You Think You Can’t Until You Do

I was listening to the "My Taught You" podcast by Myleik who was interviewing author and blogger Luvvie Ajayi and an important concept finally clicked for me.

You Don't Think You Can Until You Do

Currently Luvvie is everywhere upon the release of her debut book “I’m Judging You.” I mean from the White House to OWN, she is living a lot of writers’ dream. But do you know what they said in that podcast that knocked my socks off? She’s been blogging for like 12 years. 

Listen. We live in a time that will make you think if your site is not getting 10,000 hits in 3 months, you might as well pack it up and go home. This is simply not the case. It would be so easy to look at someone like Luvvie and be envious, but have no idea the amount of work that she has put in to get to her, “I’m everywhere” moment. The fact of the matter is, most often you don’t think you can get somewhere or be something until you do. 

The reality here is, it’s a gradual process. I think about releasing my first book realizing that I had absolutely no fan base really at all except a few Instagram followers that encouraged me about the love notes I was posting. DASSIT. To be where I am now, I never felt like I was “getting” somewhere. I was just in the midst of the work. Though Luvvie had been blogging for some time, it was really her Scandal recaps that brought notoriety and widespread attention to her work. That’s 2012. 9 years into her consistency. 9 years into the work. 

While on vacation, I was also reading through an e-book called “How to Land (and keep) a Literary Agent.” The author also mentioned something important. He challenged writers to think more in terms of a 20 year plan as opposed to thinking their careers were going to launch within 1-5 years. Referencing even authors that get the big publishing deal sometimes tank and initially have to rebuild. The bottom line here is, no matter how instantaneous the internet makes everything seem, it’s not. 

I’ll give you one more example here because sometimes we look at people who have achieved success younger than us and start whining and complaining as well. That makes me think of someone like Beyonce who is literally at the top of the world. But think about it, this girl was groomed for the spotlight. She was putting in the work since she was a child. So we can look at others that are in the height of their success young, not realizing they just started so much earlier than everyone else. Not disregarding the fact that she is talented, but I believe in my readers so I think you get the drift. 

You will look back on your life and be amazed at the things that you have been able to accomplish. But it won’t necessarily feel all warm and fuzzy in the process. You know what it will feel like? Work. lol. And as much as many of us want the spotlight, we simply want to skip the important process of actually WORKING to get there. I’ve yet to encounter a true overnight success that wasn’t actually just working their butt off, probably about to quit before their moment arrived. 

Click to Tweet /// The process of accomplishing goals won't be feel warm and fuzzy, it will feel like work. 

Even if you count that I kind of started blogging in 2008. That’s still only 8 years. And if you really take it from when I actually got serious about blogging, that’s about 3 years. HA! I’m a babe in this thing. So I realize how important it is to keep going. See so many people won’t make it based on this very fine line in the journey. There will be the moment when you think you are worthy, think you have put in the work for your shine and it won’t come. And two things happen to people after that. They either keep going, pushing, working harder and smarter than they were before, or they quit. Imagine if Luvvie, said, screw this blog in 2012 before Scandal. That would mean no White House. No Shonda Rhimes. No meeting Oprah. It’s the talent along with the perseverance that gets us where we want to be. 

Click to Tweet /// It's talent along with perseverance that gets us where we want to be. 

I think we all realize that fear is one of the most crippling emotions that we can experience. But I’m not so certain we realize that doubt is just a cousin of fear. When we talk about quitting, it’s really just doubt in our ability, doubt in our worth because the world hasn’t quite recognized it yet. You could be amazing at what you do and it just not be your time yet. 

Listen, I’m preaching to myself here too. Too often, I want it fast and I want it now. I want the lake house where I write my books, the meeting with the publishers and the book tour. But I’m learning to appreciate the work. Because when you actually like what you do, isn’t that the rewarding part? Whether you read my blog or not, I love to write. That won’t stop. And so why not put the continued effort into it, when I have seen the fruit of that effort? I don’t have 10,000 page impressions a day. But I probably have thousands more than when I started here. 

If you would have told me in 2008 that doors would be opened from my blog to host events in other cities, speak at events or schools and write online for one of the iconic publications I grew up on, I would say no way. I would point out everything I didn’t know about blogging then. I would say, nah, I need someone’s co-sign to get to that point or whatever other excuse we come up with. I wouldn’t have thought I could until I did. 

So I say to you. Stay the course. Your moment is coming. And it won’t look like Myleik’s. It won’t look like Luvvie’s. It won’t look like Beyonce’s. It will be handcrafted for you and you will feel fulfilled and wholehearted and all the work will be worth it.