I’m not going to pretend it hasn’t been a while. I’ve missed you, I’ve missed this, and, with good fortune, this blog has continued to have a nice flow of visitors even during my (oh so very) long sojourn.
So, here I find myself asking, “What in the heck happened?” After all, I stopped writing right when the getting was getting really good. The Cincinnati Enquirer had picked up my post about education and poverty and made it a two page full color op ed in a Sunday edition. I was doing keynotes and giving you tips on how to give speeches that matter. Heck, my last post even shared how much money I saved by going six years without cavities (still no cavaties yet!)
Then, poof, I was gone.
Here’s What Happened
What are those things that cause us to go lights out just when the sun is shining brightest? There are many things to blame, but at the root we find that we are thrown off our patterns. What threw me off of my pattern?
- The Good Side: On the positive side of things, all of my work with advocating for childhood poverty caused me to find my North Star. I learned that I would love for my career to live in that world where economics meets sociology and human development and really begin to discover all of the cause and effect relationships that drive poverty. That caused me to study for the GRE, which became a full time job for several months. All of that drive and focus worked out really well for me. I scored 160 in quant and 161 in verbal. Those just happen to be the average scores for the top doctoral programs in public policy. In a year or two I plan to use those scores to my advantage.
- The Bad Side: I went through a divorce. There are few things that can throw you off of your daily patterns more promptly than that. However, even here I was fortunate. I literally had the kindest divorce on record. We lived together until a few days after the divorce, and we worked collaboratively through the whole process. No attorneys were involved in the dismantling of that relationship. In fact, the whole divorce cost me half of $125 in court filing fees. I thought about writing a post about how to get divorced without ruining yourself financially. I probably still will.
The good and the bad collided, and my patterns got toppled for about six months. Then brand new patterns emerged. Blogging, though jumping up and down for attention in the back of my mind ever since, never made it back.
Yet, here I am. Blogging. Look at me typing with all the words.
How I Got Back
It’s been a journey, but here is how I got back to it:
Step 1: Uncover the Root of It
The first step, the hardest step, the step that makes you not step for 28 months, is getting to the root of why you stopped in the first place. The reason it is so hard is because at the root you will find one of two sad states of affairs:
- You weren’t following your path in the first place. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to spend my time blogging. Maybe that isn’t a part of my North Star. Maybe, when I conduct a budget of my time, there are simply not enough hours in a week to support my blogging habit when all of the other activities, that may actually be a part of my North Star, are involved.
- You neglected your path. Actually, I was meant to be blogging. I was actually helping people and adding meaning to the world around me. In fact, there was a good man that was a regular reader of this blog that used the advice here to get his financial ship in order. That came to be tremendously helpful when his health declined and he found himself in the comfort of his own financial safety net. That adds more meaning to my life than most anything else.
Did that thing you stopped doing serve your path? If so let’s grab your compass and get back to it. If not, then work to relinquish yourself from the guilt that will stall you from righting your path.
Step 2: Be Realistic
One of the reasons my blogging pattern was so very susceptible to being overturned was because I wasn’t being realistic. I did five blog posts every single week. Putting that into the context of having a full time job that required me to travel created a state where I was spending my weekends writing content. Every weekend. If I didn’t have a weekend to spare, then there went the pattern.
This time around I’m creating more room for myself. I still have a demanding job that requires a lot of travel. I plan to write 1-2 posts per week. That’s still a big commitment, but it reaches the balance between being much more realistic while also allowing me to reach the goals I have for this site.
Step 3: Don’t Fear Your Own Success
This one is very difficult for me, and it is the one I had to do the most research and regrouping on in order to get the nerve back to be typing this sentence right now.
But…wait…fearing success? What kind of silliness is that? Well, it’s not so silly at all. Fearing success is actually quite a bit more pervasive than fearing failure…hence why we get off track from our goals in the first place. It’s oh so very much more comfortable to stay in a familiar situation than it is to venture out into the unknown. In my case, I was beginning to become quite overstimulated by the results of my blogging. I had the choice to continue to devote a great deal of time and expend a whole lot of energy towards a cause when I had no idea where I would end up (and, gasp, would I be able to handle it when I got there?) Alternatively, I could watch makeup videos on YouTube. Welcome to the world of being human.
Step 4: Let Go of the Shame and Find the First Step
Trust me. Finding your North feels so super great. I highly recommend it. I mean, look at all the words on this page that were born from just that. However, the big giant step that needed to be taken before I got to blogging (besides remembering my username and password) was forgiving myself of the guilt that paralyzed my first step back to blogging. I found that talking to others about my guilt was incredibly helpful. The person that from here on out will be referred to as “manfriend” was a great help in that regard.
In the end, remember that shame thrives in silence. Shut that shame up with your words by reaching out to friends, family, or even strangers like me. Leave a comment down below if you would like to put your shame to shame by killing it with the power of your words.