Over the last two years, I've discovered that the key to successful blogging isn't great content, an awesome audience, email newsletters, or guest posting.
Instead blog success is built on "mental toughness."
I've seen super smart people stumble and fall because they couldn't take the daily pressure of growing a blog. I've watched social media celebrities make dumb decisions because they let their mental demons get the better of them. I don't fault them. Blogging, hell business in general is emotionally challenging.
A blogger's work is public. You can't hide. Anybody can see and criticize your best work. For that matter, any mistake is public as well.
With these demands, it's easy for you to engage in a particularly destructive habit - Toxic Self-talk.
Toxic self-talk is the little voice that constantly evaluates your decisions and actions. It says things like:
"No one will read this post"
"I'm never going to make this blog work"
"I'm not qualified to talk about this topic"
Sound familiar? Many of us allows this self-talk to run rampant. We even let it scoot up close to the table and hold court - criticizing our every move.
How Toxic Self-Talk Destroys Your Blog
The first thing toxic self talk does is help you rationalize failure.
It makes missed commitments and goals - "ok" - even strategic. For example, you decide that posting daily would make strategic sense for your blog. You have the content. You have an interested audience. You have the skill to write engaging and helpful posts.
You set your goal and start. Three weeks later you've written three blog posts. Self-talk jumps in and says, "You can't write", "You Don't Have What it takes", "Besides....posting every day is a silly strategy". Self-talk even finds evidence to support your feelings. Soon you are back where you are started. Instead of finding solutions, toxic self-talk has delivered excuses.
Self talk also holds your dreams hostage. One of the most heartbreaking things I see while consulting bloggers is someone who has given up and begun to "think small". They listen to internal doubts about their expertise, ability, and resources and adjust their plans accordingly. Instead of swinging for the fences they retreat to nurse (and rationalize) their stories of missed opportunity.
5 Steps to Beating Toxic Self Talk
Step #1: Write Down Your Goals
Your head is a dangerous place for goals to sleep. Write down your goals and post them somewhere you can see them. Goals take on incredible power when they are put out in the open. Your mind will begin working on ways to accomplish your goals once you've committed them to paper.
Step #2: Find the Model The Winners
Find people who make achieving their goals a habit. Ask them how they battle doubt and missteps. These people have found a path to converting their toxic self-talk into positive coaching that affirms and reinforces their goals.
Step #3: Stop Thinking and Start Doing
Add a small action step to every goal you listed in Step #1. Add your action step to today's agenda. Don't sleep until you've taken the action. Gary Vaynerchuk advised me 4 years ago to work "ridiculously hard". I've never forgotten this priceless advice. I don't sleep until I've achieved an action that pushes me further toward my goal. Self-talk isn't allowed to jeopardize action.
Be on guard. Toxic Self-Talk loves sitting down to think. It loves paper plans. It loves waiting for a better opportunity. It loves getting busy with research. It hates action.
Step #4: Hold yourself accountable for success.
Clearly outline quantifiable goals that mark success. Now work toward those goals with absolute determination. If you fall short, understand why, adjust, and get back to work. Learn from failure but never allow yourself or others convince you that failure is "ok".
Step #5: Fight fire with fire.
Arm yourself with Power Talk. Get used to saying "I CAN do this", "I have all the tools I need", "I'm the best at what I do", "God broke the mold when He made me". Surround yourself with people who are wild about you and fiercely optimistic about your success (for me, it's my Dad). You can put me on your hopelessly optimistic team.
Mental Toughness Monday
For the last couple of months, I've dedicated Monday's to writing about mental toughness. Like I've said, mental toughness is key to blogging, it's key to success. We're going to work on this until you get sick of it and then we'll work on it some more.
Some of you have asked why I'm so passionate about this stuff. You can listen to how I had to take my medicine to reverse a horrible situation in my life here. In the meantime, expect more mental tough talk in the months ahead.
Talk to me...