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Active Contributor

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


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.