In Which I Break the Rules & Go Cold Turkey

Nobody likes being sick. A few weeks ago, I faced a fourth case of shingles, my least-favorite and most-recurrent illness. And my body was in great shape compared with my thoughts, which surrounded perfectionism and blogging.

You see, I was struggling with a scarcity mindset regarding our readership here. I’d become overly attached to the goal of reaching 1,000 subscribers, so much so that I couldn’t feel the tremendous abundance that is already here.

To be fair, this 1,000-subscriber fixation didn’t come out of nowhere. It was fueled by the advice of myriad big-time bloggers, many of whom actually say, You’re a blogging nobody until you get 1,000 subscribers. If your number is below 1,000, don’t mention it anywhere on your site – smaller numbers scare people off.

The implied rule is, “Tuck your tail and be ashamed of your blog until you get the shred of legitimacy afforded by the number 1,000.”

So … this is me breaking that rule.

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What Would You Do With No Arms and No Limits?

Have you ever seen someone whose courage just took your breath away? Well, I have; his name is Richie Parker. At the time of this writing, Richie is in his 30s, and he works as an engineer for Hendrick Motorsports.

Before I share the rest of the story, though, I have to tell you that this is not the post I had planned for today. But my birthday is coming up; this week, I’ll be 29. And people keep asking if I’m worried about nearing the big 3-0.

Part of me understands the anxiety. But another part of me thinks that there’s something wrong with the question.

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Baby, Have I Got News for You … Good News.

I’m having a hard time is a tough place to start.

Walking a peaceful path. Photo Credit: Summer McCreless

But alas, it was true for me a while back. I’d been trying to walk a path of love and trust, but my (metaphorical) feet kept slipping.

Do you know the feeling? That feeling you get when you want to snap out of a critical mindset, but it’s just really, really hard? The way you know better than to judge yourself and others, but you keep doing it anyway?

It was like walking along an icy street in winter. I have good balance; I was a competitive figure skater. Even so, I was … slipping. I didn’t fall, but for a terrifying time, I’d slide into unhealthy thoughts.

You’re not good enough. Your writing isn’t either. Your last post was lackluster. You’re not where you thought you’d be with the blog and reaching a wider readership, and it’s because you’ve screwed up irrevocably. Good luck getting back on track, or ever seeing those crazy dreams come true.

I managed to right myself, but still, I was shaken. I wasn’t comparing myself to others, exactly. Instead, I was making comparisons with an imagined, ideal self … and I was falling short every time.

When I realized that my thoughts were going crazy, I tried to get quiet and listen. When I did, this letter is what I heard. Something tells me that I have to be brave and share it. Someone else might share this struggle; someone might need to read this today. If so, this is for you.

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My dear,

I hate to break it to you, but you’re scared, honey. There have been some really positive developments in your business and blog lately, and they’ve brought up some old insecurities. You’re afraid, and you don’t want to feel that fear, so you turned to self-blame. I understand.

You are making progress. If there was no progress being made, you’d have no reason to feel such anxiety. In fact, you’re anxious because you’re making progress, because that forward motion is triggering old hurts.

You want, so desperately, to feel legitimate. (And also, you want to be able to spell legitimate without consulting spell check.) You want to feel validated. It’s not subscriber numbers or fame you’re after, not really. Underneath all that, you just want to feel like you’re OK as you are. Loved as you are.

Given this, I have good news and bad news for you. The bad news is, all the acclaim in the world won’t give you what you really want. How do you know this? Read the Praise page on your website. You have so many glowing recommendations that a friend of yours actually cried when she read them, because she’s so proud of you.

Yet those acclamations – from fellow writers, clients, and New York Times bestselling authors – haven’t dispelled your fear. They can help you feel encouraged, honey, but they can’t help you feel worthy.

I know you want more of that praise, and I’m glad you’ve received it. I want you to have every good thing. But that’s not what’s needed now.

What is needed? Beginning again. Feeling what you feel. Telling the truth. Doing the next right thing. Connecting with real friends, the kind of people who cry over your website because they love you so much.

And that’s the good news: you already have everything you need. You are already everything you so badly want to be. You may wrestle with that, but it’s true. You already have that acceptance, that validation, that love. It is where it has always been, where I have always been: right here.

 I am always with you. Don’t be afraid.

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There are just 5 days left to contribute to our our charity:water campaign! (Read the story here.)

Fill somebody’s cup today.

All together, we’ve raised $286, and our goal is $350. Thanks to your gifts, 4 people will have access to clean, life-giving water — and when we hit our goal, that number will jump to 5 people. We have just $64 to go!

charity:water is a non-profit, committed to bringing clean, safe drinking water to developing countries. Private donors cover all operating costs, so 100% of our donations go directly to water projects. Fill somebody’s cup – make a contribution today. The campaign will close this Saturday, August 31.

Thank you for your generous support!

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