it. Being asked WHY might give them pause. (Pretend you just were asked WHY you do WHAT you do. How would you respond?)
I’m reading a book right now called Start with Why by Simon Sinek. I can’t thank Lesley Clavijo of The Launch Room enough for recommending it. I’m not through with it yet, but already it’s changed the way I was going to write my blog business plan of action for the new year. Instead of focusing first on WHAT I planned to do, I realized that first I need to know WHY I do it, and then I can determine HOW to do it. According to Simon Sinek, it’s the WHY that’s the most important; without WHY, HOW and WHAT don’t matter. Successful companies and successful leaders (or those who lead) start with WHY.
As an example, I’ll share one story that Simon (we’re on a first~name basis now) shared, a story of WHY and WHAT.
Ever heard of Stanley Pierpont Langley? Me neither. We’ve never heard of him because he’s the person who did NOT invent and fly the first airplane. How about the Wright brothers? Of course, we have. They flew the first airplane in 1903 and changed history and the world. WHY did the Wright brothers succeed and Langley failed? According to Simon, the Wright Brothers started with WHY and Langley was motivated by WHAT. Langley, in spite of having government backing and money, a team of the best engineers and pilots in the country, and every facility at his disposal, never got a plane off the ground. His problem? His purpose for wanting to build an airplane was to be first, to be recognized and to be famous. He was in it for the WHAT. On the other hand, the Wright Brothers, had a clear passion; they knew that if they could build a machine that could fly, it would change the world and give benefit to everyone. Although they failed many times before succeeding, they believed in the WHY of WHAT they were doing. Langley, when he heard that the Wright Brothers had put a plane in the air (for only 59 seconds at a height of 120 feet) closed up shop. He didn’t strive to build a better plane that would go higher and stay up longer and fly faster. He just quit. His WHAT was gone and he didn’t have a WHY to cling to.
WHY is what keeps you going despite setbacks or failures. WHY keeps you excited about WHAT you do and HOW you do it. WHY keeps you focused on the passion, the endgame, the mountain. Unlike Langley who didn’t have a WHY to keep him going, the Wright Brothers had their WHY despite obstacles and failure.
How to Get to WHY
So before I made a business action plan for 2018, I had to ask myself WHY ~ WHY do I blog, WHY (as Sweet Shark asked me several days ago) do I spend hours and hours creating projects for our home that I can share with readers, WHY do I spend hours writing about those projects and photographing them and editing them and posting them on social media and listening to webinars and buying courses, yada, yada. He was being very patient about his questions, but I kind of tuned him out for awhile until I realized that this was exactly what I should be asking myself. WHY DO I DO IT? It sort of stops you in your tracks. But according to Simon Sinek the most successful companies (He cites Apple, Southwest Airlines and Harley Davidson quite often.) know their WHY. Not what they do as a company, but WHY.
First I tried to explain to Sweet Shark what was my WHY. And he smiled and was fine with my WHY. He liked my WHY. So I sat down and wrote down what I thought was my WHY:
- I love to write and edit.
- I love to take pictures and edit them.
- I love to paint and do DIY projects.
- I love to make projects with my Cricut.
- I love to plan parties and make cute things.
- I love to cook and share recipes and cooking techniques and tips.
- I love to write about blogging topics that I’ve learned.
And then I showed my list to him. He looked at me and said, “This is what you do.” I thought you were going to write down your WHY.”
Darn, that man. He’s smarter than I give him credit for. So, back to WHY. WHY do I love to do all those things I listed. I realized it came down to this: I am a teacher, by instinct, by education, by experience. I love to teach what I know to others who want to learn a new skill and inspire them to act.
WHY I blog is this: I think everyone can have a beautiful home. They don’t have to spend a ton of money to get it if they have the knowledge and information to do it.
My WHY: I believe that everyone can create a beautiful home without spending a ton of money if they have the tools to create it. I believe that I can inspire and teach people how to create pretty things for their homes.
Will you take the first step in finding the WHY as part of how to write a blog action plan? I hope that you will and follow with me so we can write our blog business action plan together.
Write Down Your WHY
- Sit down with blank paper or at your computer and at the top of the page, write “WHY I Do WHAT I Do”.
- Just start writing; there’s no time limit. You can write in sentences or bullet points. Keep writing. (See my list above.)
- Highlight or underline the phrases that really get to the heart of why you . . . (write a blog, build houses, sell insurance, create video games, etc.). Depending on your circumstances, the answer may be a simple “to make money” or pay the bills”. That’s O.K. but you could make money or pay the bills doing a lot of things. Check to see that you are not writing WHAT you do, but WHY.
- When you sense that your highlighted statements are your WHY, write a simple, concise sentence of your WHY.
- Lastly, share your WHY with someone: your husband (or wife), your best blogging friend or a Facebook group that you trust and admire. Or post it on your blog. I’m going to include my WHY in my About Page and my bio. Print it out and tape it to your mirror, fridge or computer screen. Keep your WHY front and center.
When I finished writing my WHY and felt it was exactly right, I got so excited. A sense of clarity came over me. I now know that every post I write will have a purpose that fits my WHY. BIG sigh of satisfaction. BIG fist pump. BIG smile.
The second step is the HOW. I had to ask myself HOW am I going to teach as many people as I can so that I achieve my WHY. I’ll be sharing that step in the blog action plan process next. And next week, I’ll announce my January Giveaway. Can you guess what it might be?
Did you notice that there is not a single number in my WHY? No quantifying, no “I’ll have this number of _______ by _____”. That’s not part of my WHY. Do you know what is part of my WHY?
Link Parties for January 5 ~ January 11