My buddy Kevin has been a great supporter of me and this blog from day one. He’s the one that encouraged me to take it seriously, to get real and open up, and to stop living life the way everyone expects me to. We had lunch together a few months ago, and he made the comment I referred to in My Confession; he said that living life in a constant state of approval-seeking was no way to live. It was a throw-away comment for him (I’ve asked; he doesn’t even remember saying it to me), but it was a real game-changer for me. Ever since then, I’ve made a radical change in my life. I’m full of passion for what I’m doing here. I’m excited about using my experiences to help out those who, just like me, have run into some devastating circumstances after a life of smooth sailing. In short, I want to do something awesome.
Back to Kevin. He heard me use the phrase “do something awesome” a few too many times, because he mentioned it to me and asked me what I meant by it. ”Doing something awesome” didn’t seem to fit my espoused philosophy on humility and non-self-aggrandizement. He and I talked a little bit about the struggles we both face; being pulled between wanting to do something of significance, and wanting to maintain a low profile and just enjoy our lives with our families and friends.
So, what do I mean by “awesome” in this context? I hear people online throwing that phrase around an awful lot, actually. That’s probably where I picked it up. It’s really not something I normally would say. But, I think it’s very appropriate for what I’m trying to do here, as far as I define it.
Here’s the key to my whole premise: Awesome is not about building me up. Would I like to eventually have this site provide some income? Sure, absolutely. Will that require more traffic than I’m currently getting? Yes, it most definitely will. Getting more traffic will require a certain amount of promotion (hopefully mainly done by you folks telling your friends about Start Being Your Best). But, do I want the traffic to come because I think I’m a big deal, or that I’m somehow better? Not at all.
I think I have a unique voice. I’ve been through things in my life that a lot of folks my age haven’t, and I feel like the struggles that I’ve gone through to get me to where I am today can be used by others. It’s mainly because I’ve done so many dumb things that I have an interesting story to tell. I’m certainly not a know-it-all or guru (self-proclaimed or otherwise). I just want to help other people who are in or have been in situations like the ones I’ve been in, to shorten that learning curve for them and help them get their issues sorted out that much quicker.
That’s what I consider awesome. You can do something awesome, too. While there’s truth to the saying that everybody’s special in their own way, it’s also true that there’s nothing new under the sun. Any situation that you find yourself in is a situation that someone else has been in before. And, it’s a situation that someone will be in again. You know what that means, right? It means that you are going to have knowledge and experiences that are just the thing to help someone else (probably many someone elses) out of a dire situation.
Was I thinking about that when I started blogging? Nope. I was just trying to do some therapy by spilling my guts; writing about things I thought about during my day so that I could cope with the boredom that comes from being a financial analyst. I did my therapy online, but didn’t have much of a hope that anyone would take notice. I was as shocked as anyone else that people started reading it.
But now that it’s going, I’m excited. Not because people are reading, necessarily, but because I get emails from people telling me how my articles were just the thing they needed at a specific time. That, my friends, is awesome! My dumb mistakes are helping people.
My vision for this site is that it would encourage some people to start or re-commit to their own blogs and to telling their own stories. You never know what your experiences can do to someone who really needs it. But you’ve got to put it out there. You’ve got to take the first step. I don’t know how many people my writing has helped; probably not as many as a lot of other blogs out there. But, could anyone else have helped the folks that I did help? I’m glad we don’t have to find out.
So Kevin, that’s what I meant about doing something awesome. It’s not about having the spotlight on me, it’s about putting the spotlight on to other people through my example. If I can encourage folks to take an interest in creation and expression for the sake of helping other people, then it’s all been worth it, and I could care less if I never make a dime off Start Being Your Best.
What about you? Do you have any idea what your story is? Only you can tell it. Will you make a commitment to it in the comments?
Photo courtesy: kiskisbreeze