Sometimes we know that we need to start over, but are unwilling to. Why? Because we have convinced ourselves that starting over means that we have failed. However, sometimes starting over is the best thing that you can do to achieve the success that you want. Don’t view starting over as failure. Instead, view it as a strategic move to get where you want to be.
A couple of months ago, I attended a Google+ hangout with my friend, Michelle Gordon (who is also an author whose collections of books I immensely enjoy). The topic of the hangout was “Success is…”. Throughout the course of an hour, we did exercises where we tried to figure out our personal definitions of success. Then we went on to work out what we need to focus on to get there.
Michelle directed us to make a web diagram with the words “Success is…” in the middle. Branching out from that were six areas: Actions, Experiences, Business, Possessions, and Feelings”. She wanted us to envision what success in each area would look and feel like, then list the things that would be manifested in those areas.
Honestly, I was surprised by the things that made the list. However, I think that I was more surprised by the things that didn’t make an appearance. Nowhere on that list did I put “luxury car”, “huge house” or “$10,000 a month”. Don’t get me wrong – if my life leads to me having either or all of those things, that would be great and I would be thankful for it. However, I don’t feel that I need either of those things to be successful.
What did make it on make it on my list?
Doing what I love
Strong and healthy relationships
Joy and peace
After this part of the exercise, Michelle asked us to write a statement of what success is to us. It really forced me to focus on the bare bones of what would make me feel successful.
❤ Feeling secure in myself, my relationships, and my career.
❤ Feeling authentic, joyful, excited, passionate, and fulfilled.
❤ Helping others in ways that are meaningful.
❤ Achieving a maintainable sense of balance in my life.
❤ Being surrounded by and manifesting positivity.
These are the things that truly matter to me. Not big bank accounts, fancy cars, or mansions. Instead, I am concerned with being a good person who is surrounded by good people, does good things, and is able to provide my son with a good life. If I can accomplish these things, I will consider that a success. This may not be the picture of success for everyone, and that is okay. Everyone has their own personal definition. However, it was helpful for me to spend some time reflecting on what success means for me because that will guide my actions and my mindset. For example, if having a luxury car, $10,000 a month, and a mansion are not really that important to me, then those things should not be something that I focus on. Nor should my lack of those things make me feel like a failure. I should focus on the things that I truly want in life.
I firmly believe that knowing your personal definition of success can help you to avoid wasting your life trying to live according to some else’s definition (including that of society). Because the truth is that even if you DO achieve the widespread definition of success, that does not guarantee that you will actually be happy.
And what is the point of success if you can’t even enjoy it? (Quick note: If you need help coming up with your personal definition of success, you can check out Michelle’s short video here
Now, you may be wondering what all of this has to do with my decision to relaunch my blog and my business. It honestly has everything to do with it. While I was in this reassessment mode, I really started thinking more about what I need to do to get to where I want to be. And a large part of that has to do with the two things that I spend the most time on: my blog and my freelance writing business.
For the past 4.5 years, I have been working on this blog. I have also spent over 3 years developing my freelance writing business. While I enjoy both and am thankful that they have been so instrumental in my being able to stay home with my son, neither is where I want or need them to be.
With my blog, I wasn’t reaching people in the way that I wanted to. Sure, people read my blog and I am happy about that. But what are they taking away from it? Is it helping them? Motivating them? Do people come to my blog religiously to see what I have to offer? Although I know that some of my readers do find inspiration in some of the things that I share on my fan page, I don’t think that that translates over to my blog. Mostly because I am a LOT more active on my fan page than I am on my blog. Also because I tend to share more helpful content on my fan page. I want to change that. I want my blog to be a space in this world wide web where people come for motivation, advice, and tools/resources that they can actually use.
As for my business, that was just way out of whack. I didn’t feel like I had any kind of balance (as I shared earlier this year). I was taking on work that I didn’t truly find enjoyable. To make matters worse, I was drastically undervaluing myself. Now, making 5 figures a month isn’t necessary for me to make a living, so I have no plans (or desire) to try to charge my clients an arm and a leg for my services. However, I finally accepted that I was charging way too little for my services and that I was doing myself a huge disservice in the process. I had to come to terms with the idea that my work is worth more than what I was asking – and so is my time. I also realized that if I want to be able to earn a full-time income from just my writing, I need to set rates that will enable me to work smarter, not harder.
What a Reset Looks Like
I have been a long-time fan of her content and felt like this planner was just what I needed to get my blog on the right track. And I was right! Not only do I have content planned out for a full year (all the way through February 2016), the content is organized and meaningful. Here are some new things that you guys can look forward to on my blog (By the way, did you notice that my blog has had a facelift? Shout out to my friend Natalie at Natalie Made It):
1. Consistent & helpful content each week
2. Monthly themes
3. Printable and downloadable content
4. New series- Our Adventures, Pinterest Fails & Successes, Mommy Confessions, WAHM Tidbits, Homeschooling, Fitness Fridays, Cool Stuff We’ve tried (product reviews) and more!
5. Resources for WAHMs and single moms
6. Guest posts from my blogging friends
Here are a few other things that I have done to prepare for the relaunch of my blog:
1. My graphic designer friend Nicolas Spencer is helping me to visually brand my blog by providing me with some cool graphics, such as the title graphic on this one.
2. My friend Mandie from Women are Hungry will also be helping me out with the content for Fitness Fridays. I am really excited to be working with both of them!
3. I also have received a LOT of feedback and guidance from my friend Danielle from Fitness Fashionista, who is a wealth of info about blogging and business.
4. I have been having weekly blogger work days with my friend Courtney from Life as a Convert. On these days, we spend close to 8 hours working on our individual blogging goals. This includes working on content, doing back end work on the blogs, editing videos (she is also a vlogger), and whatever else we need to get done. (Admission: this is also a great opportunity for me to get some adult conversation and for our kids to hang out with each other. Everyone wins!)
And, of course, I have adjusted my rates so that they are more aligned with the high quality and expertise that I offer my clients.
I also finally have my own office space and am working towards figuring out the best schedule for me as far as office hours (more on both of those in the future!).
Now I feel like I am on the path I need to be on to achieve my definition of success.
I hope that you guys join me on this journey. I plan to make it worth your while. If you’re my ideal reader that is. My ideal reader is another mom who is seeking ways to navigate parenthood while also doing the things that she enjoys and is good at. Perhaps you are a single mom like me. Or you want to be able to work from home fulltime (or at least earn some additional income from home). You’re probably not a domestic goddess or very crafty. You aren’t necessarily a great cook. And you probably don’t have a ton of money laying around to do everything on your bucket list. In fact, you’re probably pretty frugal even if you do have a significant amount of income. But you like trying new things and you like to do it without breaking the bank. If this sounds like you, then please feel free to subscribe to my mailing list on the right hand side of your screen. That way, you won’t miss a single post. You will also be the first to know about any exclusive offers.
In the meantime, let’s chat! Have you had any moments in your life when you realized you needed to hit the reset button? Please comment below. You can also join the conversation on Facebook.