The Parable of the Blogger

The Parable of the Talents is a simple one.  The Master who must go away for a while entrusts three servants with large amounts of money or “talents,” as they were called in oldentimes.  They must take care of this money while he is gone.  To one servant he gives 5 talents, to another he gives 2 talents and to the final servant he only gives 1 talent.

When he returns and asks for an accounting, the first two servants have put the money to work- doubling the talents.  For this the Master rewards them handsomely.  The third servant is so fearful of losing the talent that he buried it in a hole, and returns the talent to the Master.  The Master is upset, “couldn’t you have at least put it in the bank, so that I could have drawn interest?” he asks.  The third servant is called lazy- and forced to give the talent to the servants who had been more responsible.

This story came to mind after finishing a six month training program with a group of very bright attorneys.  They learned blogging, social media strategy and how to turn contacts into clients through online technology.  In discussions with the Director of Marketing I apologized that although half the lawyers had very positive results, the other half of the group didn’t really accomplish much of anything.  His reply?

“That is the way of big law firms, the attorneys that really follow-through see results.  You will never get all the attorneys to do the things that will really be successful for them.”

This made my wonder, what is it that holds so many people back from really jumping in to social media?

I think it comes down to one thing- FEAR.  Blogs are not easy to get started, they are time consuming and they require patience.  Even more than any of those things though, they require courage.  They require you to put yourself out there.  A new friend I made online recently started blogging about social media for lawyers.  She works at a law firm, and wanted to share the things she was learning.  Within a few hours she was attacked on Twitter for trying to be a social media guru or for having some ulterior motives.  That is just the risk anybody runs that decides to blog.  You are exposing yourself, taking a step into the darkness- the great unknown.  And you have no idea what awaits you on the other side.  I find the whole process quite exhilirating, but to others it can be quite paralyzing.

What if nobody likes what I have to say?

What if people disagree with me?

What if someone at my firm doesn’t like my opinion?

What if a client dislikes my blog post?

What if I commit and then later get too busy?

There are plenty of things to be afraid of, but if you focus on those things you will never make it out of your front door in the morning.  You might as well bury your talent for the month and stay home sick.

I believe everyone has some pretty fantastic abilities, but so often we are afraid to really let them shine.  We worry too much about what people will think or say about us.  We all have something unique to give and the social media world is helping us to understand that more than ever.  It isn’t about what you do for money, it is about what you give away.  This takes courage because it is a real risk to give and have faith that it will come back to you.

If you can’t stand the risk, go ahead, bury your talents.  Keep them hidden.  Keep them safe.  They aren’t growing, they aren’t building or helping others but at least nobody can take them from you.  It is up to you, but in my mind hiding your talents from the world is the riskiest strategy of all.


7 Responses to “The Parable of the Blogger”

  1. Another excellent post Adrian,

    I agree, the fear of jumping in to the deep end of social media is absolutely one of the biggest reason’s lawyers shy away.

    What a great story to demonstrate how doing nothing can sometimes be even worse than delving in and making a few mistakes here and there. (I’ve definitely made my fair share!)

    “It isn’t about what you do for money, it is about what you give away.” = Favorite quote from this post

  2. Laura says:

    Interesting post. Made me think! One thing that has held me back in the past is the feeling of “oh, everyone else is already doing it, it’s too late for me, that market is saturated.” But I’ve come to realize, most people AREN’T doing these things.

    One other thought I had reading your post — you mention the lawyer who was attacked on Twitter. It can feel uncomfortable to be “out there” and “exposed” especially if the internet is a new experience and some people have a sick need to try to squelch other people’s enthusiasm. But on the flip side, one really wonderful thing about the internet is that once you develop a thick skin to the few obnoxious people, you realize a whole world of positive, helpful, interesting people is opened up to you – people you’d likely never know of without the internet. And there are so many people you can choose to surround yourself with like minded people.

  3. Putting yourself and your ideas out there in the open, visible to thousands upon thousands of people, can be a pretty scary endeavor. However, once you get over that fear and just go for it, a whole new world opens up. Of course, you’re always going to have negative people out there, but there’s another 10 positive people out there to bury their comments.

    Like you said, focus on the fear and you’ll never make it out of your front door. Get out there and go for it.

  4. Thanks for all your comments. I think as bloggers we sometimes take it for granted that it is easy for us to blog. For some people it can be completely terrifying. It doesn’t need to be though.

  5. Dee says:

    Yes fear does play a big part but hey aren’t we lawyers supposed to have thick skins :). But it’s a bit different when you are facing an anonymous attacker. Yep it gets rough out there but the great thing is there are others just like you and you don’t have to do it all. No need to go Digging, Stumbling, Facebooking and Twittering all at once.

    What I found was that there are quite a few bloggers out there who are willing to help just because. And you can build healthy, friendly relationships with people with whom you bond for any number of reasons and whom you will probably never meet. Kinda like the pen pals of old.


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