Over the last few weeks, I’ve been quietly submitting my previously written blog posts to publications on Medium.
For those of you who don’t know, Medium is a social media platform for writers and creators to share their work and where readers can read all kinds of content. A Medium Publication is a curated list of articles usually surrounding a specific topic. These articles are selected by an editor or group of editors to be shared with subscribers to the publication.
If you enjoy reading, this is probably the best place to hang out online. You can read whatever articles that are suggested to you or search for specific topics and find awesome posts based on your search criteria.
I decided to share my work on Medium because there is a subset of readers there who deal with anxiety and I wanted to reach them. One of the first things you learn when you’re trying to help others is that you have to meet the people you want to help where they are. You can’t expect everyone to just flock to you, you have to go out and find them.
So, I’ve been spending time on Medium connecting with people and sharing posts from the Discarded Anxiety blog and I’m glad to say, it’s been mostly positive.
I was blessed to have my work featured in a publication and as a result of that spotlight, my blog post “When it Feels Impossible to Go On,” was read nearly 900 times. Many people started recommending my post and sharing it on social media.
Even Mrs. Kelley helped to spread the word.
Chasing the Wrong Goal
But this time, my writing wasn’t selected. Some of the publications were kind enough to email me back saying my articles didn’t quite fit with their tone. Other’s didn’t even bother.
I thought I was doing the right thing and that my work belonged right up there with everyone else’s. But I wasn’t chosen. I wasn’t validated. I wasn’t accepted.
Initially, frustration took over. But, then I realized I was wrong.
While I wanted to get my writing and my message noticed by more people, I realized I was making my submissions under false pretenses.
I wasn’t just trying to help spread the word about Discarded Anxiety to help people, I was seeking approval from people who I thought were valuable in the growth of my blog.
I felt if I could get “them” to share my writing, that would mean that I was on my way to becoming…something. I’m not even sure what I thought that "something" was.
Even through reading this story, you can see how my focus shifted from simply trying to reach people in need, to trying to gain validation for myself.
The Blessing in Rejection
Thankfully, I was denied those opportunities and rightfully so.
I shouldn’t have placed so much value in the opinions of editors, especially when they didn’t represent my target audience.
It would be awesome to have my work shared with hundreds of thousands of people, but not at the expense of forgetting who I am and who I’m here to serve.
I’m here to serve you. Yes you, sitting there on your computer or phone, reading these words. My goal isn’t to grow the largest blog in the world, my goal is to help you manage the anxiety that keeps you from living to your fullest potential.
Yes, I’ll still be submitting my work to Medium, but it won’t be with the goal of getting the most eyeballs on our community here at Discarded Anxiety. My focus will be on reaching those in need of encouragement and guidance to help them overcome anxiety.
Validation is exciting, but it’s important to maintain an unobstructed view of your goals. Otherwise, we may trade our work and our ethics for a pat on the back instead of what we initially set out to achieve…. a changed life.
Next Action Steps
When dealing with social anxiety we often desire to be accepted by people who may not always have our best interest at heart. In the comments below, share your ideas on how to avoid this problem.
For example: Instead of seeking out the approval of others, remind yourself of your goals and why those goals are important to you. Take comfort and confidence in knowing that you're working toward a worthy goal or cause regardless of anyone else's beliefs.