Des Walsh with t-shirt "I'm Blogging This"

Context and Back Story

This post about my blogging story has its genesis in a commitment made several weeks ago, when in a moment of enthusiasm I undertook to write and publish, over a 7 day period, one blog post a day, each post to be on a specified theme, as part of Darren Rowse’s ProBlogger Challenge. I started well but now here I am, four weeks on and I’m only up to Number 4, the challenge being to write a “story post”.

As anyone who knows me will tell, I am usually not at a loss when it comes to telling stories. So thinking of a story I could tell in blog post form should not have been a problem.

Not quite. When I sat down yesterday to tackle this self-imposed assignment, the story part of my brain went on strike. Nothing to see here, move right along.

But just before I retired for the night the story department of my brain showed a glimmer of life and I wrote in my notebook, “Write a story post – about blogging”.

Today dawned and I still liked that idea but then came the question “what story about blogging?”.

A coffee or two later and the answer came: my story about blogging.

Old movie poster for CasablancaIt’s not an earth-shaking story. It’s not a “from rags to untold riches” blogging story. In fact, like the problem of Humphrey Bogart’s Rick and his friends in Casablanca, my blogging story really “don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world”. But it is my story and, as I write about some of the challenges and setbacks and aha! moments, maybe part of it will resonate helpfully for someone.

At the very least I will be over this bit of blogger’s block and be able to move on to Challenge 5. Watch this space for that, but don’t expect it tomorrow!

Oh, and what started out as “a blog post” has already become at least a two or more likely three post series. The series begins in this post with why I started blogging, then moving on to the “how”, including various experiments with the tools and processes, followed by some wonderful social and business experiences, and some thoughts about how I see blogging for me and others now and in the future.

Why I Started Blogging

My blogging story might well not have happened without my coaching story, so here’s how that kicked off and how the blogging bit came in.

Becoming a coach

Round about this time 14 years ago, I started to get frustrated with consulting. That’s a whole topic for another blog post: suffice to say for now that a friend suggested I look at coaching, which I did, somewhat warily at first, to be frank.

Logo for Coachville IntensiveThen I learned about the Coachville Certified Coach Intensive, to be held over two days in November 2002 in Sydney. The event was hosted and led by Coachville’s founder, the much admired, now late and much lamented Thomas Leonard. I asked my friend Padraig O’Sullivan – the same whom I interviewed a few weeks back on my podcast show Let’s Talk Leadership – and who knew I was toying at that time back in 2002 with the idea of becoming a coach, whether I could learn something from this guy Leonard. Although at this distance of time I can’t recall Padraig’s response verbatim, it was to the effect of “he’s the man” and that it would be well worth my while to attend and participate.

Picture of the late Thomas Leonard, "the father of coaching"So I did. And learning from and observing Thomas over those two days, I was hooked, both on the idea of my taking up coaching, and on the value proposition of being trained through Coachville.

Those insights, with the benefit also of a brief conversation with Thomas, about coaching online, led me to signing up to go to San Francisco in May of the following year to attend Coachville’s The Future of Coaching conference, in the meantime having signed up for the total Coachville coach training program. My investment of US$179 for a weekend’s training had suddenly morphed into thousands of dollars for the full Coachville program, trans-Pacific airfares to the conference and so on! Not complaining: there are investments I’ve made that I’ve lived to regret, but never that one.

Sadly, by the time that conference came around, Thomas Leonard had been taken from our midst, in a sudden and untimely death.

A Life-Changing Half Hour in San Francisco

Poster for Coachville Conference, The Future of Coaching, San Francisco 2003So come May 2003 here I am at the San Mateo Marriott in the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s Day 2 of the conference, the theme for the day is Technology and the Future of Coaching, and I see a curiosity-arousing item on the agenda for the second sessionBecome an eCelebrity by Blogging, with Hal Macomber.

People these days seem very free with the phrase “life-changing experience” but it is no exaggeration to say that that half hour listening to Hal, introducing me to blogging, did actually change my life.

It was not that I had any desire to be a “celebrity” – if anything the notion could have been a turnoff, but in the session Hal showed how, with blogging, you could get your brand, your story out to a much wider audience and engage more effectively with them, wherever they were in the world. I could see how I could use blogging to help me promote my coaching services to a much wider market than my own city could offer, or even my own country.

What I did not realize at that time – I would have needed a crystal ball – was just how serious I would become about the business of blogging, as well as about blogging for business, or how blogging would lead me into a broader world of what we now call social media.

In the next post in this series I will share some highlights of my early days as a blogger, including experimenting with the tools and processes of blogging, the story of my blogging book, my “blogging evangelist” phase, and a few other items that will probably surface as I track back over the past 13 and a half years since that pivotal half-hour with Hal Macomber in San Francisco.

What’s Your Blogging Story?

Whether you are an established blogger, on the path to becoming one, or still “thinking about it”, I’d love to hear your blogging story. Maybe you have done your own post on it or might be inspired now to do one! If so, please share your experience, thoughts, etc. Just use the Comment box below.

Or if you have a question about blogging I’ll be happy to try and answer it.

4 Comments

  1. Mina Joshi

    It’s always great to
    Know how others bloggers started blogging . Looking forward to reading about your highlights . And good luck with the rest of the Challenges set by Darren .

  2. Toby

    Des – loved reading your backstory! Isn’t funny how one road leads to what may be an even more significant path?

  3. Des Walsh

    Thanks Mina. Glad you like it and I appreciate your good wishes – excellent motivation! 🙂

  4. Des Walsh

    Toby, you are so right!

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Des Walsh is an executive coach. He helps business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide deal effectively with the feeling of being left behind or overwhelmed, or both, about social media – especially LinkedIn - and how to engage safely and effectively with social media to help grow their business. Connect with Des on LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get Des’s weekly Social Business Bites (select snippets of his "best of the week" online finds).