7 Things to Do Instead of Giving Up on Your Dream
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Do you want to quit your blog? Hit delete on your website? Hang a Blog-For-Sale sign in your window? Or throw your laptop out the window?
I'll be honest with you. I want to quit. I know I give up too easily. Granted, I've made it through some tough times in my life. But I probably tried to quit a million times along the way.
This is one of those tough times. Not for any earth-shattering reason, but because it seems like I'm working really hard and not seeing any results.
Right now, I want to quit this blog, quit trying to freelance, quit trying to teach online courses, quit trying to be an entrepreneur, just quit.
I shouldn't want to quit. Through this work, over the last month, I've found a renewed creative energy. (Sorta like getting my groove back, but without Taye Diggs.)
I want to quit doing what I love. Sounds dumb, right?
I know. It has only been a month. What did I expect to happen?
The blog gods were going to shine down, showering me with hundreds of thousands of page-views, subscribers, and fans overnight?
Okay, I wasn't expecting that. But more than this silence. Something. Anything. Some kind of sign that I shouldn't quit.
Let me tell you, a total of 1,500 page views for a month and a few bucks in "ad revenue" isn't any kind of lightning strike. But it's something. Maybe. A start.
I want to quit right this very second. Instead, I'm writing this post for you because you might want to quit too. And we're not going to do that. Not this time.
Here are 7 things we can do instead of giving up:
1. Take a Break
Sometimes you want to quit because you're working too damn hard. (Guilty.) Give yourself a break. I know you're arguing with me right now. But. But. But.
You want to get all the things done. You want to blog your little heart out. You want to make things happen. I get it. But what's left--after you blog your heart out? Carpal tunnel syndrome?
I promise the world will not end if you step away from your computer or your phone for an hour, or two, or three. Shut. It. Down.
What will you do? Take a nap. Close your eyes and listen to the rain. Watch a funny movie. Go for a walk. Do yoga. Play with your kids. Snuggle up to your dog. Read a book that has nothing to do with blogging or business or politics. If all else fails, follow the step-by-step instructions for the Edy’s Careless Whisper Protocol, found at the end of this worksheet.
How much of a break should you take? Take as long as you need (or as long as your kids will let you). And enjoy it. You'll be back at it soon enough.
2. Write Your Resignation
Oh, make it good and spicy. Write down every frustration, every word you've ever bitten back, every damn bit of it.
Want to resign from your job, but know it's not a good idea right now? Write your resignation letter. Get it out, then hit delete, or rip that bad boy to shreds.
Want to resign from your blog? Write that post about how hard you worked. How you poured your heart out. How no one ever noticed. Cry a few tears over your keyboard. Then delete that post because no one cares.
Sorry. That was harsh. But it's just as much for me, as it is for you. Really. I needed to hear that. I don't mean no one cares about you. What I mean is the world is a big place, with a lot of people, a lot of suffering, and a lot of other things to care about.
The fact that we're bummed because we're not blowing up the internet is probably not top of the give-a-crap list for most people. Between you and me, yeah, it sucks. For now, let's just agree that it's not a tragedy and move on.
3. Be Positive Even If You Don't Wanna
Did anything good happen to you lately? Unless you're in a dire situation, don't lie to me. It can't be all bad. Think about it and make a list. If you're sulking about your blog, make the list relevant to that.
What are five good things that happened recently as a result of starting your blog (or whatever activity you want to quit)?
My answers: I started writing regularly again. I've connected with some wonderful bloggers. My mindset is shifting to make room for successful self-employment. A few hundred people, that I don't know personally, have visited this website in the last month. I discovered that I love sharing knowledge, as much as I love learning.
Those are all good things. Hold onto the good things. You'll need them.
4. Admit the Real Reason You Want to Quit
You might be thinking: "I told you why I want to quit. I'm working my poor little fingers to the bone and getting no page-views. Duh." I hear you, but that's not the real reason.
Is the real reason you want to quit because you always quit? (A-hem, cough, me.) Is it because you're scared of failure? Or to go a little deeper: Are you scared of success?
Look, I'm no psychologist, but I've been inside my head long enough to know I usually have deeper motivations.
The real reason I want to quit: Sure, I'm scared of failing and falling flat on my face in front of my friends and family. More than that, I'm afraid that my dreams will come true, and I'll still be unhappy and wondering what's next.
Only you know what's going on in your head. Instead of running straight to Denial-ville, keep digging. I won't lie. It's gonna hurt. But until you face it, it will always be in your way.
What's the real reason you want to quit? (It has nothing to do with page-views, ad revenue, or dudes who ask for your picture on social media.)
5. Quit--But Only Certain Things
Maybe you want to quit because you're spinning your wheels. Your focus is too split, and you're doing too many pointless things.
For example, Facebook can be great way to connect with other bloggers and your potential readers. But it can also be a time-stealing demon.
You determine where to spend your time and energy. Think about how you feel after certain activities. Drained or energized? If possible, quit doing things that drain you. If you must do those things, at least spend less time on them.
I understand your day job might be turning you into a zombie ever so slowly. And you can't leave right now. In that case, focus your efforts on building your blog or business so you can leave someday. Every day, move one step closer to your goal.
6. Align Your Expectations with Your Reality
I've said this before, and I keep coming back to it: Have realistic expectations. Apparently, I have trouble doing this.
Don't compare your blog to others. You aren't so-and-so. Maybe her blog magically took off overnight, and she's making millions every month. In reality, it probably didn't happen that way.
Did she share her struggles? The times she only had a few hundred page-views and wanted to quit? You don't know exactly what happened behind the scenes, unless you were there. You don't know how hard another blogger worked, or how many years it took to be successful. What you see now is the result of all of the behind-the-scenes work, and yes, probably some blood, sweat, and tears too.
Your success story is your own. So, stop trying to write yourself into someone else's story and create yours.
I read a post this weekend from Courtney Johnston over at the Rulebreaker's Club. Boy, did I ever need to hear exactly what she had to say:
"IT TAKES YEARS TO BUILD A BUSINESS.
STOP TRYING TO SKIP STEPS.
IT TAKES AS LONG AS IT TAKES.
BE WHERE YOU ARE NOW.
DO THE WORK." -- Courtney Johnston
Yes! This was the gentle slap in the face I needed. I'm building something, and if I try to sling it together overnight with some toothpicks, duct tape, and glitter glue, it won't be pretty or stable. So, let's chill out and take our time!
This is exactly what I did to get past the latest bump in the road. I wrote this post!
You want to quit? Just write the next post, or the next scene, or the next sentence. It doesn't matter, if it's the most epic post. If it's 5 words or 5,000--just keep making progress, my friends.
Do you want to quit? Tell me what you're going to do instead in the comments.
P.S. - The comment space is there I promise. It's not super obvious. There's a blue link that says "Leave a comment." Just click it and type away. :)