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What The Most Unexpected Gold Medal in History Can Teach Us About Successful Blogging

Image by Flickr user jungle_boy

Image by Flickr user jungle_boy

In 2002, Australian speed skater Steven Bradbury was lining up for the 1000m final at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. Among his competitors for the gold medal were the some of the best in the world at their sport: multi-medallists and world champions. He, by his own admission, was the oldest and the slowest competitor – and while he was going to give it everything he had, he really didn’t expect to win.

A few minutes later, he found himself casually coasting to victory from 15m behind the pack as every single skater in front of him fell over just metres from the finish line. You can see the short video here.

The result was even more unbelievable given the exact same thing had happened in the semi-final, allowing Bradbury to get to the final he didn’t expect to earn a place in.

And what does this have to do with blogging?

Perseverance.

What do you do when you’re chugging along on your blog, seeing other people achieve success faster than you? You persevere. What do you do when you feel like giving up, like you’ll never win anyway? You persevere. Because you can’t predict the future and you don’t know what is going to happen. And when others are falling away or giving up when it all gets too hard – you are still there, blogging, and giving it your all.

Bradbury had worked his whole life to represent his country at four Olympic Games, he had suffered an horrific injury to his thigh, and even broken his neck in the quest to be the best. And he finally earned gold right at the very end when circumstances nobody could predict meant he finally had his chance.

It’s one of the biggest pieces of advice I give newbie bloggers who ask – persevere. I tell them that blogging is a marathon, not a sprint. Getting readers takes time. Feeling comfortable takes time. Building networks takes time. Gaining respect takes time.

Where others give up, you do not. You adjust your expectations, you adapt to your environment, you find what works for you, and you forge connections with other bloggers and your readers. You might go through phases with your blog where you’re motivated and excited one day, dejected and needing a break the next. You take a break and you regroup, but you do not give up.

You never know when someone before you will pave the way for your success. I’m not saying you should hope your blogging peers all fall over so you can snatch their golden dreams, but, you know, it’s OK to keep your mind open to unexpected possibilities! Blog from your heart, be useful, be there. You might just be the last man standing.

Stacey Roberts is the Managing Editor of ProBlogger.net, and the blogger behind Veggie Mama. Can be found making play-dough, reading The Cat in the Hat for the eleventh time, and avoiding the laundry. See evidence on Instagram here, on Facebook here, and twitter @veggie_mama.

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Comments

  1. John Engle says:

    Well said Stacey…

    Perseverance… Never, Never, Never Give Up!

    Those that don’t quit are the one’s that succeed in the long run… the ONLY way to not be successful is by quitting.

    Thank You for the reminder that, even though things may look bleak today, good breaks may come my way when I least expect it.

    John Engle

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      That’s what I find – things happen when I least expect them. Gives you the motivation to keep going!

  2. First of all many congrats to Australia and more over, Steven Bradbury. Secondly the timing of this post is perfect as I have certainly been feeling a little deflated with plodding along with my blog. Yes there is progress each day and I am passionate, but some days I do wake up and ask myself why am I doing this. Steven and this post is certainly a great inspiration for some Tuesday reading, thanks a lot.

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      It’s certainly something to think about, isn’t it?! You just never know what’s around the corner.

  3. Nice post Sir Stacey!
    Thanks for sharing

  4. Nicholas says:

    just a comment about the date. your website is only incorporated in 2013? What about this year? Get with the times Darren :)

  5. sahith says:

    Great post! very inspirational. I know it takes time to build a real blog and community around it. I am working on it.

  6. Love the sports / blog link, Stacey. I’ve run a marathon and my blog has the same feeling minus the thigh chapping. I call it pace, but it’s is so slow.

    My business group had the usual ho-hum response when I reported my current status, the sort of response most non-bloggers seem to carry when bloggers are mentioned.

    I write a baby boomer focused blog in Portland, Oregon. That my blog is on Google’s front page on a “boomer” search means nothing to my peers. My wife said I promised to get her business on page 1. I told her she was…on my blog.

    If there is a finish line, I plan on crossing it.

    Thanks for the booster.

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      haha I know how you feel! Well, all except the marathon bit – I’ve never run one in my life. So glad these words resonated with you. Good luck!

  7. Love this, very well said! It is too easy to be disheartened when you read stories of “overnight” success without the backstory of the 5 + years of work the blogger put in before their Bradbury moment!

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      So true! Back in the early days when they were just writing to their cat ;-)

  8. What an amazing post, Stacey! Just what I needed :) I so agree with you it takes time and so many times you want to give up… Thanks for the encouragement, everybody needs it, whether new blogger or an older one :) Such an inspirational story about the Australian speed skater!

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      Sometimes I think even us older bloggers need it the most! It can get a bit disheartening when you’ve blogged for years and feel like you’re still not where you’d like to be :)

  9. Steven Fogg says:

    Thanks so much for posting this Stacey! Good insight.

    I’d add that you also that perseverance is one admirable thing, but to also take the opportunities when they arise too.

    In the blogging world it can feel like the same week in week out, but then occasionally you might get shared from a well networked person and your stats increase rapidly. What you do at that moment matters. We need to be able to leverage those opportunities too.

    Or as the proverb goes, make hay while the sun shines.

    thanks once again!

    Steve

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      Oh yes, as Oprah says – success is hard work meets opportunity!

      • I saw an interview with Stephen Bradbury once where he said something about being annoyed that people just talked about his win being a fluke. They ignored all the hard work he had put in just to be able to be in that final so that he had the opportunity to win.

  10. Very nice article.
    I like how you relate the sport with blogging.
    I watched the video and can’t believe this thing happened in Olympic Games.

    Can’t agree more that blogger need perseverance.
    Stay focus, keep building the momentum, and never give up until the last minute.

  11. Oh I LOVE this! So well said. All good things in life take time and blogging is no exception….thank you for the reminder :)

  12. Johanna says:

    Such an honest and uplifting post, Stacey. Blogging is no different to any other career or life path and there is no such thing as an overnight success. As Darren’s said before it’s the small consistent steps which get us to where we want to be, and your advice to keep on persevering when we feel like giving up is essential to the super-mix that one day creates success.

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      yes, I love that analogy! small steps consistently. Never give up. Such a successful super-mix!

  13. Jayashree says:

    Correctly said.You have nicely said the importance of Perseverance .To become a successful blogger we need to have 3P’s Passion, Perseverance and being Patient.

  14. Momekh says:

    Hmmm…
    Although Perseverance does command success, I don’t want to wait for people ahead of me to fall. Making them fall deliberately is downright nasty. So what options do I have?
    Keep doing what I’m doing will ensure I finish 15 meters behind. Or I can UP the game. I love how luck pretty much ALWAYS plays a part, but one can not count on it. :)

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      I never count on luck! Nor do I want to push over my competitors or sit around waiting for them to fall. What I was trying to say is that you work hard and you do the best you can but still feel like your’e not getting anywhere, then it’s important to persevere anyway. You simply don’t know what’s around the corner. We can create our own successful environment, but we can’t predict everything. Sorry if I wasn’t quite clear!

  15. Rachel says:

    This is such great advice, Stacey! I can’t count the number of times I’ve wanted to just give up and quit, and yet I know that my consistency and perseverance and willingness to be honest has built trust with my readers.

    This was a really great post!

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      I’ve thought about giving up a couple of times, not because I wasn’t “successful”, but more because I sort of fell out of love with it a bit. But I just take a break and wait for the mojo to return now – I’ve realised my motivation comes in waves! I do remember feeling a bit disheartened in the early days when my peers all shot to fame and I just kept plodding along ;-)

  16. Darren Rhys says:

    Hi Great post thanks for this as a newbie it is hard to start and get going you don’t know if what you are doing is 100% correct and will it be received well.

    Thanks for a great read feel more confidant.

    Thanks

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      Oh that’s so true – you never know if you’ve got it quite right! We all evolve as we learn, though. Definitely don’t give up :)

  17. Krista Dial says:

    Thanks for this brilliant reminder, Stacey. :) Everyone’s path is different and, as they say, comparison is the thief of joy, right? Perseverance and providing value are key. This is definitely a post I will be sharing with my team. Best wishes, Stacey!

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      Ooh yes, Boo to comparison! Begone with you! Blog your own race, that’s all you can do. So glad you liked it Krista!

  18. Eliza says:

    thank you for such post which reminds me to keep perseverence

  19. Swetank says:

    Thank you this is a kind of true inspiration. never ever leave the path…no matter how hard it is now. Just be there and plan.. Charles Darwin also said in his famous book “survival of the fittest”. Keep going…

  20. wawan says:

    I absolutely agree that perseverance is a dominant impact to success, especially for business blog.

  21. William says:

    Great article, i got many ideas about blogging. Its something hard to get to know about blogging. This article gives me a clear idea. I can work according to this article.
    Thanks for this great article.

  22. Chandran says:

    Hi great post,thanks a lot for sharing this. Being a new person to this field,i got lot of ideas here.
    Nice article for the reader.

  23. Deepak Kundu says:

    Stacy,

    Very well written article. Nothing can take the place of perseverance, and it is true not just for blogging but for most endeavours in life. Almost 4 years it took me to taste the first modicum of success with my blog.

    Awesome video too … that you linked to about Steven Bradbury.

  24. metz says:

    Inspiring indeed.

    Persevere, have the perseverance to attain your goal and be the champion in your won race. Bradbury is not just an inspiring man in his own race, but he also inspired bloggers to have an attitude like his.

    Le’me quote this “The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won’t.”

    Your post has been shared on Kingged.com, IM social bookmarking site, enabling me to find this good piece.

  25. Thanks for this inspirational post Stacey. I’m just getting my third blog off the ground and finding it so hard to maintain motivation with my new blog compared to my blogs that are a few years old and have good traffic and engagement. It feels like being at the starting line of a marathon!

  26. Hello Stacey. To Persevere, Oh yes when I first read the title about the gold medal it didn’t make sense but it sure does now. I was just talked about this today with one of my team members. She was ready to give it all up because she wasn’t getting the results she thought she deserved.. DUH Just like you have stated it takes time and perseverance.

    I love how you state it is not a marathon it is a sprint, it does all take time. My advice was if you quit where will you be next year at this time,vs the other option.. Wonderful Post, Thanks for sharing.. Chery :)

    P.S. I did end up on your blog today Via Kingged.com where I also left you a comment and kingged..

  27. Frank says:

    I’ve met people in the past that seem to set up a new blog every year, rather than sticking with the same domain and prior content. They never get anywhere despite the hours that they put in – they need to read this!

  28. rajeshprodeb says:

    Hi,

    This is really fantastic example for blogger.As a blogger we want patience,without patience it is not possible to run the blog for long time.The main things is blogger should analyse the what went wrong in their blogger,why there is no enough visitor coming to our blog.Anyway thanks for sharing wonderful information with suitable example.

  29. Peter says:

    Hi Stacey,

    I really enjoyed reading your article, not because Australia got a gold medal but because perseverance is vital to a successful blog. Initially there will be no visitors/readers but if you keep going and don’t give up, anything could happen. Just give it time and keep going. My favourite quote is “Never look back, never give up” and I believe this fits perfectly with the perseverance theme.