Over the past year I’ve written a number of ‘woe is me’ posts. Examples are 14 Things You Don’t Know About Me and How I screwed Up My Blog in 2009. I’m glad I did. Allowing me to get certain shit out there allowed me to push past my perceived limitations and create something awesome.
The year has been all kinds of crazy. A relative attempted suicide, domestic violence, eviction. It has been incredibly stressful and has meant that I haven’t been able to devote as much time to my work as I would have liked. But you know what?
I bloody rocked it this year. At times everything was crumbling around me and I persevered. I shone. I kept on going when my mind and body were screaming at me to give up.
In this post, I talk about the stuff I’m proud of this year. And yeah, I get a little personal. It’s who I am and I’m damn proud of the businesswoman I’m becoming. And, yes. I totally told my shrink about this post today and he’s gonna read it. Hi!
I stuck with my blog for a year
I’d been blogging for about 15 months before I started smsols. I got sick and screwed up a lot and, as a result, my blog was all over the place. It didn’t help that I’d hide anytime something big happened and I got too much attention.
When we started the business, I made the promise that I would stick to the blog for a year. That was hard. Boy, was that hard. I have no problem writing for other peoples audiences but the fear is almost paralyzing when it comes to writing on this one. It really freaks me out when people like David Risley and Jonathan Fields comment on here. So much that I usually shout at the laptop and have to pace around the house to calm down.
Despite the struggles, I did it. I didn’t make any major changes. I built upon previous successes. I participated in the community. It was freaking hard to do so considering the demands on my time but it’s something I’m glad I did. Writing for your own audience is harder than writing for someone elses and it was a skill that I needed to learn.
I stopped hiding from success
Image by SashaW
Earlier in the year, I paid $200 for a consulting session from Charlie Gilkey. I used to live on less then this each week so it represented a huge investment in my mind. I expected it to be a life changing experience where I would figure everything out. It didn’t.
What he did do was point out a number of things I was doing wrong and give several suggestions on how to change things. One of the suggestions was to stop shooting myself in the foot and hiding from change.
Now, change is a huge trigger. Change can leave me cowering under the bedsheets and crying down the phone to Bill, my parents or whatever telemarketer that has the misfortune to interrupt me. I dislike it, even when the change is good.
After that call with Charlie, I stopped hiding from change. I went to Vegas. I participated in a vanity publication. I constantly improved my blog and took up brilliant opportunities. It was scary and it challenged my anxiety at the very basic level. It made me physically sick and even triggered some serious symptoms like suicidal fantasies and thoughts of self mutilation.
I had the support of good friends and a mental health team and was able to get through the change. It was a necessary part of my recovery and taught me many skills. Now stuff changes faster than I can keep up with it and I’m fine. Amazing opportunities happen and I’m excited, but have to delay the happiness until I have time to slow down. It’s a fascinating contrast compared to I was just 6 months ago.
This puts me in a brilliant position for next year. I know there will be amazing opportunities coming up and I’ll be in the right mindset to take advantage of them. I’m really glad I took a slower path than many of my peers.
I embraced jealousy
I’m very insecure. My anxiety disorder can be crippling, and I get really pissed off at how it interferes with my work. As such, I envy many of my peers.
- I’m jealous of the energy Mars Dorian injects into every post.
- I’m jealous of how Annabel Candy is able to be everywhere, despite having a husband and children
- I’m jealous of how Catherine Caine is so brilliant at being positive and structuring a business around her brilliance
- I’m jealous of how when people find out about me, they usually contact Bill for design work because I have no clear service offerings
I don’t think this is something I’ll be able to get over for some and I’m cool with it. It’s not them I’m annoyed with, it’s myself, and that is something I have to deal with. Instead of fixating on how annoyed I am, though, I now choose to analyze the reason for my jealous. Often, it can lead to little improvements.
And yeah – I’m still jealous of the people above. I no longer hate them for their successes, which makes blogging a lot funner.
I learned how to love.
Image by seyed mostafa zamani
One of the things that happened during my nervous breakdown was that I lost the capacity to love. I used to think something was wrong with me in that I didn’t feel anything for people. Then, as I started to rebuild friendships, I thought as I was asexual as the idea of sex horrified me and made me want to punch people in the face. I thought relationships were asinine and something that weak people did because they couldn’t handle stuff on their own. Boy, was I wrong.
I haven’t told you the story of why Bill and I created Social Media Solutions. I fell in love with him and he didn’t love me back. He was all ‘Dude, friendship. What we have is awesome and I’m not wrecking that.’ And he was totally right – I’m glad he did it. The friendship is brilliant and I love that dude, platonically, to bits.
At the time though, I saw it as sheer rejection. I had dropped all my friendships when I was ill and Bill was moving 3000km away. We caught up at a nature reserve near his house and I cried, saying I was scared that he’d just drop the friendship when my anxiety was too hard to deal with and that I wanted him to be part of my life for a long time. He reassured me and has continued to reassure me all year. Letting someone into my life was one of the hardest things I have ever done. The trust built through this time led me to pitch the idea of the business, which he accepted.
Then, quite recently, an old friend came into my life. He was going through personal stuff around the same time I was and had also retreated socially. We caught up, geeked out, and are now dating. This is my first serious relationship and is a huge step for me.
Even though he broke my heart, Bill is the guy I have to thank for this. He supported me through one of the hardest times of my life and has continued to support me. The business is going through a huge growth phase. I’m in a relationship and have my shit together. Learning how to love, and the different types of love, is the thing that I am most proud of accomplishing.
So – what am I up to in 2011?
- I’m redesigning the blog. I want to make the focus on my work rather than my social media presence
- I’m going to get back into guest posting. I’ll be contacting people I’ve promised posts too however if you’d like one, or an interview, now is the time to contact me.
- I’m going to focus more on giving back to the community. This includes talking more about my anxiety disorder.
- I’m going to focus on sites and products for the Australian social media market. I believe some of my projects will really be able to help people.
There is a load of other stuff. Stuff I can’t really talk about because the ideas are still fermenting. See you in a month!