This blog almost never got started for several reasons. My experience of constant, nagging self-doubt and the lack of self-confidence will reveal to you how I overcame these hurdles and personal challenges that I faced.
This is my first post. It’s about how it took me well over a year, from concept to creation to get this blog up and running.
I had a general idea, a basic concept, a vision and a dream. But that's all it was a dream, until I finally took action and created this blog. I knew I wanted to create and build something special, meaningful and lasting, a blog that stood for something, that really mattered and that would make a difference in our world.
I thought that blogging would be easy. But I slowly came to the realization that it’s not as easy as it looks. It takes a certain skill set, a lot of time, commitment, persistence, dedication and hard work. And sometimes you don't have a choice and have to do stuff that you don't like doing, as with pretty much anything in life.
It took me way more time than I’d like to admit of doing online research to learn how to create and build a blog in order to increase the chances of it being successful. I spent hours upon hours intermittently for well over a year reading posts from different Pro Bloggers on how to start a successful blog.
I didn’t want to waste my time by making basic, stupid mistakes that most newbie bloggers make, even though I am probably still making a few. I wanted to learn from more experienced bloggers and from their mistakes. I wanted to hopefully, do it right, as much as possible, the first time around.
So this post is about my personal journey about starting this blog and how this blog almost never got started. It is for anyone who has a dream of achieving great things in life but feels it’s impossible to make it a reality because of self-doubt, the lack of self-confidence, the insurmountable, discouraging problems and uphill battles and challenges you’ll face along the way ... and the fear of the unknown.
If you have ever had an amazingly, great inspirational idea for a project that you knew there was a need, market & demand for ... and that you also knew deep down in your gut would be tremendously successful and could not fail ... but didn’t go through with it because of all the difficult problems and challenges you would face along the way, then this post is meant for you.
This is my personal story of how I got discouraged before I even started. I lacked the self-confidence, didn’t believe in myself, over thought things in my head, continually second guessed myself and almost gave up ... before I even started.
This is my story of how this blog almost never got started ... and that would have been a real shame because I would not be enthusiastic, excited and enjoying working on it right now ... growing, cultivating and nurturing it to be the uber successful blog that I am confident it will soon become.
But first, to put all of this in better context, here’s a little background on my situation at the time. You see, I was going through an extremely challenging and rough time in my personal life when the germination of this idea of starting a blog entered my mind.
In October 2010 my 84 year old father, passed away from pneumonia after five years of being wheel chair bound. He was being taken care of by my 81 year old, amazingly caring and devoted mother, a feisty ol' woman who's always had incredibly strong character and even stronger faith.
In mid-December 2013, about two weeks after I had moved my Mom from her high-rise condo into an independent senior’s residence, she received an early, unexpected, unwanted, surprise Christmas present ... all delicately wrapped up in a fancy, festive, beautiful red bow.
On Tuesday, December 10th, 2013 while preparing herself lunch, my Mom blacked out in her kitchenette, lost her balance, fell backwards and broke her right arm. Little did I know it at the time but this one small happening basically was going to change my entire life thereafter, forever.
It has literally never been the same.
Since I was now her full-time caregiver, my reference point in life from that time on has been either Before The Fall or After the Fall.
Being a full-time caregiver is no easy task. It’s no walk in the park. In fact, it’s the hardest, most difficult thing I have ever had to do in my life.
There are the normal daily/weekly/monthly, repetitive, boring, mundane physical tasks of meal preparation, pill dispensing, bill paying etc. Then there are also the regular everyday household responsibilities like cooking, cleaning, laundry and grocery shopping that most everyone experiences in life.
But in addition to this there are also the bi-weekly medical appointments and doctors follow up visits for physiotherapy etc, not to mention the daily physio exercises at home and going for rehab. Then lets not also forget that you also have to deal with on a daily basis the emotional pain of seeing someone you love in unbearable physical pain, ill health and not feeling well a good part of the time.
It’s extremely difficult and sad when you see your life long, strong mother showing little interest in life, lacking enthusiasm & energy, sleeping and resting most of the time and you’re not being able to do anything to improve her quality of life.
Furthermore, you also have the responsibility, stress and worry of knowing that now you have someone depending on you full-time 24/7. It’s always there “nagging” at you, constantly at the back of your mind. There’s simply no getting away from it.
Basically, you don’t have a “normal” regular life anymore. You’re forced to put them first and everything else comes second. Taking care of them becomes your main priority and purpose in life. Almost all of your time is devoted to them, trying to keep them active, entertained, comfortable and happy.
Furthermore, especially in the last years of their life, you want them to feel good about themselves, cared for, valued, genuinely appreciated and loved.
Asides from all of this responsibility, to top it all off I had to also empty my Mom’s condo and get it completely renovated from top to bottom in order to put it on the market. All of this was incredibly stressful compared to my simple, easy, fun, happy, unstressful, pretty much care free, uncomplicated life Before the Fall.
Since both of my married brothers lived out of town, by default it was “understood” that I would be the one taking care of Mom. Nothing was ever discussed. So, I ended up living and staying with her for the next 14 months, through her operation, physio and rehab, till her arm healed ... and well beyond.
During this time because I did it almost all by myself, it felt like it was just her and me, in it, all alone. It literally felt like we were battling and fighting together against the world. Believe me, that is what it felt like and I’m not exaggerating or overstating the case.
The difference was that my Mom had her incredibly strong, undying faith, prayers and an incredibly strong belief in God to carry her through this trying and difficult time ...
... I didn’t.
Slowly, resentment started to set in. It built and festered in me like an un-pricked, bubbly, yellow, pus filled boil with a strong yet delicate skin. Now how's that for imagery!
With time, it gradually ate away at me from the inside, both mentally and emotionally. I’m not proud to admit it but it lead to more frustration, anger and bitterness on my part towards this whole, unfair situation.
Life was unfair. It was basically sticking it to me. At least that’s how it felt. I felt that my two brothers through no fault of their own, were getting off way, way, way too easy and not “serving their time” by also helping to take care of our mother.
Because of Mom’s brittle and weakened bones due to her advanced age, the surgeon did not recommend an operation. He recommended that it heal by itself, with time. But unfortunately, this did not happen which we only found out much later, after the fact.
For the next 9 months Mom experienced incredible amounts of extended pain like never before in her life with the pain killers providing her with limited relief. I really don’t know how she survived it. It hurt me emotionally to see her in so much pain and that there was nothing that I could do for her to make the pain go away.
It hurt me so much to see her like that, that on numerous occasions, I literally cried and begged God for her help. I just wanted relief for Mom and for her to be put out of her pain, misery and suffering. I had never experienced something like this before. My whole life was literally emotionally and mentally turned upside down and inside out.
I was also taking care of Mom first, while my seasonal, home-based business as a Green Technology Consultant came second. It was extremely difficult to focus on work but I just couldn’t put my business on temporary hold given it had taken me a good 6 years to build up my business relationships, my network and the business itself.
During this time, given my changing situation, my view of life, what was important to me and my priorities in life had also begun to change. It turned out that I was in the process of re-assessing my life. I did enjoy the freedom and flexibility of my work life and my income was enough to cover me and then some.
But there was still something I felt was missing from my life that I needed to do and pursue. I needed to fill that vacant hole that was in my life.
I knew I wanted to be in full and complete control of my life and live life on my own terms. It was important for me to be at peace with myself, stay true to myself and live my life by my values.
I knew I didn’t want to work for someone else or even partner with someone else. From past first-hand experience, I’ve found most partnerships don’t work out for one reason or another. They may start off fine but in most cases they are doomed to failure as people tend to want different things and end up going their own ways.
I also knew I didn’t want to do something I didn’t really enjoy doing and didn’t love. Life is way too short for that. Besides, I had lived part of my past life like that and was definitely looking to move away from it.
Given I’m an extreme introvert, I’ve never wanted to be front and center in the lime light and to be the center of attention. I am most comfortable and have always preferred to stay in the background. I wanted to keep it this way with my new endeavour.
All I knew is that I needed to do something different than I had not done in the past to get me where I wanted to be. Asides from experiencing sales success in my past work life, I have always felt that I was meant to do greater things and achieve greater things in life.
I have always been an idealist. I had always wanted to do something more. I have always wanted to be a part of creating, building, contributing and giving back to others. I have always wanted to be a part of something bigger and greater than just myself and my work life.
I have always wanted to give back to society while helping others ... but because of other things going on in my life at the time, the time was never right. It had never been the right time until now. And now it felt that it was the right time to start this journey.
Through a process of deep self-reflection, life re-assessment and from helping others, I had discovered over the past couple of years how good it felt to give back to society, selflessly contribute, bring joy and happiness to other people’s lives, make a stronger impact on the world and make it a better place.
During this process I realized that I became more self-aware and socially conscious. It felt good. It felt different. Thus, I realized that I needed to focus more on something that was really important to me and that added real value and meaning to my life.
Living a life truly worth living, taking a strong stand and making a real, lasting difference in our world is the direction I was looking to take my life in.
I knew I needed to focus on my purpose in life. I needed to focus on my true, inner calling. Being idealistic for as long as I can remember and with all the unfairness and the lack of social justice in the world, I knew I wanted to be a Changemaker.
I knew it would be a truly amazing feeling to make a significant social impact, to have known that I’ve truly helped others that are in greater need and that are less fortunate than me.
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I knew I wanted to build something of real lasting social value, to help, inspire and empower others while serving the greater good. This in turn would make me feel really good about myself because it would allow me to reach and realize my full potential. It also would allow me to live a truly inspired, fulfilling life, while doing everything with real passion.
Furthermore, it was also extremely important to me to leave a real, living, lasting and enduring legacy dedicated to my loving parents who were always there for me when I needed them. So I made the decision that the time was now because if I didn’t start now, my life would be missing the fulfillment that I needed to make my life more complete.
I had never wanted to coast and meander aimlessly through life even though that is exactly what I had been doing for a good part of my life. The very last thing I wanted to do was to live an ordinary, generic hum drum everyday life.
So I reviewed my interests, passions & strengths and narrowed down my options. I quickly came to the conclusion that the ideal, most practical and cost effective vehicle to achieve this was to start a blog.
There surely would be others out there feeling, thinking and believing the same way as I did. A blog would be the most cost effective, practical way to reach out, spread the word, truly connect and build a like minded community.
There would be strength in numbers, with others by my side, standing up for what is right and just in this world. Together we would start a movement, building and gathering momentum, becoming an unstoppable force for all things good in this world.
A key benefit that a blog provided me was that I could also "hide" behind my blog and stay in the background. Being an extreme introvert this was essential for me to feeling comfortable in what I would be doing. My blog would provide me with my personal space, comfort zone and preferred "hermit" environment so I could focus on creating, building, unleashing my creativity and passionately promote my idealistic social causes.
So I started looking into creating “our” blog, LiveLoveLaughBeHappy.com. I read up on blogging and researched ideas online for way longer than I’d like to admit. One blog and Google search result led to another ... and another ... and another. It was a never-ending surfing experience.
It was literally never ending. Keeping up with all those links, posts and blogs was a never ending, time consuming challenge in itself. But it was a really amazing learning experience and I learned a lot.
After reading up, I quickly came to the realization that it is very easy to start and create a blog. But it’s much harder to build an income producing, self-sustaining, successful blog. Because not only does it take time and persistence but I also discovered that the odds are severely stacked against you ... if you don’t do it right.
Did you know that ...
... there are over 165 million blogs world wide?
... most of these blogs get less than 1000 visitors per month?
... there are an estimated 31 million bloggers in the US alone.
... most people who start a blog quit within 3 months because they can’t drive enough traffic, leads and sales?
... over 81% of all bloggers make less than $100 from blogging?
You see, my main fear of starting a blog was that primarily I didn’t want to waste my time and energies on something unsuccessful and secondly, to a lesser degree, I didn’t want to waste my money on creating a blog that would never have a fighting chance of being successful.
Being a life-long negative thinker and worrier didn’t help much either. When you tend to over think things to death and always look at the potential problems and challenges you can encounter ... well lets just say it’s not the best way to start a new venture.
With all these concerns, I had second thoughts on numerous occasions and backed off from starting this blog several times and almost gave up before I had even started.
While researching how to start a blog, I came across several Pro Bloggers from who I have learned a lot from, simply by reading their blogs ... and they all have had an influence over me to some degree and helped boost my confidence in starting this blog.
This first category of bloggers is what I call the “How to Bloggers”. They include bloggers like:
Neil Patel at Quicksprout.com - With the best inspirational About page ever in the history of blogging ... with over 1,400 comments!
Jon Morrow at SmartBlogger.com - Great tone and writing! Web advice, inspiration and story telling all rolled into one!
Matthew Woodward at MatthewWoodward.co.uk - An expert internet marketer providing amazing tutorials and case studies to learn from!
Pat Flynn at SmartPassiveIncome.com - The self-proclaimed Test Crash Dummy of Online Business which he really is!
Ramsay Taplin at Blog Tyrant - Scary name but he's anything but a Tyrant with his incredibly helpful site!
Matthew Dunlop at IncomeDiary.com - An highly influential web entrepreneur making the web more awesome every day!
Then there are the many “Personal Development” bloggers who inspired me to start my blog. They include:
Harleena Singh at Aha!NOW.com - The Queen of commenting and caring's blog is to help you to understand life more closely and make your life easy so you can be happy in life!
Chris Guillebeau at ChrisGuillebeau.com - My God, can he research and write on how to change the world by achieving personal goals while helping others at the same time!
Blaz Koz at Agileleanlife.com - The King of detailed, well researched, analytical long form content of Data-Driven Personal Development! A real gem!
Steve "S.J." Scott at DevelopGoodHabits.com - The setter and promoter of achievable goals and developer of good daily habits on a simply awesome, colorful blog!
Tom Corley at RichHabits.net - Love the results of his research and studies on success habits and wealth creation, which really inspires you to stop making excuses and do something, anything with your life!
The late Scott Dinsmore at LiveYourLegend.net - An incredibly inspiring writer on discovering your purpose in life, to make you come alive and do the work you love to help change the world!
Tor Refsland at TorRefsland.com - The work horse and King of round up posts helps you take control of your own time, future and life!
James Clear at JamesClear.com - The in-depth completeist researcher and writer on habits, human potential and performance, provides science based ideas for living a better life!
Amit Amin at HappierHuman.com - Mr. Super researcher! Love his writing and detailed studies and findings on Positive psychology, the ‘science’ of happiness, not to mention his awesome sense of humor!
Eric Barker at Bakadesuyo.com - The scientific researcher and an incredibly entertaining writer brings you science-based answers and expert insight on how to be awesome at life!
Steve Pavlina at StevePavlina.com - Talk about writing epic posts on conscious growth and personal development to inspire, encourage, and support you on your path of personal growth!
I repeatedly returned to check out all of these blogs and read their posts. Their blogs were incredibly inspirational. Gradually my fears and concerns were slowly addressed and eventually melted away.
The more I came back to these blogs the more inspired I became and confident I grew that I had it in me to create a successful blog and that I could do it too. And that’s what helped me to create this blog.
These basic principles have helped me tremendously to get this blog up and running. It’s presently a young blog with a little over 20 posts right now. But my goal is to make it your go to blog for social consciousness, personal growth and inspiration from here on in.
Have you ever had a dream of achieving great things in life that you thought was almost impossible to achieve?
Have you ever not believed in yourself and lacked the confidence to accomplish great things in life?
Have you ever been scared of the fear of the unknown on your journey?
Have you ever over thought things, second guessed yourself and given up before you even started?
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Mark Blaise is an idealistic, socially conscious content creator on a mission to raise people’s awareness while promoting social justice for all. He enjoys writing inspiring and thought provoking posts on social issues, The Golden Rule, personal growth and other amazingly helpful "stuff". His goal is to inspire you to grow and to be a better person by spreading more kindness, showing more compassion, doing unto others, giving back, contributing and helping make the world a better place, while living a truly happy, more fulfilling and inspired life.