For All To See

Writing publicly is a great way to keep yourself honest, because you will write things badly–or you will write bad things–for everyone to see. If you’re lucky, some readers will tell you where you’ve missed the mark. And then you get better.

I’ve spent much of life trying to avoid making mistakes or, at least, making the kinds of mistakes that only a few people will see. But I’ve been blogging five times a week for months now, and now I’ve started recording a podcast–both unrestrained public communication platforms. For what it’s worth, I’ve been preaching for a decade, and I have a public SoundCloud page with a dozen or so of my sermons on it.

I’m defaulting to public with the work I produce. When you do that, you make your mistakes in front of large crowds. Many in those crowds will be generous friends and colleagues and partners who will neither torch you nor flatter you but push you to improve, either because they care or because your work bears on their work too. Criticism of both those types is better than the silence that comes from keeping your work to yourself.

Make mistakes. In public. Then fix them. Apologize when you should. And keep at it. Improve.

For. All. To. See.


8 thoughts on “For All To See

  1. Yes. I’m so grateful for the people who love me enough to point out my mistakes. I think of so many people who either don’t have people who can do that for them or else won’t listen to the correction.
    It’s a good Lenten reminder too–when we rend our hearts and not our garments, we make visible those things in our lives we would just as soon keep hidden.

  2. Was listening to Brene Brown’s TED talk on shame…and her experience of speaking at the first TED talk and going home and having a “vulnerability hangover for days”…that’s a bit of how I feel every time I put something out there. My blog and podcast (and work in the church) have provided me with ample opportunities for growth in how I see myself, my work, and my worth. She also reflects that “vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.” #truth Also, isn’t that much of the story of Jesus? Thanks for putting this stuff out into the world, Rocky–inspires me to do the same! (Also, I love how you don’t answer your own questions all the time. Every time I write, I feel the need to wrap it up with a bow–and you leave it out there, hanging so that we can participate, too. Awesome.)

  3. it’s a body building term too… per Wikipedia:
    In weight training, training to failure is repeating an exercise (such as the bench press) to the point of momentary muscular failure, i.e. the point where a repetition fails due to inadequate muscular strength.

    to grow your muscles, you are supposed to lift the weight until you JUST CAN”T and your muscles fail.

    So if you hit failure, you’re doing it right. It HURTS. But you’re growing.

    I am loving your frequent posting!

    • Thanks Murphy! The gym is another one of those places I’ve been terrified of. I don’t mind failing on that fifth pushup in my living room, but in a room full of buffed-out strangers? Forget it. But I’ve been doing these group fitness classes for a few months now, and sweating, grunting, and failing in front of people several times a week. It gets easier. Failing is the essence of the activity, and everybody’s doing it.

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