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Life in the military is exciting…and very insightful. I once read a book called, “Growing up in Vietnam.” The point of the title wasn’t that this young soldier literally grew up in Vietnam. He didn’t. He grew up in America. But rather the book described lesson after lesson that he was forced to learn quickly in order to survive and overcome the obstacles faced in the jungles of Vietnam. As a young 19-to-20-year-old man, he was forced to grow up quickly, to take in the lessons of the jungle, and to work harder than we can imagine just to stay alive.
In my 5 years of military service, I’m grateful to have been exposed to some amazing principles that have helped me in many non-military aspects of life. I’ve applied principles learned in the Army to the way that I do business with my rental units, to the way that I interact with family and friends, and to the way that I conduct business both online and offline.
Below I’m going to share with you the first in a series of expressions that are very common in the military. Many of these are pounded into our heads from the day that we enter the service until the day that we leave. If you’ve served, you’ve likely heard most, if not all, of these common phrases that we’ll be looking at throughout this series. They serve as aids to guide us in our training and in our missions. And, if we allow them to, they can serve as aids in our daily business lives specifically on our websites and blogs.
Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.
Imagine in your mind’s eye the classic horror movie scene of a young woman running from her house from a serial killer. She sees her car in the driveway and realizes that it will provide her with the perfect means of escape. She darts that direction and arrives at the car shaking and scared. She races to grab for her keys. Fumbling she drops them to the ground and they fall just under the vehicle. She drops to her knees and begins reaching for them, but before she recovers them…it’s too late.
Here’s the lesson they drive into us in the military: There are certain times when it is faster to slow down. In the heat of action, it can become easy to allow adrenaline to take over and fuel us to race forward making very poor split-second decisions. With this in mind, we’re taught to force ourselves to slow down, to think, and to move forward with purposeful intent instead of reactionary impulses and in so doing become faster than operating on adrenaline alone.
Practical Example: In your race to create great content that catches people’s eyes and starts gobbling up some real estate in the search engine listings, you decide to write a new post. You type it up, give it a catchy headline and then click publish.
Next time, however, instead of clicking publish, try implementing this principle. Click the ‘save draft’ button, close your browser, and walk away. Take a shower, go to bed, and think about what ideas or concepts should be added to the article. Think about what should be removed. Rethink the title. Then just forget about it and fall asleep. The next day, reread your article, revising, editing and adjusting as necessary.
Slowing down and pushing publish on day two will almost always lead you to creating a far better article than rushing the process. By slowing down and waiting a day, you’ll create something with far more potential to turn heads and demand people’s attention. This in turn will help to accelerate your blog’s growth and readership. Slow down to go faster.
Group Discussion: I’ve only listed one of dozens of practical examples of this concept. What are some other practical areas where we as bloggers can apply this principle to improve our online presence? What are some examples from your own experiences that help to illustrate this principle?