By John Borst PP Rotary Club of Dryden, ON
In 2016 there were 113 resolutions published for the Council on Legislation to consider in 2017.
That’s 113 ideas, each started by a Rotarian who wants to see a change throughout the “Rotary World”.
A Club can also submit a request for action on a specific matter in the form of a petition to the RI Board (RCP 28.005.).
I mention COL resolutions and Club petitions for three reasons:
- Many members have ideas to put forward they think will improve Rotary;
- The act of proposing a change does not mean being critical of Rotary as an institution;
- The personal characteristics it takes to express publicly and defend an idea are not dissimilar to the character it takes to post opinions on a Rotary blog.
Rotary does have a small number of official blogs. Rotary Voices and Rotary Service Connections are two of them. Both essentially share individual success stories or ideas on new Rotary initiatives. A few Districts and Zones have begun to use blogging software to share their story.
What we need more of, however, is Rotarians with the skills, experience and courage to put their creative ideas on “electronic paper.” As the COL resolutions demonstrate Rotarians with ideas are out there, but 99% of us never see or hear about them. As for petitions, they get lost in the wind.
So what do you need to do to be a Rotary blogger?
- First, you have to permit yourself. Nike’s “Just do it!” is the place to start. Tap into the Rotary; you imagine it could be. Tap into the thoughts and dreams that are trying to get out. Give in to your creative impulses. Share your vision of what the ideal Rotarian can be, the values you exemplify, and the ideal projects and management paradigm. As Matt Matt Richtel says in “How to Be Creative” go “with your natural impulses, the things that make you who you are, and are your inner creator speaking out.”
- Second, be bold, even audacious. In blogging, boldness is a virtue. It’s tough to catch Rotarians attention. Again quoting Richtel, “Feel confident that whatever you create will be amazing.” The bottom line is you just have to keep at it. As you audience grows so will you.
- Foster creativity everywhere. Creativity builds on creativity. Look for and permit creativity in your kids, in the team you may coach, with your work colleagues or in addressing your clients needs. Do not be afraid to ask the “what if” question. Be prolific, get an idea write it down, mull it over, do some research if necessary, then write at the first opportunity. The more frequently you post, the more confidence you will build. Grab ideas from everywhere; you will be surprised from where an idea may be triggered.
- Live with imperfection. You don’t have to be perfect. Strive for a perfectly expressed idea, and it will never get published. It is a blog. Being imperfect leaves room for others to add their comments. It also gives you room to improve and grow with practice.
- Make time to rest, even sleep if that is what your body wants. Listen to it. Take an exercise break. I am constantly surprised at how often relieving yourself sparks a solution to a problem you may have with expressing an idea. Your mind needs rejuvenating; sometimes a change of venue triggers a phase or title around which to build your idea.
There are lots of areas where blogs can be useful in Rotary. Every Rotary Action Group (RAG) should have one, that would be 26 blogs alone. Each has a website, but blogging adds the dimension which is missing from each website. A newspaper’s term is editorial or opinion piece. Each RAG should be advocating for support, educating other Rotarians and yes, competing for attention and money.
Many of the approximately 56 Global Networking Groups (GNG) could do with one too.
But most of all each District should have a blog. I started the District 5550opinions blog because I conceived of the District’s website as a news site with items from the District’s clubs, Rotary International’s initiatives and the District’s activities. Newspapers had editorials, so the District needed editorial/opinions too.
The Adjunct Blogger
Finally, but most importantly are the independent Rotarians. Some are mavericks, often lateral thinkers, who dream big and want nothing more than to see Rotary thrive. If you want to try your hand at blogging but do not want the challenge of starting your blog, then join Wethe4 as an adjunct blogger, get your feet wet and let’s see where it all leads.