Last Monday, I unleashed the beast of a post on 36 bloggers and their investing styles. It took a lot of time, persistence, and energy to compile and polish up that piece for publication. Some of you reading this are probably laughing at how many times I badgered you with emails saying “Hey, just following up on that investing style paragraph – got it ready yet?” Half the battle was summoning up the courage to cold call so many bloggers and compiling the paragraphs. The other half was actually taking the raw material and crafting it into a finished product. Let me tell you a story of how it almost never happened.
FEAR OF FAILURE
I started blogging in July 2013. I had been interested in finance and investing since 2011 and after attending WDS in July 2013, I had this
most original idea to start a blog.
Man, did I start out with a bang! I had so much energy and excitement. Blogging was new and shiny. Whoa, I wrote things and people liked and commented on them. It was all pretty neat. I was hooked and I produced some
great content those first few months (please do not go look through the archives for those posts).
I was steadily ramping up my activity moving into the fall of 2013. I was connecting with other personal finance bloggers on Twitter. I was starting to follow and comment regularly on other blogs. I was starting to think about expanding my presence through guest posting on more established blogs.
December 2013 was the best month of my early blogging career. I was featured on a guest post on a relatively prominent, but now defunct, blog in the personal finance niche and it drove a lot of traffic back to my blog. Just like Leonardo DiCaprio on the bow of the Titanic, I was feeling like the king of the world.
Check out the WordPress stats month-by-month going back to the beginning. After December 2013, I started to lose confidence. See the gold arrows where it says “Confidence Shot to Hell”? That’s where I almost gave up. Well, the slide actually started in January 2014 and I reached a low point in June 2014. I was on the brink of failure. I was about to throw in the towel. I had visions and plans of where I was going but I lost all confidence. I was ready to quit. I was terrified of failing.
FROM FAILURE TO SUCCESS
You know what’s funny? I went back to WDS in July 2014. I went knowing full well I was about to quit on blogging and quit on my idea. All I wanted was to go down to Portland and have a good time over a nice, warm summer weekend. Perhaps it was being immersed in an environment surrounded by so many people doing so many amazing things. I’m not really sure, to this day why, but I left Portland after that weekend with a renewed sense of conviction.
And I came back with a vengeance. I came back with a confidence and swagger I thought I had completely lost. Since that weekend in Portland, I’ve really committed myself to mastering this craft and turning my visions into reality.
But a really ironic thing happened recently as I was putting together the mammoth post on investing styles: I was scared. But this time, I wasn’t afraid of failure – I was afraid of success. I knew this was going to be a great post. I mean, how could it not be? It was going to feature over 36 different bloggers and the material I had gathered up was so good. But I sat on that material for over a week and completely ignored actually bringing it all together and crafting a finished product.
The more I thought about it, the more I understood I was procrastinating from putting it together because I was afraid of it potentially being successful. It’s totally insane but it’s true! That fear of success really paralyzed me and I was finding it difficult to get moving on what I was doing. Even with my confidence back, I found it fascinating that I could still get paralyzed with inaction. Thank goodness I snapped out of it fairly quickly or that post might still be collecting dust in my draft folder never to be seen again.
In a little over a year on this blogging journey, I’ve experienced a roller coaster of ups and downs: from excitable beginnings to fear inducing paralysis to a voracious re-emergence. I almost quit. Then I got stymied by fear even after I found my confidence again. And it’s so easy to give in to our fears. It’s so much easier to avoid discomfort and roll with contention day in and day out.
To achieve any of our goals, we need to get out of our comfort zone. We need to continuously re-evaluate, re-assess, and adapt. Reinvention is the key to life. Reinvention is about identifying fears and acting to correct them. It is so much easier to let our fears dominate us. It is so much easier to keep doing what we are doing even if it isn’t working. Why do you think so many people show up to their dead-end jobs for 40+ years? Why do you think so many people watch endless hours of TV each and every night? Why do you think so many people talk about doing so much more with their lives but never do anything about it? What do I know about reinvention?
After spending 6 years and +$50,000 of higher education, I understood I did not want to be an academic. It was terrifying to think that I had spent so much money and so much time to no longer pursue something I thought I had wanted to pursue.
After 12 years of exercising exclusively with weights, I put myself through the uncomfortable process of becoming a runner. I had told myself for over a decade that I was not a cardio guy, and the thought of change was frightening.
And after a few months of blogging, I almost gave up because I did not want to face the uncomfortable reality that I needed to re-assess my goals and act to change my direction. Thinking back on it, my goals for this blog have been a continuous metamorphosis and each iteration has been uncomfortable and scary.
But in order to get harder-better-faster-stronger, we need to face our fears head-on everyday. Become comfortable with the discomfort. Enjoy the pain. It’s ok to fail.
Strangely enough, failure is the key to success. Reinvention is all about failing and adapting. This is one of my favourite quotes of all time:
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.“
If you have been wavering lately on big goals you have set for yourself, I hope this can give you a kick in the ass to go accomplish whatever it is you want to accomplish. I hope you can find your confidence and swagger and unleash all of your creativity and genius you have bubbling inside of you.
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