Hi friends! Happy Tuesday.
I hope your week is off to a great start! Maxwell and I both have come down with a spring cold, but we’re getting through it. Yesterday he was having trouble napping, and the best way for him to get a good one in was to do it on me. So there we were in the recliner together for about 3 hours. Although I had a long list of things to do, I was SO happy to be there snuggled up with him. He doesn’t really nap on us very often anymore, so it was extra sweetness. I already find myself really cherishing the time we have with him as our only little babe.
There has been a topic that has been front of mind for me lately, so I thought it was appropriate to share that with ya’ll.
Over the past few years of blogging, I’ve made a lot of friends that also blog as well as other creative entrepreneurs. It has been great to get to know them, cheer them on, and have people that can relate to the stumbles I experience.
One thing I’ve noticed that is fairly common in the creative industry is this monster called self doubt. When I paused to reflect I thought: this isn’t just an industry thing, this is a mostly everyone type of thing. Self doubt and negative self talk are things that almost everyone can relate to.
Today I just wanted to share a couple of my personal struggles in case these examples can meet you where you are right now. If not, hopefully the strategies that I’m going to be talking about for getting through them can resonate with something more personal to your own experience.
Staying resilient. BalancedAmes has definitely been a SLOW build. When a lot of people start on a blogging journey, I think they imagine growing their readership and following fairly swiftly. And that does happen for some. For a lot of the rest of us though, it will be a journey of resilience. When I first started BalancedAmes (after the initial interest faded) I would get down if I had written a blog that didn’t perform well (I remember one getting 25 views).
One thing I’ve learned from experiencing and working through this is instead of thinking things like: that is such a small number of people, what is even the point?! And start to think of it as people that God has given me to serve. I wish I could go back and tell my fresh blogging self: Amy, 25 people came here and you had their attention for part of the day. SERVE THEM WELL! Share the message that is on your heart through the outlet that you felt called to start.
Now that I’m not so new to it, I constantly remind myself of that exact thing. Believe me, it can be hard because our society kind of runs in a numbers type of way. In fact our social media apps are set up to make us feel rewarded for likes, followers, comments, etc. I watched a whole 60 minutes episode on the subject, the companies are doing it so that YOU stay engaged. What can happen along the way though is that many people get too into how their posts perform and it impacts their mood, confidence, or day.
My sweet husband often asks, “How many people read your blog today? I really liked that one.” And truly, my response has more and more likely become, “I don’t know, I haven’t even checked yet!” Whereas when I was new I would check that stat a few times a day and be more fueled by it.
Of course there is a balance. It is important for me to use the views and trends is a way to see what engages my readers. What they like to read about. I’m not blind to them, but I’m not fueled by them…does that make sense? And a lot of times it will REALLY surprise me. I’ll write a blog that I think is fantastic and it’ll grab the attention of 200 people. I write one about breastfeeding (seemingly a smaller audience) and 10x the amount of people will read that.
When I started turning my Instagram into an avenue to further convey the message I was blogging about instead of using it to share friend/family/event pictures (of which I still do), I downloaded an app to track engagement. The point is to utilize it to grow your following. At the time I was ill prepared to understand that this meant that not ALL of my friends cared about the message. So I could see if a friend unfollowed me. I had to delete the app because it started making me doubt myself or feel a personal pull if it was someone I knew in real life chose to unfollow. I would think things like: was that caption so annoying that you really had to unfollow me?
BUT, I soon learned to think of it in a much more rational sense. Why would Austin care about me working out and eating right? He is a college friend not someone that is going to actively engage in women’s workout posts and positivity inspiration. AND THAT IS OKAY! He certainly isn’t my ideal client and I shouldn’t take it personally.
Your message is not going to be everyone’s message. Just like your personality is not going to be one that everyone clicks with unless you are Chip and Joanna Gaines. It is what makes us all unique. So instead of trying to blend in, I choose to post what I’m passionate about. Drew’s friends will tease me and even coworkers have tried to make me feel weird about posting about breastfeeding or postpartum issues, but I learned to get a little thicker skin and I think that is an important life skill to have. No need to get defensive or upset, just keep on keeping on. I get plenty more personal messages from mamas saying, “Thank you so much for being so honest. That post really helped me today”
BELIEVE IN YOU stronger than anyone else does. Because at the end of the day, when you lay down…you’ll be alone with your thoughts. Make it a good, positive, and confident place to be.
Why are you doing it? When you experience the ups and downs of whatever it is you are putting your energy toward (whether it be your job, working out, blogging, Instagramming, building your photography business), I think the thing that will help you continue is your why. I’ve talked about this lots before if you’ve been following along for a while. But the question is simple: WHY ARE YOU DOING IT? Maybe you’ll ask yourself that question and you won’t like the answer. A lot of times we are fueled by numbers and our egos because we are human. Okay, so why do I continue to blog? It fills me up. It makes me happy to be a small part of someone’s day or to make a mama feel supported as she completely relates to one of my mothering struggles. It allows me to connect with SO many people that I would’ve never had the opportunity to connect with. It fills this creative part of my soul that would otherwise go undernourished. Are you doing something that fuels you and are you positively impacted by reasons that really matter to you.
Calming down the negative self talk. I’ve been around SO many people that spiral down a negative thought train. One person says something to them and all of the sudden they feel like an incompetent nurse. Or someone makes a negative comment about their body and they think they need to start dieting and exercising. Or they are scrolling down Instagram and come across someone spreading the same type of message and she has 150,000 followers to your 2,000. The comparison causes thoughts like: why is my message special? Or if it was that good why wouldn’t I have the following she has?
I’ve done a lot of reading about this and one of the first things experts suggests is to recognize when you start spiraling. Take one of the negative thoughts that just flew through your head and analyze it. Do I really believe I’m an incompetent nurse? What made me feel that way? You can typically start to regain your composure and the control over your thoughts. Slowly pulling yourself out of that funk you are in.
I often use this strategy if I start to feel overly upset or stressed about something. I try to pause and rationally go through each thought or experience that is making up the bad day. Usually when you do that, it isn’t all that bad…we’re just bundling every small negative thing to make it one.
Ya’ll, it doesn’t always work. Last week I ended up in a puddle of tears at work because I forgot a part to my breast pump. Just keeping it real 😉
The point of the post is to pursue your passion and realize that not everyone is going to get it. It isn’t everyone’s message. That’s okay! In fact, it’s expected. You learn a lot about yourself when you stay true to it even when it was just your mom and friends reading your blog 😉
It makes me SO happy when people reach out and say that blog really spoke to me Amy, thank you for that one. Or, I needed to hear that today. If one of these posts moves you like that, I’d humbly ask you to go ahead and share it so that other people can experience a little lift in their day! I used to be nervous to ask ya’ll for a favor like that, but I think we know each other better now.
See ya’ll back on Thursday!