Let’s be real, there’s nothing more intimidating than the starting line when you are a complete newbie. Picture staring at the fluorescent white of a blank word document when you want to be a writer. Or the feel of that first heel strike on your first marathon training run when you’ve never considered yourself a runner. Or the smell of beer and the blinding lights as you get on stage at an open mic night with dreams of having your own comedy special on Netflix.
It sounds amazing! …Until everything you write is complete crap, you truly want to die and call a friend to pick you up before finishing the first mile of your run, and you freeze on stage, pee a little and walk straight off without saying a damn thing.
It’s horrible being a beginner!! No. Wait. It’s actually freakn awesome – even if you pee a little – and here’s why.
1. No one is listening
Confession time, this is the first blog I ever write for myself and my own brand – Weatherby Media. I’ve written countless blogs for my digital marketing clients but never for myself. But somewhere inside me is a voice that’s just scrambling to hit the page and have an impact. So it’s time to write from myself about the things that matter to me. The best part? No one is going to read it. I’m totally new – no social media following, no email list, no active online community. When I post this guy, I’ll be lucky if a few people stumble upon it. And seeing double digits on Google Analytics will absolutely make me do the happy dance – seriously.
Any person who’s been on the internet knows that to do anything productive people have to be following you, reading your work, and listening to your message. So why is it so great that no one’s listening? Because right now, I have no idea what I’m doing. And slowly over time and with practice, I’ll get better and better. If I ramble or I have a zillion typos (they are in here I know they are) or worse, what I write isn’t meaningful – it’s okay. I don’t care what you are trying to do, whether it’s building an online business like me or become a marathon runner or stand up comedian, when you’re at your worst no one’s watching and when you are at your best is when most people see it – how freakn awesome is that?
2. It’s okay to suck
You can and you will suck! It’s expected and kinda a right of passage. Have you ever really dug back into famous people’s social media? Or maybe to their early blogs? Oh yeah, all those people you’ve aspired to be liked sucked just like you do now. Some people are talented but no one is Michael Jordan without dunking a few million baskets when no one was watching to get there. Being great takes practice and sucking is just a lack of practice. It doesn’t mean you aren’t capable or going to be the next epic thing. What it does mean is everyone starts at the same place – the bottom.
Which leads me to my next point. I’m sure you’ve heard this before but don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle and get discouraged. I’d put all the money I’ll ever make in my online business (and I plan to make a lot of it!) on the fact that the thing that stops more people from achieving their dreams isn’t failure it’s comparison. You look at someone who likely has years of work and effort as a beginner themselves on their way to success and think you’ll never get there. Which is just, well, dumb. So stop it. Be brave enough to get booed off stage and show up again. It’s showing up the second time that differentiates the winners from the losers, not getting booed off stage. Everyone gets booed off stage.
3. Even the smallest things are a huge win
When else in your life is just showing up and trying the biggest win of all time?! Only when you are new at something! I mentioned earlier that this is the first blog I’ve written for myself. And you bet when I publish it on my kinda crappy WordPress website I’m going to be thrilled! Even if it sucks and no one reads it. Still a huge win. Why? Because I showed up and I did it. But it doesn’t stop there. The first 10 people who read it will be an epic win and then once it’s shared or commented on – forget about it! I’m jittery excited just thinking about it. In contrast, 5 years from now I’ll be pushing content regularly and unceremoniously. It takes a lot more to have a reason to celebrate when you’re proficient at your craft. But as a beginner, hell – you get to launch into a series of inner, or outer (no judgement), high-fives just for buying running shoes to start training for that marathon because that is totally a reason to celebrate.
4. You don’t have to commit to anything
I swear all the time in real life. I never realized how much until I had nephews and couldn’t censor myself around them. Maybe not my best quality but, hey, no one’s perfect. The question is, do I want to drop f-bombs all over my blog while representing my business? I’m not sure. And I mean that I’m really not sure. Maybe I do! I think a well-timed F-word has a way of really adding some spice. But, I’m new and I could be wrong! So, if you look through this post you’ll notice that for no reason at all I’ve decided “sucks” is acceptable but the F word needs some smoothing over – and I may deploy a “shiitake mushroom’ later in place of the real deal. However, in 9-months of blogging, you could be hearing me in all my uncensored glory – who knows! But as a newbie, I have to commit to specifically nothing. Maybe one day I’m actually a food blogger which my husband will find ironic because I suck at cooking.
5. The future is full of possibilities
I had a 10-year plan when I was 7 years old. Then I had a new one when I was 9 and again at 12… you see where I’m going with this. The power of possibilities was never lost on me even at a young age. And let me tell you, I was 1000% committed to my life plan right up until the pivotal moment that I changed my mind. And seriously guys, thank god I did!! I used to sing in the bathroom thinking I was going to be a famous pop-star one day. Come to find out, I’m pretty darn close to tone deaf and was practically asked by my music teacher to quit chores as a child. Somethings just aren’t meant to be. But, despite my failed music career, I never lost that feeling that the future held a special magic. When I’d have these dreams as a kid, I’d tell every single person in my family who would listen. And you know what – I’m freakn 30 and still do the same thing. The future is full of possibilities, damn it! Plus, I personally think my enthusiasm is infectious and should be shared with the world or at least those who love me enough to put up with it. But the beauty was and still is – as long as you keep moving forward and have the courage to be a beginner than anything is possible. Don’t think for a second that as I’m writing this I’m not thinking (I’m leaving that double negative in here – call it stylistic preference) about this exact blog going viral at some point in the next 10 years when I’m running a multi-million dollar online business. If you are one of those people in the future reading my viral blog from the start of what I anticipate being a great career – I’m glad to share this real moment with you.
6. You can talk about it as much or as little as you want
All I can say about this one is – know yourself. If you are the kind of person who needs to share your big plans with other people to make them happen – then get after it!! Tell everyone! But, maybe you’re the kind of person who likes to come out of nowhere and suddenly be like – BAMB! Look at this super awesome thing I’ve been doing! – You do you.
I’ve realized I’m both. I love talking big picture. I’m going to run a multi-million dollar online business… my family and friends have heard it more than once. But, I’ve been tunnel-visioned on client work and not doing anything to build my own brand. SO – here I am writing to you right now, in the dark at my kitchen table, and no one knows. I’ll likely do this many more times and post them without telling anyone. I will continue to do this until someone happens upon them somehow. For whatever reason, I love sharing my big loft dreams but when it comes to the small action steps? Those I execute in silence with no one the wiser.
If there is something you’ve been dying to do – for F-sake just do it! Suck at it! Bomb completely and know that bombing actually puts you among the greats. Even if you can’t see it now, everyone you admire felt like you do at one point. I feel like you and I’m writing this blog that you’ll likely never read. And at this moment that gives me some peace of mind and courage to try.