Ever since becoming a full-time blogger, I’ve realized a few things about what it takes to work for yourself (like how your work is never really done and switching off is a thing of the past – even in my sleep, I’m dreaming about ways to improve my SEO). This has been a really interesting experience, and I’ve definitely learned more about myself and my work process. One thing I’ve noticed is that I have a tendency to get in my own way sometimes and halt progress, and I thought I would share a bit more about this so you can avoid falling into the same trap.
This is a demon that so many of us battle, and it can be incredibly easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others in your field or niche (or even people in your everyday life). Comparison can cause us to become unfocused and really get off track with what our goals are. It’s so important to remember that every person is at a different section of their journey, and you can’t compare your beginnings to somebody else’s middle.
Self-doubt can be absolutely crippling. I’ve dealt with it off-and-on throughout my blogging career, and it usually takes a good pep talk with a close friend to get my mind straight again. When instances of self-doubt strike, it’s important to remind ourselves of why we’re doing what we’re doing in the first place. Keeping a journal or notes of what our goals and purposes are, that we can look back over during times like these, can be extremely helpful for shaking off that self-doubt. Also, just having a good old-fashioned rant session with a close friend can be a great way to clear your head and get your focus back.
Sitting around waiting for other people to discover your work is a surefire way to get nothing accomplished. When I first started working on AGO full-time, I realized just how much work it was going to take to turn this dream into a reality. Leisurely writing a post here and there, sending the random tweet about who-knows-what, jumping on Pinterest whenever I felt bored….yeah, totally not gonna cut it. It takes structure, planning, and discipline to do great things, so don’t let laziness keep you from doing your best work every day.
I say this not with the thought of college or extra courses in mind (although of course those will certainly help with many careers). We have an entire lifetime worth of knowledge available for free at the click of a button. You know what I’m talking about. The Google. Don’t know how to take decent photos of your products or for your blog? Google it. Wanting to change a bit of HTML code in your design without causing your left sidebar to magically disappear? (This has happened to me before.) Google it. Want to learn a new language, fix a flat tire, find a new doctor, figure out belly dancing? Google it. Everything I know about blogging, SEO, photography, writing, beauty, etc has been learned through countless hours of research via Google. We live in a day and age where you can literally learn anything thanks to the internet, so don’t waste that access to free knowledge and the chance to teach yourself to be a pro.
Losing our focus and getting distracted can be a huge setback and cause use to take even longer to find success. I think knowing your end goals (or at least having a general idea) and coming up with a bit of a plan is crucial in reaching every goal you set out to achieve. Going into something blindly and without thought – whether it’s your blog, a new job, a lifestyle change, etc. – can cause you to waste a lot of valuable time and will probably discourage you along the way. Take some time to write out your thoughts and really figure out what you want, so that you can make productive, intelligent decisions.
Do you feel there are any areas in your life where you might be standing in your own way?