It was 2008 when I first and last joined Blog Action Day. That year, the theme was poverty. It was a tough but satisfying blog post to write.
I've been meaning to join again, but I have had trouble identifying with the themes that have been chosen since I last participated. They were wonderful themes, mind you. Very much worth writing about. But, somehow, I didn't get to find the right energy to blog about them as part of a collective voice.
This year, I decided to sign up again because of 2012’s Blog Action Day theme: The Power of We.
It is a theme that I have embraced in my life and in my work, so it really resonates with me. My biggest challenge is knowing which way to turn on this blog post.
Part of me wants to write about The Power of We in communities that I have had the honour of being a part of and/or helping to build. Another part wishes to share what that theme seems to stand for, in the wonderful work that others do. Then, there's also that part that wants to write just close to home... To write about what being a part of a "we" in day-to-day life.
Community. Partnerships. Collaborations.
These are words that hold a lot of meaning for me on a personal and professional level. They are words that I continue to explore and to learn about day after day. And this year, more than any other year, I have found myself relying on these words for a lot of things.
Having worked in the nonprofit sector for over a decade now, in one way or another, I have been a keen supporter of community work. However, I have never been at my best with personal fundraising. Yes, I donate and support good causes. But, me, asking people to donate to good causes? It was a bit more of a challenge. And, it has become a challenge that I wanted to overcome.
That's why early this year, one of the goals that I set for myself in 2012 is to hold my first charity fundraiser. On my own, I never would've managed to donate $700+ to a good cause, in just a matter of weeks. By myself, I would've donated a modest amount, and wouldn't have known what kind of impact that would've made to someone. But, with the help of everyone who supported the cause, we managed to provide fresh, clean water to 35 people.
That was amazing. That sort of thing makes me excited about what The Power of We can mean in our society. It reminded me that on my own, I might make a small dent in making a change in this world. But, together, we can make a bigger difference.
I can't wait to do another project one day that will showcase this wonderful "Power of We" again.
One of the challenges of being a solopreneur at the moment is managing the sense of isolation. Strangely enough, I know I have been here before and never really worried about it. I've always been a bit of an introvert, so staying indoors on my own for several days has never been an issue for me. I never minded being in my own company for long stretches of time. If anything, I loved it.
But, something has changed in me over the last few years, it seems. Having gotten used to being surrounded by people in my day-to-day life, I now find myself craving for company. Looking for ways to be a part of something.
So now, I am having to learn a new way of working.
Thankfully, this new mindset has enabled me to attract like-minded individuals. More and more, I am developing personal and professional relationships that enable me to stay connected.
I am hoping, for example, that trying out co-working would help me to get out of my home office more and be part of a great work space, surrounded by great people. I am also part of ongoing conversations with folks on how we can help support each other in the work that we do, especially as solo entrepreneurs. And yes, in the process, developing deeper friendships along the way too.
Just recently, I was going through a bit of a bad patch. My usual "I can handle this on my own" mentality was set aside when I reached out to a trusted colleague/friend via a private message. It was just a couple of simple lines to let another person know that I wasn't in my best shape at the time, just to reach out.
And surprisingly (or perhaps, I shouldn't be too surprised), this person almost immediately gave me a call to ask me how I am and what they can do. Just that simple act made me feel a lot better. Knowing I wasn't on my own. That someone cares enough to check in on me.
So, when this same friend/colleague reached out to me at a time they needed a bouncing board, I was happy that I was able to be there for them too.
This reminded me that "The Power of We" doesn't always have to be earth-shattering or world-changing. Sometimes, it's just being able to reach out to someone when we need a little bit of extra support. And, being there for someone when they reach out to us. It's knowing we are never ever alone, no matter what we're going through.
Sadly, there are many people who may feel desperately alone, just because they feel that they have no one to turn to. In fact, one of those people may be someone we know. It makes a difference if we make that move, even if it seems like a tiny gesture, to let them know we are there for them.
And, if that's us, feeling awfully alone, it would help to try and to reach out to someone we know. Give them a chance to be there for us.
If you took part in this year's Blog Action Day, please feel free to share your links below too. Would love to read your take on the topic!
Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.