A good friend of mine in college would stay up until 4 in the morning doing classwork, obsessing over each detail, devastated if she got below a B. I was perfectly happy to scrape by with Cs.
Now I often find myself staying up until 2 or 3 in the morning blogging, responding to comments, learning about my new industry. I rarely go out, preferring to find ways to land new clients than suffer over a pint. I’ve become the quintessential Davidson student, except now I’m out of college and my only excuse is that I’m striving to be better.
But I never feel better. I constantly compare myself to other bloggers. Constantly.
I never used to be hard on myself and now that’s all I do. Recently, one of the top bloggers EVER commented on post of mine and told me I was wrong. That was well over a week ago and I still feel like shit. I’m sure he’d tell me to not take things so personally.
Thing is, “Social Media Consultant” is just one of those jobs that’s still pretty undefined. It’s not an industry that’s been around for long, it’s not particularly clear what one does as a SMC, so I’ve had to figure it out on my own. Half the time I’m proud of myself, the other half I think “I have no idea what I’m doing – why would anyone pay me for this?!” Especially when a hotshot blogger tells me the facts don’t match my opinion. Or when every blogger in the world is doing affiliate programs and I just can’t figure it out. Or when I see that the majority of the shit I’m doing isn’t done by anyone else.
And yeah, I know, forge your own path and all, but how many people actually succeed doing the complete opposite of everyone else? And wouldn’t it be better to do the things I’m supposed to do? Like create an actual business or write a post worthy of ProBlogger? But I can’t seem to write social media advice that fits in with the masses and can’t give said advice without sprinkling in a swear word of some kind.
So yes, lately I’ve been hard on myself. Doubting myself. Trying to figure out how what I do fits into the industry as a whole. It’s really freaking hard, because something I’ve always prided myself in is my ability – my necessity – to be different. To try the complete opposite of what everyone else is doing. And sure, my blog has grown considerably in the past six months. But it’s no ProBlogger. And growth is still slow and I still feel like the “right” people don’t take me seriously. But I don’t want to do the things that require me to be taken seriously. I don’t want to own a business. I don’t want to write a 7 Step Guide to Twitter or create an infoproduct or attend a conference. I don’t want to not swear.
Why can’t I just create a site where people who aren’t too fussed with the rules of social media come and hang out and talk to each other? And why can’t I work a normal 8 hour day and not feel guilty about all the things I should be doing? Like guest posts and products and sucking up?
I’m hard on myself because I’m young. And I hate being “professional.” And I don’t want to be like everyone else. Can’t I do my own thing and still be successful? Why do I have to put up with A-listers who mostly talk out of their asses and follow the same formulas over and over? Why do I have to put up with trolls and blog readers who send me emails offering up advice that I don’t want to take? Why do I have to put up with the bullshit?
Now I’m just ranting. You know when something’s a little off in your life and you go past feeling sorry for yourself and go straight into blaming other people? Yeah, that’s where I’m at. I still can’t figure out though if I’m pissed at the world, pissed at myself, or just too scared of failing to do what’s right for me and not for everyone else.
[photo credit: las - initially]