...is a life half lived.'
~ Strictly Ballroom starring Paul Mercurio and Tara Morice (yes, this is how low I've sunk, quoting lines from one of my alltime fav movies - sue me!)
In which Tosca blathers on endlessly and aimlessly about her hopes for her job and describes why she let fear stop her from personally blogging. Or something much like it.
I have let my personal blog slide. Badly. Fear made me do it. And it is fear that makes me pick it up again. Not fear that I will suck badly at it because, very possibly, I do already. I started this blog because I was on a learning and discovery journey and needed somewhere to record that. Over time this became my area to think ideas out loud, to reflect on what I've learnt and, really, to put my epiphany down in words (should I be enlightened enough to have one). The fact that sometimes it gets read is wholly accidental. For the last three months, though, I have been afraid to blog. I was afraid that I would get in trouble if I wrote about the amalgamated organisation I find myself working in (even if it wasn't negative). I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to reflect on my job without it being held against me. I was afraid that people who knew my official work title would judge me by my personal blog, tweetstream, Facebook page and imagine that that was all there was to me. I was afraid that people would follow me/read me for the wrong reasons. And then, just the other day, I realised that I'd forgotten how to enjoy exploring whatever catches my interest and then sharing it. I had let myself be silenced...by myself. Work didn't have to do it (should it have wanted to) because I did it to myself first. Once I saw that, I realised also that fear is the worst reason to stop doing something and so, in an effort not to be any of those things I listed above, I have started again. On a hopeful note, I think. I want to keep this blog as varied as it has always been with roughly the same mix of stupid/important as it has always been without this space becoming one great, big Cranky McRanty Pants post. This is a time of great upheaval and change for me so, naturally enough, I'd want to talk about it, but by the same token I didn't want to make it seem like it's all crap. Because it's not. We're all still exploring where we fit in the organisation and finding out how we progress from here. I'm still trying to see it as a big adventure and, admittedly, some days it's harder than others, but I imagine that's normal. Or as normal as it gets right now. And it won't be that way for long.
I've been thinking quite about a bit lately about what I hope to see in this new organisation and I finally pinned some stuff down. I hope that we encourage and foster the spirit of play and experimentation. I hope that we actively seek feedback from customers because we genuinely care about what they have to say. I hope that we engage with our customers not just with carefully-crafted marketing-speak but with honest and off-the-cuff responses. I hope that it will be ok to make mistakes. I hope that we encourage our staff to be fearless (in a way that I haven't been in the last few months). I hope that we have personality by the bucketload. For the most part I try really hard not to look back at what Manukau Libraries *was* because that time is over and gone, but I felt that we did these things rather well. I was given room to play and experiment. I was encouraged to seek feedback because I really did care. I engaged with our customers wherever they chose to contact me. I was encouraged to make mistakes and to learn from them and to share them with our staff (one hilarious if somewhat embarrassing case in point). I was fearless in my pursuit of making our library services so much easier/better for customers in an online sense. I was encouraged to imbue our organisation's online presence with personality, humanity and humility (with a huge side order of 'quirk' factor). I'd like to think I did that. It is much on my mind lately. I really hope that we take these elements into the new organisation with us because, now more than ever, this is an exciting time to build something new, to build something great, to build something worthwhile, to build something solid. Most organisations would think that now is an ideal time to employ conservative fear but I hope that *we* do not. I hope that we will not hold back because we are afraid of making mistakes. I hope that we will not hold back because we are afraid that if we call ourselves the experts we are meant to be we may fall short of the mark. I hope that we will not hold back because we are afraid of rocking the boat. I hope we will not hold back because our opinions and policies may be considered unpopular. I hope that we will not hold back because we cannot control the way we look to the general public. I hope that we will take risks because a life lived in fear...