I want to dedicate this post to Megan Potter. We have never met, however, she posted in a Facebook Group, that we are both in. She wrote of concerns that she has just started a blog about something she clearly cares about, “Creative Block.” Soon after, she was surprised to learn many other people were already covering the topic. She went on to state that she is moving forward anyways. Which, by the way, is the best and most courageous part of her entire post. She then posted a great piece on Creative Block on her website Twelve Story Mountain.
I went to respond, to her post. Soon, there were too many words pouring out so I wrote this post instead. It is dedicated to Megan, but also to everyone else who has ever stopped pursuing something they believed in.
Years ago, I wrote an email to Chris Guillebeau, author, podcasters, world traveler and creator of the World Domination Summit (WDS). I was excited about an idea that I had for a blog and possible side business. Chris is a great guy. He has really inspired me over the years. I even got to meet him at WDS a couple of years back. So I was excited to share my idea with him. I knew he would want to take me under his wing and touter me to wild success.
However, when I told him my idea, he expressed concern that many people were already tackling the same topic and I might want to look into something else. My idea, was “Don’t Quit Your Day Job.” It was something I was personally struggling with; finding balance in my creative pursuits, while maintaining a real income. In turn, I never moved forward.
Now Chris was not telling me, not to do it. In fact, he gave me great advice on finding a niche and an angle, BUT, my inner voice jumped in. It said, “See, everyone’s already done that. They clearly did it better than you. They know more than you. People like them more. Why did you ever think you could this anyways?” And a few other choice words that I will skip here.
Jump forward a few years later, Chris was tackling the topic that I had pitched. So was another well known author, Jeff Goins. At first I felt devastated. I still remember exactly where I was when I read Chris’ response and how I stopped pursuing my dream out of fear. I knew Chris and Jeff were not running away with my little idea. I had come to learn that good ideas are all around us in the world, it is simply how we share our perspective.
I often say, and have to remind myself . . . “There are a limited number of musical notes in the world, 12 if we are speaking of traditional western music, and yet people find new ways to share them every minute of every day!
I have a whole other story to tell about giving up on some of my musical dreams, because of those darned 12 notes. I’ll save that for another post. There’s also a great story about being afraid to introduce myself to Jeff Goins at WDS, and a follow-up email exchange that he and I had a few weeks later.
The reality was they found a way to tell the story to a particular audience. What I had failed to do when I pitched my idea to Chris was express just why and how my message would be different. But it wasn’t up to Chris to encourage me. It was up to me to believe I had something to say, and just do it!
At the very least, by writing, I would jump start my own journey. It took nearly 5 years before I even considered writing on the topic again. By then it seemed everyone was working remotely, taking sabbaticals and doing everything I wanted to talk about. What I learned was to write for myself. If people are interested great. If not, I am still learning and growing.
In reality, the only people that were already “in the know.” were the people I was following. The world is filled with OTHER people who have never heard about Live Your Legend, or Start with Why, or The Art of Non-Conformity.
If you swim in the same pond, you will surely bump into a lot of people who like to swim. But if you go out into the dessert and tell people about the wonders of water and swimming, that you’d like to share with them, you might just change their lives!
In reality, I never needed to stop. I used it as an excuse not to start. Out of fear of being rejects. I could have easily ignored the voices in my head and pursued my idea. It might have worked. It might not have. But I failed, not because everyone else was doing the same thing, but because I did not add my voice to the conversation. For that reason, I hope to never fear adding my voice again.
Megan, I know we do not know each other, but I hope you never stop adding your voice to the world either! That goes for everyone else reading this as well. Keep creating, keep sharing!