The day I left my job was the same day I took an even scarier step: I publicly launched my blog.
I had no idea what the response would be. Would my thoughts resonate with people? Ruffle some feathers? Or worse, would my words fall flat, unread by anyone but myself? The thought of no one caring is still far scarier than of getting negative feedback.
What a thrill it was to see my site traffic quickly climb from tens to hundreds, and then to thousands, in its first 24 hours of existence. That debut post, which was born from an ultra vulnerable time in my life, is still the most popular one on my site, to date.
But negative feedback still hurts. It was during my launch week that I felt the sting of scrutiny that anonymous internet critics like to dole out. Two comments came in one day, almost at the same exact time, attacking my choice to leave my desk job and take time out for myself.
One comment, posted by ‘Reality’, reads: I am excited to see how this ends up in 90 days when your employer finds someone who is willing to work, you realize that Amber Rae really DID inspire you to be an unemployed wanderer and your Mom politely asks to you to get off her couch and go get a job.
I remember the hot sensation of embarrassment crawling up my face as I read that comment over and over again. Should I approve this comment, for all to see? Should I write back? How do I respond? Will this person keep coming back and blasting all my future posts?
I started to question whether blogging about my uncertain journey was actually a good idea, if comments like these were going to appear each time. In my fit of worry, I emailed Amber to ask how she dealt with tough feedback.
She reminded me that any strong reaction to my writing – whether harsh or encouraging – is a positive sign. I could feel my skin thicken already, as I braced myself for the many tough critics I would surely face in the months ahead. I approved the comment and, in that moment, consciously decided to live my truth out loud unapologetically.
My passion for writing grew tremendously as months passed and the comments, readership, and personal notes of appreciation grew. It became more apparent that I was doing something right by sharing my journey openly and with an exposed heart.
As I’ve taken more risks, made more connections, and shared more of myself with readers, my passion for life has grown, as well. And to my surprise, no additional harsh comments or emails have come in since the week I launched the blog.
Now the demotivators come in the form of writer’s block and traffic slumps. Sometimes, a post I’m really proud of gets little to no feedback. Trials like these ‘teach resilience,’ as Amber Rae pointed out to me back in January.
Each time I’ve doubted my writing most and wanted to throw in the towel, someone has reached out to tell me my blog has inspired them to make a positive change in their life. A few people have told me to never stop writing, and this always makes my heart skip a beat.
When you do something you are truly passionate about, your energy rubs off on other people. You have the power to change lives, simply by being courageous enough to go after what you love.
Know that the journey to greatness is steep and often times you’ll meet a cul-de-sac where you thought a through-road existed. As Paul Angone says, ‘a dead-end is only a dead-end if you turn around.’
Re-route and charge on. Don’t give up. The world needs you and your gifts.
And to Mr. Reality, if you’re still reading this blog 47 posts later, then I don’t need to tell you that I’m not living on my mom’s couch. But she wants you to know that her guest room has my name on it, should I ever ask. She’s awesome like that.
With courage, love, and intensity,