I recently spoke with a new blogger. I was honored. First, that anyone would want my opinion, and second, that she liked my blog. This woman is going to be a superstar. Her material is great, yet she kept apologizing. “Well, I’m new. I don’t know much.” As I listened, I could see all her careers, experience, and her passion intersecting, waiting to come out on the page. No need to apologize–just conquer the world.
I’m no expert. I do things wrong–I commit a lot of sins. I write and publish at 4AM when I should do it at 7PM when people are awake. I don’t run SEO properly. I talk too much, my topics have a wide range–family, school, ed reform, weather, Zen, mocking Rhode Island… But occasionally I write something I think is pretty good. That makes me want to be a better writer. That’s the essence of this blog. To write better, and to maybe express the truth once in a while rather than dancing around it.
This journey has been riddled with self-criticism. “It won’t be right.” “I can’t.” “What if my mom reads this?” There are a million reasons why I should not do things. But I found that by pushing through those objections I am becoming a better person. I was thinking about this as I talked to my new blogger friend. We all carry the same doubts. Even the people who, from my standpoint, seem to be wildly successful. Those doubts threaten to take us all down, and we all fight them the same way.
Overcoming the challenges:
1. Getting started
I started this blog to keep a promise to a friend–no other reason. It turned out to be a gift to me. “Okay,” I said, “You set it up, and I’ll use it.”
“Oh, you don’t need me to do that. Plus, it has to be yours.” It was easy to set up but needed a name. That was the toughest thing–I almost gave up. Every time I had a thought, the answer was, “Nope. Not that. That’s a horrible name.” “No, you can’t use that.” I wanted to name this Wittischisms. The name came straight from God to me. It was witty. I wanted to be witty. I wanted wit to be my middle name. And since life is all about inner turmoil–schisms. Perfect!
“No,” said my friend. “First of all, people need to be able to spell your name. Then, they need to know what it means without a college degree.” Wittischisms died. I’ll gladly give it away.
After about six weeks, I nearly gave up. Finally, I sat down with Lean Domain Search, and poured through every word that reminded me of myself. I finally settled on–my name. Maybe my name wasn’t such a bad thing after all.
2. Getting Comfortable In Public
Many people advised me against writing and being public–“You’re a teacher. Teachers can’t do that.” The fear of legal liability is so big in the field of teaching that it governs the place where inspiration should be. It turns education from a place of creativity and achievement to a place of rules and micromanagement.
“You can’t,” should not be the slogan of teaching. Yet, at times I think it is. So I decided, “I can.” I went completely the other way. I linked all my social media accounts, began writing, and made everything public. Being public isn’t easy. After all, do you really want to know if I listened to bad music on Spotify or if I liked someone else’s post? And I’m always waiting for someone to throw a snowball at my face in print, which happens on occasion. Through this, I have learned to spot negativity and disengage. I’m left with positive people–and positive people have infinitely greater vision.
3. Just Do It
Starting to write, act, think in terms of what I will do rather than “I wish I could have,” was a very big deal. Eventually I trusted myself. Trusting myself makes me a better person, not just a better writer. That’s important. Thinking in terms of action plans makes all the difference.
4. Keep doing it
I haven’t changed the world. I hope I will. Truth is, I don’t know how events will unfold. I do know this–the world is a pretty big place. I have had the honor of meeting game changers, and I realize that there is no difference between them and me. No difference between me and the new blogger to whom I had the honor of speaking, and no difference between her and you. There are just people who take that first step and people who spend their lives thinking about it and never lift their foot from the ground. That was me for a very, very long time.
I look back now and wonder why. Success isn’t an event, it’s a process. Every day we move forward, and every day, a little something changes–our attitude, or crowd, our micro-world. In changing those small things, the big things follow. That’s the essence of the truth.
Winston Churchill said, “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.” That’s also the truth. But it’s a sad one indeed.