I just returned from the World Domination Summit.
It was a brilliant experience, both because it was set up to be that way and because I created it that way. That is to say: I walked in with few expectations and very little attachment to outcome. This is good. I was more open to the simple experience, that way.
I took away from the experience so much more, including what I reveal in this video, which is something that I’ve never revealed on this site or even with very many people in my life.
It’s a revealing look at why I do the work that I do, and why I think it’s so important that we all rise to a bigger calling.
I share it with courageousness (fear? yes. Leaning in? Yes. Transforming? Feeling it.) and, of course–
Lately, I’ve been having conversations that seem to keep circulating around a common theme: that the number of retreats, programs, e-courses, books and launches have surpassed the point of critical mass.
Then I randomly found a link that gave a name for this term–it’s called “the social crash”.
But this post isn’t about the social crash or what to do about it. This post is about how to be immune to crashing, social and otherwise.
If one is not careful, the internet monetization journey can chew you up and spit you out. No, wait–the internet itself can chew you up and spit you out, because even without monetizing, it’s possible to get lost in a time-suck of meaningless surfing and online “friendships” with people who will un-friend you on Facebook if you post something they happen not to like (happens every time I post a political link to my Wall, without fail).
That’s the place I found myself in, just a few months into working for myself. I was spending too much time on the computer, answering emails and blogging and tweeting and trying to dream up new projects and figure out branding and wondering where in the world all the people were, since so many social media experts and strategists online had insisted that if I built it, the masses would come, and they would want to support my work, both emotionally and financially, and it would feel great. Every time I built and masses did not come, I both appreciated the love I was getting (there were no “masses” but there was definitely love!) and looked at my bank statements with some panic.
In my saddest and most triggered moments, the fear was that I had nothing to really offer the world.
This was not actually the problem.
The “problem” (read: challenge to rise to) was really in that entire line of thinking, not some other thing I needed to do or figure out.
The day that I realized that I had always loved to write, and always loved to blog, and always loved to receive emails from people who read my blog (were you one of the original people who read my blog waaaaaaay back when it was called “self taught girl” and I was perpetually divulging my angst–every bad day, every breakup?), and had always loved the way I’d met some amazing people via the internet…
…the day that I remembered all of that was the day that I decided that my only job was really to show up to the page (er, screen) and express what I felt to be true, and trust that it resonated with others. At all costs, hit publish.
I realized that I do have a unique way of looking at the world, that I had done a ton of really beautiful personal work and that I could share that and be of service, and that’s what went into the heart and soul of creating my Courageous Living Guides–it’s also what goes into each blog post. I was creating “real value” all along, and it had nothing to do with money in the bank or followers–it was about loving writing and connection.
One of the many reasons I love and respect the work of Ms. Danielle LaPorte is that I see how she grounds all of her work in passion, desire, and true strengths. I can see–really only in hindsight–how what saved me was learning how to make my work my focus, not how many retweets I had.
I’m passionate about my work and my purpose in the world. That’s enough. I don’t worry too much about the “social crash” because the longer I’ve been on the internet, the more I’ve seen that it goes through cycles. The people who will weather those cycles will be the people who are on the internet for the same reasons that I’ve been blogging since 1998 (only, back then we called it “online journaling” or sometimes an “e-zine”).
It’s important to me to convey that I don’t say any of this to sound smug. Like I said, I know what it’s like to look at your bank statements and get completely triggered around money and personal worth and definitions of success.
It’s just this: You get to choose. If the process of following your dream is causing you so much stress and heartache that you find yourself thinking, “This isn’t living,” then something’s not aligned. Feeling that way when you’re supposed to be “pursuing your dream” is doubly painful. Feeling that way and then being at the mercy of a “social crash” or whatever the next whim of the internet whim is, is triply painful.
So–you get to choose. What would be ease? What would be courageously self-nurturing? What would give you peace of mind so that turning on your computer each morning doesn’t feel like an endless game of comparisons and self-flagellation that you need to do more do more do more do more?
If you define your interactions with the online world on your own terms, there is no “crashing.” There is just you, showing up just as who you are (which is how the world wants you, I promise), with a message worth sharing.
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Are you going to the World Domination Summit? So am I. Let’s swap a hug and think well of one another, shall we? If you see me, say hello!
In the past five months, I’ve…somehow managed to survive teaching full-time instead of part-time (it was an accident, never to be repeated); writing for three monthly columns; maintaining my own blog; applying to graduate school to get my Master’s in Counseling; taking three pre-requisite psychology courses so that if I got into grad school, those would be out of the way (and, thankfully given all the work involved…I got in!); training for Bay to Breakers (May 15, 2011: I ran the 7.47 course in 1:28, basically in the top 30% of all runners who completed the race, and could not be prouder–or more surprised).
Now that the semester has wrapped–the teaching schedule was acting as the biggest time suck–I’ve gone home to visit my family for a few days and have had some welcome distance from the harried semester.
I find myself…
I’ve been asking myself, What’s next, What’s now?
It’s not “What’s next, What’s now?” from a “no time for resting on those laurels” state of being, as if I must keep going going going.
It’s just, simply–what’s arising for me?
I think it’s important in these moments, when a big expanse of space is suddenly opening up, to stay close to one’s impulses. The impulse to fill, to distract can ride such a thin line with the impulses of curiosity or trying something new.
So, I’m keeping the space open–it’s so full of goodness, here!–and letting myself create stillness.
I confess I am excited about…
…hopefully meeting YOU at the World Domination Summit this weekend…
…my new “barefoot” running shoes…
…connection and collaboration on my next big project–I’ve had an idea in the making for a year now and am finally amassing the loveliest people to come together on it…
…making some dates with Netflix and feeling zero guilt about it…
…my ridiculously hot n’ sexy man, who has been emerging as a ridiculously hot n’ sexy leader of other men, by being one of the lead organizers of this event for other men (ridiculously hot n’ sexy men, or otherwise) : http://circlesofmen.org/comv/
…yoga, running, hiking, walking…anything that has to do with moving my body, loosening up all of the constricted energy, breaking a sweat…
…thinking up new big retreat dreams…
being okay with the sitting and waiting.