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Introduction

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This blog is part of a blog package which consists out of three blogs:

I invite you to read the introduction blog to find out why we have written these blogs.

I really like those wordless (picture 1.1) so I brainstormed some words that were lingering in my mind this morning. Obviously you will find some of those words in this blog. The other words are there to trigger your thoughts and imagination.

The beginning

In a kingdom far far away called Belgium there lived a SAP system administrator who likes seeing progression. Late 2010 he felt he was not progressing anymore and he went out to seek new adventures.

That system administrator is me of course but the story isn’t anywhere near the lord of the rings saga. I like progressing and while I liked having support doing so I also like to pave my own path and not just follow the rules and do what I’m told to do. I rather want to go beyond what I’m told to do and do something refreshing, perhaps something extra or something that creates change.

What triggered me to start

There were multiple triggers actually, I had come to a point where I saw little progression in my role as a system administrator and I love progression really. Now I had multiple options, I could stop progressing and limit myself to doing what I do each day or change my role to go do something different.

I didn’t choose any of those alternatives. I found myself too young to stop progressing and limit myself to doing what I do each day and due to the fact I have very young children I didn’t want to change my role completely either as it would imply a financial risk and it was not the right time to do so.

Late 2010 I started looking for new ways to progress and in my search for something new and exciting I stumbled upon a video of Seth Godin in which he talks about the lizard brain. Rather than writing what the video is about I prefer you watch it if it catches your interest (lizard brain part starts at 9:14):

Seth Godin: Quieting the Lizard Brain

SCN

Where does SCN come in the picture then? By viewing the video of Seth Godin I realized that I wasn’t putting myself out there and that I could do a lot more than I was doing. My lizard brain was in control too much and it was holding me back. It was time to do something about it.

During my daily work I visited SCN, as a good passive community member I would check out blogs, watch e-learning and of course find answers to known problems on the forum. I did gave being active on the forum a try in the past already but it didn’t really catch on to me so I didn’t really follow up on being active. As a first step of countering my lizard brain I decided to see how I would like helping community members on the forum.

Badges system

I’m a gamer and there is nothing wrong with that. Games have always attracted me due to their artistic nature, competitiveness and cooperativeness. While answering questions on the forum I noticed the SCN badges system and much like in games you see nowadays those points symbolize progression. It features progression of knowledge sharing in this case. Once I had taken a look at how the points are assigned I noticed how blogging is much more valued points wise than writing an answer to a question.

The lizard brain

It made me want to try blogging for once to see if I would like to write a blog. The form that you have to fill in to start blogging looks somewhat scary as you have to provide feedback on how often you plan to blog (I had no idea really) and why you want to blog and so on.

My lizard brain was already saying don’t fill in the form you have no idea how often you are going to blog. Afterwards I found out the form doesn’t matter at all but I can see how some community members never start blogging because of the scary looking form to sign up. Is it really necessary to ask all of these questions? I had no idea how often I would blog so I guessed and ended up blogging way more than I stated on the form.

Once I had send in my first blog it was interesting to see how much support I got from the blog moderators who gave me feedback and pointers to pay attention to things like formatting and spelling when blogging but in a very constructive and encouraging way.

What should I blog about?

The next question was what should I blog about? How can I write something anyone will want to read at all? Again, the lizard brain keeps you from starting so don’t give in to it. Write about anything you know. If you claim you don’t have anything at all than check out SAP related content on SCN and do something with that content. Show new products to your customers and perhaps you can some of those products implemented.

I started with a blog “how to set up a trusted RFC destination”. While you can write a lot about it, I kept it simple. I didn’t get that many comments on it but some weeks later I met a SAP consultant at one of our customers who told me the blog was useful and it was being used as a quick reference to setup a trusted RFC destination. I had no idea the blog was useful.

This caught my interest, it’s not because it is not being used visually because of a lack of comments that it is not being used. That is actually one of the most rewarding things about blogging, when someone comments or mails you to say the blog was interesting, even a simple thanks is a great motivator and it keeps me going for sure.

What made me share even more

My third blog “How to find valuable information on the internet” generated a lot of feedback. While it might not have been visible in pure comments I was getting questions on mail about the content as well. That in combination with feedback from the blog moderators is what made me want to share even more. Marilyn Pratt, SCN evangelist, SAP Mentor and much more was definitely one of the persons who inspired me to keep going and I hope I can one day be as modest as she is. I still see her commenting on community member blogs encouraging them to step into the SCN story which is great.

Lost my mind

I got two Seth Godin books for Christmas and I bought two Seth Godin books myself and I ravaged through those books. I found them to be very interesting. Some were thinking I had lost my mind really, diving into blogging and reading Seth Godin books all of a sudden. If I really want to achieve something I go for it up to the edge of addiction where I take a small step back.

Once I felt a lot of pressure and questioning of the purpose of me being active on SCN I wrote the blog “We are who we are” because I was fed up with all the guessing people do. Where does he get time to write those blogs? Does he do any work at this customer? The blog covers how I do time management and how I also value family time and much more.

Active community member

Not only did I blog, I also became really active on SCN reading other blogs, commenting, picking up any content I found to be interesting. While I could have stopped there I took it a step further. All of the content I would pick up I would also introduce at my customers.

I did more effort by sharing knowledge to my colleagues and by presenting topics on team meetings. By creating opportunities to pilot SAP products, introduce new products and so on. My customer feedback score sky rocketed and I was feeling great, I was learning new things and it also provided me with more interesting work to do. Why on earth would I want to stop doing this?

Embraced by the community

Being active in the SCN community had the effect that I got connected to other community members which is great. By doing so I’m able to exchange ideas, collaborate with those community members and be involved in things I would otherwise never have been involved in. I can say the community embraced me as one of the community members.

Progress and happiness

So far blogging has provided me with a way to progress again although I have to state more than only blogging got me back on track to make progress. Being an active community member on SCN did and using and sharing the knowledge I leverage from SCN and social media such as twitter on which SAP and many of the community members are also very active.

It has brought me in a renewed state of happiness. I’m loving the work I’m doing even more than before, I’m learning new stuff, connecting with new people, getting involved in activities and all of this gives me a lot of energy to take everything I do one step further.

What are you waiting for?

I don’t know what the passive community members are still waiting for. For me blogging and being active on SCN has brought me nothing but progress and happiness. Yes I do spend time to create this blog or any blog I write and yes reading those articles takes time but as with many things you can choose yourself how far you go and how much time you want to spend on it. Who says you have to blog every week? No one does. You can choose your own pace but at least give it a try and ignore the signals your lizard brain sends.

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12 Comments

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    1. Tom Cenens Post author
      Hello Michelle

      Indeed, once you get into it, it embraces you. I had a lot of fun working on this as well!

      Kind regards

      Tom

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  1. Susan Keohan
    Hi Tom,
    Yes, I have learned that in preparing for a blog, I benefit by reviewing the material – and perhaps even learning more.  The same goes for speaking at an event like ASUG Annual Conference or Tech Ed.
    So even though the things I blog about may not be very technical (out of respect for my employer) they do still engage the brain, at least on my part.
    I’ve had a blog percolating for about 3 weeks now on the MasteringSAP experience in Sydney.  Maybe this weekend it will get out. 
    Cheers,
    Sue
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    1. Tom Cenens Post author
      Hello Susan

      I do make sure there isn’t any customer specific data in my blogs. Sometimes that cases a lot of extra work because I then sometimes photoshop screenshots and change the SID’s and hostnames and so on to make it usable. I cannot agree more that blogging engages the brain.

      I also have some drafts that I should finish but like Natascha mentioned before, sometimes I start blogging and then I realize when doing some research it’s not really what I thought it was.

      I will be awaiting your blog to read it.

      Kind regards

      Tom

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  2. Natascha Thomson
    I hear the fear of blogging from people all the time. I tell them:”Just do it”. Likely they’ll start to love it.

    My first blog on SCN years back – I sweated when I clicked that “submit” button. Then nothing tragic happened.

    I agree that blogging helps get your head around a topic. I often have an idea for a blog and then when I look into the facts change it significantly.

    Good blog!!

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    1. Tom Cenens Post author
      Hello Natascha

      Thanks for the comment. The first blog did make me nerveous as well for no good reason.

      Kind regards

      Tom

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  3. Chris Kernaghan
    Tom,

    I loved this blog, it should be a call to arms to more people to just get on with it – as they say “Everyone has at least 1 story to tell”

    Blogging as been a part of my life for many years, before it was even called blogging – I have drifted into it and away from it more times than I can count. The only thing I have realised during this time is that, blogging is like a muscle – the more you do it the easier is becomes.

    You pick up more material, update older blogs and basically generate a backlog of ideas and supporting material which you use to reference more and more.
    I started 2 years ago on SDN writing about the AWS Cloud and fell out of practise simply because I was on a demanding project which was taking my time away from my research and my blogging. Now I am easing myself back into blogging across a wider range of subjects, so I am not so heavily dependent upon a single area

    Chris

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    1. Tom Cenens Post author
      Hello Chris

      Thanks for the comment. Blogging is a great way to reflect thoughts and ideas.

      The good thing about muscles is that they can be trained. I like fitness although I haven’t been doing it for a few years now (it’s showing).

      I have had my periods of a lot of blog activity vs slightly less activity due to projects and things going on.

      Being active on SCN makes you learn, think and pick up material automatically so there is plenty to write about. Now SAP has got their events live on the internet there is even more to write about.

      I enjoyed reading your upgrade blog of which you send me the link the other day. I should take a look at the other blogs you wrote now I think about it 🙂

      Kind regards

      Tom

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  4. Tehsin Ullah Khan

    Thanks for sharing your experience.I am in process of starting blogs but my lizard brain says you dont have time for it.I will try my best to start blogging soon.

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    1. Tom Cenens Post author

      Hi

      Thanks for your comment! Is blogging time consuming? It can be but you can always cut it up into manageable pieces. I don’t mind if it takes me a week to finish up a blog, what matters is the end-result. I prefer quality over quantity.

      I hope you start blogging!

      Kind regards

      Tom

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    1. Tom Cenens Post author

      Hi Nicholas

      Thank you, I’m honored. I’ve seen good quality blogs from you already. The only additional advice I can give you is keep going!

      Kind regards

      Tom

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