Jon Stolpe Stretched

What's S-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g me now?

Reflect More, Risk More, Leave A Legacy – Start Blogging

Blogging has brought several new friends into my life.  One of them is Jason Fountain.  Today, I’m blessed to share a guest post by Jason.  Jason is an educator who blogs about living an intentional life.  I have enjoyed his writing and the communication that we have shared.  Jason shares his current STRETCHING story with us below.  Please check out his blog here.

(If you’re interested in guest posting on my blog, please drop me a comment.  I’d love to connect with you.)

 

John Maxwell relates a story shared by sociologist Anthony Campolo.  Campolo tells about a group of 50 people over the age of 90 years old who were asked one question: If you could live your life over again, what would you do differently?

The question was open-ended and the people’s answers were varied. However, three ideas consistently emerged.

1. If I had it to do over again, I would reflect more.
2. If I had it to do over again, I would risk more.
3. If I had it to do over again, I would do more things that would live on after I am dead.

I want to share with you an idea that can help you begin to accomplish all three of these goals TODAY.

I love the title of Jon’s blog – Stretched. I think much of our life is spent stretching – whether we choose the stretching or it chooses us. Recently, I’ve chosen a purposeful “stretch.” Back in April, after at least a year of talking about it, I started a blog.

Little did I know, then, what a rollercoaster of emotions were in store for me. I knew that it would be challenging to write solid content that would be meaningful, but I don’t believe that I was quite ready for the grind of continually facing a blank document on the computer screen.

A blank piece of paper is open to so many possibilities, yet appears so daunting.

Blogging has stretched me in ways that I never imagined.

I want to share four lessons (about life) that I have learned since I began blogging.

1. Blogging teaches discipline.
I consider myself a fairly disciplined person, but blogging has taken this to a new level. Blogging is not an endeavor that can be undertaken every so often. It is a discipline. Steven Pressfield says in his book, The Work of Art, that the hardest part of writing is not the writing, it’s sitting down to write.

There are always fifty things other than writing vying for my attention. But, blogging has taught me to quiet those distractions and focus on the task at hand. There are days that I want to quit and days that I feel as if I could write forever. Managing that tension has been a “stretch” for me.

2. Blogging sifts your beliefs.
I am pretty solid and consistent in my beliefs. If any of you read my blog you know that the bedrock of my life is Jesus Christ. It’s much easier to talk about Christ with my “circle” than it is to write about Him in a blog post that is out there for the world to view. In fact, bearing your soul is a little overwhelming.

Beyond my religious views, blogging forces me to work through most all of my beliefs. If I write about goal-setting or any other facet of intentional living, I really have to narrow my focus and work on being concise in my delivery. This only occurs when I am crystal clear on my thoughts.

Several times I have written a blog and then did not post it because I lacked a strong conviction about it. Before I hit the publish button, I need to believe it. Attempting to present an articulate stance on an issue has really stretched me as well.

3. Blogging is more about me than producing content for others.
When I first started blogging, I was very concerned about how I thought others would perceive my thoughts and my writing. I still worry about this, but in the few short months that I’ve been blogging I have become more focused on recording what I believe about life.

If I focus on others, then I try to copycat my blogging heroes and write as they would write and about topics that they would write about. The problem with this approach is that I am not them – I am me. For me to enjoy the process of blogging, I have to be me. If others latch on to my voice, then great. If they don’t, then I know blogging is not my future.

The longer I blog the more comfortable I become in showing more of who I really am. And that is the only way to really put my “voice” out there. Balancing this desire to write for others with the need to be “me” has been a major stretch.

4. Blogging records my thoughts for myself and others.
Finally, blogging is providing me the chance to record a part of “me” for my future self. Every time I write a post I am really just recording my life lessons so that I don’t forget them. As I continue to blog, more and more life lessons that I have forgotten from my past seem to surface. The process of blogging has really been a mining project for me.

I’m also blogging so that parts of my life will be recorded for my future kids. Every time I write I want to be comfortable with my future children reading my thoughts. From this vantage point, I write with a purpose – something bigger than just blogging. Thinking about preserving my words for the future has stretched me as well.

So…are YOU ready to start a blog? For me, it has truly been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences that I’ve ever undertaken. To say that the last three and a half months have stretched me would be a gross understatement.

If you really want to reflect more, risk more, and leave a legacy, think about starting your own blog. It won’t be easy, but I guarantee it will stretch you in ways you never imagined.

QUESTION: Is there something in your life stretching you right now? How do you manage the tension?

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August 10, 2011 - Posted by | blogging, guest blogger, stretch, thoughts

11 Comments »

  1. I am a local blogger who lives near Jon, and actually met and became friends with Jon through blogging. I enjoy ‘Stretched” because Jon writes about everyday things and expresses himself from his heart (a huge heart, by the way). Blogging is a an amazing tool for self expression and we are lucky to live in a time when everyone can be their own self-publisher.

    Jason, thank you for the wonderful guest blog. I can especially relate to one thing you wrote “When I first started blogging, I was very concerned about how I thought others would perceive my thoughts and my writing.” The stretch in blogging, for me, is to be myself, to express thoughts and observations from within my soul. The bloggers who do that (there aren’t many) are the bloggers I love.

    For me, blogging gives both an opportunity to express myself and understand and relate to others. That is its highest spiritual potential of this endeavor.

    Comment by Michael Shaw | August 10, 2011 | Reply

    • Michael, Thanks for your kind words and for your insight – great addition to the conversation. Hope all is well!

      Comment by jonstolpe | August 14, 2011 | Reply

  2. Some great thoughts and ones that resonate with me. I am taking a break this week from blogging not because I’m burned out but because I’ve noticed I tend to wrap my posts up everyday with a bow. I tend to limit where the post might be heading because of the desire to push “publish” Does that make sense? And, I don’t have the time in my life right now to do blog writing and “other” writing. I wanted time this week to daydream and write about anything and just to see where it leads.

    I love your thoughts about leaving a legacy too. I told my husband that I would love to write a book some day. Even if it NEVER gets published. My mom was a song writer and she died when I was a teenager. None of her songs every got published. But I have them all and 20 years later that legacy she left behind has meant SO MUCH to me. I want to leave a legacy for my son too.

    Comment by eileen | August 10, 2011 | Reply

    • Eileen, The book idea has crossed my mind also; although, I’m still wrestling with what it would be about – stretch stories, my story on seeing bipolar disorder up close and personal, finding community in the corners of life, …. Hope you enjoyed your break from blogging. I look forward to your return!

      Comment by jonstolpe | August 14, 2011 | Reply

  3. Michael,
    I agree that expressing our soul is the true heart of blogging. It is so hard to get caught up in stats and how many people have visited our blog, etc. But, I truly believe the only way to grow, learn, and mature in blogging is to write from our heart. Thanks for the comment!

    Comment by Jason Fountain | August 10, 2011 | Reply

  4. Eileen,
    I think we all need to take a step back at times and just reflect and “think” about what we are doing. I love the story of your mom. Many times I think a true legacy are the thoughts and memories that we keep inside our hearts. I know you treasure the songs from your mom. Thanks for commenting.

    Comment by Jason Fountain | August 10, 2011 | Reply

  5. Jon, it’s a little four-legged creature that has stretched me. Until June, when my wife had the dog desire again, my life seemed pretty simple, straightforward, predictable, routine…. Then we got a puppy. Simple has been replaced with stretched. By the way, I shot up to all of 5’6 and 3/4s. Can’t leave out that 3/4s. Good thoughts. Thanks–Tom

    Comment by tnealtarver | August 10, 2011 | Reply

    • Tom, Thanks for the comments! We’re contemplating adding a new seeing eye puppy to our clan in the next few months, so I can relate to your current stretch. I just connected to your blog. I look forward to reading what’s on your mind.

      Comment by jonstolpe | August 14, 2011 | Reply

  6. […] (Tied for 1st) Reflect More, Risk More, Leave A Legacy – Start Blogging by Jason […]

    Pingback by Top Posts For August 2011 « Jon Stolpe Stretched | September 2, 2011 | Reply

  7. Loved this post! This perfectly describes where I’ve been and where I am now in my blogging journey! Aptly written and timed. Thanks!

    Comment by Jeff Randleman | September 7, 2011 | Reply

  8. […] popular Stretched post from 2011 was a guest post by my friend Jason Fountain.  The post is titled Reflect More, Risk More, Leave A Legacy – Start Blogging.  Here’s an excerpt to get you […]

    Pingback by Top Posts of 2011 Number 3 – Reflect More, Risk More, Leave A Legacy – Start Blogging (A Guest Post by Jason Fountain) « Jon Stolpe Stretched | December 27, 2011 | Reply


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