Image by JettGirl
Today I was scanning through some emails from readers and it struck me that so many of those that I hear from are suffering from a similar ailment. Let me share a few excerpts from emails I received today and see if you can spot what it is:
“Darren, I’m just a small blogger but was wondering….”
“I’m no A-list blogger but I wanted to let you know…..”
“I’ve only got 70 readers a day….”
“My RSS reader counter is embarrassing….”
“I don’t know any HTML…. I feel like I have so much to learn….”
“I’m just starting out and don’t know much about blogging…..”
“In comparison to others I’m just a small fry….”
“I don’t write as well as they do….”
Notice something about all of these emails?
They all define themselves by something that they are not achieving, that they don’t know, that they don’t have….
Many of them are also based upon a comparison with others.
While I understand why they do this (many are emailing asking for advice and it’s logical to present a problem in such an instance) I wonder if it is also a little more than that.
My suspicion is that many of us as bloggers think of ourselves in similar ways and have “blogger inferiority complex“.
There’s are 3 problems with this type of thinking:
1. The impact it has on You
The main problem with defining yourself with words that describe what you are NOT is that it impacts the way that you think about yourself. I strongly believe that the words we use to talk about ourselves (spoken and thought) impact us.
No I’m not going to get you chanting positive mantras about yourself with the promise of it magically transforming your life but I do think that if you’re continually thinking of yourself in terms of what you are NOT that it has an impact and can be a limiting factor on what you ARE.
Also when your view of yourself is tied to what others do and achieve it can also be very limiting and stop you from actually be something that distracts you from your own true potential (more on this later).
My wife often encourages her friends to be more positive about themselves by using the concept of ‘self fulfilling prophecy’. Sometimes when all we can see is what we can’t do or have not achieved it’s too difficult to move past it and these things not only are our present but they become our future also.
“If we did all of the things that we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” – Thomas Edison
Edison is right – each of us has amazing potential, however unless we learn to see what we have and can do rather than focus upon what we can’t or what others are doing we’re likely to even catch a glimpse of what we can do let alone ever achieve it.
2. The impact that it has on your Readers
While most of the negative definitions of ourselves are generally kept to ourselves or are only spoken about in private – at times they do creep into our blogging and can impact our readers.
Sometimes this happens explicitly (I regularly see people apologizing to readers about the things that they don’t do well) and sometimes it happens more subtly.
I’m not arguing that we should pretend to be something that we’re not and to only talk about the positives in our lives (I think being transparent and honest with readers about our failures can actually be powerful) however when the negative self view becomes the dominating one it can’t help but impact readers.
If you can’t be positive about yourself why would your readers be?
3. The impact it has on other Bloggers
In a similar way – when you talk about yourself in terms of what you’re yet to do, achieve or become your words can impact other bloggers also. I noticed this particularly at the recent SXSW conference where there was a wonderful room set up specifically for bloggers.
As I interacted with bloggers I noticed three groups of people:
- Those who pumped up themselves and their blogs beyond the reality of them. The ego and arrogance of this group (a real minority of those I met I should add) was something to behold!
- Those who defined themselves by what they are not. Just like the email excerpts above this group quite often introduced themselves with a ‘I’m just a small blogger….’
- Those who seemed to have a healthy blend of positivity and humility
It was interesting to see how these three groups of bloggers were received by other bloggers that were in the room. Group one was sniggered about, Group two tended to be talked to politely but people quickly moved on and Group 3 tended to be the ones that people gravitated towards. This third group was also the ones that seemed to get a lot of links after SXSW from other bloggers who were there.
If you want to grow your profile with other bloggers in your niche then I think it’s really important to get the balance right.
How to Define Yourself More Positively
Ironically this post has become a little negative hasn’t it! I’ve just spent the last 850 words talking pointing out how many of us have the problem of pointing out the problems in our lives….
Yes I do see the irony in this, however before I offer some more positives suggestions on how to dig yourself out of a negative framework it’s important to talk about the problem itself (the purpose of this post).
So how do you turn your negativity around and become a more positive blogger in the way that you think about yourself and your blog? I’ve got a post lined up for tomorrow with some of my ideas on the question but in the mean time I’d love to hear your suggestions.