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Monday, December 9, 2013

The beginning of things

A trailhead. Doesn't look like much, does it?

The other day, I was looking at my stats for this new blog. Now, I'm not complaining one little bit, but I'm used to seeing numbers much much much bigger next to my name.

 I was reminded of how easy it can be to give value to your work based on numbers or popularity. When I see a 1,000 or 40,000 in my stats, I feel like a really great blogger.

But when I see 2 next to my name, suddenly, I don't feel so great.

"Can I really write something people want to read??" I wonder.

And when I doubt myself, I go back and look my other blog... Maybe to remind myself that I am still the same blogger with the same voice, even if I don't have an audience (yet.)

It reminds me of a few lessons I've been learning lately. "Attach your significance to the activity, and not the outcome." Ooooh, I love that lesson. And "success builds on itself." Each success you have no matter how small helps boost you on to greater challenges, bigger risks and higher rewards. So it's important to recognize and appreciate any success, no matter how small.

This all got me wondering about the beginning of things.

In the beginning of anything (I don't care what it is), there's very little reward. There's very little recognition. In fact, the beginning of something great can sometimes mask itself as the beginning of nothing at all. (Or just the beginning of a great big mess.)

Just like when you cook. At first, each ingredient looks humble and not so special. As you take the time to weave it all together, you end up with dirty dishes and messy counters.

(And if this represents where you're at in your new job or business venture, you mat be asking yourself, "What was I thinking! My life was so neat and tidy till I got this crazy idea to mix things up.")

And still nothing to show for the mess. But you keep going, follow the recipe to the last period, and voila!! A beautiful gourmet masterpiece! (or maybe you end up with hot dogs. We all have those days.)

I wonder how many bloggers stop writing because they got caught up in the numbers. They saw the mess and no results, and just didn't stick with it long enough to find their niche and find their voice? And so the beginning met the end, without ever creating a middle.

How many small businesses, home-based businesses, Etsy shops, and musicians slowly slow down to a stop. Just because the rewards, or the pay or the stats were slow in coming?

Which reminds me of one last lesson: Leaders are paid for their vision and their tenacity. (I didn't make that up btw. I just heard it and loved it!)

I think the best blogging advice I was ever given was "just keep blogging." Stop worrying about if your message is spot-on, your words are just right or if people seem to be reading. Just keep at it."

I love that advice. It just takes the pressure off of writing. Not every blog post has to be a home run. It doesn't even all have to be deep. But just getting in the habit of being consistent... That's what counts.

I truly believe that most people don't meet their goals because they just don't keep at it LONG enough or OFTEN enough.

So what have you started recently? What keeps you going in spite of not seeing rewards ... only humble beginnings or giant messes? What is your vision and your tenacity that pulls you through?

What a view! The beginning of the hike may not have looked like much ...
but how amazing it is when followed to completion!

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