If you haven't understood by now, a big part of my message here to you is that you HAVE to do it YOUR way.
And when I say "it", I really mean everything.
Your business. Your life. Your way.
It's not about assuming that you already know best or that there's nothing at all you can learn from others. That's not it. It's really about waking up. Becoming much more conscious and aware than you currently are of all the ways in which you're doing something just because someone else has told you it's the "right" way.
Let me give you a real example, because I think this is one of the most important things I have to share with you.
When I first started blogging back in 2012, I wrote randomly. I didn't have a schedule. I simply wrote whenever I had a story to share or when I had good enough access to the internet.
As I delved deeper into the online world and starting reading "advice" from the people out there who'd been there and done it, this is what I repeatedly learned I ought to do:
- Commit to a set schedule. Your audience will appreciate it.
- Sit down and create an editorial calendar. Come up with 6 months to a year's worth of blog post ideas so you're never struggling for an idea.
- Batch write your posts to save you time so you're not always doing it week by week or whatever your schedule is.
Now, committing to a schedule really worked for me. I love being committed. And I love being publicly committed even more. Having a set schedule gave me structure in my now wildly unstructured life.
But the other two? The editorial calendar and the batch writing? I never quite managed those.
Actually, I did write an editorial calendar once. I was taking an online course and it told me an editorial calendar was really the way to do things if I didn't want to go insane.
And, because I really admired the person running the course, I assumed that having an editorial calendar was the best way of doing things. The professional way that successful people did it, you know?
So I sat down and came up with all my ideas and diligently plugged them into my Google calendar. And I think I managed to follow it for maybe a couple of weeks in a row.
But the problem was that every time I came to the idea for the following week, it seemed devoid of energy. Whereas I'd been full of excitement for writing about that thing at the moment I'd conceived the idea, now I'd sit here and look at it and couldn't remember why I wanted to write about it at all.
So I either forced myself to write about it anyway, producing work that felt flat and dull, or I simply wrote about something else that was on my mind that day.
And I tried batch writing too. And again, I maybe managed to do two or three posts together ONE or TWO times. But really, batch writing just wasn't working for me.
So I kept going with what I was doing, which was having a committed schedule but every week writing my post last minute and coming up with the idea of what I wanted to write on the day.
But that was stressful. And you know WHY that was stressful?
Because the whole time I was doing it I was thinking about how I wasn't doing it the right way or the way I should be doing it or in the most efficient way or the way that the really successful people do it.
And so even though I was doing it the way that came most naturally to me, there was also part of me saying that that was BAD.
And it wasn't until recently (maybe the beginning of this year) that I finally realised, after yet another miserable experience with an online course that was trying to prescribe to me exactly the way to do something, that my way was not only ok, but that it was also GOOD.
I finally realised that writing last minute, day by day, in the energy of the moment was MY secret sauce. It was the way in which I produced my best work. It was simply the way that worked best for me.
And as soon as I stopped believing I was a bad entrepreneur for doing it that way, I could actually begin to enjoy the experience of being ME.
And now I get up every morning and just come up with an idea and write. And I enjoy it. And you always get whatever's there. And some days it's better than others but it's always honest and real.
THE POINT IS THIS:
Question EVERYTHING. There is no right way or wrong way of doing something. There's only the way that works best for you. And your job is to find out through experimentation what works best for you and then to accept and give yourself permission to do things that way.
What other people tell you are bad or negative ways of working could actually be YOUR special superpower and how you work best.
It comes down to trusting yourself.
Learn from those around you. Gather new ideas. Try them all out. But at the end of the day, come back to what's working for you.
It's the ONLY way.
Love and courage,