I didn’t expect the last two posts in this series to be about abstract concepts (I think I was planning to enthuse about Dropbox and Mailchimp?), but I also didn’t plan to hit warp core meltdown two weeks ago. I’d say I didn’t know what I was thinking when I started a series of launch content that wouldn’t end till almost two weeks into the fall semester, but I knew what I was thinking. It’s what I, and I suspect many other leaders, think at moments like this. I believed that to be a well regarded Library Leadership podcaster/blogger/whatever that I had to write more and publish more and share more and generally “be everywhere”. I chose quantity to build my launch audience because I was afraid I didn’t yet have quality, and I got bit for it. To be clear, I’m very proud of the podcast episodes that I’ve put out so far, and I know for a fact I’ve introduced you all to some useful resources (yay feedback!) However, I learned a very important lesson that most of the leadership gurus gloss over. As a leader, you are only as good as your decisions. And you make better decisions when you are rested.
I started this project mostly because I wanted to share what I learned in my PhD, but also because I was finishing my PhD and the next step on my journey was (and is) still hazy. In the cloud of final dissertation defense preparation I felt like I had to do something to prove I hadn’t “wasted” the last 6 years of my life, and this was it. I still stand by that decision (and this project), but it’s time to confess I started Better Library Leaders at least partly for the wrong reasons, and that it could well have been a serious mistake. In fairness though, almost every ambitious leadership project begins this way, in a burst of manic energy that may or may not be hiding a deeper fear. You (or at least I) need that level of energy to get off the launch pad. However, that level of energy cannot and more importantly should not be sustained. If you try, eventually you will get sucked into the “busy trap”, and start making idiotic choices. So I’m not going to try to sustain it. I’d rather provide excellent content less often, and maybe end up visible to fewer people, then deliver something that is not my best. That will make the bigger difference to the profession in the long run, and that’s my ultimate goal anyway–to leave librarianship (and by extension the world IMHO) better than I found it.
So here’s the plan: Next week I am taking OFF. I’ll load up my Buffer queue with interesting news and resources at the BLL Facebook community, catch up on inviting new community members to try the Mastering Difficult Conversations mini-course, record an interview or two and catch up on some odds and ends. I’ll also catch Circulating Ideas Episode 100. 😀 But mostly, I’m going to catch my breath, look at I’ve spent the last 5 months building (has it really only been 5 months since I launched this?!) and make some strategic decisions about what comes next and how to make BLL fit more comfortably in the rest of my life and work. I also hope to take a little time to organize a list I’ve been making of perennial big picture issues that new (and not-so-new) library leaders grapple with. I want to start organizing many of my posts around those issues. That said, this is my playground, so I reserve the right to randomly post about some inane thing that happened in library land in the previous week. 😉
I’ll be back with a new podcast episode after Labor Day weekend, on September 6th. Moving forward, I plan to post new content every Tuesday, alternating between podcast episodes (1st, 3rd, and 5th tuesdays) and blog posts (2nd and 4th Tuesdays). I’ve been developing a blog content plan that does a little deeper than “blurt out 1-2000 words on whatever topic’s on my mind this week”. Between now and then, enjoy your Labor Day weekend, which for many of you school and academic librarians who live further north may be your last moment of calm before the start of a new school year. Feel free to catch up on any podcast episodes or blog posts you may have missed, and we can meet again on September 6th rested, refreshed, and ready to delve more deeply into the world of library leadership.
And in case I haven’t said it lately, thanks. It still amazes me that so many people have taken an interest in this project, and I truly want to provide the best resources I can for you. 🙂