I’ve just returned from a blogging conference in Arkansas. It was sponsored by Collective Bias which is a company I started working with a few months ago. As a member of their Social Fabric community, I write sponsored posts for brands and their products, as well as create albums of my shopping experience for said products. For me, Social Fabric provides a way to continue doing what I love, which is write, because they pay me to share with you fun things I’ve found and where I’ve found them. Not a bad gig.
What this weekend provided me with, besides killer information and more than a little silly fun, was people who asked questions that made me think. Luckily, non-direct flights and a layover provided time to think, at least when I wasn’t sprinting back and forth between gate changes. What, you may be wondering, was I forced to think about? The answer to that is, why am I still here?
Five years ago I started this blog to chronicle our move and the HGTV show that came with it. I’ve been through a million iterations since then and had more than one outstanding opportunity come from it. Yet, all the while I have undervalued both this blog and myself.
I’ve stood by and watched as my friends made real livings doing this thing. They’re brand ambassadors or spokespeople or organizers of giant conferences or using their smarts to delve into other online spaces or the literary world. And all this time I thought they all had something I didn’t. Perhaps they had intelligence, skill, luck, contacts or just a desire I must not have had. All this time I thought and mostly acted like my blog was a hobby and I’d eventually find what I really wanted to do for a living. But when I’m honest, what I really want to do is this, this thing I’ve been doing for five years, share with all of you.
I said to someone this weekend, in a conversation about naming something passion when it’s really judgemental extremism, “I’m not extremely passionate about any one thing except providing people all the information I can so that they feel empowered to make whatever decision is best for them”. I mostly don’t care what decision it is that people make, I just want to facilitate their empowerment to make decisions and then feel good about whichever they make.
The fact is, blogging is an incredible platform for this very thing. I can share my own life trials and triumphs and all that I’ve learned from both. Then, hopefully, someone will read what I’ve written and save themselves some heartache, or relieve some guilt. Perhaps they may learn something or be inspired to try something that scares them. Maybe I’ll even help make the world a better place in the process.
Why would I discount, or worse, fight any of these outcomes?
Because it’s fun, so it can’t be important? Because it’s scary? Because it’s hard to admit you love something others don’t understand? Because it’s hard to admit what you really want because what if you fail? Or, scariest of all, what if you have to own the fact that you might actually do it well enough to succeed? Admitting I’m good enough to be successful is for sure the scariest of all.
Through the last five years I’ve felt each and every one of these things, sometimes all at once.
This weekend, I was surrounded by wildly successful, really intelligent people who own their worth in this space. What struck me most when I was in their company was how much I felt like I was in my place, with my people-like I really belonged.
In all my thinking time, I decided it’s time for me to step up and stand where I’m meant to be, out front with the people doing their thing well, with passion, purpose and even a little fun.
That’s why I’m here and that’s why I’m deciding to stay.
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Sarea Clark says
I love reading how you are inspiring everyone! I didn’t cross your path at the conference, but I am looking forward to the next one already! So many people I need to meet!
Agreed! It was full of awesome. Can’t wait to do it again and we’ll for sure find eachother then!
Kelly @ Texas Type A Mom says
In my #thisisme post I shared a quote that is also applicable to your situation as well. “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Take that leap!
Awesome! Thank you Kelly.
Beth Zimmerman says
I can’t believe I was in the same room with someone who’s been on HGTV and didn’t even say hello! I’m like the ultimate HGTV addict! =)
I recently decided that since writing was the only “work” that I really love … I needed to treat it like a “job” and see where a little professionalism could take me that treating it as a hobby never did. Less than a month after making that decision … I won a ticket to SoFabCon and joined Social Fabric (which I had never heard of). I walked away from the conference with a lot of inspiration. I will walk away from this post determined to define, or more clearly define, my passion!
Ha! Beth, the show I was on was pretty quickly cancelled but I’m told by my insomniac friends it is still on at 3:00am sometimes! I love what you said about writing. I feel very similar and our paths sound eerily familiar. Can’t wait to see where we both are in a year!
Natalie Z. says
It’s easy to compare ourselves to what others are doing. I love what was said at SoFabCon about not trying to make our insides match others outsides. As long as you are happy and doing what you love that is all that really matters in the long run!
Thanks! Now I just need to keep reminding myself every day.;)
I think as women, as PEOPLE we learn best from shared experiences with others. Even if we come back from having NOT taken the clear advice from others’ experience, we have someone with whom we can commiserate. Awesome journey, indeed.
I agree. My girlfriends are always the ones I want to get advice from over any “professional”. There is power in that sharing. Thanks for sharing here!
Rebecca E. Parsons says
Step fearlessly into that passion girlfriend!!!
Thanks! I’m stepping-not sure how fearlessly!
Sarah BB (@East9thStreet) says
I hope you never undervalue yourself again! We all have a voice that resonates with someone, somewhere. Every day you’re inspiring someone to do something, to think differently and laugh a little louder. 🙂
Thanks, Sarah. I think inherently we all know this, we just need to remind ourselves when the big-bad world makes us doubt. Thanks for commenting.
I happen to think you are pretty fantastic.
Well, Ms.Jasmine that means more than you could ever know. Thank you.
Mike Burke says
Cristie, you are AWESOME!!! I love your posts. Glad to see you are doing something you enjoy and using such a strong talent too. You do a fabulous job, and I can always hear your voice when I read your stuff. Thanks for staying. The world IS a better place with your contributions.
Wow. Thank you Mike. That means a whole lot more than you may ever know.
Kelley M says
ROCK ON, SISTER.
Amy, Using Our Words says
Your words have empowered me and I’m so glad you found empowerment too!
Thanks, Amy. Coming from you this is huge. You inspire me near daily with the work you do and the person you are. If you felt empowered because of something I said or wrote, well, that’s just about the coolest thing!
woohoo! Love it!!
Thanks, lady! It’s support like yours that makes it possible.