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I’ve been sharing my writing online for a year now.
I have been writing for myself, personally, for as long as I can remember. But the process of sharing my words publicly has been life-changing.
I spent years writing my thoughts in journals, comforted by the fact that no one would ever read them. I started writing as a way to work through my lifelong anxiety and organize my thoughts.
I always assumed it would be my own personal ritual that wasn’t shared with anyone. Writing quickly became therapeutic for me and I looked forward to my daily routine of cracking open my journal. I started to write out my goals and wildest dreams and connect to myself in a way I’ve never done before.
This ritual became crucial as I started my journey with self-development. It was what carried me through the most intense year of my life and led me to meet my soulmate. The writing was (and still is) like a best friend that knew everything about me.
I delighted in the process of reading through old journals and realizing that many of my dreams had come true that I wrote about long ago. My confidence grew immensely as I noticed that I was becoming a new and evolved woman and I was starting to love myself. I never once considered sharing my writing publicly; I honestly didn’t think I was that good at it. Sure, the words flowed through me and into the journal with ease, but I didn’t believe that I could actually write for the public eye.
So to my surprise about a year ago, I was launching my coaching business and needed a way to spread my message in a way that felt fun. I had consumed so much information about marketing and building a brand but nothing felt true to me.
Until one day I received a thought that changed my life forever. This thought told me that writing was the way. Writing would be the thing that would spread my message far and wide. I had years’ worth of lessons to share and writing was the best way for me to express them. At first, I dismissed the idea, but it just wouldn’t leave me alone. So I told myself that I would write consistently for one year and see what happens. If anything, I would grow my writing skills and build up some content. I never expected what would happen next.
After just a few weeks of sharing my words, one of my articles went viral. I was getting thousands of views and shares. People were reaching out and wanting to connect and my words were being re-posted in multiple places. It was at that point that I realized I found my purpose.
That dream that had been poking at me for years was not a fluke. My intuition was right all along; I just had to lean back and trust it.
So throughout this 12-month journey, I have learned some life-changing lessons. These apply to all areas of life, not just writing. Whatever journey you are on right now, whatever dream you’re working toward, whatever thing feels impossible today, this article is for you.
12 Life Lessons I Learned Through Sharing My Writing:
1. Confidence never shows up.
For so long, I thought I had to wait to feel confident before doing something new. So I waited and waited…and waited. I pictured myself jumping out of bed one day feeling so confident and ready to go after my dream. That day never came.
But I got so fed up with just daydreaming that I decided to try something, anything. I figured that even one small action step would be a win. So that’s what I did, I took small actions and learned from my mistakes. And you know what? I slowly but surely started to feel more confident. I realized that taking action wasn’t scary and not everyone is judging me (people are way too worried about themselves).
This was probably the biggest lesson for me in the last year: confidence comes after taking the action, not before. This is truly the only way you can learn and grow.
What’s one action step, no matter how small, that you can take today?
2. Everyone is trying to figure it out.
My biggest fear used to be what people thought of me. I spent almost three decades of my life carrying this fear around daily. I know it’s a common fear and it makes sense. As humans, we need each other to survive and thrive. But trust me when I say, no one is judging you like you think they are. Even if they do, does their opinion really matter in the grand scheme of your life?
When I started sharing my writing, I used to judge my articles pretty harshly and just assume no one wanted to read them. But as I started to get feedback from people that my writing resonated with them or helped in some way, I realized this universal truth: we are all trying to figure out this thing called life.
Take chances and grow from your lessons, you may just inspire other people along the way.
3. Fear is not a stopping point.
I hesitated to share my writing and set up my website for years. I was too afraid of judgment and failure. I hid behind these fears and just assumed it wasn’t in the cards for me. The fear was so strong that I took it as truth. Now, I relish the feeling of fear. It’s not scary anymore; it simply means that I am on the right track. The articles that I hesitate the most to share always end up being the most popular. If it’s something I am struggling with, I know there are many others feeling the same way. So today, I use fear as a tool in my decision-making. Does this decision make me feel excited and fearful all at once? That’s most likely the path to take.
Fear is just an innate response to trying something new; it’s not a stopping point.
4. You won’t always feel excited.
Even though I made a commitment to myself to write consistently, there are many times I don’t feel that excited to do it. I’d rather zone out with my distraction of choice instead of sitting down and creating a new article. That’s the thing about any new journey and working toward your goals. You won’t always feel excited, and that initial wave of motivation will eventually pass. This is normal as your mind much prefers familiarity.
I always listen to my intuition now and don’t succumb to my comfort zone. Am I avoiding writing because I fear what people will think, or do I truly have nothing to say? More often than not, it’s the former.
If you are relying on excitement or motivation to get toward your goal, it will fizzle out fast. Instead, focus on consistency (however that looks for you) and dig a little deeper when you feel that desire to quit. Always remind yourself why you started in the first place.
5. Planning means nothing without action.
I consider myself a daydreamer. I love visualizing the future I am creating and picturing a day in that life. I’m sure people think I am just zoning out, but really, I am living in my rich and vivid inner world. I wouldn’t trade my daydreaming for anything.
When I got tripped up, I was only relying on daydreaming and thinking that my dreams would magically happen. Dreaming without taking action just ends up staying a dream. Action and hard work will be required at different points on your journey. I think if people knew what it would take to reach their goals, they wouldn’t even start. Even a year of writing later, I feel like I am still finding my footing. I suspect it will take a couple of years to feel firmly planted.
Instead of being stuck in my head, I now celebrate the little wins along the way. An article that does well, has a nice comment, and an exciting idea for a piece of content. These are all worth celebrating and keep me going toward my dream.
6. Perfection is a lie.
Perfectionism is a sneaky thing that will keep you stuck for as long as you let it. In my case, I let it stop me for about five years before even taking action. I thought I needed just one more training, one more course, and the perfect coach before I could put myself out there. But the thing is perfection is a lie. There’s no such thing as perfect. You’ll always be growing, changing, editing, and switching paths. The road to success is never linear and it actually feels like a roller coaster instead.
Don’t let perfection hold you back, like the tips above state, you just need to start taking action, now. Done is better than perfect. Published is better than 10 revisions. You’ll never learn unless you actually put yourself out there and get feedback. Screw perfection and aim for real instead.
7. Insecurities will go away, but new ones will show up.
As you start to build confidence and take action toward your goals, those insecurities that you once had will lessen. You’ll realize that you can do the thing; you can make a mistake and come out stronger. You’ll realize that most of those insecurities never manifested anyways.
But as you reach new levels, new challenges and lessons will arise. See, the brain’s main focus is to keep you safe. Familiarity equals safety and your brain will try to get you back there. It’s natural and expected that new challenges bring new fears. The amazing thing is that as you evolve and learn, you realize that these fears don’t have to stop you anymore. That these new insecurities are just new lessons to integrate. You healed previous fears; these are no different.
8. You will never fail if you follow your heart.
It’s unfortunate that fear and insecurity keep most people stuck. Humans are here to express themselves and find their unique gift, not just to blindly follow the masses. This is why I now know that if you follow your heart, you will never fail. Sure there may be bumps along the way, but following your heart and intuition will never lead you astray. This is truly the only way to live during your time here on Earth.
Following your heart will look different for every single one of us. Start by doing things that bring you joy. Incorporate more things that make you happy and feel alive. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes a day, this is how you start. If you don’t even know what makes you happy, ask yourself what you loved to do as a kid. This will give you insight as to how to live by your soul’s expression.
9. There’s only one of you.
This goes hand in hand with the tip above. When you follow your heart, you will never fail. For the simple fact that there is only one you. There is only one iteration of you in this lifetime here on Earth. You were brought here for a reason.
This fact really helped me when I first started sharing my writing. Anytime my mind wanted to stop me, saying that it’s already been done a million times before, I came back to this fact. That no one else on this planet has my voice, my experiences, or my point of view. I learned the lessons I did so I can teach others along the way. The same goes for you. You went through the hardships you did, you experienced heartbreak, and you felt happy in a way that is unique to you. Don’t let anyone try to tell you it’s been done before.
Because the simple truth is that there’s only one you; let the world see it.
10. Your journey will look different than others.
Thanks to social media, it’s all too easy for everyone else to look way more successful and happier than they probably are. It’s also easy for you to assume that some stranger on the internet gets to be successful and you don’t. I stayed in this trap for far too long. I would spend hours following other people and watching their journey instead of living my life. I would see other people find success and just assume it wouldn’t work for me. The mind loves to make assumptions.
One day, I had to pull myself out of this trap and be honest with myself. How was I assuming that I couldn’t be successful if I wasn’t even trying? It was time to stop watching everyone else and be my very own influencer.
I realize now that you can study other people’s paths to success all you want, but yours will look completely different. Strategies that worked for someone else may be completely wrong for you. And don’t let social media fool you; the ones who appear the happiest usually are not.
11. The thing you’re avoiding is your biggest lesson.
My first article that went “viral” was one I didn’t want to write. It was my 33rd birthday and I got the idea to share 33 lessons I learned about love and relationships. I immediately dismissed it, thinking who would even read that?
But instead of giving in to the fear and doubt, I remembered why I even started writing in the first place. I wanted to share all the lessons I learned from my journey of finding love. I knew that even if I could help just one person, well that would be a success.
So despite the doubt, I wrote the article and hit publish. And within a couple of days, thousands of people read and shared it. It was then I learned that the thing I am most avoiding ends up being my biggest lesson. The thing I keep stuffing away, not wanting to shine my light, is what helps me evolve.
Decide today that you won’t avoid what you’re desiring anymore; decide today that it’s time to find out what that dream is all about.
12. Life is sweeter when you go after your dreams.
It seems like everyone is trying to find the secret to life. Like there’s some untold secret about how to truly be happy during your time here on Earth. Well, this past year has given me some good insight into the answer. There isn’t some big huge secret on how to finally be happy; the answer is really quite simple. You don’t need another book, course, career, or relationship to feel like you’ve succeeded.
I’ve realized that the way to truly enjoy life and make it meaningful is to go after your dreams with all you got. To do the things that make you uniquely happy and fulfilled. To spend less time with distractions and material things and more time embracing the present moment.
When you go after your dreams and do more of what lights you up, that’s you living your purpose.