As I create content for you, I always try to stay as transparent as possible. I'm a very private person and sharing my vulnerability hasn't been easy and has taken time to get used to, but I've found that sharing parts of my story and struggles has helped many of you, and for that reason alone, I will continue to do so. When I decided to create the blog three years ago, I knew what I wanted it to become, but I had no idea where it would go or how I would get there, but I knew the ultimate goal was to be a voice of inspiration and help guide you to live your life in style. As I enter my third year of blogging, I'm also entering my 33rd year of life, and that goal remains today. I've shared my fears, my doubts, and insecurities, I've also shared with you that I was recently laid-off and end a few long-terms friendships, but one thing in this all remains constant, I kept going. There are days that sometimes turn into weeks when I want to give up because my goals aren't happening as fast as I'd like them to or because I didn't get the results I expected, but again—I keep going. Giving up is the easy thing to do, but fighting through the struggles, that's the challenge. But there are no rewards without a challenge. As I enter the year of three, I want to share with you five of the most important things I've learned as a third-year blogger and 33 year old.
In this digital age with everything being on social media, it's easy for you to lose yourself. I've fallen into the space of creating content just because it was popular, or because I felt like I needed to, but after these few years, I've found it's important to be YOU. Being yourself is what attracts people to YOU; I didn't understand that in the beginning, but as I continue to become comfortable with all parts of who I am—the good and bad—I'm becoming more comfortable being myself in front of you; this has also allowed me to become vulnerable. Being yourself can be scary because you will allow others to see your imperfections and flaws, but once you learn to accept everything that makes you who you are, you begin to live without any limitations.
Building authenticity online is hard; you have to not only be yourself, but you have to be transparent in being yourself. People can easily spot a fake, so if you aren't living your authentic self, you're only doing yourself a disservice. Also, people want to connect with a real person, someone who they can relate to and can be inspired by; be authentic, take time to find your voice and value, and while you do that, share it. Everyone was once a beginner, so don't be afraid of looking like one, it's all a part of the process.
Harder than it looks
When I decided to start my blog, I knew what the end goal was, but I had no idea what I was doing. Everyone made blogging look so easy—take a few cute photos, write a [witty] caption, and post it. BAM! Thousands of readers and followers, followed by brand endorsements and coins upon coins, but the joke was on me. It was much harder than it looked; coming up with unique content on a consistent basis, a marketing and promotion strategy, along with a niche were a few of the things I learned were needed to run a successful blog. But again, I had no idea what I was doing, so I started to take classes and invest in myself, the blog, and the content; all to find out, it's harder than it looks. Today, everyone has a blog or creating micro-content, so standing out in a saturated industry is much hard than it was five years ago; it takes a plan, a strategy, and a process—all of which I've developed over this past year.
Comparison is real, and it's easy to fall into the trap, but dreams die hard in comparison. It's something I struggled with when I first started—sometimes it's still a struggle, but I've learned to accept and respect my journey because it's mine. What I know to be true; everyone's story and journey is different, and if you're stuck comparing yours to someone else's, you will never be happy. When you compare yourself to others, you're telling the Universe that you aren't good enough and that the work you've done isn't worthy of being valued. Stop doing it now.
Don't depend on social media
Social media is the biggest promotional tool to have when you're creating content, but it shouldn't be the only thing you depend on. Social media is changing daily, and many times our content is hurt behind the changes (IG algorithm), and this is why you shouldn't depend solely on it. You should be building authentic connections with your readers outside of social—your site, your email list, meetups. You don't own social media, and tomorrow it could be gone, so be sure you are creating additional ways to promote and connect with your readers.
Each year I'm growing both professionally and personally, but this year has brought some of my biggest lessons. I've learned how I need to heal my inner child—the boy who sometimes takes over today, how to love myself—flaws and all, and that giving up is not an option—regardless of how hard it gets. I believe that growth is a beautiful thing, but with growth, comes growing pains, it's a necessary part of the process, but in the end, you will be okay. Whether you're a new reader or a returning one, I thank you for allowing me to be the student because I'm always learning, but more importantly, I thank you for reading and trusting me enough to click that link. Here's to the year of three! Continue to Live Your Life in Style and always Be Inspired.