I wrote a long text to a friend of mine a few days ago and as I was writing it, I realized that this is a message that a lot of us need to hear.
Some Context First
This friend of mine is a friend I’ve known for 13 years. We are so similar (but not exactly the same) in our interests, our senses of humor, our personalities, our hopes and dreams, and our anxieties. She is my age.
A couple years ago, she and her husband got pregnant with a baby girl. During her pregnancy, they discovered that the baby girl has Spina Bifida and would require multiple surgeries immediately after birth and during the first year of her life in order to fix life-threatening issues.
Don’t freak out; to this day, Baby is happy, as healthy as she can be, and she has an amazing support system and an abundance of love surrounding her.
My friend is considering starting a blog to raise awareness of Baby’s special kind of Spina Bifida and possibly other issues my friend has experienced. I say all of this to give context behind the text my friend sent the other day about her blog. She said:
“I really want to come up with my own unique comics for the public/marketing/income potential, but I just never feel like my work is good enough.”
Immediately after reading that, I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach.
This girl is a brilliant writer and a talented artist and she’s freakin’ hilarious. But as a very sensitive creative myself, I can totally relate to her.
My Message Back to Her
The following is my response to her. I expanded a bit to make it a more in-depth message for you, dear reader and purpose-driven entrepreneur:
Beautiful thing about the internet is we can put anything we want up online (as long as it’s legal, of course) and anyone who doesn’t like it can take a hike.
Seriously! I’m not going to argue that not a single person will dislike your work because we don’t know that for a fact. Actually, statistics say that there will be someone out there who won’t be a fan.
But their opinion will literally not have any effect on your life, [husband]’s life, [baby’s] life, and your future children’s lives.
Other people’s opinions of us don’t actually affect us and our lives. You and I both know this. But as an anxious person myself, I know that that fact totally doesn’t ease our anxiety. So try picturing it.
Someone is reading your comic on their laptop while sitting on their couch. They don’t like it so they click away.
Now flash over to you in [city she lives in]. You’re changing a diaper. Has that moment affect your life and [baby]’s life? No. You’re still changing her diaper and singing to her at the same time.
You know what we purpose-driven entrepreneurs say sometimes when we have this kind of mindset about the impactful work we do?
We say we’re doing the world a disservice. We hurt the world when we don’t serve it in our special way.
I’m not saying this to put pressure on you at all, but because you’ve expressed interest in doing this several times. Your experiences could change the lives of thousands. And even if it’s “just” 10 people, I think you’d argue that it’s still worth it.
Okay, now picture this: a stressed out mother with a baby who has had the same issues as [baby]. She has all the thoughts you had/have about how her baby’s life will turn out, like [____]. Her heart aches so bad for her baby like yours did/is for [baby].
She reads your writing and oh my gosh, she feels so much relief. Someone else in the world feels the same way! She’s not alone. And she’ll get through this. She’ll survive. Just like you did.
She’ll likely still be anxious about it in the future, but that moment of relief will positively impact her and her precious baby in the future.
Are you going to let that one idiot [okay, I may have used another word there…] rob that mother of her feeling of relief and connectedness? In the end, I know you totally wouldn’t.
You wouldn’t stand for it.
To You, Reader
Now I’m talking to you, reader. I know we’re all afraid of being criticized. To some level, we crave approval. Some of us want approval from everyone in the world. It’s okay to feel this way. Your feelings are totally valid.
But remember, you are special. And if you push through it and share your special talent and message with the world, you change the lives of the people you care so much about.
She had another anxiety that I think we can all relate to but I’ll save that next week. Want to know when it’s published? Follow me on Facebook!