Last week I read a very thoughtful—and thought-provoking—post on Corbett Barr’s blog, called You’re Going to Suck.
In it, Corbett makes the point that there’s no growth without failure. We’ve talked about criticism on ProBlogger before, and that’s something that Corbett makes mention of in his post, but failure encompasses so much more than this.
I know about failure—I’ve launched more than 20 blogs in my career as a blogger. How many am I running now? Two. And that career came only after I’d tried around 30 other jobs. When I started blogging, in my early 30s, I was holding down three jobs.
The point I’m making here isn’t that I’m some kind of superman—it’s the opposite! The lesson is that for every success, there are a lot of “failures.” This is true for me, and I think it’s true for many people.
Success isn’t easy
It’s an important point to think upon, especially in an online environment where so many people make success look so easy. I’m not just talking about the get-rich-quick guys; I’m talking even about something as simple as social media. I don’t know about your Facebook friends, for example, but often I look through my personal Facebook feed and think “wow, everyone’s living these amazing lives and having so much fun!”
It’s often the case, too, when we look at other bloggers, or even just other individuals or groups in our niche. We’re all presenting professional personas online. On the web, it’s an easy matter to create an ideal “you,” or an ideal of your blog or business. As we look at the online presences of peers or competitors, they can seem bulletproof, and far more skilled or capable than we are.
Don’t be fooled!
These online presences aren’t the full story. It’s important to remember that. Sometimes when we look at what others are doing, we can feel bad about the fact that we’re only human—that we can’t afford flashy advertising or a custom blog design or a PR agency to promote us an arrange interviews for us.
But as Corbett says in his post, “put aside the ego and start making mistakes.” Ego isn’t just about wanting to think of ourselves as invincible. Ego can also allow us to give ourselves excuses when, really, the truth is that we’re all human. You might not know about the personal challenges that your most admired blogger or peer is currently facing, even as they launch a new product or sell one of their businesses for six figures. It’s ego that can make us think we’re the only ones facing difficulty.
When Corbett says “start making mistakes,” I think of those 20 blogs I’ve started, and I think about the law of averages. It’s easy to say “we learn from our mistakes,” but I think our “education” isn’t often so dramatic that it happens as a result of one mistake. The same goes for failures—one dramatic failure needn’t be the end of you. It took me twenty blogs to get to the point I’m at now—and I’m hardly a media mogul or blogging empire boss!
Learning lakes time, and experimentation. A tactic that didn’t work with your last blog might work with this one. Who knows? You’ll probably have to give it another try to find out. Maybe that will lead you to another failure. But maybe not…
The more mistakes, the better
The more mistakes you make, the closer you get to finding a sustainable path forward—especially when it comes to the ever-changing world of blogging. The more failures you experience, the more likely you’ll be to narrow down a pathway to success, however you define that.
Have you failed at blogging? Have you made mistakes that have helped you grow as a blogger? Tell us about them in the comments, so that we can all benefit from your experiences.