By Pavel Konoplenko
We often hear about fear as a suppression of risk, and consequently success. We don’t take chances because we’re afraid we’ll fail – and sometimes because we’re afraid we’ll succeed. Failure, much like success, can take on many forms. Sometimes the failure is simply a personal truth, particularly the discovery of our true nature.
One of my biggest discoveries of my personal self is that I’m not a good blogger. Granted, it’s not a life-altering realization since even referring to myself as a blogger doesn’t sound genuine. I originally envisioned my personal blog to be a vehicle with which I can travel through my stream of consciousness (and bad metaphors). Yet, so far I haven’t embraced or even accepted this opportunity. I ultimately don’t like my writing and always want (expect?) my ideas to be better than they come out.
Every time I plan to write I wind up starting new drafts and developing new ideas; as if a new draft will suddenly help me blossom as a writer. I had a hard time accepting these shortcomings, and instead of accepting them (in the form of writing something that I felt should be better) I simply avoided the activity.
This fear of accepting our true selves – which in my case is a sub-par blogger – stems from not living up to some expectation. This letdown is something we may call failure. While letting others down is something that we all strive to avoid, our main priority is living up to our own expectations of who we are and how we act (or blog). These expectations are a result of many things, but our personal self-image is an important root of these expectation. I don’t know for what reason I “expected” myself to be a good blogger when I’ve only had a few months of practice. I shouldn’t feel entitled to the title of Good Blogger or Good Writer, yet I do. I shouldn’t expect to have a command of my ideas and thoughts without first losing a few battles, yet I do.
We always do our best to present our “best” version of our selves and leave the best possible impression. This goes doubly to our digital selves where we have a lot more control in how the information gets presented to others. This, however, often winds up holding us back. I got into the mindset that unless I’m presenting ideas that rival Seth Godin’s, then I’m failing at my job of presenting my best self.
Lately I’ve come to slowly accept my true nature, especially when it comes to my writing. It’s empowering to be able to accept the bad ideas, because that makes working with the good ideas so much easier. It’s teaching me strength through humility and the ability to be satisfied with my work. This is both liberating and motivating.
Now I’m moving towards embracing my skill (or partial lack of it).
My tagline for this blog used to be “A page-by-page journey of a novel who lost his cover” – which sounds really deep and mysterious. Yet what it does is create a pretense that the ideas within the blog are equally amazing. Well that’s not the case. Some posts will be good, most kind of lame, and a few would be great. I’m taking my cue from my good friend Casey Palmer and his tagline, and I’m going to be more honest in accepting who I am and who I am not.
My new tag line will be “One day, this blog will be better.”
This isn’t for pity. This isn’t a gimmick. This is personal honesty. Maybe now I won’t be so afraid to let go of an illusion of self.