You can do it yourself

I found myself in conversation the other day with a woman who was frustrated that her condo association was considering hiring a professional management company. “Why should we pay someone else all that money when we can just do it ourselves?” she said somewhat angrily.

I don’t know that much about condo associations or professional management companies, but I suggested that maybe a professional manager would have more knowledge and experience than the volunteers in her association have. “Pshaw,” she said. (That’s really what she said!) “Isn’t all of that knowledge on the internet now? Can’t we just go online and find out whatever we need to know?”

This line of reasoning was a little amusing to me, since it was coming from a woman who doesn’t even own a computer, but I agreed that the internet does make a vast ocean of knowledge accessible to everyone. “It’s true,” I told her. “If I wanted to change my own oil, I’m sure I could do it. I could Google it, and find a YouTube video, and watch all the steps, and figure it out, and do it myself. I’m perfectly capable, and the knowledge is available.

“But, frankly, it’s worth it to me to pay someone else to do it. Someone who has all the equipment, and all the experience. Someone who can do the job better and faster than I can. It’s worth it to me to pay a professional.”

“Well, that’s true,” she said.

Maybe you don’t need a writer

do it yourselfThe same argument applies to writing. You can do it yourself. You know how to write. You learned it in grade school! You’ve been doing it all your life!

Why hire a professional?

I understand. You can do it yourself. The knowledge is available.

But for those of you who don’t want to sort through Google results each time you need to use its or it’s, you might find it’s worth it to hire a professional.

(I’m just a click away.)


Cost and value
Poor writing costs



When I first moved into my new LifeLines office space not quite a year ago, I gave you a look “behind the screen.” At that time I had nothing hanging on the walls—I was still enjoying the blank canvas of clean, fresh paint.

Throughout the year, I’ve gradually allowed the paint to become a backdrop for other sources of inspiration, and I thought LifeLines readers might appreciate an update:

inspiring - view
I still love my green walls, and I find that my view out the window is more inspiring than distracting.
inspiring - exploring
The wall I look at most often is now covered with this piece I found in a furniture store. The painted beach is textured with actual stones and sand, and I love the three-dimensional effect. The scene reminds me of family vacations in Florida, where I spent long childhood days exploring and discovering and learning from my grandparents.
inspiring - family
To my right are these smaller framed works, including a series of poems I wrote as a child. My young sister illustrated them and my proud grandmother had them framed. Of course, they are not terribly impressive writings, but I kept them after my grandmother and grandfather died because it meant so much to me that they meant so much to her.
inspiring - tragedy
Behind me, where I can’t see them all the time, are these photographs from 9/11/01. For no particular reason, I was deeply impacted by this national tragedy. I had never been to New York City, and I suffered no personal loss during those days, but I was intrigued by our national response and the national mood—immediately and in the months following. There are things about those days that I never want to forget.
inspiring - art
I have just begun filling this wall with masterpieces from people who are an inspiring part of my everyday life: a woman from my church who used to teach art, a neighbor who was willing to part with “Heart to Heart,” my young niece who seems to have some natural talent, and my mother who refuses to believe she is talented and will probably be annoyed that I’ve included her work on my wall as well as in my blog. All of these people teach me something different about art and work and talent and inspiration. I like having them behind me.

I also like having some room on my walls for new inspirations. The thing about inspiration is, it fades. We get used to it, and then we become immune to it. We need a fresh inspiring from time to time. But the new inspirations don’t have to replace the old ones. Instead, those old relics can be polished and brightened and given new meaning as we carry them into the present and build on them for the future.


Social Media frenzy—
six years later

social media

social mediaOne of the advantages of having a blog is that it creates a record of not just activities, but also my thoughts about those activities. So it was helpful for me to re-read the post I’m re-running below. It reminded me that there was a time when I was NOT on social media! Can you remember your life before Facebook? Can you imagine your resumé pre-LinkedIn? What did we watch before YouTube?

Yes, even though I feel like I’ve been on social media all my life, it was only six years ago that I first began posting, tweeting, and Liking. Do you remember how you felt when you first got social?

Social Media frenzy

originally published June 12, 2009

As Mike Stelzner’s recent Social Media Marketing Industry Report reveals, it’s quite common for people—regular business people, not just teenagers—to spend 5–10 hours each week blogging, Linking, Facebooking, tweeting, and using other forms of social media. Now, if social networking is a stress-relieving hobby for you, you might consider those hours an investment in renewed mental health, or an efficient way to build relationships with a wide, diverse network. But if you are using social media to broadcast a business message—in addition to fulfilling your regular obligations to traditional, print-based forms of communication—you may find yourself overwhelmed and wondering where the greatest ROI (Return On Involvement) is.

I’m wondering that myself. I’m new to social media. I joined Facebook less than a year ago when an old high school acquaintance asked me to confirm our friendship. I began tweeting just a few weeks ago out of curiosity. LinkedIn is probably my favorite network—it’s friendly and helpful, but always professional.

social mediaThen I signed up for the Social Media Success Summit 2009. The first three presenters were so passionate about social media and so clear about its benefits, that I was swept up in their enthusiasm. I sat through hours of presentations and took pages of notes. I downloaded the video and audio files the next day and re-listened to them during my commute. I updated my Facebook page, started tweeting regularly, and joined a few LinkedIn Groups. I was hooked.

Only time will tell if the time I’m investing will result in business growth, new friendships, heightened creativity, increased crankiness due to lack of sleep, or all of the above. Three weeks into the Summit, I can relay only these specifics: I’ve sold one book, I’ve received three positive comments on my website, and I’ve more than quadrupled my network, my followers, and my fans.

Whether those results turn out to be significant or not, I’m enjoying the frenzy for now!

Seriously, if you have a story about the first time you got on Facebook, or the first video you watched on YouTube, or how you use Twitter in your family—will you share it with us? Post a comment below—

Related post: Social Media mind shift

Revisiting Why (do I) blog?

why blog

why blogAlthough I first posted this blog five years ago, I believe it remains true and relevant today. If you’re still not sure what a “blog” is, this blog’s for you!

Why (do I) blog?

originally published October 20, 2010

Many of you who subscribe to this LifeLines blog are rather new to blogging. You’re not sure what “blogs” are, or why you need them, or how to engage with them. So when I saw this video in a social media class, I thought, “Cool. I want to share this with my subscribers.” (The good people at Common Craft put together this video—and they gave me permission to use it here. Check out the other “in plain English” videos they’ve created to explain a variety of topics!)

Helping you share your story

The tagline for my blog (and my business) is “helping you share your story.” Those five words are what this blog is all about. My story is that I help other people share their stories—in books, on business cards, through fundraising letters, on their own blogs or websites, however that story-telling will be most appropriate and most effective. Throughout the process, I’m both discovering and living out my part in God’s larger story.

As this little video says, there are millions of stories to share. And many of them are worth sharing! But people often need help with the sharing.

I like being in a position where I can provide that help.

What do you think? Did this little video help? Which questions did it answer for you? Which questions remain unanswered?