Liz Strauss continually shares nuggets of wisdom that leave me pondering and savouring it in my mind until Iâ€™ve fully sucked out all of the flavour, all of the meaning.
During her keynote at this yearâ€™s SOBCon (Successful and Outstanding Bloggers Conference), she tossed out another nugget of wisdom:
You’re building a barn, not a coliseum.
I have been pondering, savouring those words since April 30th. While busily building the Blog Accessibility Mastermind course and website over the last few weeks, Iâ€™ve realized there are three points to Lizâ€™s words:
1. A barn is not huge.
Coliseums are monstrosities; barns are not. Start with something small.
I had been intending to launch Blog Accessibility Mastermind (BAM) since September, but writing the thirteen lessons was a daunting task and other commitments kept distracting me. Reframing BAM from a 13-lesson comprehensive course to a 6-lesson introductory course made the project more manageable, more doable. The project was then possible to get off the ground; revisions and additions can come later.
2. A barn is solid, not finely polished.
A barn is solidly built and serves it purpose: to house livestock. The walls are not finely sanded and flawlessly painted. This is not imperfection; itâ€™s beauty, in itâ€™s own way.
My main focus is building solid content for the individuals who are kindly paying to learn something new. Although having a forum in which members could discuss course content and share ideas would be nice, finding an accessible forum application and setting it up is time consuming. Using the comment section within the membersâ€™ area will work equally as well and is something familiar to the members who are bloggers and know how to interact in the comment section.
3. Actually, it’s a barn raising.
Reminiscing my Little House on the Prairies days, a farmer didnâ€™t build a barn. The community came together to raise barns, with each individual contributing his or her skill or talent.
For someone who, in the past, has tried to do everything herself, to control everything herself, this was the most difficult point to learn. Seeing the strengths and talents in others is easy, but then stepping back to allow them to do what they do best â€“ and accepting how they do it â€“ is the difficult part.
However, in the end, the key to a successful barn raising is accepting the talents and energy from others as gifts and graciously welcoming them into the community. Their wanting to be involved in the project is a testament to the barn being raised.
Once the barn is raised, all those involved join in a celebration meal. Since hosting such a celebration with fried chicken and apple pie isnâ€™t possible virtually, I would like to publicly thank those involved in the raising of Blog Accessibility Mastermind:
- SOBCon co-founders Liz Strauss and Terry Starbucker for inviting me to present at SOBCon09, which laid the foundation for this barn;
- The Random Twitter People (aka Paul Merrill, Deb Brown, Becky McCray, and Jon Swanson) for their brainstorming, clarity-finding and kick-butting;
- Mary-Lynn Foster for her service as a sounding board;
- Oscar Gonzalez for finding the right tool to make a tedious task a breeze;
- Jason Teitelman, Tony and the graphic guys at BlogCatalog for the free ad;
- Charles Pennell for tracking down the "pesky" blue and replacing it with mauve in the sidebar;
- Miss Dazey for being the official PayPal buy button tester and for her energetic cheerleading;
- Grant Griffiths for his enthusiastic tweets and support on launch day;
- Lori-ann Engel for her virtual assistance services – she makes me look good;
- My childhood friend Karen Tsang for writing a rockin’ sales page with me;
- To those I may have missed here, thank you for your never-ending support.
- And, last but definitely not least in any way, my wonderful husband Darrell for his unwavering support, patience and understanding, for keeping me well stocked in chocolate and for the ever increasing runs to Tim Horton’s for a caffeine fix.
When the time comes to raise your barn, you can count on me.