If you are anything like me you are prideful and always believe that you can handle whatever you may have to face each day. When you have questions or challenging circumstances you do your best to handle it on your own. Sometimes we are so prideful that we avoid at all costs looking for help from others. This is often to the detriment of our own progress!
We will all face challenges that may or may not be too much for one person to handle. There will also definitely be a time that you don’t know something. It isn’t a sign of weakness to admit that you don’t know or that you can’t do something alone. In fact, I believe that it takes more courage to admit you need help. Why struggle alone?
“Why waste time, resources and emotional energy on something that others have already been through?”
There isn’t some badge that you get for struggling through until you figure it out. We live in varying degrees of community that offer many benefits. One of the greatest benefits is that we can call upon the experience of others. So why waste time, resources and emotional energy on something that others have already been through? The more you ask for help and help others the broader your own wealth of knowledge will be. Also, the network of assistance you can call upon for the future will be that much deeper. Not only that in my experience people want to help. We all have a sense of accomplishment after assisting others. We all know what it’s like to need help and we don’t want others to feel that way.
I recently had a conversation with my wife. She told me about many of her friends and coworkers that she was worried about. Many of them seemed to have normal lives and to have everything together. The more wife told me about their life and past the more I realized their lives weren’t as normal as I originally thought. The realization dawned on me… Most people are hurting or have been hurt in ways that I could never know.
Maybe it was my own pride that I assumed other people didn’t have it as bad as me. That my painful past somehow trumped everyone else’s past was just obvious to me. It was these assumptions about how people seemed to be doing well that they had an easy life. Appearances often are not reality. It was unfair of me to assume anything…
If you are like me it is easy to get bogged down in your own past, experiences and hurts that you look past others and their hurts. Everyone is hurting or has been hurt and those experiences play a part in who we become. The more I thought about this the more my heart broke for those around me. As I look around in my daily life at the people I see I wonder to myself where are they today? What I mean by that is what are their circumstances? What season of life are they in right now? I wonder these things in an empathetic way. I want to ‘see’ these people as more than just what they want me to see. I don’t want to pry just to understand. I don’t want to gossip or to see myself as better. I just want to humble myself and meet them where they are.
“What I am saying is understand yourself and be empathetic of others. You never completely know where people are at in their life.”
My encouragement to you is to not assume. Don’t assume your situation is any better or worse than anyone else’s situation. Even if we somehow think we have all the information about another persons situation how they cope with trauma may different than you. I’m not saying excuse people’s behavior. What I am saying is understand yourself and be empathetic of others. You never completely know where people are at in their life. To assume you know is to put your own experiences above others and this dehumanizes people. You are strong, smart and capable and so is everyone else. We all just need to meet each other where we are.
We have all heard the saying, “Honesty is the best policy!” Just because we have heard this saying doesn’t mean that we believe it. If we are all honest with ourselves when we hear this saying we roll our eyes a little bit. I wonder why that is? What is it about the truth that we are so afraid of? Honesty isn’t a trick, but somehow we treat it like we are the fools for being honest. Honesty isn’t just ratting yourself out. I believe that’s more a matter of responsibility…
I think a big reason why being truly honest is such a challenge is that it requires we make ourselves vulnerable. No one likes to feel vulnerable…If we are genuine we open ourselves up to let someone know how we really feel. Whether we realize it or not we are then worried about if they will disagree or even dislike us for our truth. I’m here to reassure you that you are allowed to feel your feelings and have your opinions as long as your are also willing to examine those feelings critically.
“There are few more fulfilling and freeing feelings than that of being honest and understood by another person.”
When you decide to be honest with others you open yourself up to connecting with others in a deeper more genuine way. You give your real self the opportunity to be heard. There are few more fulfilling and freeing feelings than that of being honest and understood by another person. This doesn’t mean that we should be jerks. Be constructive and empathetic if you have something critical to say. The best part of honesty is that it allows you to be fully and publicly yourself. I don’t know about you but I’d rather be liked for who I am than liked for something I’m pretending to be.
There is peace and happiness in speaking truth in all that you do. I believe that is what is meant by, “The truth will set you free.” It sets you free from pretending to be something you are not. It sets you free from what others think about you. It sets you free from hiding your feelings and hurts. It sets you free to connect with others in a way you have never connected before. It also reconnects yourself to yourself because you don’t have to live a split life between who you are and who you present to others. Do yourself a favor and just be yourself!
We’re all good at noticing what is wrong with other people’s lives. We often also have great advice to offer them too! There situation would easily be remedied if they just did what we said they should do! If you are like me you have no problem offering snap advice, but when it comes to receiving advice you aren’t so eager. The snap judgements are easy when they don’t affect our own life…
Perspective is important when judging what should be done in any given circumstance. Our perspective can often cloud our judgement. When we aren’t sure how to resolve an issue we have it is probably in our best interest to take a step back and consider “what would someone with a broader perspective say about my situation?” Answering this question will offer you valuable insight into your issue.
“…keep an open mind and take your own advice!”
Why not just ask others for advice? Well if you are also like me you aren’t actually looking for advice when you ask someone else. You are probably just looking for someone to agree with you. That is why change and realizing the gravity of your circumstances requires honest introspection. No amount of help or advice will mean anything if you aren’t open to it. So keep an open mind and take your own advice!
Where are you right now? I don’t mean your physical location. In your mind what are you focused on? Where are you headed? What are you thinking about? If you answered that you are anywhere but reading this post then you might struggle with being mindful of your present circumstances. You aren’t alone. I’m guilty of this often as well. There is so much going on in our busy lives that it is all but impossible to be present in any single experience…
By not being present in the moment you put yourself at risk in a few ways. In social situations you can seem distant or uninterested. This can lead to strained or even failed relationships. At work it can make your coworkers and bosses believe that you don’t care about your work. In learning environments it can keep you from absorbing as much information as possible. It can even cause you to miss out on important events/memories.
…if you are so focused on where you are headed you will miss out on the journey.”
It is important to remind yourself that today has enough of its own challenges for you to worry about tomorrow. You could also say that about the next hour or moment. I’m not saying that planning ahead is bad. What I am saying is that if you are so focused on where you are headed you will miss out on the journey. So, take a moment to stop and take in your surroundings every once in a while and appreciate where you are. Whether where you are is good or bad these experiences will inform the rest of your life. You don’t want to miss out on something important because you had already written off your current experience!
I cannot count the number of times I have mindlessly done the same thing over and over again and expected to somehow get a different result. This is because doing things different from what we have always done doesn’t feel good or safe. I’m stubborn. More than most I don’t like doing things outside of my routine… Do you know what it is called when you always do the same thing over and over expecting different results? That is the definition of insanity…
I’m not saying doing things a certain way every time is wrong. We need routine as creatures and we all have habits. When we get stuck on doing routines or habits for their own sake we are putting ourselves at risk of stagnating. Ask yourself, “why am I doing it this way?” If your answer is that this is the way you have always done it and you aren’t happy with the results anymore it may be time to try something new.
“I have found the best way to learn is through my failures!”
Going outside of your routine can be unsettling. It seems more unsettling to me to mindlessly continue to do something I know isn’t working. If you aren’t sure about trying something new, don’t worry! Worst case scenario you just go back to doing it the way you did before. Don’t lose heart, you may try several new things before you find something that works for you and that’s ok too! I have found the best way to learn is through my failures! Also, don’t be afraid to ask other people what they do in similar situations. Chances are someone else has gone through the same thing.
We have all heard the saying that we are our own worst critics. In my own personal journey of self discovery I have found this to be very true. The inner voice often holds me down, holds me back or even just berates me… No one has ever made me feel as bad about myself as my own thoughts. Even when I know it isn’t true there are times I believe my inner negative critic…
I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to take the negative talk from yourself ever again. You wouldn’t tolerate someone else constantly telling you how awful you are so why would you accept that from yourself? Constructive criticism is uncomfortable but is good for helping us grow and improve. If we only allow ourselves to be critical and not be constructive we will only ever end up tearing ourselves down.
“…you are capable, smart, insightful and strong!”
Start from a place of genuine understanding of your worth and let that inform your criticism. Know that you are capable, smart, insightful and strong! Know that whatever area of growth you might have is just a step on the path of becoming the best you. Only then can you give yourself helpful and truly constructive criticism. It’s ok to recognize your worth and seek to improve yourself. It is not ok to constantly beat yourself up without end!
One of the most paralyzing fears that I face often is the fear of failure. This is especially true when trying something new. Imagine all of the opportunities that people have missed out on simply because they were to afraid to try. I bet the numbers of missed opportunities is incalculable! I have struggled with a paralyzing social anxiety all my life. I know more than most what it is like to miss out on opportunities because I was too afraid that if I spoke up that others might dislike me…
This daily encouragement is as much for myself as it is for anyone else. What you really need to do when facing these uncertainties is ask yourself what is the actual risk? Think about it… what if you fail? Alternatively, what if you succeed! There are two sides to this coin and we often dwell on the negative side of things. What you need to ask yourself is what do I need to do to ensure my success?
“You are much more capable than you will ever give yourself credit for!”
Now let us consider the worst case scenario. What if you fail? Even if you fail at something you now have a great opportunity to learn from your mistake and apply that lesson to the next attempt! Also, consider what did you actually lose in your failed attempt? If all you lose is a little bit of time or a mild embarrassment (which is often a creation of our own mind) then you really aren’t out much!
Some of the skills I rely on every day were forged in the fires of failure. The very fact that I’m here writing this encouragement is a result of a failure that I chose to learn from instead of allow myself to keep me from moving forward. Don’t be afraid to fail! You are much more capable than you will ever give yourself credit for!
It is easy to create excuses to not do something. This is especially true of difficult goals or tasks that take multiple steps. There are a lot of reasons to not start that project that’s been sitting around neglected. There are also a lot of reasons to start that project too…
In this journey of mine both with this website and with streaming on twitch I’ve struggled with how to make these things inherently “me”. By that I mean how do I pursue these ventures in a way that I both enjoy and feel fulfillment from? I think I’ve found the answer to this question and it begins with this post!
I want to focus on speaking and living positivity into the world. I want to do this especially through building relationships and encouraging others. I have plans to incorporate this concept into both this website and my streaming on Twitch! Part of that is a daily brief word of encouragement. That is why I made this feed…
I’m taking my own advice by offering this daily encouragement and that is to take the first step! I know that there are a lot of things holding you back at times. In fact, sometimes it can feel like you will never be in a place that you can achieve your goals… but I’m here to encourage you to take the first step! Don’t wait around anymore to start to pursue your dreams. Find one small thing that you can do to get you started on the path and do that thing. You won’t be able to build an empire in a day. Instead try to do one small thing or just a small part of a bigger goal every day. Even if that’s just asking for help, that’s still a step in the right direction!
Believe me I have plenty to work on myself, but this daily encouragement is my one small thing of today…
I’ve been streaming in earnest now for a little over a month. During that time I have learned quite a bit. One of the things that I am still learning (maybe exploring is a better word?) is how to draw followers to my channel… For me it is not all about the numbers, but if I ever want this to be my full time job I will need a steady stream of viewers. So… what do I do?
My first inclination is to jump on to social media platforms and go networking crazy. There is a plethora of desperate streamers looking to be followed by as many people as possible. Typically among small streamers I see a lot of posts that go something like this… “Let’s grow together! Follow me!” followed by a plethora of hashtags with many combinations of the core words “small” “streamer” and “community”. I’m not necessarily knocking this type of networking. It is a good way to connect with other streamers when you are new, but I’ve found out the hard way that while many are looking to be followed most do not offer a follow back. So I can spend time following several streamers from a post like what I described above and get no follows back as a result. Frustrating…
Part of the problem of being a new streamer is getting new followers. The method above is one solution to the problem: you have to have followers to get followers. Sad, but true that unless you have people to hear about your content you are just yelling blindly into the night hoping someone will hear. Again, don’t get me wrong here I have tried connecting with other streamers this way and probably will continue to do so. The issue I have with this kind of networking is not only how frustrating it can feel, but mostly with how shallow it feels.
Sure, I just got a new follower on Twitch and that boosts my numbers. That’s awesome! The question I find myself wondering is, will this person ever actually stop by and watch my stream? At the end of the day I don’t know the answer. Basically, is it worth having 100 followers where only a couple or none of them actually visit my channel? It doesn’t feel like it…
The best and most meaningful followers that I have in my community are the ones where they happened upon my channel and found that they felt right at home… Right now I have a handful of loyal followers who show up to every stream. Both they and I look forward to catching up every week. These connections were made because when they had the courage to speak up in chat I engaged them in a personal and meaningful way. I was genuine and excited to see them. I made them feel like they were a part of the group all along. Isn’t that what people go on these platforms for, to connect with others? When we talk about a community do we mean an actual engaged group of people wanting to add value to each others lives or do we just mean followers?
I for one am OK with the slow process of getting to know people individually as my channel grows. I care about my followers as people and I think they feel that when they tune in to my streams. Being honest and genuine with my viewers not only makes my streams more engaging, but also makes it feel more fulfilling. It gives purpose to the stream beyond just playing games and hoping people will watch. If I hope that this will become my career one day then shouldn’t I want more than just a pay check? I could get that anywhere…
A final disclaimer I did not write this to attack anyone, especially those who prefer the networking style I talked about above. I simply wanted to explore what I think successful viewership looks like for my channel. I think if I had to pick that I would pick a slower growing group of engaged and fulfilled viewers. I don’t want to offer cheap entertainment and gimmicks to draw people in. I want to be myself and grow with others along the way.
What do you think? What is your plan to draw people in? Why do you stream? Let’s talk about it!