When I first got the idea to start lindsayenlightened, I was super focused on setting up the site (as i’d hope most people would be when it comes to setting up something new and exciting and amaze-balls): The design, having a catchy title, how to write great content, deciphering search engine optimization, who’s my target audience, which socials should I start growing first (ack so much to know, so much to do but I was GETTING. IT. DONE.).
But in the midst of all this planning, I worked myself up into a state of worry, concern and self-doubt, mainly stemming from factors to do with my ability to make the site a success. Like a perfectly timed meet-cue in a rom-com, thoughts full of self-doubt went hand in hand with my negative mental state. Thoughts like:
- What if my niche isn’t specific enough?
- I don’t have training or experience as a meditation/mindfulness teacher – what if people think i’m a fraud by talking about subjects I have no proper training in?
- What gives me the right or authority to advise people of “how-to’s” and “what are’s” and “tips and tricks” when there’s nothing to separate me from readers besides my passion for the topics I’m covering?
- I’m working through my own problems too – am I really in a position to be giving other people advice?
- What if I can’t find topics to write about?
- What if in 5 years I want to write about something else?
- What if I don’t drive enough traffic to my site?
- Even going so far as, I acknowledge I am writing about my mental health ruts from a position of white privilege, what if people feel excluded from my writings?
So. Many. What. If’s. Suddenly, the very site I created to assist myself and others in working through unhealthy mental habits such as overthinking, became the object of my overthinking.
Essentially I was overthinking about overthinking.
To top it all off, all of these thoughts of self-doubt, popped up before I even made the site live. That’s right, it’d been sitting idle in draft mode, while I stewed and second-guessed myself.
Despite all this, one thing I promised myself when starting this site was that I would be honest with myself and with people reading my blog about what I go through when I overthink, where the root of the thoughts comes from and working to move past them. By getting the thoughts out of my head and turning them into words I can see in front of me, it makes them a lot less real (this is why journaling works really well for me).
So, why was I so afraid and what was I so afraid of? First and foremost, at the root (hah I almost wrote toot, I’m a child) of all the thoughts was the fear of failure (Royal Highness of Whatif Land, reporting for her royal Whatif duties). I hadn’t failed yet and even further, I didn’t have anything to fail from, because I hadn’t even tried to begin with. As I type that now, it seems straight up irrational – if I had at least tried and failed, then perhaps my concern of failing would have been legitimate, but nothing had been set in motion. Even then, the negative connotation I associated with “failure” wasn’t actually warranted.
On the contrary, failure permits room for growth and learning (My real life self really needs to take a page from my internet self’s book, it’s hella insightful, turns out). If Oprah and Bill Gates and Stephen King were failures, and could come out of it alive and succeed, I probably could too (look ma i’m a failure yuk yuk yuk).
In addition to the fear of failure, it was also the fear of what people thought, which as much as I hate to admit it, other people’s opinions are something which I do take into consideration, quite a lot actually. I was also lacking confidence in my own abilities to produce great content that people will care about (which I know I’m capable of, I didn’t earn a university degree in Communications off of my winning looks and endearing quirky awkwardness… that I know of at least).
Many of these thoughts were things which I couldn’t control in the moment. I realized that rather than fighting these thoughts, I could actually work in tandem with them. My authority stems from my own personal experience with these topics (which makes the authority all the more legit!). I can and will make mistakes and learn and fail as I go, I can build up my knowledge and ability to talk about and advise others on these topics. I love my niche too much to care if it’s specific enough or not. When I run out of topics, i’ll figure out more topics. If I don’t drive traffic to my site, i’ll learn how to drive more traffic. I think the fact I’ve got my own issues i’m working on (hey therapy, how you doin’), actually makes me more relatable to people going through similar situations. And this should go without saying too, but my writing is never to exclude people and if I do so, it is purely by accident and never intentional.
That all being said, I can’t worry about what will happen 5 years from now, I ain’t doing no time-travelling, Back to the Future shenanigans so that thought can just go fall right off a cliff for all I care – that’s actually one of the visuals you can use for sticky, overthinking thoughts – the more you know!
Any-who, the site is now live, so enjoy.