Some one pinch me please…. this must be a dream!
At the end of a day on a warm November day when I was about to leave work a friend emailed me a link in an email suggesting I check out a blog because it seems to be on a topic I have an interest in.
It’s one of those emails that most of us regularly trash without looking at because we don’t have time – but on that day I had a spare few minutes and I followed the link.
The blog was on a topic I was interested in – however it was the medium of blogging itself that immediately grabbed my attention.
- What was this ‘blog’ thing that enabled a Kiwi guy living in Prague to have his voice amplified around the world to thousands of people?
- What was this ‘blogosphere’ thing that enabled not only one guy to have a voice – but thousands of people have a voice, interact with each other and build community?
I was immediately hooked and started a blog of my own within a few hours. ‘It could be fun’ I told my wife….
The rest, as they say, is history….
Now on this cool Autumn day (remember I live in Australia), 7 and a half years later I:
- make a good living from blogging (and have been full time at it for around 5 years)
- have written a book on the topic (it’s 2nd edition debuted at #140 on Amazon’s best seller list this week)
- have around 3 million people each month read what I publish
- have been interviewed and made appearances in more mainstream media that I can count
- get invitations to speak around the world on my topics of interest
I feel like I’ve been living in a dream
The above list of ‘achievements’ is actually something that I feel should be written about someone else. You see I’m not qualified to have them written about me.
Recently at a conference where speakers shared their ‘credentials’ to speak on their topics of expertise I decided to share my own list of ‘credentials’ from my life before blogging.
The list included:
- 20 jobs in 10 years (none of them in social media/web/tech or anything slightly related to doing anything online)
- a Bachelor of…. Theology (it took me almost 10 years to get)
- Half a Bachelor of Marketing (I loved the marketing subjects but kept failing the more ‘business’ related topics and ended up giving up.
- C grade average in English at High School
- Incapable of making text BOLD for 3 months into my first blog
I was certainly not a dismal failure in life. I’d done pretty well in high school, had achieved in some of my jobs and study and had a fairly happy and healthy life – however I was certainly not a high achiever with too many skills or experiences that would set me up as a blogger.
In fact if I could add to the list one thing it’d be that I was a fairly undisciplined kind of person. I’d not had a great track record at sticking to too many things for the long term (my longest stint in a job was 2.5 years) and was notoriously bad at deadlines. The thought of doing something daily for 8 years would not have been something I’d have seen myself ever doing.
Many days I wake up in the morning and think about where blogging has taken me and wonder if it’s all been a dream or a mistake – I really don’t think I belong in this life some days….
None of Us Really Belong
I’m sharing this today for a couple of reasons.
Firstly – I’m having one of those ‘pinch me, this must be a dream’ days. It’s a good dream, but I’m shaking my head and wondering how I got here.
Secondly – the main reason I’m writing this is that I want to share my story because the more successful bloggers I talk to the more I realise that I’m not the only one who feels like they’re in the middle of a dream that they don’t quite belong in.
On the flip side of things I also talk to a lot of newer and less established bloggers who tell me that they look at ‘successful bloggers’ and wonder if they can ever be like them.
Sometimes as more established bloggers those of us who have been around for a while come off as being more polished and qualified than we really are. The reality is that most of us are pretty normal and ordinary people.
Most of us have little experience in publishing, limited training in communication and have days where we wonder if we really belong or why we’ve had the success that we have.
By no means am I saying bloggers who’ve been successful don’t deserve their success (many of the bloggers I’m thinking about are creative, smart and hard working people) – I guess I just wanted to acknowledge that while I write about being a Professional blogger that there are days where I’m not sure I fit the ‘mold’. I hope in doing so that bloggers of all levels might feel a little more ‘qualified’ no matter what their background.
For me the key is not to be put off by the achievements of others but to focus upon who you are and how you can be useful to others. Learn from those who may have gone before – but don’t become distracted by them. Instead work hard on who you are and what you’re doing.
Keep in mind that blogging and the social media space is not really owned by anyone – none of us really ‘belong’ any more than anyone else. To put it more positively – we all belong and have as much right to the space as each other. 10 years ago the blogosphere didn’t really exist. 5 years back ‘social media’ was hardly a blip on the radar.
We’re all still finding our way in this space and there’s plenty of room for more to join us.