When I first dipped my feet into the blogging pool in 2011, I was focusing on all the wrong things.
And ignoring the business I spent 17 years building.
Enamored with praise, comment count, and an increasing number of visitors, my dopamine center was in overdrive.
I was ignoring my business, writing with no end in mind, and I figured it would all pay off, somehow.
But I wasn’t even listening to my own advice.
You been there? Hankering for that fix?
I almost failed because I bought into the big, fat deception about blogging gold in them there hills. But there are no golden eggs when you’re out of place and out of focus. Yet I kept on writing and obsessing. Chasing my tail.
The economy was a giant turd and new business was drying up.
I was more stressed than Snooki at a book club meeting.
And I was wishing upon a star.
The writing flowed, but a guy who helps businesses clarify their messaging was diluting his. Neglecting the engine that put food on the table, because I was lost in a world filled to the brim with false promises.
But that was then.
I’m now on the other side, but I almost blew it.
The allure of the blogging “lifestyle” is like an enchanting siren song, hypnotic, but beguiling. You’re soon lost, forgetting why you started and what you wanted to do in the world.
It. Does. That. Like a giant, egg-sucking, ugly ass trap.
When you are planning, writing or recording, are you thinking about someone on the other end? How you might solve the problems that plague them?
Or … are you looking for that one viral post?
Is the end goal, YOUR goal? Or a re-tooled version of someone else’s?
I was practicing the opposite of what I preached, entranced, yet banging my head against some invisible barrier. It took me a while to see beyond this great wall. To start on a less fragmented, more streamlined path.
Here’s the thing: Oftentimes an “expert’s” advice is more like an impediment to your progress. And you my friend, aid and abet. I sure did.
So, why not STOP?
Today, forget about metrics, plug-ins or how to score a guest post on some mega-blog.
Instead, sit down with pen and paper and design YOUR grand vision. Where you want to be in one, two, three years. Craft a short statement which clarifies why you are here and exactly what you aim to do. If it takes days or even weeks, even better. It means you are truly fleshing out YOUR way.
But don’t stop there. No.
This should become the daily practice. That silent break you take each and every day to really, truly design your way forward.
It’s about stopping business as usual and working your ass off to find your “why,” then doing it over and over and over.
So STOP. And then … Do.
I know, it’s always in fashion to trash the blogosphere’s “top dogs.” I’m not taking a stand against them, but the reality is, they often hinder your progress.
What helped me?
I stopped listening to them.
And I started listening to myself.
I woke up.
The blogging kingfish? They did (and do) the same thing. They press ignore and make shit happen. If you spend all your time on social media you’ll never make shit happen, trust me.
So, back to You. Just stop. Then get started.
There’s a cornucopia of fine peeps who’ve found their way by helping others. Some would say they’re Killing It. Here’s what I say: Maybe at some point they simply stopped listening, and started doing. I can’t speak for them, but I do see insane clarity of vision and I rather like that.
So, if you want to slip out of the box for a bit, do yourself a favor and check out James Altucher.
This guy was never even on the outer limit of my radar, mainly because I was mired in the blogging-guru muck for an eternity. But I listened to this, and listened again. Then again.
Trader, investor, impresario … blogging raconteur. If you spend some time on his site, you’ll see how deep he goes and how impressive his resume is. But it’s obvious the only rule book he follows is his own.
In his own words … “For some reason, I’ve turned myself inside out and all my guts have spilled onto my blog.”
Thing is, the spilling is crafted in such an artful, alluring, and magnetic style, it’s hard to stop at just one post. But you know what? I’m convinced you’ll be better off if you take a deep dive into his world.
For extra inspiration, you might also want to check out AJ Leon.
When I first stumbled upon his blog I thought: Here’s another intrepid, young traveler simply writing about a lifestyle I can’t have at this moment in time. The cool, worldly guy I never was.
But it gets a bit more profound. I don’t know if it’s something about the financial sector (see James Altucher above) but Wall Street “escapees” seem to possess a certain creative gravitas that’s hard to define, at least the ones I follow.
I downloaded and read, “The Life & Times of a Remarkable Misfit” in one sitting. It’s a mix of essays, but it’s seamless from start to finish, and for a concise e-book it has a bit of heft. In his interviews, his writing and his overall style, it’s obvious, here is a guy with an entrepreneurial mind and true clarity of vision. And best of all, he’s fighting against complacency and conformity.
And from my perspective, the overall branding of Misfit, Inc. is a wonder to behold.
So now …
That is just a taste of two people with some serious creative chops obviously doing their thing … but you have the same kind of spark within.
Right now I’m more focused than ever, and I want you to feel the same. Feel that creative buzz just waiting to get out. But to do that, you need to get out of the bubble.
About the two above. Don’t follow their path. Simply examine the possibilities. Get more than a wee bit inspired and then, start. Today.