This is Skellie’s last post before Darren gets back from Blog World Expo. You can continue reading her blogging, online entrepreneurship and social media articles at Skelliewag.
Audacity is one of my favorite words, as I believe it encapsulates one of the best ways to approach blogging, and in my humble opinion, a wonderful attitude to life. Here’s a simple definition:
- Fearless daring; intrepidity.
- Bold or insolent heedlessness of restraints, as of those imposed by prudence, propriety, or convention.
- An act or instance of intrepidity or insolent heedlessness: warned the students than any audacities committed during the graduation ceremony would be punished.
As you can see, the word suggests an approach that is willing to circumvent ‘the done thing’ in favor of gaining what is most important to you. It’s a unique word in that it has both positive and negative meanings!
As you’ll know, people are often criticized for being audacious, which is a good way to stop people being audacious. Humans generally feel uncomfortable when people act outside the norm. Of course, most successful people make a habit of doing just that. And the same goes for successful bloggers.
It’s conventional that people:
- Don’t ask for more than is offered to them
- Don’t try to talk with people who are better known or higher status than they are
- Don’t admit their failings and mistakes
- Don’t celebrate success publicly
- Don’t try things that could fail badly
- Don’t change their mind once it has been made up
- Don’t give up, no matter whether circumstances and goals change
- Don’t question what everybody else does
- Don’t ask others for help (just think about how often we begin such a request with a pre-emptive apology)
With the above in mind, let’s look at the behavioral patterns of most successful bloggers. Of course, the same could be said about successful entrepreneurs, sportspeople, scientists, musicians or anyone else who excels at what they do. Audacity links them all together.
They DO negotiate higher rates and better deals. They DO say no. They DO understand that they have a lot of value to offer, and that the value they provide is worth something. That’s why audacious people earn more and can sell more expensive products and services: because they are confident that what they provide is worth it and don’t sell themselves short.
They DO communicate with experts and learn from them. If their first efforts to open a dialogue fail, they try new and creative ways to get the conversation started. They realize the best way to learn how to do something is talk to people who’ve done it before. They also know that, because most people assume that experts will be impossible to get a hold of that very few people actually try, making the chances of success much better than they seem. (If I assumed Seth Godin or Darren Rowse or Brian Clark or Leo Babauta would be unwilling to talk, I never would have talked with all of them, nor would you be reading this blog post!).
They DO come to terms with their weaknesses, admit when they have made mistakes and failed to follow their own advice. It takes a lot of courage to be vulnerable in this way, but you can’t work around your weaknesses until you openly acknowledge them. Best of all, readers feel more strongly connected to you because you become a more relateable figure.
Photo by .Luc.
The DO make their successes public. So many bloggers trying to be ‘authorities’ are afraid to clearly outline the reasons why they know their stuff, usually afraid that it will be seen as boastful. In fact, people really want to know whether they’re receiving advice from a reliable source. How often have you come across a ‘make money online’ blog only to wonder whether the blogger behind it was making any money at all?
Too many would-be experts with amazing successes never achieve the recognition they deserve because they are confined to omission and under-statement because we are encouraged from a young age never to toot our own horn. Of course, ‘toot your own horn’ eventually comes to encompass any good we might speak about ourselves and our achievements, often leaving readers in the dark. There’s a difference between saying “I’ve done this and you never will” and “I’ve done this and I would love to help you do it to, with what I learned along the way.”
They DO try things that might well fail. Because what if they don’t? And if they do, will it really be so bad? Few great successes come without risk. In fact, the amount of possible risk and possible gain usually travel hand in hand. Successful bloggers are always experimenting and most of them have failed spectacularly more than a few times but these aren’t the things we focus on because that failure has been accompanied by wonderful successes.
They DO discard ideas that they once believed but now doubt. They DO have changes of heart and changes of mind. They don’t stick with one method or opinion doggedly because it is now theirs. They try to avoid assumptions as much as is possible.
They DO give up. They don’t stick with obviously failing models until they’re driven into the ground. They don’t doggedly pursue the same goals even when new goals seem more important or attractive. They don’t let the cultural imperative to ‘finish what you start’ trap them in unrewarding pursuits.
They DO question what everyone else is doing. They never assume that anything popular must be good. They don’t assume (without thought) that popular beliefs are correct, or that popular courses of action are the best ones. They temper the wisdom of the crowd with their own observations and research.
They DO ask others for help. They DO admit to others when they have no idea. They’d rather take five minutes to email someone who is bound to know the answer to a question than spend six days searching for the right information on their own, just to have to avoid admitting a gap in their knowledge. They ask dumb questions and aren’t afraid to seem stupid once in a while.
Does the above list resonate with who you are, who you’d like to become, or who you feel you’re steadily becoming? To be a successful blogger and entrepreneur (if you’re making money with a blog, that’s what you are), to seize opportunities and make your own opportunities, you need to start living and blogging with audacity. It’s not a dirty word. In fact, it’s an excellent guiding star for any entrepreneurial blogger.
I want to take a moment to welcome Darren back from Blog World Expo and to thank him for letting me take care of ProBlogger this week. It’s always a joy to write here. Thanks for having me!