Having started 12 months ago with no blog know-how and with an audience of my mum (thanks Mum!) and a few other friends, Five Beans Food is now an established blog with a keen little community who enjoy reading it and who actually use the recipes, plus an active and growing following on various social media platforms. So many things have happened, and I’ve learned so much!
Life Lessons from Masterchef
This reminded me a little of the time a few years ago when our family watched the 2014 season of the reality TV cooking contest Masterchef Australia. Watching those contestants sweat it out week after week inspired us to learn some Life Lessons from Masterchef. Our top five:
- There are times when something isn’t working and the best thing to do is to start again so you can get it right. At other times, the thing to do is to go with what you have and make the best of it – in the end you just need to put something on the plate;
- When someone gives you some constructive criticism, it doesn’t mean that your work is really bad, it might actually be fantastic, but you still have some room for improvement;
- If you keep your workspace clear and ordered, it will make it easier to find things and give you more space to do your work;
- It is hard to focus properly on more than one thing at a time; and
- Even if you aren’t the best at something, you can still be really good at it and enjoy your own unique style.
See this post here for more of how Masterchef inspired us in the kitchen.
Life Lessons from Blogging
After those useful lessons, I thought that one year down the track from my first official blog post would be a perfect opportunity to share my Life Lessons from Blogging.
1. A whole lot of things are possible
I’m not quite sold on the “anything is possible” idea, but I’m now convinced that a whole lot of surprising things are possible. If you are prepared to work at it and persevere over the long haul (and/or if you are prepared to pay for someone else to do it for you, eg buying a WordPress theme to make your blog look nice), you will be amazed at what can happen.
2. You can do it
NB: I’m singing our in-house motivational song, the “you can do it” song, in my head while writing this. I have discovered that it’s possible to improve your skills in pretty much anything if you give yourself time, practice, training and the right resources. For example, have a look at these two photos of the same tomato soup recipe taken one year apart – notice anything different?
Not perfect, but I’ve made a whole lot of progress. That all comes from reading and learning about photography and photo editing, a lot of practice with a lot of photos over the course of a year, plus a new camera for Christmas. See, it’s possible!
3. There’s an app for that
So many amazing tools and devices out there! I’ve discovered all sorts of tools and apps to help plan, schedule, do cool stuff which I couldn’t do otherwise, and to save time and effort.
4. There’s an expert out there
There’s an old saying: a wise person heeds instruction. In other words, it can be a good idea to listen to and take advice from people who know what they are talking about. And, unless you are the first person ever to do something, chances are someone else has learned this before and you could benefit from their experience and expertise.
I know I have appreciated soaking in the skills of experts in the blogging world. I have read blogs and ebooks, watched webinars, listened to podcasts and recently went to a blogging conference (ProBlogger on the Gold Coast). Thank you to all of those people who were prepared to share their knowledge!
Life lesson: there are people out there who have the know-how you need for a whole range of useful life skills. Seek them out.
Now that you have soaked in all that advice from others, filter it through your own unique stamp on the world. You have a unique story to tell. Imagine how boring it would be if everyone was the same! So, when faced with what seems like a sea of people out there doing similar things, it’s OK not to be like everybody else. In fact, it’s fantastic.
6. Don’t just plan, do
I can spend so much time learning, planning, thinking and dreaming that I never get around to actually do the things I was planning. How did that happen? Planning can help, but it doesn’t replace really doing things. Sooner or later I will need to take action and get it done.
7. We’re better together
Community is cool. Collaboration is constructive. Doing things together is fun and productive.
Blogging has opened a world of interesting connections for me, both virtual / global and real / local. The photo collage includes a few shots of some of our local food bloggers group (often taking photos of food!).
Life lesson #7: Find some people. Hang out with them. It will be good for you and for them.
8. Take a break
Even the most successful bloggers promote the idea of taking regular breaks. Maybe that’s one of the keys to their success? I believe we are hard-wired for regular rest and refreshment and do better when we program that into our lives. Also, having a rest or at least a change of scene can allow space in our brains for more creative and productive thinking. So (and I’m talking to myself here, I must admit), stop, have a cup of tea, go outside, get off the screens, go for a walk, take a break.
9. Be curious
Keep on learning and being interested in people and in the world around you. Be curious about a wide range of topics, not just those in your comfort zone.
10. Remember your why
Why are we doing this? Do you have a “why” for your “what” and “how”? It is an important question to ask, but one we often let slip into the background rather than regularly reminding ourselves of our motivation and purpose.
I was reminded about this recently on hearing one of the founders of the the Thankyou social enterprise. Remembering the “why” helped them push through obstacles and persevere while getting their unique business model off the ground.
For us too, remembering our big picture reasons for doing things can give us a decision making matrix and it can help us press on when things get tough.
Plus, it can remind us to have a healthy sense of perspective on things that aren’t our “core business”. We can have fun with them without letting them take over our lives. Enjoy!
There you have it, the 2016 edition of my 10 Life Lessons from Blogging. What about you? Have you learned any life lessons from unexpected sources?