Years ago, I started this blog with a pretty big mission in mind: to help you succeed.
I wanted to tell you things you didn’t know. I wanted to point you in better directions. I wanted to share lessons I’d learned the hard way so that you didn’t make the same mistakes.
I wanted to give you shortcuts that helped you succeed faster, easier and with a lot less stress than I had to go through to get where I am today.
Somewhere along the way, I lost sight of that goal. My business got big. My blog became popular. It was explosive growth. I got busy. I had clients and readers who wanted my attention, and I had responsibilities and obligations to both.
(Oh yeah. And then there was that thing.)
Life got a little crazy, and I got caught up in it, stretching myself to make ends meet.
Then things got a little worse.
Worse was that I spent a lot of time writing for my blog, sharing good solutions, smart advice or better methods… but I wasn’t seeing many readers put the advice I shared to good use. They’d whine about this or that, and when they did, I worked harder to bring them even more ideas and advice.
I poured my heart and precious time into helping them do better. Years later, many of those same readers were still whining. They were still stuck in the same place they started from. They’ll still be reading blogs full of smart advice five years from now.
I’ve since learned that there’s nothing I can do about that. Some people just don’t want to change. They don’t want a better life. They don’t even want to try. (Sorry, people. I can’t help you if you can’t help yourself.)
But until I learned that life lesson… well, blogging was discouraging. It was disheartening. It felt useless.
But wait – things got even worse.
Worse is that I started to think I’d said it all. That I had nothing left to say. That I’d run out of new material to cover. After all, this blog has well over 1,000 posts, and I’ve been blogging good, smart advice for years.
There’s only so much you can say before it starts to sound redundant.
Pair that with readers who kept whining about being stuck, and I thought this blog was done for. I’d done what I’d could, I’d tried as hard as I could, I’d given it my all… and the well of smart advice had gone dry.
But I had a problem: I couldn’t abandon my blog. So I started doing what everyone was doing: rehashing the same old, boring topics we’ve all read a million times before.
I hated it.
I stuck with my blog out of a sense of obligation, battling nasty bouts of writer’s block (that were really just my mind’s signal that something was wrong and that I should pay attention). I stared at blank pages. I hired a business shrink. I spent frustrated hours trying to cobble together something “good enough”, something that made me feel awesome again. Like I’d nailed it.
I started losing my writing voice. It sounded bland and disinterested. It wasn’t the vivacious, bold, brash tone I used to have. I looked back on older posts and wished I could write like that again – but I couldn’t. The spark was gone.
I felt like was just keeping up appearances.
This wasn’t fun anymore.
This dragged on for well over a year, and I shudder at what could’ve happened had it continued. I nearly abandoned this blog to go run off to play in the sunshine of Damn Fine Words, a project that’s always sparked my motivation like a lit blowtorch.
Until the day I realized this blog was completely, utterly, falling apart in tiny little pieces. It was done. Over. Reached its end.
I was THRILLED!
This blog was burnt toast, and I was absolutely relieved! Now I could finally – finally! – rebuild it to be whatever I wanted it to be. The potential of Everything I Could Do Now was so exciting I actually laughed out loud.
Ideas hit me so hard and fast that I must’ve sounded crazy as I told my friend, hands waving in the air.
“I can go back to my roots! The reason why I started this damned blog in the first place! I can do exactly what I’ve always wanted to do – write about the lessons I learned the hard way so others don’t make the same mistakes.”
This was risky thinking. Admit I blew it? Admit mistakes? In public on my blog? Me, a successful entrepreneur?!
You bet. It might be refreshing to have someone tell it to you straight and say, “Man, it’s hard being successful, and boy, did I ever screw up along the way. Here’s what NOT to do.”
You might be thinking, “Well, why didn’t you just do that years ago, James? I mean, if that’s how you felt… Just… do whatever you want.”
But it’s not that simple. You can easily get away with admitting mistakes when you’re a small blogger or start-up business, but when you reach a certain level of success, your reputation is everything. People expect you to know it all. And you hide the screw-ups. Very few people at my level will admit them.
Me? I’ve got nothing to lose.
I am who I am, and I’ve done well. I’m going to keep on being successful. Admitting mistakes is part of who I am, and I think you appreciate honesty. I think you want to hear that the big guys screw up too.
And I think you’ll appreciate learning how to avoid the pitfalls I dropped straight into.
Oh, and I think you’ll appreciate the fun. It’s good to get my voice back. It’s good to write again. I’m churning out blog posts like there’s no tomorrow.
Kind of like someone lit a blowtorch for me.