A Chord or a Nerve

I finished a post last week that I started months ago on anger, sanctification, grace, and consequences:

Sanctification, by God’s grace, has led to improvements.  Huge improvements by comparison, but God’s still not done rooting out this particular sin.

Source: Consequences (Change takes time) | #Optimism and Irony

..and this post for whatever reason has already almost twice as many views as any other post in the history of my blog.  I set a new PR for visitors in a day (nothing by a lot of bloggers’ standards and the post keeps getting more hits than anything new.

It was also a deeply personal post (which there have been more than a few of on this blog) but it apparently hit people in a way that they shared and clicked through in droves that I’ve not seen before.

I’m honored (assuming that’s what went on here) that God has used His rooting out of my sin to help others and humbled by it.  I’m also continuing to re-think what I’m best suited to speaking and writing about, and this is new food for thought.  I don’t get caught up much in my “stats” but I do want my writing to be read by others, and when it is I always wonder why.

To my regular readers who are reading even the “less popular” posts:  thank you for sticking with me as I write.  Feel free to give feedback here and on FB or Twitter, constructive and positive, that will help me grow as a writer.  To those who are only reading here and there:  thank you for giving me something to think about.

I don’t know if I struck a nerve or a chord, but I’m glad to see my writing doing something.  Even if it’s just gathering virtual dust most of the time.

New Blog Title

So as I mentioned last week I’ve been planning to rebrand the blog since before I finished school. As of today the “new” blog has arrived and the changing horses content has been copied to another WordPress site. I will be adding to that site every week or two but this blog will now be about issues far removed from my EMBA program experience.

The new blog title? #Optimism and Irony. Which requires a story.

During the last press for school, probably the last six months, my daughter Elsie* started saying #Optimism (read “hashtag optimism for us older folks) whenever I would get discouraged about the road that still remained.

#Optimism

I’m not what you would typically refer to as an optimist. I’m a realist (pronounced <PESS i mist>). I generally can see and predict the worst possible ending for any situation. As you and I both know, things rarely (almost never) work out as the worst case scenario, and so I tend to spend more time than I ought fretting about what might happen.

For Christmas, Elsie got me a mug with #Optimism on it. I use it at work as reminder. When people ask (and they do) I mention that the #optimism is ironic. Because I’m not an optimist, you know.

Which is funny. My eschatology is very optimistic. I believe Jesus wins in the end and in history. I believe in a great and awesome God who has everything under control. And yet I find myself in despair or discouragement bordering on depression all too often. Something for the Holy Spirit to work on, to be sure.

I don’t think #Optimism and Irony is the permanent name of the blog, but who knows? It may just stick. And speaking of sticking, hopefully you’ll stick around to see how all of this develops into a new blog now that I’m done with school. About which, more later.

*Elsie blogs at Keep Calm and Beethoven On and shares a YouTube Channel with her brother Toby called More Coffee TV.  Check out her creative endeavors!

Blogaversary

Today is July 3.  Last year on this date the first post appeared here at Changing Horses Midstream.  Not sure whether this means its’ time for reflection or celebration or both.

Here’s my opening salvo:

I recently interviewed to return to college.

This the returning to college part is something I would have, if anyone had asked (you didn’t….why not?), said I would never do again. I’m at the top of my game, in many respects. I have a senior level job that I love working for a ministry that I love and I have all the internal and external credibility that I could ever need. Why would I ever subject myself to school? I hated college, the first time. I didn’t really get into it the second time. I wasn’t terribly fond of the correspondence program I dropped out of. And I couldn’t get out of high school fast enough.

via 03 | July | 2013 | Changing Horses Midstream.

Returning to school is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  And one year later, 11 months into the 16 month program, it’s one of the smartest things I’ve ever done.  The program here at Bradley has helped me to understand the scope of business practices so much better than I would have if I’d not gone back to school.  It’s been really rough on my family (and there’s still a rough 5 months to go…my last class and the comprehensive final exam is still 5 months away).  By the numbers I have 156 days until that last class and 49 days of class (including the international trip) to go.  By efforts I’m imagining I have four major classes (and one minor) left with potentially accelerating difficulty.

Performance Management and Controls, with its infamous Business Plan is in the rear view mirror.  Whew.  Very glad to have that done.  In front of me I have:

  • Building Employee Commitment (3 class days, major #1)
  • Managing Technology (5 class days, major #2)
  • Leading Successful Change (change management, 2 class days)
  • Global Environment and Issues (4 class days plus a 12 day trip to India, major #3)
  • Strategic Positioning and Performance (5 class days plus the comprehensive final exam, major #4)

I am completely unsure of what this is going to be like.  All of the classes look hard, but I’ve only seen the syllabus for the first one, and I have a sketch of what the last one will look like.  I’ve also gotten some input from the prof for Global Environment so I know generally going to be expected there.

One year of blogging.  Five classes left in five months.  Tick, tick, tick….

 

200 Posts!

I haven’t yet been blogging for a year, but here we are at post number 200. It’s been just over six months since post 100 so that makes my rate of posting about 200 posts per year. Given my desire to post four times per week that seems about right.

I’ve been enjoying (mostly) blogging again, and setting specific goals has helped me to keep up with what I’m doing. I haven’t hit my 4x/week goals every week (May in particular was poor for that) but I have most weeks. I’m not going gangbusters on readership (and didn’t expect to) but I was hoping for readership to increase over time, which I don’t think it has. Since I’m writing mostly for my own reasons that’s fine, and of course my site stats don’t take into account people reading through an RSS aggregator like Feedly, so it’s tough to know how many people are reading. Daily visitors have been as high as 153 and as low as 1. My first month, July 2013, had 1086 page views and I haven’t come close to that since (second highest is 665). No real positive trends anywhere that I can point to except that in May, when I posted less, I had the fewest page views.

Most of my posts with the most views have to do with family, or are ones that I wrote the first month where I was still writing about why I started the blog. Those posts (the early ones) would also be the ones most likely to have been linked to from other posts later. My About Me page has more views than any single post…and I have no idea what that says about anything.

It hasn’t quite been a year for the blog (I started in July), but it’s been fun. I’m almost 2/3 the way through my EMBA work and I’m not dead yet. And since I need to get back to working on a business plan for management accounting…that’s all the musing you’ll get about #200.

100!

I’ve been blogging for a few months now…and here we are at post #100!  Instead of something completely new today, I’m going to link out to a few of my “favorite” posts of the past and quote some of the “best of” the blog.  These posts were selected by an elite committee comprised of all the of the authors on this blog, and were vetted by his wife.

  • First, if you haven’t read them yet, you should read the About Me and Why This Blog pages.  They’ll give you a brief summary of who I am and why I’m taking the time out of my (currently very busy) schedule to keep up on this blog.
  • July favorites:
    • Are You Insane?  (My first post, wherein I begin blogging and talk about beginning blogging and applying to go back to school…oh and essentially part II of this post, Crazy…)
    • Changing Horses, wherein I explain how I chose the name for the blog.
    • 24 x 7 = 168.  Do you know how many hours there are in a week?
  • August:
  • September:
  • October:
  • November:
    • Giving Thanks.  You can probably guess what this one’s about.

If there’s any favorite post that I’ve left off, let me know in the comments!

Not A Lot of New (Plus a Bonus!)

So life has been pretty decent of late.  The last two weeks have been hard, but I’m seeing things trend up in better habits and more awareness and holes getting plugged at both home and work.  I had a few very minor crises at home and work, which often when I’m tired throw me for a loop and lead to a mild depression.  And this time they didn’t, which is encouraging.

I’m still not getting enough sleep.  Only about a third of the nights am I getting the seven hours I’ve budgeted in my 168 Hours list, and most of those it’s just barely over seven, with a rare “catch up” night where I get 8. (I did go to bed early last Thursday and got a fantastic night’s sleep of over 10 hours which was a huge help.) I’m doing ok on the less sleep (I cut most of my caffeine out, which I think helps a ton), but I’d like to be hitting at least the 6 1/2 number with near 100% frequency, which I’m not.

Also, because I’m pretty well caught up on school, I don’t have a lot to write about my EMBA work at the moment.  And since no-one else has posted questions for me to answer in the comments, recently, I find myself with a Monday post and not much to say.  So I’ll try something that’s built into WordPress here, which I haven’t used before, that might be fun:   A Poll.  Let me know what you think.  I think I’ve got it set up so you can add in options if your answer isn’t there, and so you can check multiple answers if they all apply.  Thanks in advance for the feedback!

Q & A: Your Questions?

I spoke at a conference last week in Denver. I love public speaking. I enjoy it and I have been told I am fairly good at it.

Certainly I have room to improve. I “wing it” far too much when more preparation would produce a better talk for my listeners. I don’t research enough to put that one thing in that might make the talk just enough better as to make a difference.

I like most to talk about things I know well. And my favorite part of talking to groups is Questions and Answers. Q & A.

Sure answering live questions is more stressful than delivering prepared paragraphs. But I love it. And here’s why:

There’s no part of public speaking where you can be more certain the audience is listening carefully and attentively than when you’re answering a burning question that hadn’t been covered yet in the talk.

And I love delivering what people want. I love that in that moment, your question, which you don’t know the answer to, is able to be given what it deserves: a response.

Q & A means that I don’t have to wonder “did I cover the material well enough so that everyone understood?” I know that I was able to answer the query or quandary.

We can do that here, too! This post exists for the singular purpose of you, my few, faithful, fearless readers deciding what I’m going to write about in the future. Leave a comment on this post with a question or a topic you’d like to see me cover and I’ll get it queued up, provided you don’t ask something where the only answer I have is “I don’t know” and I can’t fix that with a little research.

So what do you want to see here? What burning questions do you have about me, my life, my schooling, my work, or about the universe? (The answer to the last one is 42.)