Do you know how many times I’ve been so close to giving up this past couple of weeks? Don’t fret; it’s nothing serious, I mean closing down my blog, turning off social media and escaping the blogosphere forever.
I’ve been blogging here since 2012, and over time I’ve had goals I’ve wanted to achieve. I’ve wanted to grow my audience and build my community but, it’s been slow going, sometimes stagnant, no matter what I do.
Overachiever and self-doubter
For me, an overachiever, when I don’t see results or reach my goals quickly, I get disappointed and can easily feel defeated. When people unlike my Facebook page, unsubscribe to my newsletter or I only get a handful of views to a blog post, it makes me question, ‘what on earth am I doing?’
Social media is partially to blame for my self-doubt too. I find myself comparing myself to others success, even though I know I shouldn’t; I know how damaging it is. We never know what’s going on behind someone’s ‘highlight reel’ or whether or not we are comparing our beginning to their middle.
But, self-doubt aside, for some reason I find myself waking up each day filled with a new sense of hope, and I keep on going. Primarily, I just can’t imagine myself without the things I’ve worked so hard to create – my blog, my business, my identity. There’s also a sense of ‘what if’. What if I give up now? What if the success I crave is just around the corner and I don’t know it? I think that’s one of the things that drive me.
I’m quite certain that this ‘what if’ drove James Dyson to build 5126 prototypes of vacuum cleaner before he was successful, too. The same thing that drove Bill Gates to create Microsoft even after his first company failed. Thomas Edison tried 10,000 times to build a light bulb that could work and eventually succeed. Stephen King’s first novel was rejected 30 times, and he’s one of the most famous authors in the world. Imagine the world if they all gave up after they failed or felt defeated? There’d be a lot of you without your beloved Dyson vacuum, we’d still be eating dinner by candlelight, and I wouldn’t even be typing the draft of this blog post in Microsoft Word!
Persistence and failure
Since throwing myself into the deep end six years ago, starting a blog as a hobby and putting my virtual assistant skills to the test in my first business, I now find myself being paid for the skills I taught myself over those years and from the things I learned when I failed. I’ve experienced having no work, I’ve had run-ins with clients, I’ve had rejections, I’ve been fired for a stupid mistake…I could have given up after all of these, but I didn’t.
If anything, I think that in addition to my ‘what if’ curiosities, my persistence has also been about discovering who I am and learning from failures (there have been a few). Seven years ago I would have never thought I’d be a paid writer when I was working in health and safety! Each day I wake up knowing more because of my experiences, they arm me with even more knowledge on my journey.
So, I will continue to plough on just like Dyson, Gates, Edison and King – learn from my experiences and hang out for my ‘what if’. I’ll also take heed of Victorian novelist, Anthony Trollpe’s words to kerb my overachieving tendencies:
A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labours of a spasmodic Hercules.
How do you keep on going when you just want to give up?