On October 22nd 2015, I took a leap of faith.
I decided to launch a 30-day content challenge for my community at LearnToBlog.com.
It was quite an intimidating undertaking. I’ve never led a challenge, nor have I participated in one.
(Which ended up working to my advantage as I had no preconceived notion of what it should look like — making it all up as I go along)
My gut was telling me this was the right move, so I couldn’t say no to it.
Before coming to the idea, I began noticing a disconnect in my community of bloggers.
People were not actually blogging lol.
There were many reasons why, but I’ll name the two most obvious.
First, was the pressure.
The pressure of making their content ideas fit in a mold. Like it has to look or be structured a certain way, or it will not work.
Meaning if they don’t have a clear idea on what to blog about, there was no chance they would get started. It was too intimidating and complicated, leaving their creativity stifled.
When they feel they have to have a nicely designed blog or no one will take them seriously, they won’t start creating and publishing until it looks nice.
This is another problem in itself because it’s the creativity that inspires you to want to invest time and money in designing your blog.
People were stuck in park. Not even getting their message published.
For this challenge, what their blog looks like or what platform they used wouldn’t matter.
This is 100% about creativity.
Secondly, people were not exercising their creative muscle. They were perfectionists yet to overcome the fear of sharing their wisdom.
Feeling like they are not qualified, or afraid to push themselves in publishing thoughts and ideas that intimidate them.
They were playing it safe.
Accountability, deadlines, and urgency were needed for them to step into their creative power and let go of any fear of judgment for their work.
Someone can create a whole archive of unpublished work, but there is something about clicking that publish button that liberates us. It makes it real.
Do you ever notice how much more you learn about yourself when you start to teach what you know to others?
This is much the same. This challenge was designed to help people gain the confidence to be a leader with their message, rather than following the herd.
Designing an experience where similar people are in the trenches with them creates somewhat of a team effect. People feel part of something bigger.
After reflecting on the thoughts above, I knew the challenge was the perfect fit.
The only problem was that it would require a bit of time for me to figure out how to put this together and see it through all while participating myself.
The other conflict I was up against was the decision to make this paid or free.
I don’t work for free. But, I didn’t want to infiltrate the purity of the project with being motivated only by money.
I wanted it to be about the creation.
Besides, when you have an audience and something that solves their problem, there is usually a path to make money from it.
So, why couldn’t I prove that idea through the challenge itself?
This could open up not only new opportunities for my team but what if participants created tremendous results from this? These could make excellent case studies.
But, I wanted to complete the project successfully before I went down that route. And I didn’t necessarily need to make money from this. My concern was the time and opportunity cost required to manage it.
Taking everything into account, I decided to pull the trigger.
In the future, I may talk about all the steps I took to build and launch the challenge, but for the sake of time I’ll get right to the good stuff.
Over 500 people registered to take the challenge with little promotion.
Everything is organized and managed in a private Facebook group that works very well.
We’re still at the beginning of everything, but already it has far exceeded my expectations.
If we ended today, I would be thrilled by the results.
Collectively, we have written 1,175 pieces of content in just seven days.
Just let that sink in for a moment.
What does this mean, though?
This something bigger than people publishing blog posts.
We are in the midst of a movement of passionate people who are spreading positivity in the world.
As I read through the blog posts daily, I see a common theme…
Most of the people are teachers.
They are educating their audience through experience and vulnerability. Leading by example. Hanging out on the skinny branches where it is uncomfortable.
To create a movement, you must zig when everyone is zagging.
People want to be inspired. They crave it. They are waiting for someone to step up and lead them.
Just look at all the inspirational stuff that comes through your Facebook newsfeed that goes viral. Those posts that get thousands of likes.
The problem is that most people are afraid to get to the nitty gritty.
The so-called “leaders” like to put out an image online that makes everything in their lives and business appear perfect. Like they got it all together.
Which drives a rift between them and their audience. People want to feel like they can relate to you.
So what happens is that most bloggers copycat everyone else and just play it safe. Afraid to talk about the topics that are avoided. Afraid to be vulnerable; leaving our audiences feeling like they are the only ones dealing with what they are struggling with.
When I see this number “1,175,” it means to me that we are crowding out the negativity in the world with our positive messages as a collective.
Like for others in the group, this challenge has helped me get out of my comfort zone.
For my day six post, I tried a new style that I never tried before. And then decided to share it on my Facebook profile (because it scared me to see how people would react to this bold piece).
It wasn’t perfect, and I want to go back and make edits, but I clicked publish anyways. Here’s what a few people said about the blog post:
This type of response motivates me to do more. And later on, I am going to rework this piece to make it even better and promote it like crazy.
What is scary is the “what if?”
What if this became another one of those posts that I never published?
I am robbing the world from my creativity in fear of being judged. In fear of it not being perfect.
So, it is still early in the challenge (we are one-quarter of the way through), but I can honestly say I am glad I made this decision. So many great things have manifested because of this.
Sometimes we just need to listen to our gut. Go against everything people are saying and do what feels right for us.
We can never lose a game that is played with our whole heart.
I believe if we focus on what makes us feel good before chasing a dollar, we will be greatly rewarded.
Be different. Be unique. Be you.