This post talks about how bloggers are like drug dealers… just wait for it.
Warning: This post is dramatic.
I’m not sure if you’ve seen it.
The show that took the world by storm and everyone talked about for a few years.
I’ll give you a brief synopsis.
Man feels disenchanted with middle class life. He is a genius that never lived up to his potential. He has a teenage son with a disability, a wife who is pregnant, and he’s a high school science teacher.
Then… in the first episode or so… he gets diagnosed with cancer.
It understandably puts him in crisis mode and he realizes things are not in place that will provide for his family when he’s gone. Then something interesting happens. He runs into an old student – now a drug dealer – and Walt has a light bulb moment. He is a science whiz.
He can figure out how to make meth more pure.
He can turn around and sell it.
He can make a little money.
Walt can provide for his family when he is gone.
This is how blogging starts out…
We have knowledge, a skill, or something worthwhile to share. We know we can earn a little money for our family so we begin.
We know we’ll have to put in the bottom of the iceberg before we taste success. We don’t mind this because we’re willing to work work in order to succeed. If we can provide some income for our families or have a creative outlet that fills our cup, it’s worth the effort.
And then we taste success. Maybe it’s receiving encouraging emails from readers, selling our first product, or growing our social media. It becomes fun and affirming so we devote more time to it.
Pretty soon… we’re devoting a ton of time to it.
Maybe we wake up early. Work through naps. Sit our kids in front of the TV to write posts on good parenting. Put kids to bed then work until late at night.
But how is this like drug dealing?
Well you remember our pure meth making friend Walter White? Do you know his reason for being in the drug business?
He was doing it *for his family.*
He needed the money. He wanted to provide for them long after cancer had taken him.
But then, little by little, his reasoning changed. Oh, he wouldn’t admit it, but it felt good to be good at something. It was exciting and validating. He felt alive again.
Never mind that he put his family in danger, broke multiple laws, became a murderer, and led an impressionable young man astray.
To Walt… he was doing it for his family.
This is how bloggers can be like drug dealers
If we are not careful with our blog or business it can become a burden on our family, not a gift.
Bloggers are like drug dealers because we let success overrule our boundaries
Imagine juggling 4 balls in the air. A red ball which is family. A blue ball which is work. A green ball which is the home front. An orange ball which is social and extra.
You’ll throw up the blue, green, and orange balls when you’re holding the red one. When it’s time to hold the work ball, you’ll throw up the family, home front, and social balls. You aren’t trying to balance them all equally (because they don’t all have equal priority) but you’re trying to hold one at a time and not drop it.
If you start seeing success and then drop every ball but your work one, soon your home will be a chaotic mess. Your family will be resentful. And your friends will begin to wonder where on earth you are.
Walt loved his family, but with each taste of excitement, he was less and less available and more and more consumed.
Last year I went through a rough patch with my blog. I felt like I was simultaneously working all the time yet getting nothing done. I had no clue what was priority and what was fluff. My blog was growing, but it felt out of control and I was spending too much time working and not enough living. Every time the kids went outside, I’d try to get something done. When they slept late, I’d work more. And more and more. But a funny thing happened… the more I worked the less I accomplished of value. Then I took this course, realigned my values and goals, and stopped living to work.
Solution: Create a clear schedule for yourself and uphold it rigidly, for both your business and your life.
Bloggers are like drug dealers because we get blinded by flashy success
Dolla dolla bills y’all.
When your ad revenue gets high enough to pay a bill. You have a successful launch. When your social media accounts grow and start working for your business. You feel… VICTORY!
Those long hours of hard work are paying off and you’re reaping the benefits of success. You are feeling good and want more of it. If 20 hours a week brought this level of success, what would 40 bring? Never mind you must now miss all your children’s games and not call any of your friends back.
Success – not a bad thing in itself – can become an insatiable beast. We want more followers, more money, more subscribers, more pageviews, and we know the only way to get more of what we want is to work harder, work smarter, and work more more more.
Walt only wanted a certain amount of money to start with but then – please – that became chump change. A goal of tens of thousands became hundreds of thousands became millions and then… well… how could he stop?
Bloggers are like drug dealers because we begin to view those standing in front of our “work” as nuisances
We begin motivated, encouraged, and fulfilled with our roles in life. From that fulfillment we desire to share our knowledge and help others. We begin a blog and use our own daily life as fodder to help others. Then, little by little, our own daily life becomes tiring and acts as an obstacle to the one thing we really want to do…
Kids get shoved in front of the TV, meals become less and less healthy, and we just long for everyone to leave us be so we can work.
Walt started out selling drugs *for his family*, but soon he began damaging his family and leading a double life.
I remember distinctly one conversation with my husband that highlighted this problem. I had a lot of work projects to do and my beautiful kids were running around playing very loudly. I was *this close* to flipping it and I yelled at him to get the dadgum kids and take them somewhere so I could work. I was annoyed, angry, and anxious to finalize things weighing heavy on my heart. Afterwards, I felt really guilty.
Solution: I realized I must make time to work and be disciplined during those hours. Then I needed to make time for family and stop thinking about work.
Bloggers are like drug dealers because we can never say Enough is Enough
It’s not enough to own one corner, dealers want the neighborhood. Then the town, then the state, then the country. Oh and then, I suppose, it’s time to talk exporting.
This is precisely how the mind of an ambitious person works. A blogger thinks 1,000 fans on Facebook is a lot until they hit 1,000. Then that feels pathetic and they want 10,000. Earning $5,000 a month is amazing until that goal is met l and then nothing matters except earning $10,000. We dream of 500,000 page views until we hit it and then only 1,000,000 will do.
When we’re in charge of our own success… it’s hard to say enough is enough.
Walt went from wanting a few thousands bucks for his family to running a massive drug operation and killing people left and right to keep it profitable. Instead of getting out, he dug in deeper.
Recently I took a gander at the number of Facebook fans my blog had and was shocked. Only 28,000 fans. I should have had well over 30,000 if not 40,000 by this time according to recent trends and I felt discouraged and upset. Until I zoomed out and said to myself… I remember having 400 followers and I thought THAT was huge! Get a grip, Rachel.
Solution: Make goals and work hard to reach them, but celebrate all progress.
But we don’t have to be like drug dealers…
It’s good to have big goals.
And it’s honorable to work hard.
But you don’t have to neglect your family to do it.
In the end, Walt admitted the truth. He told his wife that he didn’t do it all *for his family* as he’d said. He did it for himself. And it had gotten way out of hand.
Let’s not let our own families be like Walt’s wife who – standing over a big pile of money – uttered these words…
Walt …I want my family back. I want my life back. Please tell me…how much is enough? How big does this pile have to be?”
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