Why Happiness Is Overrated // Blog Tribe

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By Gauri Maini

What would you say if a child came up to you looking sad? You will reach out to comfort them. Instinctively, we know it is “not ok” to feel sad. It is kinda hardwired. I bet most of us have been conditioned to believe that feelings such as anger, sadness, and frustration are “not okay."

And I will admit that I have been quite taken by 'The Power of Positive Thinking' for a long time and this is what I have learnt. Fear is a faithful friend. It is always with us. It is what keeps us safe. It will never go away. It is also the reason we may get angry, sad or frustrated. So if I am really mad, I know that something important to me has been taken away from me and I fear that I will not get it back.

Fear serves another purpose that is hugely powerful. I believe fear is omnipresent so we can fly. Remember when you got that really BIG WILD idea?  Fear was probably right beside you, saying…“Oh, now that is stupid.”, “You will never be able to pull that off” “People will laugh at you.”

Know that thought? And I am sure you would have learnt/ read that we could just replace that with “I can do it”. There is another way. Which is to say, “yeah, it does sound stupid. I may not be able to pull it off. And yes, I may fall flat on my face.” So who can I talk to about this idea? How can I take this forward? And the most important question to ask yourself is “Why is this idea important to me?” “What about this idea is getting me so excited?”

The answer to that question is the secret held deep inside you that drives everything you do, the choices you make and is that light that guides you telling you what “feels” right and what “feels” wrong. It is your closest friend. The one you sit beside when they are sad. Just sit. 

Listen. Hold hands. Treat your fears as your friend. They are. When you feel sad, mad or just plain frustrated, imagine your friend has arrived. Do what you would do with a friend. Sit with them. Listen. Let go of your judgment for a bit. Go outdoors. And wait until your heart opens up and you understand why it is.

You can find Gauri embracing fear on her blog or running her business, A Wicked Scrub

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5 Powerful Quotes by Inspirational Women For Fearless Blogging

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By Julia Melymbrose
Don’t you just love blogging? Sitting down at your computer in the early morning with the sun having just blushed on the horizon, a cup of freshly brewed coffee steaming between your hands, your mind churning up ideas and experiences into riveting stories that effortlessly flow off the tips of your fingers and onto your screen. 

After all, as Earnest Hemingway once said: “There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and just bleed.”Gasp! Startling as Hemingway’s turn of phrase may be, it’s one that deeply resonates with anyone who’s tried writing for an audience. I’ve felt the angst of blogging before, and I know you have, too. The desire to make a difference in someone’s life overridden by the fear that your post will only reach blind screens. The time and love poured into crafting every last detail of your post gone unrecognized and unrewarded by busy readers clicking away at the speed of light. The vulnerability of opening up your life and soul to others crushed by the negativity of anonymous critics that lurk in the shadows of the online world.

Sometimes just the thought of releasing another precious post into the wild web can utterly paralyze us. Wanna know the best remedy for overcoming that fear and uncertainty, and hitting “publish” like you own it? Following the brave words of inspirational female pioneers. Why female pioneers? Because these women know all about fighting an uphill battle against the entire world to have your voice heard and your dreams realized. So take courage and let’s heed the advice!

1. Anais Nin - "Life shrinks or expands in proportion with one's courage."
As bloggers we often question ourselves and our ideas. Should I blog about this? Is it too personal? Will this interest anyone? Will I offend someone? These are all useful issues to consider before jumping headlong into a post. The problem, however, arises when these questions become doubts. And although there may not be a universally right or wrong way to answer these questions, there is one path of action common to all of us: COURAGE. What feels wrong for one blogger might feel right for another. What interests some people might leave others indifferent. You can’t please everyone, and you can’t be someone else, either. The writer Anais Nin knew a thing or two about creating her own opportunities in life through courage and. Her daring stories of female sexuality were certainly not to everyone’s liking in the early 20th century, but she didn’t let that stop her. Today? She is praised one of the finest writers of female erotica. And when you take courage to write what’s really in your heart, you too will find your blogging world expanding in proportion to that courage. Don’t let fear hold you back!

2. Amelia Earhart - "The most effective way to do it, is to do it.” 
Once you find the courage to start something new, you’ll  naturally want to do things right. Thankfully, the internet offers us countless opportunities to learn through courses and resources on every single topic imaginable. But there can also be such thing as analysis paralysis. Overthinking it. Using lessons as an excuse for not starting. “If I just learn this one more thing, then I’ll be ready,” we kid ourselves. The truth is, once you have the basics down? You’re ready to take flight! The rest is a matter of experience and experiment. Just ask Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic in 1928. There was no handbook on how to do something no one had ever done before. But she did it anyway. What counts is not the number of lessons under your belt, but the number of real-life attempts. Just hit publish and trust that the rest will fall in place with time! 

3. Coco Chanel - "Fashion fades. Only style remains the same." 
The blogging world sees many fashions come and go every few months: the memes, the cat videos, the listicles, the ironic hashtags, and tbt’s and many many others. And although there’s nothing wrong with riding a fad, you should never sacrifice your own blogging style at the altar fashion. Because the key to success lies in consistency of style—or your branding, as we call it online. Consistency in delivering high value through high-quality posts (whether they are lists, or infographics, or videos, or what have you). And consistency in the beliefs and values you express through your blogging. Much like your dress style expresses your beliefs (daring or conservative, eccentric or classic, modern or old-fashioned) regardless of whether you’re dressed casually for the park or formally for a dinner, so your blogging style must always reflect your true beliefs and values. How you package your message might follow the fashions of the day, but what you include in that message and why must be true to your style.

4. Katharine Hepburn - "If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun." 
Every single day we read countless (and contradictory) rules about the the best practices of blogging. Find your niche, blog about various interests, mix it up, make it interesting, share on social media, definitely use Facebook, twitter is the best, you have to  be on Pinterest, keep it short and sweet, go long and deep, add some value, just make them laugh, talk about important issues, yadda yadda yadda… Is your head spinning yet? Yes, there are many rules. But you didn’t come to blogging for the rules, did ya? Remember when blogging used to be fun rather than a chore you had to do to hit some new stats? Following the rules may be helpful, but having fun is just as important—if not more important. Have a laugh. Dare to be different. Do what brings you joy. Break a couple of the rules and see what fun you can create!

5. Hilary Clinton - "Take criticism seriously, but not personally. If there is truth or merit in the criticism, try to learn from it. Otherwise, let it roll right off you." 
Part of the reason we sometimes feel compelled to obey all the rules, comes from our fear of criticism. It’s not easy listening to others criticize our work, even if they mean well. But if you want to succeed in a public arena such as blogging, you have to handle feedback gracefully. Finding herself in the spotlight both as the cheated first-lady of the U.S. in the late 90s and as the first female presidential candidate in 2008, Hillary Clinton is probably the most qualified person to dish advice on criticism. Because, let’s face it… Nothing you ever do on your blog will get you that degree of international notoriety (thank goodness!). So chin up and play it like this: When someone gives you feedback, understand that they’re talking about your work, not you. You are not your work. Allow people to express their opinion, and listen to what they have to say without fear or anger. Constructive criticism can help us grow immensely. But if you find no value in the criticism, or if the source is a malicious one (hello, anonymous internet trolls!), just take a deep breath and let it go. There’s no reasoning with the unreasonable. Despite the challenges (or maybe because of them), blogging can be a wonderful and highly-rewarding activity. Allow neither fear, nor doubts, nor rules, nor criticism to take away the joy of expressing yourself and of sharing your value. Take courage from these inspirational women, and pour your heart and soul into your work and let us all be inspired by your greatness! 


Tell us, which quote from above speaks most to the challenges you’re facing right now in your blogging? Is there another powerful quote you would include in your top-five inspirational blogging tips?

Julia Melymbrose is a copywriter at the online branding studio Chocolate & Caviar {web design + copy} where she writes about creativity, inspiration, and the art of branding. If you’d like to craft the perfect website and engage deeply with your audience to boost your blogging, sign up for her free (and totally fun!) training, Branding for Creatives, NOT Cows!

Original photo (without quotes) attribution: Anais Nin by Camila Andrea, Amelia Earhart by Harris and Ewing, Coco Chanel by 4niruddha, Katharine Hepburn by Laura Loveday, Hilary Clinton by Chad J. McNeeley.

Part 2 // What Was The Biggest Lesson You Learned in 2014?

I'm back today because we had SO much incredible feedback from some of my favourite bloggers, candidly sharing their top lessons learned in 2014, that I had to break it into two posts.

So without further adieu, I'm sharing some top advice and lessons that hopefully you can learn from and use to put your vision for 2015 into place...I would also encourage you to share your own lessons below!

"The importance of building a tribe. It’s not about just showing up and consistently posting, it’s about replying to comments, being useful and connecting + building relationships with your readers, personally." -Emma Kate Creative 

"This year I really want to remember that things always take longer than you think. I've just completed my 6th book this year and I always forget how much there is to do for the launch. I pulled an all-nighter in the lead up and I don't want to do that again the next time...I'll start earlier!"  - Christina Butcher, Hair Romance  

"Done is better than perfect. Nobody sees the heartache that goes into a post, caption, image, idea or story - if you're too afraid to push publish. And by learnt, I mean, learning!"  Bec Jerdan, The Art of Social 

"One of the biggest lessons we've learnt this year through our blog is to plan but go with the flow. Be flexible. Often we get so caught up in our schedules and planning posts ahead of time that we can forget to be intuitive and speak from the heart. Whilst planning ahead is crucial in operating a successful blog, we've found that some of our best posts are the spontaneous ones that come from a sudden and real desire to share something raw in the moment. The ones we didn't plan. This is where true honesty lies. If that means pushing back planned posts or a bit of a shift in our weekly structure, we've got to be flexible and adapt to that. It's all about creating that balance." - Hunting Louise 

And please remember that TODAY is the last day that you can sign up for our Digital Bravery E-Course - if you have been wanting to make big changes and get your business focus laser sharp then today is the day. Join us here!

Part 1 // What Was The Biggest Lesson You Learned In 2014?

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I'm a big believer in looking back and appreciating how far you've come (compared to always looking at how far you have to go.) This time of the year is always one for learning and to take onboard what may have worked (or didn't work) for your blog or business and aim to change and amend in the year ahead.

This year has been a HUGE learning curve for me and if there is one lesson that I can take away from the many that I have experienced, it would to not let fear hold you back from going after what you truly want. That one small lesson has been at the forefront of my mind for a while and I was curious what other bloggers had to say so I set out to ask some of my favourite blogging friends what their biggest learning lesson was in 2014. Here's what they had to say:

"This year I learnt the importance of delegation and outsourcing if you want your blog to become a full-time, long-term, commercially viable business. Blog doesn't have to mean solo operation and having paid help is nothing to be ashamed of; in fact it's a sign you're doing well! This is really part of my strong belief that if you want your blog to become a business you need to treat it like one." - Jen Bishop, Interiors Addict

"The biggest lesson I learnt in 2014 was the importance of promoting my blog and using social media to it's full potential. For so long, I had been hitting publish on posts and then just expecting readers to 'find me'! As soon as I started using social media for more than just pictures of cake and puppies (and Blog Society has been a huge help in figuring this out!), I noticed such a difference in views and audience engagement." -  Laura Murray  

"Every image counts, so take the time to produce beautiful, original content. Keep trying to do bigger and better and only publish posts you are really proud of. 1 really great post is far better than 5 ok ones. Oh and networking is everything! Even online. Email the people you admire, speak to strangers at those awkward events - put yourself out there. The support, motivation and collaborative opportunities that you'll receive as a result will never cease to amaze." -Fiona Michelon, The Craft Hunter

"The biggest lesson I learned as a blogging in 2014 was that it is ok to write what you want to write. Don’t just write what you think people want to hear, but writing from your heart and what you are passionate about is the only way to stay happy and motivated as a blogger." - Amanda Fuller, Kaleidoscope Blog

"Branding is key. I completely overhauled my website, went from Summersalt Life to katetoholka.com, hired a marketer and graphics designer and have just seen my blog soar to new heights. By going through a thorough process of my brand, including what I want to be known for to who I want to help, I have been able to produce better quality content and actually put it on the screens of those who need it the most." - Kate Toholka  

"Just ask : no matter how wild the idea or crazy the collaboration is, put it out there you never know what the response will be if you dont ask." - Samantha Dunne, Dunne With Style  

"As a blogger, I think the biggest lesson I learned in 2014 is the valuable worth of collaboration with other bloggers. I built up my blog traffic this year, purely out of collaboration. In creating a Contributors Team, I was able to blog "blissfully" (less stress) and grow my natural network, because each contributor brought with her her own unique audience. It also gave birth to a "movement" of sorts, under #makeitblissful, which I have been able to activate recently on Instagram, which has all the more built up my brand. Connection and collaboration — here to more of it in 2015" Martine Cosio de Luna, Make It Blissful 

"My biggest lesson for 2014 would have to be to not only listen to my gut, but to act on it also, regardless of the fear. I'm doing this by changing the name of my blog and working on a complete restyle. If I had listened to the fear of potentially losing readers, I would probably have lost them anyway because I had outgrown where I was and was losing the passion. The reality is that I've had such an encouraging response from my readers for what I'm doing. It took me almost nine months to make that decision, but since making that commitment to myself, I feel so energised and excited for all of the possibilities ahead." - Mel Chesneau, Armoire, Pegs and Casserole 

"For me, 2014 was about blogging less frequently, but more robustly. I resisted the urge to whip up a quick post to 'feed the monster' and instead spent more time creating posts that were meatier and had more crafted content. I haven't always been successful at maintaining this new rhythm, but each week and each month are an improvement. The best part has been forcefully carving out more time and space to be more creative, and I'm much more proud of my content than I was one year ago." - Steph Bond Hutkin, Bondville

What was YOUR biggest lesson in 2014? I'd love to hear your thoughts so please don't hesitate to share them below...also for those wanting to dive in and get involved with our community, we'll be hosting another Blog Society Twitter Chat at 7:30pm TONIGHT - find us on Twitter here and look for the #blogsociety

Twitter-Chat



How To Blog Without Losing Yourself

By Nicole Rouge

It was eleven o'clock on a Friday night and I was huddled on the floor staring at my phone. I had not been stood up, I wasn't waiting for a call, I was scrolling through my social media accounts aching for some new comments and envying those with thousands of followers and perfect 'Instagram' lives.

This is an all-too familiar scenario for many of us in the blogging world. We open our hearts to our readers, think constantly about ideas for posts and spend untold amounts of time and energy (and money) on our blog, yet often get very little in return. We spend hours on social media making connections, building our audience and in-turn observing the success of others. It is very hard not to compare.

The catchcry is 'comparison is the thief of joy.' It sure is. I started blogging as a creative outlet. I had decided years earlier that I was a rubbish writer after a series of unsupportive English teachers and a four year science degree that taught me to paraphrase. After a year of blogging I was triumphant. I had discovered a love for words and my confidence in being able to express myself had improved exponentially. I wrote in a post that writing is something that I can do for myself "in my own time, at my own rate, without relying on other people, or things, or money." That writing "helps me be. It connects me to the world and encourages me to delve deeper." However within a few months I was crunched up on that Friday night obsessing over why more people didn't 'like' me (as an aside, how impotent are the words 'like' and 'follow'), and fretting over my lack of invitations for sponsored posts.

Writing can help us connect with and examine our lives. We develop a greater sense of self-awareness, which is a beautiful gift that we must be careful not to misuse. When I took the time to stop and think about what drew me to blogging, I realised that I am achieving so many of my goals: confidence with words, improving my photography and connecting with others. Naturally these goals have evolved, and I admit that making a bit of cash or scoring a few free dinners is on the list these days, but ultimately the biggest reward is the gorgeous, supportive community we are part of and the comments from our engaged readers. 

Lila Wolff nailed it when she wrote in her post 'that's it I quit blogging': "I've worked my heart out and produced original high quality content, innovated, been mimicked, only to be passed over for people who have better numbers, and I can't lie it's crushing." She hastens to add that at the time of writing she was exhausted and ill, but I wanted to share it with you because it struck a chord with me. She received such an overwhelming, supportive response that, after a short break during which she connected with her needs and the parts of blogging that resonated with her, she relaunched with her exquisite blog Mama Nourish

There is a lot written about blogger burnout. The return doesn't always appear to balance the investments. The secret I think is to lower our expectations without compromising our goals. If you feel like you are losing the love for blogging it helps to answer these questions:

Why did you start blogging?
What were your goals at the beginning? I find it helps to read over your first few posts to answer this one.

What have you achieved?
How are your goals different now? Be careful to recognise what is actually important to you versus the expectations you have based on others.G

I know you've heard this a thousand time but it bears repeating, what makes your blog so special is YOU. You have brought your own exquisite uniqueness to a tiny pinprick of the internet and regardless of what Google Analytics or Facebook  tells you, there are people out there that you connect with. Don't lose sight of that achievement.

Nicole is a wine geek/foodie with a Pharmacy degree from Melbourne, Australia. You can find her blogging at Seeking Victory or on Instagram or Facebook.