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5 Psychological Blocks that Stop Bloggers Going from Good to Great

Posted By Guest Blogger 6th of March 2015 General 40

This is a guest contribution from Dr Alice Boyes.

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Image via Flickr user Alessandra

 

Blogging is a world of infinite opportunity, but sometimes what’s holding you back is you. Check out these common problems and some suggested solutions to help you kick it up to the next level.

1. Imposter syndrome. 

Imposter syndrome is when, despite your accomplishments, you still feel like a fraud.

As a consequence, you might: avoid networking with people who objectively are at or slightly above your level, avoid reaching for certain opportunities, and avoid pitching yourself. You might imagine other people thinking “Who does s/he think she is?” if you were to approach them.

When you don’t see yourself as a successful, professional blogger you’re less likely to act that way. For example, you may find you’re not regularly stepping up to larger and larger opportunities as your blogging career progresses. Therefore, imposter syndrome can sometimes become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Solutions:

  • Evaluate the objective evidence of your accomplishments.
  • Remind yourself that even if you feel like an imposter, it’s just a thought and having a thought doesn’t make it true. Even if the thought doesn’t go away, if you recognize it as just a thought, you can remove any negative impact.
  • Give yourself self-compassion for how you feel.
  • Ask yourself what you’d be doing differently with your blogging if you didn’t have a sense of imposter syndrome, and do that.

 2. Avoidance coping

Avoidance coping is when you avoid doing the things that objectively should be your highest priority. For example, you avoid writing a pitch to speak at an important industry conference, even though you see it as your best, current opportunity to make a big break through.

Avoidance is usually driven by anxiety, and/or feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of doing something for the first time. You might notice yourself keeping busy doing lower priority tasks but avoiding the tasks you feel intimidated by that could really help you level up with your blogging career.

Solutions:

  • Be mindful of when you’re doing less important tasks too often (e.g., checking stats) and put some limits in place for how often you do these tasks. You can use apps like Stayfocusd to help you.
  • Keep your to-do list simple. Make a point to clearly identify what your number #1 task is so that you have no excuses for not getting it done.
  • Keep a balance between working on everyday tasks like pumping out new articles, and the the types of tasks that could dramatically advance your blogging career.

 3. All-or-nothing thinking

An example of all or nothing thinking might be that you think you need to create witty, Pinterest quote-pics for every single one of your 500 past blog posts. A more achievable option might be that you do this for 10 of your most popular posts.

Sometimes we fail to see decent, middle ground options and get overwhelmed by the “perfect” but unacheivable option.

Solutions:

  • If you feel overwhelmed by something you know you “should” be doing, then scale the task back to the point it doesn’t feel overwhelming. Choose only the part of the task that you think will give you the highest ROI.

4. Running your willpower tank to empty

With blogging, there are a virtually unlimited amount of things you *could* be doing to enhance your success. In reality, it’s impossible to do all of these things. If you find yourself trying to do too much, you’re likely to get caught in the trap of not seeing the big picture and therefore focussing on the wrong things. For example, you’ve committed to blogging everyday and it’s so time consuming that you don’t step back to analyze whether that frequency is actually the most effective.

Solutions:

  • Take micro-breaks throughout the day. Part of the allure of being a blogger is being able to take 5 minutes to sit outside in the sun, anytime you want. Use that opportunity!
  • Take some longer breaks away from the computer e.g., an overnight trip away. Physically getting out of your home environment will help you interrupt your pattern of being constantly attached to your computer, and help you step back and refresh your perspective.

 5. Unwillingness to tolerate knock backs

No matter how well prepared you are, or what great pitch emails you write, there will be times when people say “No” to you, give you critical feedback, or flat out don’t respond.

You don’t need to turn yourself into a robot who is insensitive to these things, but you do need to be willing to tolerate the resulting uncomfortable feelings. You might find yourself ruminating (overthinking) about criticism you receive or mentally rehashing what you could have done differently. If you are prone to rumination, then learn some strategies for dealing with it (my book has a whole chapter full of them).

Solutions:

  • Expect a 50% success rate rather than a 100% success rate. If your success rate when you try new things is much higher than 50%, you’re probably aiming too low.
  • Accept your sensitivity rather than fighting against it. Allowing yourself to experience your natural reactions and using simple strategies like quick mindfulness meditations, helps negative feelings pass quickly.

For many more practical tips like these, check out my book (and the endorsement from Chris Guillebeau).

What are your best tips for dealing with those times when you are holding yourself back from doing things you know you should?

Dr Alice Boyes is author of The Anxiety Toolkit: Strategies for fine-tuning your mind and moving past your stuck points (Perigee), emotions expert for Women’s Health magazine (AU), and a popular blogger for PsychologyToday.com. You can get the first chapter of her book for free by subscribing to her blog updates here.

 

 

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Comments
  1. Excellent post! I can identify with each of these blocks. I like that your solutions are practical, specific, and also realistic. I still consider myself relatively young in the freelancing business and I let that truth act as an excuse for other problematic behavior (i.e. avoidance coping).

    For myself, I find that since I work from home, I am almost always overworking myself as I have a very difficult time knowing when enough is enough. A break and change of scenery can make a world of difference.

  2. I think this all implement on myself. From last six months of so I could be able to write down anything, just because of it. I want to be in the panel of great then good. Now fixing my goals and wants to active again.

  3. I really like this a article. sometime a blogger not think if the moment very difficult must be go to relax. Above a tips very helpfull many blogger. Thanks a lot Dr Alices Boyes.

  4. Stop. Reading. My. Mind.

    You have just described my whole world right now. This? “Avoidance coping is when you avoid doing the things that objectively should be your highest priority. ”

    I was vaguely aware that I was screwing around waaaaay too much but now you’ve put a name to it.

    I’m 80% finished with a book and “working on a book” is not scary but “publishing a book” is terrifying because then it is a real thing that can suck. Gaak.

    I’ve been using Freedom (software that blocks Internet access) but then I also can’t do research. StayFocused may be a better bet because you can selectively block sites but still get into Google Scholar. Thanks for the tip!

  5. How true is this – I often avoid the hardest tasks as think they will take the longest so I put them off … I also failed miserably at knock backs and bad feedback but I have learned to grow thick skin over the past 4 years of blogging.

  6. That ‘all or nothing’ tip really resonates with me. I think its easy for relatively new bloggers to get completely overwhelmed by the enormity of tasks. Breaking it down to small steps is essential to maintain momentum.

  7. I completely agree with the opinions expressed in this blogging post. This is an excellent analysis of Mr Dr Alice Boyes, in the whole article can be seen that it is written with a professional hand. I agree with the view that blogging has enormous possibilities, but needs to make an effort to good results. You thank you for the article and all the good work. greeting

  8. Dr. Alice,

    This post is brilliant. Settle in Darren, readers, visitors, this comment will be long but helpful ;)

    #1 is where I made my difference, not but 8 months ago. I was living in Fiji at the time. I felt lost. Disgusted. My hosting company killed my site. Shut it down. I either had to manually remove content from over 2,000 posts or trash 3400 blog posts and start a new blog, moving in an entirely new direction. I did. I went with Blogging from Paradise. Things took off because I killed that mental block, the fraud one, because with my old blog I felt deep down that I was a fraud and that I was promoting some venture I didn’t feel clear on. It was a freeing moment but highly uncomfortable and at the time, the world, even my biggest supporters, were against it, but this usually happens when you tackle a huge mental block, in any area of your life, let alone blogging.

    After starting my current blog I had clarity. I conquered other mental blocks, just about everyone on this list. Aha, the all or nothing one. The stunning success, or horrific failure. I swear, the first hour I spend every day, 30 minutes meditating and 30 minutes listening to subliminal hypnosis audio files has made the differences of differences in my life. It’s the difference maker. Sure the trashing of my old blog helped me conquer mental blocks but I had to expand my awareness to become aware, fully, of these mental blocks. Once I did conquer them, I was free to conquer others. It was a beautiful process which continues to unfold, wonderfully, in front of me, and I intend to help my audience conquer their blocks to free themselves, as I am freeing myself, here in gorgeous Bali.

    I also suffered from Underdog Syndrome. My wife brilliantly pointed this out. To my anger lol…..but it was true and another block I needed to dissolve, to make things happen and to reach a wider, bigger more targeted and successful audience. I let go the old blog, and got clear on my new blog and instantly saw myself as someone on the same level of the top bloggers, the Darren’s the John Chow’s, all those folks. Even if in this split second I’m not popular like they, I don’t feel anyone is up on a pedestal. I learn from them humbly, and honor their experience, and feel they are great folks to follow but in the same regard, we’re on a level playing field. All commentors. Any other idea is ego, comparison created, and it’s a stumbling block many bloggers are knifing through, these days.

    Note my commenting strategy again? Another block dissolved ;) I formerly published in-depth, thorough comments on authority sites. Even wrote an eBook about it. Turns out, I resisted this method due to a few more blocks, including a “running out of time” issue I am currently conquering. So far, so good, as I find that the more I am present, and feel full, whole and complete, and the more I fine tune my intent, to free me and to free all of us, then I naturally do what needs be done, from a peaceful space, to reach as many folks as possible.

    Now that I’m exhaling, it’s time for a rest.

    Dr. Alice, awesome stuff. Awesome!

    Tweeting from beautiful Bali.

    Ryan

  9. Are you in my head right now?

    Thanks for putting this together. I needed the read that brief synopsis of my most ridiculous personality traits right now, and how to fix them.

    You are awesome.

  10. Yes! This is so me!! I’ve had my first newsletter drafted for over a month but still haven’t pushed the button on sending it because of thinking it wasn’t perfect or good enough. What I really need to do is just get it going and stop putting it off.

  11. I’ve been having a few of these blocks lately, and it’s good to have a clearer view of them other then that I might be lazy or not working hard enough!

  12. thanks again for providing this valuable post to keep new blogger trying to get success.
    its been hard to stand with the competition in the web world.
    i must say these tips you have listed should be followed by everyone.

  13. Really good article.It can open up your eyes.I guess I ain’t the only one who sometimes sit through the whole day in front of the laptop/computer just reading stuff,writing articles and figuring out how to get more success for what I’m currently doing.How many times you catch yourself checking analytics or webmastertools and waiting to see changes?But the question is:What did you do to make those changes?!Going out just for a walk in the evening under the sky full of stars can help you clear your mind and sort out how to do things.

  14. Being new to the world of blogging this really inspired me to do and be better at blogging. The hardest part for me is to start writing a post. I never know where to begin but once I start going it gets easier.

  15. This is a very interesting and thought-provoking topic. Some bloggers and business owners are afraid of success in taking their blogs to the next level in terms of networking with people and presenting it a certain way before the masses. It’s a good thing you brought this up because some bloggers actually feel this way, which is not a very good thing.

    DNN is not afraid to go to the next level with online networking and looks forward to taking the site to the next in years to come hopefully. :-)

  16. These apply equally well to all kinds of writers and perhaps even creatives in general. And let’s just say, I recognize all of them well and have worked hard to move past them.

    Now I work with other women writers helping them move past their own blocks. Perhaps getting past the knock backs is the toughest one, because in so many ways it triggers those impostor feelings.

    This hit home. I’m going to share it now.

  17. As a new blogger, I really appreciate this post. So many road blocks, most of them are mental. Creating new goals for my blog. Write on!

  18. ‘Avoidance coping’ is something we are all into at one point or another. However, it becomes a problem when it drags on, and shuts down the thinking (clear) process. The tips you provide are good, which makes this a valued article. Thank you!

  19. This is great insight especially since blogging is such an isolating job. There’s no superior or coworkers to check in with on a daily basis, so sometimes my priorities aren’t where they should be or my confidence wavers. One thing that truly helps is having a support system of other online workers/bloggers to turn to when I have questions or concerns.

  20. this is simple great Alice. so valuable content. great and wonderful

  21. Super excellent post! I totally do #2! I even know I do it and sometimes avoid my avoiding! LOL I know taht I have tasks that will take me to the next level…but sometimes it’s just overwhelming.

    I love how you broke things down into DOABLE solutions!

    Thank you and blessings!

  22. Imposter syndrome is something I think all bloggers suffer from at some point. It’s very easy to think ‘when I get to this point, then I’ll be worth of having a blog with lots of traffic, or being able to approach this person or apply for that well paid job’.

    It’s better to adopt the opposite mentality I think and assume that you’re awesome even if you’re just starting out.

  23. Thank you so much for describing exactly what me and my venture partner often feel during our down days. As “first time” bloggers that are trying to put out what we hope is engaging content, we’re always hitting one of these roadblocks on any given day. These solutions are very encouraging.

  24. Dr. Alice,

    This post is brilliant. Settle in Darren, readers, visitors, this comment will be long but helpful ;)

    #1 is where I made my difference, not but 8 months ago. I was living in Fiji at the time. I felt lost. Disgusted. My hosting company killed my site. Shut it down. I either had to manually remove content from over 2,000 posts or trash 3400 blog posts and start a new blog, moving in an entirely new direction. I did. I went with Blogging from Paradise. Things took off because I killed that mental block, the fraud one, because with my old blog I felt deep down that I was a fraud and that I was promoting some venture I didn’t feel clear on. It was a freeing moment but highly uncomfortable and at the time, the world, even my biggest supporters, were against it, but this usually happens when you tackle a huge mental block, in any area of your life, let alone blogging.

    After starting my current blog I had clarity. I conquered other mental blocks, just about everyone on this list. Aha, the all or nothing one. The stunning success, or horrific failure. I swear, the first hour I spend every day, 30 minutes meditating and 30 minutes listening to subliminal hypnosis audio files has made the differences of differences in my life. It’s the difference maker. Sure the trashing of my old blog helped me conquer mental blocks but I had to expand my awareness to become aware, fully, of these mental blocks. Once I did conquer them, I was free to conquer others. It was a beautiful process which continues to unfold, wonderfully, in front of me, and I intend to help my audience conquer their blocks to free themselves, as I am freeing myself, here in gorgeous Bali.

    I also suffered from Underdog Syndrome. My wife brilliantly pointed this out. To my anger lol…..but it was true and another block I needed to dissolve, to make things happen and to reach a wider, bigger more targeted and successful audience. I let go the old blog, and got clear on my new blog and instantly saw myself as someone on the same level of the top bloggers, the Darren’s the John Chow’s, all those folks. Even if in this split second I’m not popular like they, I don’t feel anyone is up on a pedestal. I learn from them humbly, and honor their experience, and feel they are great folks to follow but in the same regard, we’re on a level playing field. All commentors. Any other idea is ego, comparison created, and it’s a stumbling block many bloggers are knifing through, these days.

    Note my commenting strategy again? Another block dissolved ;) I formerly published in-depth, thorough comments on authority sites. Even wrote an eBook about it. Turns out, I resisted this method due to a few more blocks, including a “running out of time” issue I am currently conquering. So far, so good, as I find that the more I am present, and feel full, whole and complete, and the more I fine tune my intent, to free me and to free all of us, then I naturally do what needs be done, from a peaceful space, to reach as many folks as possible.

    Now that I’m exhaling, it’s time for a rest.

  25. Omg! This article is as if what I have been facing.

    I am starting to work out to get rid of all this thing.

    Thanks for pointing out all this stuffs. :)

    >SK Lohar

  26. Stop. Reading. My. Mind.

    You have just described my whole world right now. This? “Avoidance coping is when you avoid doing the things that objectively should be your highest priority. ”

    I was vaguely aware that I was screwing around waaaaay too much but now you’ve put a name to it.

    I’m 80% finished with a book and “working on a book” is not scary but “publishing a book” is terrifying because then it is a real thing that can suck. Gaak.

    I’ve been using Freedom (software that blocks Internet access) but then I also can’t do research. StayFocused may be a better bet because you can selectively block sites but still get into Google Scholar. Thanks for the tip!

  27. They act like blockers for blogger-to-come. It’s important to know your current position, also to know your objective. This way you know how much you have to work to touch your dream. The rest is hard work and talent.

  28. Dr Alice, I loved this post. So good, such valuable content and just what I needed to read today.

    I just launched a blog about psychology and am definitely experiencing imposter syndrome. I had a quick look at your personal website and I saw that you are doing exactly what I hope to be doing in the future. The fact you’re originally from NZ is particularly inspiring because that’s where I’m from too!

    Thank you :)

  29. Alice,
    Great guest blog post! Kind of reminding me of the book Go For No.

  30. When people get ignorant, say no, and don’t respond, DNN keeps going at full strength and stays on track with doing the transformation work out of inspiration.

    Yessssiiirrrrrr! :-)

  31. Very realistic presentation of the problems and very practical solutions for them. Thank you!

  32. I found myself in all 5 of these… Incredible. Now I’ll be reading this post whenever I’ll be having a tough time:)

  33. Great article indeed. “Unwillingness to tolerate knock backs” really brings everyone down if not dealt with wisely.
    I prefer to do them half-way instead of neglecting them totally. I do this so that when the effective time comes, i have less to dig.

    Thanks, Josey

  34. It’s as though you just read my mind! With one older blog and one relatively new one, plus a whole host of ideas I am currently at a bit of a crossroads on where my focus should be going. As a consequence, I am guilty of all of the above – to the point where nothing is achieved.

    I am most definitely suffering from Imposter Syndrome and without a doubt, Avoidance – so much so, that you’ve made me realise I’m doing it (I clearly also suffer from what could be Number 6 – Denial that anything is amiss!)

    Bookmarked and will be revisited by me regularly.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you – great post.

  35. When it comes to imposter syndrome, I’ve found one of the best antidotes to be cultivating friendships with other talented professionals whose opinions you trust. When they respect you as a professional and provide honest feedback on your work – you can little by little start to see yourself through their eyes.

  36. Nailed it!

    Over 16 years of making money online the thing I found most difficult is perseverance. Especially recently, last three years or so. There is now competition in just about every single niche you could possibly come up with. Deciding to go into a well-established niche and smash it, is not a decision to make lightly! Even if you start cranking day in and day out for the next year, you might not own that niche yet. Heck, you might not even be a player in the niche yet! It might take two years. It might take three years.

    A look at the Big Picture is in order…

    So, after these 16 years I haven’t made a blog where I help people to make money online. I’ve made plenty myself, and I’ve had a blast doing it, but I’ve never tried to help people in a large group to do the same thing. Now in 2015, at the worst possible time anybody could come with a blog about “How to Make Passive Income” – I’ve done it. I’ve jumped into the fray. Is it going to be a long, hard road? Yep. Am I going to be killing it in a year? Nope. Two years? Possibly. Three years? Most definitely. That’s the way you have look at getting into good niches these days. Three years of hard work. I’ll be 51 years old before I’m killing it in this niche. The big picture puts it all into brilliant perspective.

    Now, if you’re starting out in a little known or weakly-established niche – you could own it in a year. A year of really hard effort and you could probably make yourself known in any smaller niche.

    When thinking about the timeframe it might be for gaining traction, and ultimately success in a niche, add another year to your estimate and see if your motivation to do it wanes as you think about it. Really put a lot of thought into just HOW MUCH you want to own that space… because the worst possible scenario isn’t to not get started on it at all, it is to get started, try for a year, two years, not be making it – and then quit.

    Sure you’ve learned something in the process, and it will help you with your next idea… but man, wasting one or two years to learn something is a hard way to go about it. Read 300 posts on Darren’s blog instead. Let everyone else’s experiences help you do it right the first time!

    Am I rambling?

    Cheers man, great topic and one that needs to be taken very seriously.

  37. Hi Alice,

    Some great insights. I’d not associated them with Blogging before.

    Regards,
    David.

  38. I am so new to blogging that I couldn’t imagine anyone knew how I felt. Wow, was I wrong. Thank you for your article it has opened my eyes as to how I was holding myself back. I’ll be working on getting out of my shell and believing that I can do this. Thank again.

  39. I can not thank you enough for this so very enlightening blog! There are very few blogs, who you feel has been written keeping you only in mind, this is one of those. All my hesitations and obstacles have been clearly defined in detail here, along with practical, workable solutions.

  40. Everyone at some point of our lives pass by this. Consistently gets go ahead

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