I’m reading this great business book given to me by my boss (he lends this book to every new employee) – Gung Ho!. After reading only a few pages of this book two thoughts came to my mind:

  1. If you are a boss – you must read this book, if you are an employee – present it to your boss
  2. The concepts learned from this book are the best lessons any blogger could benefit from.

The book teaches how to build a highly efficient and enthusiastic team of employees just by following three paramount principles derived from Native American Wisdom:

  1. The Spirit of the Squirrel – Worthwhile work
  2. The Way of the Beaver – In control of achieving the goal
  3. The Gift of the Goose – Cheering others on

You might ask how bloggers can benefit from this ancient wisdom? Here’s how I see it:

1. Show your readers why your blog is worthy of their attention

Many bloggers set certain goals when starting a blog: some want to get a recognition of being a professional in their field of expertise, others want to become rich and monetize their blogs, or simply want to be challenged and see for themselves why blogging became a new buzz word. What many of them fail to set is Values. Goals can change, but values must remain the same, always, otherwise they stop being values. Values become real only when you truly follow them and demonstrate them to your readers. Achieving a certain number of RSS subscribers is a goal, but showing your readers that they’ll benefit from subscribing to your blog is a value. You set values by helping your readers to learn from you, to get inspired, by committing yourself to be truthful in your opinion, by providing them with a trustworthy information.

2. Respect your readers.

Many bloggers like getting lots of comments on their blogs, but only some of them are actually paying attention to the content of those comments. Often readers can provide us with some very valuable feedback on what we write about or how to make our blogs better. I’ve seen some bloggers are getting defensive when faced with some criticism from their commenters, instead of respecting their opinion and learning from it. Sometimes it’s good to give your readers a bit of control over your blog’s direction, and see where it takes you. I’ve certainly got a few interesting ideas from my readers and try implementing them on my blog.

3. Reward your readers.

We get so many rewards from our readers – recognition, appreciation, boost in our confidence, support, and so much more. Why don’t we pay them back by showing our gratitude, by rewarding them for the time spent reading our blogs and commenting on them. You don’t necessarily have to participate in Reader Appreciation Week or give away cash prizes (although everybody likes winning them). Simply following up with their comments and thanking for their participation and involvement with your blog would mean a world to them. Who doesn’t like to feel that their voice has been heard and opinions appreciated? You can also go one step further and visit their sites, leave comments on their blogs, encourage their writing, and even send them a personal email once in a blue moon. Just one word of advice – be TRUE in everything you do.

There’s a great quote from this book Gung Ho! – True stands for:
T imely
R esponsive
U nconditional
E nthusiastic

And in conclusion, I’d like to present you a poem quoted in this book, written by Manly Grant from Rhymes for the Land:

Hold or Roll

Rocks hold firm while water’s might
Sends pebbles rolling left and right.
Call pebbles rock? Set firm their goal?
First flash flood, still pebbles roll.
Not name, nor goal divide the two.
It’s how they act. It’s what they do.
Size dictates to stone, but you’re in control.
Are you rock or pebble? Will you hold or roll?

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7 Insightful Bits in response to “The Importance of Values, Goals and Encouragement”

  1. Jess

    Wow, the poem is really good! That book definitely sounds like a good read, maybe I’ll read it over the summer when I have time.

  2. I want to be a rock and not a pebble. However, some are content to be a pebble and roll with the waves so-to-speak.

    Thank you for the book recommendation. I’ve added it to my Amazon.com wishlist and I’ll keep a look out for it next time I’m in a Barnes and Noble.

  3. I think the pebbles are as good,
    They make the waters to run smooth,
    Although they cannot set a goal,
    They surely play a certain role
    In taming rivers off the ridges,
    Allowing people to build bridges.

    Your post made me somehow feel poetical this morning. This is what came out :). As of what I’d prefer to be, I wouldn’t be the rock, nor the pebble. I’d be the water: flexible, allowing the rocks to stand for their goals, rolling the goal-less pebbles, yet keeping my way to the ocean.

  4. Bes

    I think that’s interesting, that your boss gives/lends that book to every new employee.

    Regarding the 3 points you mentioned:

    1 : I think this is a very good point that is overlooked by majority of the bloggers, if not most of them. I see tips and techniques everywhere advocating different practices that can increase the number of RSS subscribers or even the number of commentors to a site, but the real purpose of all the efforts, the value that you mention, is usually ignored. It’s as if people simply want to get, get and get more and not focus on anything that can be given, or even if something should be given to others.

    2 : I think one should respect any criticism. If someone feels offended, insulted or humiliated through a comment, they do not need to respect a comment or sometimes even a commentor, but they can try to see if they themselves do not act in a way that prompts more problems. Lately, I have been thinking of getting a little bit aggressive in accepting what my readers tell me about most of the things and implementing them right away. So far, I am happy with it, so I am go full-force and actually be a aggressive about it in my own mind.

    3 : You bring up an important point; tangible prizes are not the only way to show appreciation. Following up with someone and communicating with someone shows appreciation in many ways.

    Your last sentence of point number 3 can be one of the most important lessons in life, and something that I think everyone should try practicing on many, if not all, aspects of blogging: to “be TRUE in everything you do.”

    Like Ronald, I have added this book to my “to-buy-with-Ronald’s-amazon-gift-code” list. :p I might go look for it tomorrow at a nearby Borders or BN bookstore.

    !!! I just noticed “The Spirit of the Squirrel” – makes me shiver with fear! :(

  5. ibit

    Glad that everyone liked the book’s philosophy. Btw, I finished reading this book and already passed it to another new employee :-)

    This is the 2nd time when boss lends me a book to read. The first time it happened many years ago, at my first full time job after the university – my boss gave me to read The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett. I was into detective stories at that time and back then I haven’t seen the movie.

    Ronald, do you regret sponsoring one of my contests now? See, you could’ve used that $50 Amazon Gift certificate money :-)

    Looks like Jess would be one of the today’s winners… will you be buying that book then, Jess? :-)

    Wow, Simonne – you’re quite a poet there. Your interpretation of that poem was very interesting. The book however talked about it from a different perspective: the pebbles are goals that change, the rocks are the values that we can rely on.

    Thanks for such an elaborate comment, Bes. Don’t get too overwhelmed by “The Spirit of the Squirrel” :-)

  6. Hi,

    I totally agree with point number 3, reward your readers. This applies anywhere in life. I subscriber to the principle that says,

    Give and it will come back to you in good measure.

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Hi, I'm Vivien. Thanks for visiting my Inspiration Bit. I often find myself scouring the internet looking for either answers to many questions I have or websites that inspire me, sites that I can learn from. On what topics you might ask — any topics that interest me, anything from web design to typography and art, from blogging to entrepreneurship, from programming to open source.
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When I'm not blogging, I design web sites, teach, play with my daughter and try to balance family, work, friends and a somewhat active social life on