I’m sure I’m not the only one that does all my best thinking in the shower, right? I get struck with some lightning of an idea—a new goal in mind. It’s usually pretty fabulous when it first comes to me, and I fall instantly in love with it and jump right in without thinking. Then I overwhelm myself, trying to do too much too fast…the feelings of self-doubt creep in and I start to think I was an idiot for starting, and maybe I even burn myself out because I let my wild ideas take over and run my life. Years down the road, my life is now one giant tale of unfinished projects and unfulfilled goals.
I’m not gonna lie. I have started a blog before. Three times, actually.
The first time was just one of those fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants decisions that you make one moment when you tell yourself “Hey! I have something to say and everyone in the world will love to hear from me.” So I jumped in and started it. I wrote something here and there, a lot of rants about things, and some of it came out pretty good, and some of it didn’t, but I made the horrible mistake of looking around at other blogs way too often and it made me feel like I was less than adequate. Slowly, the first blog got dismissed and left in the dust as I wrote less and less often, until I didn’t write at all anymore.
The other endeavor started after seeing all the food blogs out there and thinking that maybe that would be my true calling. I posted some recipes but once again lost steam after realizing that I’m kind of a picky eater and my collection of recipes would be sparse. So that one fell by the wayside too.
My third attempt was in collaboration with my sister and we started a blog about scrapbooking. We started off pretty strong but slowly petered out on that one too. I’m not even sure why, but I’m certain it involved some serious feelings of self-doubt because that seems to be a common thread with me.
The sad thing is, all three of these experiments involved things I feel very passionate about. I love writing and telling stories…I love to cook (mostly baking)…and I believe that scrapbooking and preserving memories are one of the most valuable uses of time on the face of the whole earth—especially as I have gotten older and realize how fast life passes by. I also think I’m pretty good at all three of them. So why couldn’t I make any of them work?
1. Fear that I can’t compete with others
Spending time looking at other blogs absolutely killed me! I spent so much time comparing what I was doing to what others were doing that there was no way I was going to come out ahead on that one. I came across a quote in a book recently that made me realize what I was doing wrong.
“Winners compare their achievements with their goals while losers compare their achievements with those of other people” –Nido Quibien
This has been me…behaving like a loser. It wasn’t just the blog itself, either, it was what they were blogging about. I see perfectly decorated homes, with perfectly organized cupboards, perfect food on perfect plates, or perfect scrapbook pages that someone manages to throw together in a mere twenty minutes. I look around at piles of shoes by the front door or realize that I can’t even see the top of my kitchen table for all the clutter and this is followed by me sitting down to feel bad about myself. While I’m busy with my pity party, time ticks away and pretty soon the family rolls in the door and I haven’t even begun to think about dinner. So much for perfect food on perfect plates. Time for frozen pizza on paper plates…except then I realize we’re out of paper plates and we’re rolling with paper towels instead.
2. I believe I’m just too late and too old
The blogging craze started years ago and many of the most successful ones have been around since the beginning. Is there really room in the universe for another blog? Everyone has already picked their favorites and there is only so much time in the day, so that ship has sailed. In addition, I look around at many of the blogs I used to read that post about scrapbooking and many of them have just stopped posting anything new. Is it true that scrapbooking is going the way of all craftiness and people have lost their enthusiasm? Did the window for this particular brand of blogging already close? It feels sometimes like I’m a day late and a dollar short for everything. Add this to the fact that I’m kind of old (this goes back to my earlier comment about competing with others) and I watch these young girls posting about perfect parenting of their perfect toddlers… My kids are grown and (mostly) gone from the house now. I managed to get them to adulthood without killing them, either intentionally or through negligence, but I’m not sure that alone qualifies me as an expert.
3. It has to be perfect
Perfectionism has long been my most wild adversary. You know that saying “If you’re going to do something, do it right.” I’ve taken that saying into a whole new realm and live with the adage “If you’re going to do something, do it perfectly, or don’t bother.” I know I’m not alone here. Admit it. Let’s talk about an example:
A couple of summers ago I reorganized my pantry. I’m going to pat myself on the back right here and say that for the first time reorganizing my pantry in my sixteen years of living here, I finally got it right. Everything I did works for me, and my pantry has stayed organized and clean ever since then. (Maybe one day I’ll do a blog post about what I did and share.) But here’s where the non-finishing dork in me shows up: I bought all these really nice/cute containers for things, all done with the end in mind—I wanted them to not just be cute, but that had to work for their intended purpose, and I did good because everything I got really does work! So now, here I am with a pantry full of baskets and containers, everything works, everything fits, everything is in its place. All that is left is to create labels for everything. Here’s my thought process:
“I have a label maker, so that would work.”
“I also have a Cricut, so I could cut cute vinyl labels.”
“I have seen some people make tags to hang on baskets, so that’s an idea.”
“In the meantime, I’ll write on some masking tape and stick it on everything until I decide which idea I like best.”
Fast forward two years and guess which labels I chose? The masking tape ones…because the labels need to be perfect and once it’s done, there is no undoing. That means I not only have to create the perfect label, but before I can even do that, I have to decide which idea is best. Which leads me to my next problem:
4. Making decisions is too hard
This one kind of goes hand in hand with the perfectionism one. It happens a lot when I scrapbook. I search and search for the perfect paper to go with some pictures I want to use. I’ll find plenty of cute paper that will work, but that’s not good enough because what if there is something BETTER out there, and in an effort to rush into things, I miss it? I do this with absolutely everything I do, whether it is decorating my family room, organizing my pantry, or finding a new recipe to cook for dinner. It’s easier to not decide than to make the wrong decision. This boils over into my blogging ambitions as I try to choose a name, choose a theme, or just figure out what to write about.
5. Self-Doubt leads me to believe I have nothing to offer
This could also go back with the whole “competing with others” scenario, but yet it’s much deeper than that. It’s not so much looking at what others have to offer and thinking you can’t keep up, but it’s about doubting your own abilities regardless of what anyone else is doing. We all feel inadequate at times, some more than others. This all goes back to fear of failure. What if I try and it sucks? What if I try and because it doesn’t work out, it validates every single negative thought I’ve ever had about myself and I realize I never should have tried because at least then I could live with the delusion that if I really wanted to, I could do it? What if everyone thinks I’m a dork for even trying? Add this all to the fact that I don’t honestly know what I’m doing or how to do it, and when I start to research, I realize how woefully inadequate my (not so vast) stores of knowledge really are.
The truth is, whether it’s blogging or some other ambition you have in mind, we all struggle with fear.
In an effort to try to pull myself out of this rut, I have been trying to work on my personal development. I’ve been reading a lot and came upon the following quote that has quickly become my favorite. I am trying to read it every day and work it into my core beliefs so that I can overcome all of these challenges that keep me from living my best life.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that others won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the Glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” –Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love
So all of this leads me to this new place
Here I am, working on another blog. I’m not sure where it’s going to go. I want to incorporate all those things that I love, all in one place, so there will probably be a lot of mish mash and chaos, some silly stories, some recipes, and some scrapbooking stuff all mushed in together in some haphazard sort of way, but I have to stop looking at what everyone else is doing and just be me. I have an uncontrollable junk counter, a pile of shoes by the front door, and the containers in my pantry don’t have cutesy little vinyl labels on them (plus they are mostly empty because I keep forgetting to buy stuff when I’m at the store… I think my list is somewhere on the junk counter.) Hopefully somewhere along the way I’ll pick up some friends that will be happy to know they are not alone in their own personal struggles to follow through. I’d love to hear from anyone that feels like I do…
What personal goal are YOU struggling to follow through on?