Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.
This quote by professional speaker and social media strategist Ted Rubin works for me on a number of different levels: as an individual, a parent and a blogger.
Me, the individual
As an individual, I wish I had taken heed of this in my younger years. I worried far too much about what other people thought of me: parents, teachers, schoolmates, friends and colleagues. It’s such an easy trap to fall into, desperately wanting other people to recognise you academically, socially and professionally, and trying to live up to their standards and expectations.
I’ve never been a confident person and it wasn’t until I reached my thirties that I started to worry less about making other people happy – and the detrimental effect that was having on my confidence – and more about being happy myself. I’m still not particularly confident but I care less about doing things just to please others now. It’s a liberating feeling.
Me, the parent
As a parent, it’s a lesson I hope I can teach my children as they grow up. There is so much pressure on kids to perform well at school and to maintain a 24/7 personal ‘brand’ with their peers across social media that it’s so easy to lose yourself behind a facade.
I want my children to be happy and to grow up to be what they want to be, not what others think is best for them. Academics and friendships are important, of course, but they’re not the be-all and end-all. If nothing else, if I can support them towards finding their own path, I’ll have succeeded as a parent.
Me, the blogger
Finally, as a blogger I’ve experienced the pressure to do ‘better’ – whatever that actually is. For some people, being a better blogger is about carving out an income – which means a ruthless focus on quantifiable metrics such as page views, rankings such as Tots100 or Klout and social media follows and likes, and to actively network in the right places with the right people.
I’m not knocking that in any way – but it’s not for everyone. Every month I see fellow bloggers bemoaning the fact their Tots100 ranking has dropped or saying that blogging has stopped being fun because of all the promotional activity they have to do. But is all of this really that important for you just because it’s important for others? People blog for all manner of reasons – to earn money, as a form of therapy or self-expression, to become a better writer, the list goes on and on – not all of which define success in terms of numbers. If blogging makes you happy and proud in terms of whatever goals you set for yourself, shouldn’t that be enough? Sadly, it can be all too easy to lose sight of the reason we started blogging in the first place.
So what’s the upshot of all this? Individual, parent or blogger, if you know what’s important to you then what other people think is largely secondary. If you’re happy with yourself, then if other people don’t value you then that’s their problem, not yours. And if you’re happy with yourself, you’re doing just fine.
Easier said than done, of course.
Looking at myself as a blogger, I’m in a happy place at the moment. I know I’m improving as a writer, which is what matters to me more than anything else, and I’ve grown in confidence particularly over the last 12-18 months. That has spurred me on to try new things just for the hell of it – I’m finally starting work on a book and I recently launched my own podcast – both things that I have wanted to do for a long time.
And do you know what? I’m loving every minute of it.
I’ve been a lifelong American football fan and I recently came across this quote from former New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath, one of US sport’s great playboy figures – think George Best crossed with James Hunt – who famously promised the Jets would win Super Bowl III despite being massive underdogs, and then delivered on that promise.
When you have confidence you can have a lot of fun, And when you have fun, you can do amazing things.
As a motto for life, I think that’s pretty good. Be confident in your own worth, enjoy life and watch as incredible things happen.
So, what’s next on your bucket list, then?