Imagine running a marathon with your undies in a twist, a noose around your neck, and smoke stinging your eyeballs.
Just how far do you think you'd get before you stumbled, choked, and crashed?
Granted, that scenario might seem too kooky to contemplate, but the truth is, that's what it's like when you run the blogging comparathon.
And sooner or later, we all take our turn in that race.
One minute, we're blogging along, finding our rhythm, setting our pace . . .
And then . . . . . WHOOOOSH!!!
Some bodacious blogger streaks out of nowhere, rockets past us, and leaves us sputtering in a big cloud of dust from::
- his skyrocketing subscriber count.
- her towering traffic stats.
- his dazzling new site design.
- her prolific posting schedule.
- his surging product sales.
And that's when it happens . . . .
Still hacking up dust, we set out after that sprinting blogger with grim determination. We hadn't planned on moving this fast or going in this particular direction on our marathon, but we'll be doggoned if we're going to let another blogger get a leg up on us.
The trouble is, with all that dust hanging around, we can't find our footing.
And before we know it, we're completely off the marathon path and running on the jagged, twisted, comparathon trail. Our inner critic spurs us on from the sidelines, pelting us with verbal abuse for falling behind. So we push on harder and faster until we're panting, straining, and clutching at our sides.
Bitterness over our position gathers our undies in a painful twist as we limp onward. A noose of unrealistic expectations tightens dangerously around our necks, and thick, acrid smoke from a smoldering pile of envy curls into our eyes.
Ah, yes. Just another day in the blogging comparathon.
Well, I don't know about you, but I'm ready to get off this comparathon course once and for all.
If you'd like to quit the comparathon too, here's how to do it:
- See beyond the dust. What exactly was it that kicked up that big cloud of dust and set you off on the wrong trail? Did a fellow blogger post an amazing income or traffic report on their site? Did a blogging friend share news of a boost in subscribers? Did someone you know land a juicy guest post? How did this event make you feel inside? Acknowledging our feelings is the first step towards a healthy course correction.
- Let the air clear. Things are rarely as they appear in a cloud of dust. Once the dust settles, we can see that stats are just numbers, and money is just paper. We're the ones who give those things meaning in our lives. So, what do things like lots of subscribers, special attention from a pro blogger, or a guest post on a major blog mean to you, really? Do they represent status, freedom, love, or power? Perhaps, they mean prestige, success, or security to you. This isn't about judging yourself or labeling these things 'right' or 'wrong.' It's about touching your truth.
- Get your bearings. Comparing ourselves to others and chasing after their dreams instead of our own can take us far, far off course. Get a fix on your current position by asking yourself a couple more questions-Are you deriving your sense of self-worth from your blog's performance and the attention that brings? Do you think the world will somehow run out of money and subscribers if you don't grab your share today? Again, don't judge yourself or your answers. Just see clearly what you've been running towards or from.
- Set a new course. Sit quietly now, and remember your original reasons for blogging. Look back at those original goals and time frames and see if these things still resonate with you. Also consider what you want in other areas of your life in terms of balance, connection with others, good health, etc. Take your time with this process, looking inward and not outward as you make adjustments to find a satisfying, sustaining blogging path on which to run your marathon. Continue to consult your inner compass until you find your own 'True North.'
- Run your own race. Now, fortified with a strong sense of direction and inner strength, you're ready to return to the trail and cover the distance in relaxed, powerful strides. Yes, other bloggers will zip past you on a regular basis, but that's okay. Just wave them on and wish them well. If you feel tempted to catch up with them, read through the questions from up above again, and let those, and your inner compass guide you to blogging victory.
See you on the trail :)
Your turn: Have you ran in the comparathon yet? What was it like for you?