Tuesday, October 09, 2012

It's a Wrap: September 2012

For me, September conjures images of school desks and to do lists. This year was no different. Ok, maybe a little different. This September, I discovered Alt Channel and a perception mismatch.
Road Trip: At a Vista Point Somewhere in Arizona
A couple of years ago I signed up for Blogging Your Way, then co-taught by Holly Becker of Decor8 and Leslie Shewring of A Creative Mint. At the time, I was looking for inspiration that I could extrapolate for my company's network monitoring blog. (We'd hit a plateau with our readers and despite consistent content our repeat visitor statistics were trending down.) I left the class with lots of ideas, as well as confirmation of a few intuitions, and a reignited passion for learning.
Road Trip: Sunrise on the Road
Flash forward to September this year. In preparation for getting ready to go to Alt Summit SLC in January, I was scouring their site for tips and tricks. I discovered Alt Channel, an amazing bounty of people sharing their expertise on branding, SEO, and more. I signed up for every class that didn't conflict with regularly scheduled work meetings.
In a class on organization, one of the students, Petya of The Migrant Book Club, suggested and coordinated a blog audit amongst a few bloggers. Her structured template yielded unbiased first impressions and feedback -- incredibly valuable insights! Even the process of auditing someone else's blog raised awareness of inconsistencies in your own work. My blog notebook (yes, I still organize my thoughts on paper) is filled with tons of ideas. But, first I need to work my way through some rebranding work; the audits revealed a mismatch between my intended focus and my actual content.
This blog is about remapping the path of the modern woman. It always has been. Looking at my content that focus hasn't always been clear in my writing. Let's go back briefly to how this blog was born.
Road Trip: Leaving Michigan
In May 2004, when I swung the rear hatch closed on Gypsy (my Toyota RAV4), looked back at Michigan State for one last time, and hit the road, I began the journey towards remapping the path of the modern woman. (I'll get into this greater detail in another post.) I wasn't in a relationship. I didn't have a child. I was (still am) a modern woman. There were few women who graduated with an MBA. Fewer still who were taking that MBA back into the high tech industry. This was before VMware had gone public and Jocelyn Goldfein was a known role model (she'd been inspiring me since I worked with her at Trilogy). And this was before Sheryl Sandberg hurled her rallying cry towards women early in their careers.
In 2006, I launched this blog after women kept telling me I needed to write a book about my experiences in high tech. I, however, fought addressing what they'd been keen to know more about. I didn't think I was doing anything special. I didn't want to be viewed solely by what I did at work, so I showcased all my passions to avoid being seen as one dimensional, and instead, came across unfocused. In 2010, I started blogging about my then upcoming wedding, further muddying the waters. Then in April I had a baby, more focus creep.
So, let's take a step back and let me try to get this blog back on track. Yes, I am married, and yes, I have a six month old. Those two characteristics aren't the sum total of who I am. And to over simplify, those characteristics don't change who I am any more than the fact that I wear glasses does. Because I don't have 20/20 vision, there are some things that I can't do. For example, be a fighter pilot. Because I'm not single, there are things I need to consider before I head out on adventures. But, I'm still me. I am not a mommy first. I am not a wife first. I am a human first.
Going forward, rather than leave it to the reader -- that's you -- to figure out how seemingly inconsequential things (fashion, home making, and so on) relate to "being a modern woman" I'll be opening up more. Hopefully all will become clear as you read future posts.
If you've read this far, thank you! As you can probably tell, September was a big month for me.
Did September bring any changes for you?
Ciao Bella!
Credits: All images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life.