I know not to do it. I know how to make sure it doesn’t happen. I’ve advised hundreds, probably thousands, of people (personally and literally) not to do it. But I still did it.


I was writing a blog post on the need for CEOs (and all of us) to have, to seek and to express clarity in our work. I was using my WordPress portal, instead of using a dedicated word processing or writing tool with continuous backup. WordPress is a fabulous platform, with multiple tools that make online work powerful and flexible. As you write, WordPress usually saves your drafts. I’ve never had problems with it skipping. But still, it is not a dedicated Word Processor, so you are putting your faith in the ability of this online software to keep things running smoothly.

What did I do? I wrote without proper backup.

I’d written a killer post. I’d been thinking about how to approach it for weeks and then sat down and wrote most of it out in one session. I was really happy with it. I thought I’d checked repeatedly that it was saved, as I was writing, using the WordPress draft function. Then I clicked ‘Publish’ to see goodness uploaded to the net. Once I clicked ‘Publish’, I went to exit the page. Strangely, I received a warning that information would be lost. It was odd, but I ignored it and navigated away, as I’d just published the document.

Then, I thought about the things I was missing: the confirmation page I should have been directed to and the nagging feeling something was wrong. So I checked on the post…

As it turned out, the entire session was lost, along with the particular phrasing and ideas I’d developed as I wrote the piece.

“Always use a backup.”

It’s something I tell people over and over. And I’d lost up to an hour’s work, because I hadn’t followed my own advice. I suppose I thought I knew how to work around that – it’s OK, it’s in the Cloud, it’s taken care of by the technology. But it wasn’t. A glitch had occurred. I’m blaming it on Google Chrome, not WordPress, but still…

As a result, I lost the motivation to go back to the post – I’d already done that work, I didn’t want to have to do it all over again! And this is what happens when you lose important things or ideas. You lose your momentum and your mojo.

This was just a blog post, but it happens with so many parts of life and business: your new project that you were working on gets ripped away; the buildings you spend weeks refurbishing are trashed by vandals; the business you spent years building gets undermined by new legislation; or all of your organisation’s work is on that $150 million IT System that just doesn’t work!!

Contingency and Backup Planning is necessary for almost any endeavour. Not like some kind of cosmic prenup, but as a way of helping you to still achieve the same goal. If the IT isn’t working, chalk it up to experience and go a different route. If the business is being undermined by legislation, find a new way to provide the service or fulfil the need. If the building needs more work, work with the graffiti artists or install some anti-graffiti tech. If your family is not going the way you envisioned, don’t give up, find another way to make things work.

And in my case, use Writing Software for drafts on your local desktop (also constantly being backed up to the cloud/network), or simply use old-fashioned pen and paper, and make sure everything is copied and saved, stupid! Then upload it to the online tools.

Lesson learned.

Now, I’ve got to get to that Clarity post next week…

I’m an expert in strategic human & organisational improvement and leadership. I consult, coach, write and speak for clients across all industries, bringing out the best in my clients’ gifts and talents, in order to help them achieve success. And yes, even I have to learn my own lessons, which is why working with me is always an enjoyable adventure!
Contact me if you want to improve any aspect of your performance, strategy or you have something special you want help to achieve.
(C) 2015 Peter J. McLean. Follow me at petermclean.co. You can visit our main websites at www.lamplighter.com.au and www.authenticspeaking.com. You can also check out our new killer performance improvement service at www.keepmeaccountable.co.
Danger, Will Robinson! Make Sure You Have a Backup!

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