Warning: today I’m going to get a little emotional on you guys. I typically try to keep my feelings at arm’s length on this blog, but today’s going to be slightly different. I will be back to sharing projects later this week, but hopefully you’ll humor me for now. This post is for all of you who have big dreams – maybe even scary dreams – and who may be feeling a little lost in the process of making those dreams a reality.
Three years ago, after I’d scaled back my hours at my lawyer job, I sat down on the couch one night and started this blog. The idea to start a blog had popped into my head earlier that week and I just went ahead and jumped in. During the process of getting started, I made every single mistake a blogger could make (if you’re curious, you can read about those mistakes here), and I never imagined that I’d still be writing three years later.
And then, last week, I found myself at The Haven Conference – an annual blog conference for design and DIY bloggers – in Atlanta, Georgia. I was a nervous wreck. Even though I enjoy talking to new people and making friends, I am actually quite introverted, and networking scares the you-know-what out of me.
Adding to my stress of being a first-time Haven attendee was the fact that I was teaching two classes at the conference on copyright and trademark issues for bloggers. For the first day or so, I felt like I was going to throw up at any moment, and I think I over-compensated for my nerves by talking waaaaay too much to anyone who would listen.
Luckily, I had a great group of girlfriends there with me. These girls are my tribe: they just get it. The ups and downs, the highs and lows of both blogging and life – they are there for it all.
They helped put me at ease as we visited the amazing brands at the conference, as we tried to “play it cool” when the mega-successful bloggers that we idolize came anywhere near us, and as we compared notes on all of the things we’d learned during our sessions each day.
And of course, they helped me put to good use those drink tickets from our Saturday night party hosted by Ryobi. Not that you could tell from these photos or anything. . .
Don’t let me near a selfie stick again please.
Now all of this brings me to the point of this post – even for those of you who are not bloggers. I learned a lot at Haven about ways to improve Average But Inspired, but more importantly, I learned that if you have a dream, you need to be relentless in your pursuit of making it happen. Do not give up. There are going to be bumps in the road and major hurdles thrown up from time to time. Your success is directly tied to your ability to find a way around those roadblocks and to persevere.
A huge part of that is surrounding yourself with people who support you and what you’re doing. It is imperative that you have a network of people who will provide you with feedback, both positive and negative, and help you define your goals, and in turn, your dream. Find your people and be there for each other.
Now listen, compared to many, I am by no means a “successful” blogger or author. My eBook for bloggers on copyright and trademark law is an absolute flop. I mean, sales probably could not be much worse. That has been a tough pill to swallow, but because of the joy that I get from blogging and the relationships I’ve built during my time in this community, I’m going to keep trying. I may need to try something new and take a different path from time to time, but with good people by my side (or at least on the other side of my computer screen), I know I will keep on planning, creating, growing, learning, having faith, and working to make my dreams a reality.
If your dreams aren’t taking shape the way you planned or at the speed you want, try to have patience as I am also trying to do. Have faith that even if the dream you THINK you want isn’t working out, something else that you may not have even thought of yet WILL. I heard variations of that same story from so many at Haven, and for that, I’m grateful.
Don’t give up. Don’t lose hope. Don’t quit your daydream.