Have you ever self-inflicted an emotional mess by calling your own credibility into question? Maybe you’ve wondered what business you have doing what just a moment ago felt like such a good fit?
For me, sometimes that’s mothering or minding the matters of my home.
But this last weekend I wore myself down wondering if I’m in the right business of blogging! Knowingly, I put myself in a position of vulnerability, a place of humility and self-exposure. I opened myself up to something that seems worse than social criticism. At least with that I know my own truth!
My own self-critique knocked me to my knees as I wondered what on earth I’d gotten myself into with all this writing and recipe making. Do you ever wonder about your worth in matters of your daily work? That’s right where I found myself.
I arrived in Miami, unassuming, to attend a food blogging conference. As a baby-blogger, I entered blindly without any idea of what to expect. I knew I’d meet ladies like me who revel in recipe creation then subsequently sit behind a computer writing words of eating inspiration through ingredients and expressing personal food flattering style and descriptions. Also like me, I assume most enjoy eating, delving into deliciousness after a successful kitchen concoction.
However, I also knew we’d represent diverse takes on eating, unique fish swimming in an internet sea with food philosophies separating us.
Distinct yet similar, I relish learning from ALL those who have gone before me in this decade-old professional pursuit of blogging. Invigorated and inspired, I found myself staring in awe at those I’ve come to stalk…I mean follow… for so long!
You see, from the comfort of my home office I often feel like a peer, like I’m holding their hands in the wireless waves between our blogs. Whether for content or aesthetics, philosophy or personality, I follow my favorites faithfully.
For all practical purposes, I liken it to social circles. We choose friends with characteristics attractive and congruent to our preferences. Some funny, some inspiring, some supportive and others with an honest abrasiveness worth embracing. In the same way, bloggers I follow have come to be my online, unknowing friends (maybe someday they’ll recognize me and reciprocate!).
Until I arrived in Miami. All the sudden I felt worlds away and way over my head, drowning in that sea of differences driven by my own self-doubt, swimming upstream against their established expertise!
Then and there, I called my skills into question and wondered if my aspirations suit me. A serious case of self-doubt set in. I’d firmly believed my online efforts were my calling to share a refreshing perspective on living well. But, I suddenly ignored all the prayer, work and perseverance I’d already put into it. These women went far before me with followers flocking!
Sure, I’ve been writing, wearing out my keyboard, editing into the night, tangling with new technologies, experimenting in the kitchen and fumbling over photography. But none of that prepared me for the hustling and happening of hundreds of live lady bloggers (and a few men) on a mission to connect, re-connect and dial even deeper into the world-wide web as ‘influencers’.
(‘Influencer’--the term I learned I may someday be referred to as if my audience ever grows greatly enough to warrant brands or sponsors to seeking my online work.)
Mind boggled in the midst of so many bloggers I found myself in my own little Miami mess. Fumbling over words, filling pages with notes, wondering if it’s all worth it. Do I have what it takes? I found myself longing for my Midwest home office where only I am the expert!
Am I cut out for this? Will I ever break into the scene?
Exposed to all those ‘Influencers’, my confidence crumbled.
Have you ever felt that way? Inside your own mess as an unassuming outsider.
Alongside feelings of inadequacy, I also felt a bit invigorated. Encouraged at the information overload urging me on, adding to my list of to dos and inspired by some reassuring smiling faces. Many of the women I met greeted me, the baby blogger of the bunch, with sweet smiles and eye-opening suggestions.
It was those smiles along with an early morning workout saturated with sweat and prayer that finally set me straight.
I realized how doubting my own mission also discounted the missions of these other bloggers. We all inhabit our own online space, offering unique places for visitors to momentarily vacation (at least, that’s how I hope you feel on Happily Whole).
So, why would I suddenly doubt my mission to share words of wellness in a way that feels soft and sweet, honest and empowering? Even if my skills are still fresh, my beliefs and knowledge are solid. Even if my site is new, my start is strong with passion and integrity. I’ve done my diligence and, believe me, I’ve prayed!
Maybe my Miami mess, rather than a means to deter me, was meant to encourage me; an opportunity to narrow, not question, my niche; a way to thicken my skin so I can stand on my own eating-well philosophies as I develop a supportive online community.
Maybe my Miami mess is a step in developing my own masterpiece, a place that someday not only ‘influences’ but inspires….and ultimately a forum for giving to a community outside the web. Yeah, I’m dreaming big with hopes to make this online home an avenue of giving back in gratitude to the world around me….because that, too, is a part of living happily whole.
I have my own niche, my own unique corner in a big blogger’s neighborhood. I called it into question. I won’t do it again. I’ll keep learning from the experts but blogging from my heart.
You too have a niche, your own unique and purposeful corner of this big wide world. Maybe your stuck in your own Miami mess, calling your skills into question. But, like I learned, you are not meant to live like anyone else in this world. You are BETTER and most BEAUTIFUL when you live authentically AS YOU.
Let’s remember together to always, even in the midst of emotional messes, remain authentic and uncompromising in our values.
The events of the conference still overwhelm me. My take home to do list is long and I’m certain I’ll slip up. But, I can assure you of one thing: This little online home will always be authentic, offering only what I feel is philosophically and practically pertinent to living well from the inside out.
Uncompromising and Inspired by my Miami Mess,