wSo why did it take me 14 months to write my first post? The answer is all tied to a small but ferocious four letter word. FEAR. Fear is the root of inaction. I didn’t even quite know what I feared, I just knew that avoiding this task was much easier than starting it. I did everything I could to work on a post without actually having to write a word. I have a 65 item list of possible blog topics. I have a notebook filled with thoughts that I would like to share with the world. I have stock-piled wonderful, novel ideas that I have inspired me in my journey. But still, the keyboard stayed quiet. But something changed...
The other day I was meeting a career coaching client and she mentioned that she would love to write a blog but could not get over the mental wall to start it. My advice was to just start writing about things she was interested in (sounds easy, right!) She then posed a question to me – what is keeping you from writing your own posts? Hmm…much harder to answer when it is about yourself. What was holding me back? So we made a deal. We had 2 weeks to draft a blog post and send it to each other. Yikes - now I had accountability and a deadline. So I started.
For those who find writing blogs easy, good for you. I am impressed. For those of us who struggle with the first word, you have my sympathy. This is HARD work! But most of the obstacles I need to get over were 100% internal and fear based. -What if I sound stupid? -What if no one wants to listen to what I have to say? -What if I am just awful at writing? -What if I get TOO much attention on something I write? -What if people think I am self-absorbed for publishing my thoughts and opinions?
To all this I finally said "SO WHAT"! To be clear, I mean I added a “so what” at the end of each fear. So after “what if I sound stupid?” I added “so what”? So what if you sound stupid? Why is it important not to sound stupid? What would happen if someone said that your thoughts/opinions/writing were stupid? How would that affect you? Would it matter 5 years from now? When you actually think about these rebuttals to your fears you realize that it is not as big a hurdle as you thought.
But if you still need motivation think of this – what are the drawbacks of NOT writing a blog post? What if people might really need to hear what you have to say? Maybe they are going through something similar and it would help them to know they are not alone. What if reading something on your blog helped their life in a small but meaningful way?
So after much puttering, muddling, and avoiding, I have finally completed my first blog post, thank you for reading. It feels pretty good. It won’t win any awards or start trending on Twitter but I tried it. I took the first step.
And I am confident that you can too. Just start writing…. J
You know that feeling when you jump off the diving board and feel free until you hit the water and splat, belly flop, water up your nose, and your contacts fall out. But what do you do? Shake it off, and get back in line for the diving board to practice your swan dive. Repeat this 100 times and you get the idea of what it felt like to launch this website. But man, am I good at my swan dive now! For some, career change is a necessity, not an option. We yearn to use our talents and strengths to make a difference in this world but other factors have kept us in roles that "aren't quite us", resulting in second-guessing ourselves, losing motivation and professional self-worth. You may be exhausted after 100 tries on the diving board, but once you perfect your swan dive, you won't be able to wipe that big smile off your face or quiet that "Yahoooo!" .