Every year when the month of August approaches, I start to get a pit in my stomach. The month of August is when I started my blog (exactly 4 years ago today) and instead of celebrating, I allow feelings of shame, guilt and embarrassment to creep in. You see, when I started this blog 4 years ago, I had all of these big, audacious dreams that I wanted to achieve with it. I wanted it to become the business that Freddy and I would run together. I wanted it to be the answer to our goal of achieving financial freedom. I wanted it to allow us to travel the world and explore new places. I wanted it to be the outlet where I could inspire other women to chase their dreams as well. Here I am 4 years later, and part of me feels ashamed, like I haven’t accomplished anything, because those are still the exact same dreams that I have today. In some ways, this day feels like my own personal “New Years Day” because I take time to reflect on the past year and plan out what I want to accomplish in the upcoming year.
I’ll be honest, having a blog is not as easy as I thought it would be when I started out 4 years ago. I thought that as long as I wrote blog posts every once in awhile, I would generate an audience magically and that brands would find me and then poof! I would be a full-time blogger in no time. What I learned is this: It takes a lot of time, dedication, hard work and perseverance! There’s so much that goes on behind-the-scenes that many people don’t know about: late nights writing blog posts, planning out content, editing photos, scouting out locations to shoot, taking pictures in 100 degree weather (hello summers in Phoenix) and doing it all over again. It’s not for the faint of heart! There have been plenty of times when I’ve lost creative drive, when I didn’t feel motivated, when I thought about quitting all-together and giving up on this dream that I had for my life. But you know what I realized? “BIG dreams shouldn’t have expiration dates.” (Shoutout to Rachel Hollis)
I had this expectation in my mind that I needed to achieve certain milestones in a certain amount of time in order to be deemed successful, otherwise I was a complete and total failure. You know what? That’s a bunch of BS!! Every single person’s journey is different than mine, and I’ve spent so much of my time comparing myself to other people’s paths. I’ve spent so much time looking at other people’s work, thinking that if I dress like her, or write captions like her, or use the same filters I too can be successful. I’ve learned first-hand that comparison truly is the thief of joy and will get you absolutely NOWHERE. If I keep my head down, keep my eyes on my own paper and do work that is meaningful to me, that’s all that matters. I’ll say it again: that’s all that matters! If I’m constantly trying to be like other people, I’m going to burn out so fast and not find any joy in the work that I’m doing. I’ve listened to countless podcasts about business and personal development, trying to gain knowledge about how to grow my business, and the one piece of advice I’ve heard over and over again is so simple: just be yourself! It’s almost stupid because of how simple it is! Yet, sometimes it can be the hardest thing to do. There’s so much pressure to be well-liked and well-received by others that we can be afraid to be our true selves. It’s scary to be vulnerable and raw and real. But at the end of the day, people want the real you!
I’m still learning how to balance my blog in the midst of challenging and saddening family health issues going on. I think it’s something I will continually learn as I face other challenges in life, whatever they may be. I have always been very connected to my feelings (cue the scene Mean Girls when that girl gets on stage and just “has a lot of feelings”) and I think I’ve always tried to play it off like “everything’s fine” or “I’m doing great” when things really aren’t okay. But that also goes back to not truly being authentic, and it’s something I’m trying to become better at :) Being vulnerable on the internet isn’t easy, but if my journey can help even just one person out there, then it’s 100% worth it.
I’m still working on changing the narrative in my mind that I’m not good enough, worthy enough, smart enough or confident enough to be a full-time blogger, but you know what? I refuse to give up on the crazy, wonderful dreams I have for my life! And I’m challenging you to not give up either! Whatever you dream is—whether it’s to run a marathon, take up a new hobby, become debt free, buy your first home—don’t give up on the dreams you have for your life! No matter how crazy it may seem to other people, who cares! This is your life and no one else is here to live it except for you. Your Creator laid these dreams upon your heart for a reason—it’s not by accident and it’s definitely not a coincidence. Your dreams are personal to you and only you—you are worthy of achieving them and living your very best life. If you’re still reading this, know that I am so grateful you are here, whether you just discovered my blog or having been reading for awhile. I’m excited to continue this journey with you by my side and to chase our dreams together!