My friend, Terry Starbucker, is a blogger who specializes in motivating and inspiring others to live and work their passion. He’s also founder of SOBCon, the must-attend conference for online business people that takes this spirit to a higher level. In 2008, he published “Every Passion Has Its Destiny – An Olympic Inspiration” about Billy Mills, an American with dreams of Olympic goal, and even bigger dreams. To this day, that post says with me.
If you want to know how to succeed in blogging, and anything else you put your mind to, go read this. I’ll wait. Come on back here when you are ready for your next blog exercise.
In “Blog Exercises: What If You Knew You Could Not Fail” I set up the blog exercise challenge to get you thinking of all the things that get in your way when it comes to being the best you can be with your blog and online presence. Terry’s article is a reminder that you are not alone. Mix negative and destructive thinking with people saying you can’t do it – that would be enough to stomp someone into the ground, right?
In this blog exercise, we’re going to go beyond the list of things you fear, the things that get in your way and keep you from success. We’re going to look at the external things that remind you frequently that you can’t do this – and knock them on their ass.
The blog exercise today is to identify the external sources that suck away at your spirit and keep you from blogging success.
Just as we did with the thoughts in your head that encourage failure, begin by identifying the external sources that bring you down and keep you in your place.
We often start with parents and family members. They know our buttons and can often hit them to bring us down. Remember that family doesn’t come with instructions. None of us do. We do the best we can and learn by watching those around us. If family are the ones on your list, that’s okay, too. I’ll cover how to handle this in a moment.
Look around at your work environment. Got some vampires there looking for victims?
What about those in your church or social groups? Are they all perfect, supportive and encouraging? Or are there some who rub you the wrong way or think all this blogging nonsense is a waste of time, as is everything you do?
A few years ago I had a friend who had the best intentions. Appeared to be full of positive energy and spirit, but he could suck the light out of florescent tubes. It wasn’t that he was a bad person, mean or vicious. He just had a dark energy around him. You felt sad when you were with him. You were tired when talking to him on the phone. Even away from him, the dark cloud would persist, sometimes for hours. It was odd and insidious. It took me a long time to recognize that it wasn’t me but him. I’d be gay and light, ready to rock and roll, and ten minutes in his company I’d be thinking, why bother, it’s not worth my time and energy. As much as I adored him, I had to let him go and put some distance between us as I couldn’t afford the energy loss. I’m sure you’ve been in similar situations.
That’s the point of it. Being around these people is like being a house that didn’t pass its energy inspection. The life gets a little sucked out of you when you are around them.
Be specific. This list is for you privately. You may burn it later.
Look at the names and list what it is about them that wears you down and sucks the life force and courage from your marrow. Listing the names isn’t enough, you must identify the “suckers” as it were.
There is something powerful about naming these things. Jackie, the one who never gets my name right nor takes the time to get to know me. The one who never quite looks me in the eye all the while appearing to listen. I know she’s not listening nor cares. So why do I act like I care so much about her and her tragedies in life? Spelled out, I see a person to whom I’ve given my time and energy and gotten nothing back. Do I need to? No, but seeing it on paper can change your attitude and make you stop expecting something in return. The energy suck is the expectation which never comes. Consider that one hole plugged soundly.
What about the one, let’s call him Jack, who is angry all the time. You have to work with him on your team. It is easy to say that it is Jack who is sucking away your life forces, but think about it. Maybe it is all the energy you put into keeping him calm and protecting your other co-workers from his anger. It isn’t Jack but you, acting like a guard, that wears you out. You can’t protect him, nor them, you can only protect yourself. Take back some of that energy and let the chips fall where they may. You are working with grownups, treat them accordingly.
When it it comes to blogging, there are many out there who don’t suffer blogging fools lightly. We are easy targets for abuse. “Airing your dirty laundry, eh?” “Think you are so special because you blog?” “Oh, that bloggy thing. I’ve grown out of that phase. I’m on Facebook now.” With such encouragement and support, it isn’t individual people who can suck out our energy but their attitude about what we do. Do you find what you do being judged by many not just the few? Note those external forces coming after your spirit on your list.
She asked me if seeing
you was a drain.
Seeing you is not a drain.
It’s a sewer.
“How to Survive the Loss of a Love” by Harold H. Bloomfield, M.D. & Peter McWilliams
When you have all the life force suckers on a list, identifying how they drain you, it’s time to make some decisions.
You can always ditch them, boost them from your life, pushing them away or at least to the outer rim. I eventually had to make with that friend. That was a rare exception.
However, I hate ultimatum thinking and actions. I believe that friends and family are precious, even if they are awful. Even murderers have those with kindness in their hearts to see the good. There is good in everyone. It may take a magnifier…
I’m not talking about the evil doers in your life, those who thrive on seeing you hurt. Always protect yourself first if you are around dangerous people. Get help, both for you and for them, even if it is incarceration.
I’m talking about the people who are slowly draining your spirit away. Acknowledge them and make some decisions.
Know this: You can’t change them, but you can change yourself.
Change your attitude. Find a way of accepting.
My father wasn’t the best person in the world, though he tried. He could charm strangers like a snake, but family – not so much. To be around him, I had to change my attitude and perspective. I had to accept him the way he was and not hold any expectations. The moment I’d get an idea in my head of how he should behave in a situation, he’d do the opposite, making everyone around him mental in the process. When I let go of the expectations, we got along great. I’d just go along for the ride, protecting myself by not taking it all personally. It didn’t happen overnight. There were some long years growing into this stable state of acceptance. In the end, he changed and stunned the lot of us. When I started treating him like a human being, not a monster, he became a human being. It was amazing!
This won’t happen with everyone in your life. It’s one of your options.
The key is to identify them and spell out how they are impacting your life, making you feel worthless. Sometimes that’s half the battle.
List the ways they influence your attitude and behavior, then make a list of how to handle each circumstance.
You are blogging, for goodness sake. Remember that. It takes courage, faith, and determination to have your say online for anyone in the world to read. Never forget that. If you don’t believe in yourself, you will never believe nor achieve. Use that same energy to identify those who don’t want you to succeed and use that to fuel your passions.
From the last lines of Terry Starbucker’s post:
Billy Mills had a dream, which became a passion, which then became a reality.
He is living proof that what others think is impossible can certainly be done.
Then believe that you too can turn your passion into destiny…