I started writing unprofessionally three years ago. Some would say my whole career is unprofessional and I’d agree. Imperfection is damn sexy though.
I began writing only because my mentor Joel Brown said I should and I stupidly said yes without knowing why. Now, of course, I’m crystal clear about why I write: it’s to inspire. I remember uploading articles to Addicted2Success.com and seeing no one like them. I remember thinking I was a failure.
In the early days, I was writing articles about entrepreneurs I had interviewed and I wasn’t that passionate about it. Every article felt like really hard work and it required an incredible amount of willpower. Everyone at the time was doing entrepreneur interviews and there was nothing special.
Then one day, I wrote an article for the fun of it that had nothing to do with anything. It was essentially a brain fart that I concocted after dinner, late one night. It took less than one hour to write and it was written with passion. The words came out of me without even trying.
Since that day, the words have continued to pour out of me in the same way. I get into a state of flow and then it happens. Words appear, people get inspired and we all have one big party that has been named “life.” From the day I wrote that article, thousands of people shared it and they still do today.
I didn’t stop
After my big moment on the internet going viral, everything stopped. The tumbleweed that drifted through the desert with an eerie silence continued. Everything calmed down and people stopped caring again.
I didn’t stop though because I found my writing therapeutical.
“My blog posts became like my own personal journey and it was a way for me to escape from the Alcatraz that was my head. This prison that lived inside my head kept telling me that no one cared and I’d never be successful.”
I decided to keep finding ways to break out of Alcatraz and check in to the Ritz Hotel that was me becoming a conscious, passionate, crazy online leader.
I stopped giving a damn
Over the next eighteen months, I kept writing every moment I got. No one paid attention but I did. I started paying attention to the shift that was happening inside of me. The leader that had always been stuck inside of me started to unleash.
The things that used to hold me back disappeared. I didn’t give two hoots about what anyone thought and I only cared about inspiring those who wanted to be inspired. I worked my butt off and started waking up at 4 am to post new blog articles. People couldn’t understand how I had the time to write working a full-time job.
The part they didn’t get was that because the words flowed out of me so easily, it didn’t take that long at all to write something of value. People watched me posting articles and thought I was crazy. They thought what I was doing was career suicide in the big bad world of corporate politics.
I never liked politics anyway, so I stuck my middle finger up at the way things were traditionally done. I decided to be a rebel writer and live my dream. I continued to make no money and people kept on questioning what I was doing.
A few people believed, but most didn’t. What stuck out like tomato sauce on a freshly dry cleaned white shirt was that I believed and that’s all that mattered. I saw something that no one else could see: my real potential versus my current success.
I had the motivation to continue on when no one cared because I believed I could change the world. I saw myself as someone who had the potential to serve millions of people online. I kept telling myself never to give up and I also spread the same message throughout everything I wrote.
“I thought my writing was going to save everybody else, but what it really did is save myself”
My writing saved me from living a life without meaning and it helped me discover who I really was. I saw the pattern between every goal I’d ever had: to inspire and evoke emotion from strangers.
This clarity fuelled me and I became relentless. I reached out to every blogger, leader and person that had done cool stuff that inspired me. Originally I thought they’d all ignore me: none of them did. See when you have energy and passion oozing out of you, people can’t say no. An unwavering belief in what you’re doing is all that matters.
The tipping point happened
I began to see a change when each day I started to get a message from a reader/fan. It started as one message per day, then two, then three. Now I get more messages of support every day than I have time to read. Success often doesn’t become a reality in a single moment.
Success is something that is hard to measure in the early days until one giant moment happens that everyone sees. The part no one sees is the many smaller moments that happened beforehand. The small successes that may not have looked like a textbook example of “success.”
That big day finally came
So the big day happened when an article I wrote went viral. This was the third time it had happened, although this time the success became permanent. All those years, when I thought no one was reading, people were. What had occurred was that they were too scared to show they were reading because my success was still largely unproven.
It was only after the big success moment that people felt it was okay to come out of the metaphorical closet and say they were inspired by what I was doing. All those nights spent locked away in my office being anti-social was worth it. All those cups of green tea, takeaway meals, indoor plants, and weird emails to myself with possible headlines for articles had meant something.
More publications reached out to me and pretty soon I wasn’t just writing for Addicted2Success; I was writing for the biggest sites on the entire internet. The ones where the editors get pitched one hundred times a day by people who want to do nothing more than self-promote and build a BS “personal brand.”
Before I knew it, I was getting offered book deals, business opportunities, podcast interviews and public speaking gigs. I took some but ignored most. I remembered what was important and the fact that unwavering focus had got me to where I was.
I knew I was ready for some opportunities and not for others like public speaking. The journey had begun, but I was far from the summit of the mountain of my dreams.
Strangely, though, it was all one ginormous anti-climax moment. Nothing had changed. Even today nothing has changed. I still want to inspire people and I still like sharing stories. I still want to live with passion and I still want to create a meaning for my life that outlives me.
What has changed is that people have seen my success as something that’s happened recently – what total BS that is. It’s taken my entire existence to discover the meaning of my life, find a medium to share it on and go after it with relentless optimism.
What you didn’t see with my success
You didn’t see the person that existed before all of this. You didn’t see the selfish, rude, arrogant, brat who lived for material possessions and felt like he was entitled to success because he grew up in Australia, the land of the free. I can say those horrible things because I’m talking about myself. Thankfully that’s the opposite of who I am now.
You didn’t see the transformation that occurred after that one big rock bottom moment. When everything made no sense and I had to look inside of myself to crawl out of that black hole that had become my existence. You didn’t see me step out of the darkness and into the light.
All you saw was me in the light and assumed I had always been there shining away brightly, and living the good life that is passion and purpose. How wrong that lie is. How wrong the whole concept of overnight success is.