All the people who you see featured on The Self-Discovery Retreat, we started as strangers; through developing the courage to express our thoughts, we built a connection. Today, I thought I would share a story of how reaching out and connecting with others has really had a positive impact on my blogging journey.
Last year at this time, I reached out and introduced myself to Rita Barry, a Canadian blog designer; I was seeking her expertise with making the big leap in transferring my site from WordPress.com to a self-hosted site. Rita Barry is the one-woman show behind “Blog Genie.” As a speaker, designer, developer, and coach, she helps aspiring bloggers finally go big. You can find her teaching blog-enthusiasts of all levels to upgrade and professionalize their work in Blog School, or you can get immediate (magical) access to her 70+ favorite blogging resources!
I had randomly heard about Rita’s work through the blogging community a couple years prior and had been passively engaging with her through reading her newsletter and following her on Twitter. One day, I decided to take action and email her about working with her to transfer my site. She immediately responded and we set up a time to skype. Through talking with her we realized we both have university backgrounds in mathematics and science and both started our careers wanting to be medical doctors. Yet, our combined loves of technology and people led us to be where we are today.
While working with Rita on the technical aspects of my blog, I realized that what truly matters is the human connection between you (the blogger) and the members of community you are building. Therefore, I wanted to shine light on an empowering mother, wife, and entrepreneur who has helped me turn my vision into reality – Rita Barry.
When I asked her about what self-care practices help her achieve her personal best, Rita responded:
“My main self-care strategy is planning my life and work around what's most important to me. And then sticking to the plan.
I love my work and love helping women build websites and businesses. I could do it every day, all day, and email requests literally come in at all hours of the day and night so it's easy to get sucked into other people's emergencies and requests when you really should be doing something else.
Each week, based on my commitments, clients and family needs, I schedule my work around the other things going on in my life, not the other way around.
It's like how you're supposed to pay yourself first and put money in savings, before paying other bills.
My weekly schedule is auto-populated with self-care activities: meditation, walking the dog, workouts, menu planning, and it's around those activities that I layer my personal commitments for the week. Hockey games, car pool, homework, coffee dates and family movie-night all get scheduled BEFORE work.
Then, as the last part of my weekly routine, work gets scheduled in.
Sure, that means that I'm not a Monday to Friday 9-5 gal, but I never liked that schedule anyway. It does mean that I wake up before dawn some days and work for 2 hours before the house springs into action. It does mean that I sometimes work an evening when my husband is on nights and my daughter is in bed. I've grown to love my weekly "routines," the variation keeps things interesting.
What's more, by taking care of myself and my highest life priorities first, I enjoy work more, I'm more focused, have greater creativity and am truly present for my family - which is the whole reason I started my own business in the first place.”
Thank you, Rita, for sharing your Record Worthy Practice with all of us! So grateful to have you at the “beach” and for your reminder that blogging is all about building community – both offline and online. As well, thank you for prodding us to take care of ourselves, and those we care about, first; that from this strong base, we can build our larger community!
An important lesson for all of my fellow bloggers: what really matters isn’t that you have the “perfect” blog; it is about getting out there and connecting with people in person and on social media! Go Big by reaching out and starting an authentic conversation, one person at a time; let every person know they matter!
What is most important to you in life? Are relationships a priority? I hear from people all the time who are looking to meet new friends. How do you make time for your friendships in your busy schedule? How do you meet new friends after you graduate? What should new bloggers do to start building their communities?
Thank you for reading and for your presence at this beach retreat. You Rock! We are all looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the Comments section below.
See you at the beach!