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I had just clicked purchase before suddenly becoming overwhelmed with the urge to throw up. Not because I was sick or because I ate something bad, but because I decided to invest in myself. Big changes were coming.
It wasn’t a huge investment, but it opened up the anxiety floodgates nonetheless. I had just spent $100 to completely rebrand my blog. For the first time, when I told myself this space could be more than a hobby, I believed me! It was a rush that tasted like a breath of fresh air, and I went with it. My purchase was a carefully thought out decision, mulled over for days, but it only took a quick click of the mouse to learn a lot of scary things about myself.
I HAVE MONEY ANXIETY
In the big scheme of life and blogging, $100 isn’t much. I know that. I can actually make up that cost relatively quickly, so in all truth the sum wasn’t that big of a deal. What was a big deal, however, were the thoughts attached to parting with my hard earned Benjamins. What if this was the wrong decision? What if people hate the new name? What if my readers leave me in droves because they’re no longer interested in what I have to say? What if my views on motherhood offend people? What if those people leave mean comments?
What if what if what if?
I HAVE COMMITMENT PHOBIA
Rebranding your blog means rebranding it all of the places. You better like that new name and color scheme because it’s going everywhere. Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, your email accounts, not to mention everywhere your blog pops up online. This new name and new look was going to be the virtual world’s first impression of me, and first impressions are important! Was I ready to commit to this new name and this new niche, especially when writing about motherhood and parenting has the potential to ruffle so many feathers?
Speaking of a new niche…
I HAVE FEAR OF REJECTION
The #1 reason I rebranded and changed my blog name was (huge confession here) I was no longer passionate about my blog content. The craft/lifestyle niche just wasn’t doing it for me anymore. For months, my blog idled as I put off a rebrand for fear it would send my DIY-lovin’ readers packing. And what if the people interested in the new things I have to say never findme? What if my traffic disappears into thin air?
I CAN GET EASILY OVERWHELMED
Not just by getting caught up in the millions of behind-the-scenes tasks required for rebranding but by blogging generally.
Two years ago, I purchased Ruth Soukup’s Elite Blog Academy course, a program designed to teach you how to grow your blog as a business. After the initial thrill, I got so completely overwhelmed by all the work I’d have to put into the course that it took me two years to muster up the course to attempt tackling it. You heard me right: overwhelm set me back two years.
I knew that my blog desperately needed a rebrand and a major shift in focus if it was ever going to come close to reaching its full potential. But this was a big change that left me feeling anxious, overwhelmed, and afraid. And that’s when I realized:
To make big changes with confidence, you have to put on mental blinders.
My mom loves horses, so growing up I learned from her what blinders are. They cut off the horses peripheral vision so they can’t get easily distracted by their surroundings. It keeps them focused forward. Putting on what I call “mental blinders” has the same effect.
Mental blinders are critical, and here’s why:
THEY MAKE BIG CHANGES MANAGEABLE
Do you know how to eat an elephant? One bite at a time. To make big changes, take small steps. That means focus on the tiny bite on your plate right now and don’t worry about eating the rest until later.
THEY HELP YOU GET THINGS DONE
Sometimes you have to put your head down and just get sh*t done. Even if it’s not fun. Even if there are other things you’re more in the mood to work on. Saying no to distractions, even welcome ones, will keep you moving forward.
THEY HELP GUARD YOUR THOUGHTS
This aspect of mental blinders is probably the most important. There is a famous psychology researcher who studies marriage stability–his name is John Gottman. He says the key to lasting relationships is maintaining a 5 to 1 ratio of positive to negative interactions. In other words, for every negative exchange, 5 or more positive exchanges are required to keep the relationship in good shape.
A negative thought can have significantly more impact than a positive one. Positivity is indeed a powerful force, but it seems negativity may be even more so.
If I instructed you to NOT think about cats right now, cats are probably the first thing that would come to mind. It’s hard to make yourself not think something. So instead, do the opposite: Follow up thoughts of doubt and second guesses with at least five (or however many you need) affirmations. Keep your brain so busy actively looking for the positive that you don’t have time to think on much else.
SO HERE GOES…
You might not be contemplating a rebrand as you read this. You might not even be a blogger. That’s okay. Because the importance of putting on mental blinders is by no means limited to the blogging world. The way you think about big changes of any kind is often the only thing standing between you and your big crazy goals.
And here we are. This is my first post after the big blog change to MomMakesJoy.com. I won’t lie and say I’m not at all nervous about what’s to come. I am. Putting on mental blinders doesn’t mean making yourself totally blind to potential roadblocks or setbacks. Instead, it just means narrowing your focus on what really matters ahead.
I hope you enjoy what’s to come!
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