There comes a point in anything you attempt to do, that it is going to feel like hard work. And it is. Sort of. There is a caveat here; it’s hard work and hard work alone if it’s not the right thing. If it’s worth it, if it’s something you want deep down in your soul, then it’s hard work mixed with pleasure. Recently, Farnoosh Brock of Prolific Living wrote a post titled 14 Ugly Truths On Being an Entrepreneur, that totally inspired me. In it, she wrote about the dark side of quitting your corporate, safe, day job and working to do your own thing. In essence, she wrote that it is hard work, but for her at least, she never regrets it, and she loves it!
As a blogger who would eventually like to turn my blog into a platform for a career, I can relate to what she is saying–at least in part. While I am not quitting my day job and so I don’t have financial fears, I do still work a full time job, and so it can feel like all my free time is spent working at my blog. And it probably is. But deep down inside I truly believe it is worth it.
I’m no culinary wizard, but I have made a sauce or two, and one of the things I remember is that it doesn’t take a lot, and typically you put it on the entre at the end. It’s simply the topping that can take your entre from being good, to being oh so tasty! Typically, it has several components in it, including a liquid or two, and some spices. All of them together make them a sauce. With a “secret” sauce, there is usually an ingredient or two that nobody can guess, and the chef ain’t telling. Let’s think about the concepts behind “secret sauce” and how it can apply to your attempt to get beyond that point where your blogging attempts start feeling like hard work.
Secret Sauce Concept #1: Sauce has a foundation.
The secret sauce to making it as a blogger has several ingredients. You will need your base, the foundation for your sauce, but you also need that perfect medley of spices. The foundation is the original desire that got you started. When the going gets tough, you start working through it by thinking about that original desire that got you started. Did you think of this idea ten years ago and are finally just now working on it? Did you originally start this idea because you really wanted to help people? Or did you start it because you wanted to be able to express your opinions on some subject that meant a lot to you? Did you originally start this because you just wanted to learn something new?
Whatever that original desire was, that’s what you start pulling out when the going gets a little rough. You start reminding yourself of that original desire. But that won’t be enough, because the tough work is just beginning. And your gonna need a little more to keep you going.
I know my mom made a lot of sauces in her day, and she often made them with whatever she had in her cupboard. We didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up, so she had to get creative. Sometimes, that creativity mingled with a little digging meant all the difference. I would see her digging deep into her cupboard and pull a bottle of spice out and say, “I forgot I had that in there!”
I promise you: you have something inside of you that life put into your personal “cupboard” that you have forgotten about. And it’s spice. It’s spice with uummph! Each and everyone of us has lived enough life that has taught us something useful, inspiring, and gave us strength, whether we knew that was happening or not. Have you ever suddenly gotten angry at someone and gave them the what-for and later wondered where that came from? Or have you ever had to do something on the fly and ended up shining at it? How did that POWER get in there?
That is our life experiences, babies, and if in the moment when we need to, we dig deep, we can bring it out.
Secret Sauce Concept #3: Don’t add the sauce until the bulk of the entre is done.
If you put some creamy sauce on top of broccoli before the broccoli has been cooked, it’s just going to slide off the broccoli and turn to soup. Make your broccoli soggy. If you put that sauce on before the entre is ready for it, the whole entre won’t be very tasty. The entre will be a failure.
In your blogging, when things are going good, you can simply use your surface reserves in order to keep going. You’ve got plenty of stamina stored up–things are going well, your stats are high, comments are plentiful and positive. Good for you. But when something starts going wrong, whether it’s in your personal life or directly related to your blogging, those reserves can get used up rather quickly. That’s when you need to start whipping up that sauce. Get your “foundation” (your original desires), dig out those hidden spices, and start whipping them together. And whip good because you got to put that sauce on at just the right moment.
Here’s the thing. Life goes in waves. Sometimes it’s harder than others and sometimes things are just seeming to go smoothly. When things are going smoothly is when you should be stocking up your reserves. Do things to prepare yourself for the hard times. Read motivational books and blogs, watch TED talks, hang out with people who have been successful in life, pray! Do other things too like have blog posts written in advance for emergencies, write schedules that will help keep you on track when your creativity is down. Prepare.
Prepare so that when the going gets tough, at least some of the work has been done. Keep those cupboards stocked so that when the hard times come, you have things in there that you forgot about–things you are going to need!
Have you ever had a time in your life where you surprised yourself, and then later wondered where THAT came from? Do you keep your cupboards stocked, and if so, how do you do that? Is there anyway of preparing for the unknown?