How am I going to make this successful??
Have you ever tormented yourself with this question?
I told myself when I began this site that I would focus only on creating content for the first six months. I have a lovely, Large Brain that likes to Figure Things Out; and, it can spin out into Monkey Mind Land if I allow it to think it's in charge. So, details like how many visitors I might have; whether my posts are primed for ideal Search Engine Optimization (SEO); or, how to monetize my efforts if possible: I decided nope, nope, nope, not gonna put the cart before the horse.
Focus on showing up consistently, Lorie. Challenge yourself to express your unique voice. Put the What ahead of the How for the time being. Commit to and do these things for six months, call it a personal success, and take your next step.
Feel the Zen there?
Then I came upon Melyssa Griffin and The Nectar Collective.
Oh, boy! Her content is motivating and aspirational. It dives deeply into various Hows of building an audience for your website. I love her writing voice, the topics she covers, and the can-do outlook that comes across in her postings. I admire her work and revenue results.
What a shiny Rabbit Hole!
I easily spent a few hours on her site over a couple days. I got ideas. I joined a Facebook Group she administers. I even signed up for an e-course she has about building email lists. It's polished, thorough, and just spiffy six ways to Sunday. Plus, links off her site led me to other data, reviews, opinions, case studies, and how-to's.
More rabbit holes...
Then yesterday, I kinda freaked out. I felt inferior and inadequate when I sat down to write. I felt overwhelmed and distracted. I tried to shake it off and managed a couple feeble sentences, but in my head I heard --
Maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree with this site? I don't know about X... and, my J is non-existent. Ack! Maybe I'll never be successful.
Imagine here a sucking sound, like a toilet flushing.
Time for a Monkey Mind Shutdown.
I walked away and took a nap.
What is success, anyway?
Ask any person, and their answer will vary.
Me? For years and years, success meant that I would finally "make a living" being a creative person and entrepreneur. I'd bring in enough income to pay off credit cards. In fact, I'd bring in enough income to fund a philanthropy! Let's think big, right? Success would be winning that contest, grant, or fellowship, producing an acclaimed play or income-producing independent movie, or getting a gig with that awesome company doing X.
Success meant I'd get paid for my creative vision and output.
Success also meant autonomy, leadership, and industry respect.
Guess what? Most of these outcomes have not been part of my path so far. If success is only defined by what I have achieved of my goals, I'm a failure.
Yep. A failure with a capital F. Fale-yur.
As such, my notions of success have evolved: working repeatedly with talented, kind collaborators feels like success. Learning to say "yes" to things that scare me in a challenging, good way, and saying "no" to things that I'm afraid to pass up due to fear of missing out - success. Trusting in stillness when I'm not sure which way to go (or my mental monkeys are haranguing me)...
Strangely enough, when I walked away for a nap yesterday, that was a success for me.
I didn't allow myself to wallow in anxious dreck. I knew if I came back around after a "reboot," I'd find my way back to the flow. I knew I'd be okay, because I believe in myself. It's taken a long time to get here, but hey, if you fall down and get back up enough times, you learn you can.
Success means getting up again, failure after failure.
You! Yes, you there.
If you sense an inner voice that calls to you to try something "crazy," change direction, make a new, different, unfamiliar choice, or even pick up your toys and go home, and you heed it, that's success. Even if it fails. Even when it fails. Because, you will learn a little something, pick yourself back up, and try again. After a nap.