I started this year in a world of hurt. I had a pretty heart wrenching breakup in December but unlike past breakups where I rebounded with Ben & Jerry’s and a bottle of wine, I poured myself into learning and wanting to grow into a better person. The personal development section of Barnes & Noble became my haven devouring books at a pretty rampant rate; I downloaded motivational podcasts and listened intently; and I leaned into all my mental health resources that I could out of storage. Out of my ravenous appetite to learn, the idea for this blog was born. I wanted (and still want) to help people, inspire people, educate people, and to give a voice to people; that’s my hope for The Mental Wealth.
Something funny happened to me in the process of creating this blog though. From conception to execution, The Mental Wealth forced me out of my comfort zone and has taught me some invaluable lessons along the way. These are those lessons:
Lesson #1 : When you find your purpose, you will just know.
In this season of my life, I am leaning very heavily on my intuition. After years of ignoring gut feelings that things weren’t right and having things blow up in my face, I recognize that the little voice inside my soul has purpose. So when I first conceived of the idea of creating The Mental Wealth, I really prayed on but in my heart, I felt connected to this passion project long before my “yes” became official. Once I became officially committed, I felt at peace, and I recognized this is part of my dharma, my life’s calling. I just knew. Just like that.
Lesson #2: You may understand your purpose but remain humble in the learning process.
Conceptually, I knew what I wanted this blog to be when I came up with the idea. I could think of the kinds of articles I want to write, the people I want to interview, the injustices and stigmas I want to fight, and the topics I want to cover. I can talk counseling, mental health, and personal development all day long. Unfortunately, while content creation is a big part of the blog process, that is only a part of it.
There is more that goes into blogging that meets the eye, and when it comes to web design and social media marketing, I am the furthest thing from an expert. I am a straight up novice, and that’s a fact that I have to embrace if I wanted to make this blog happen. I had to research how to execute the technical parts of doing this, and I had to remain humble in the trials and errors. And y’all, let me tell you, humility and not being the best at something is not something my Type A personality is used to. I have messed up a lot in this process, and I am sure I will mess up some more. I’ve learned a lot in my fumbles and failures; however, sucking at something doesn’t feel as bad when you actually like what you are doing.
Lesson #3: Creativity and vulnerability go hand in hand so be prepared to feel a lot of discomfort.
Generally, I am not a creative person. I have no real artistic or musical ability whatsoever. But the one thing I can do is write. Writing gives me a lot of joy, and I am confident that I don’t completely suck at it and that I am, dare I say, even good at it. However, outside of journaling for my own therapeutic benefit, I have never written creatively for public consumption and open to public criticism until The Mental Wealth.
I know that by making this blog public that I am opening a can of worms. I know that I am opening up myself to people criticizing my writing, my voice, my professional knowledge, and even who I am. Creating a blog about the human experience requires some self-disclosure, transparency, and acknowledgement that I am a human being too and that I do not have it all together. Like in professional counseling, creating this blog requires empathy, sensitivity, and the ability to sit and discuss some uncomfortable things in order to relate to someone’s story. That’s a very vulnerable place to be, and even though I am a counselor who encourages clients to be emotionally vulnerable on the daily, my personal vulnerability is not my strong suit. Being vulnerable requires you to be open to all the good and bad feelings and feedback that comes with it, and being that open is terrifying.
Elizabeth Gilbert wrote in her book Big Magic, “Fear is always triggered by creativity, because creativity asks you to enter into realms of uncertain outcome, and fear hates uncertain outcome. This is nothing to be ashamed of. It is, however, something to be dealt with.” Thanks for calling my crap out Miss Gilbert. Seriously though, even as I write this right now, this is true. Creativity requires vulnerability, and vulnerability is scary. Unfortunately and fortunately for me, this is a hang up I am just going to have to get over in order to execute my vision for The Mental Wealth. It’s uncomfortable, but like the saying goes, growth happens outside of your comfort zone.
Lesson #4 Doing great things and doing what you love requires sacrifice, compromise, and commitment.
When I came up with the idea to start this blog, I didn’t think it would be easy but I didn’t really realize the time and effort it would take to make it come into fruition. The Mental Wealth is essentially my new boyfriend, and my new boyfriend requires a lot of my time, my focus, and my devotion.
Research, reading, brain storming, interviewing, outlining, writing, designing, and marketing consumes almost every moment of my day from the minute I get up to the minute I fall asleep. This process has required me to sacrifice time I could be spending having fun, compromise and make deals with my pups on what times we are going to play, and to be flexible with my schedule when the writing muse calls. I have canceled on friends; I have canceled on dates; and I have canceled on personal errands just to make things happen. While what I am doing might sound excessive to some, I genuinely don’t mind. I don’t feel like I am compromising other aspects of my life and there’s not one feeling of resentment for my sacrifices because I love what I am doing. Yes, The Mental Wealth requires a lot of commitment but you make time for what is a priority to you, and this is mine.
I thought long and hard about my first post. There are three or four other posts I’ve written for this occasion alone but these lessons are what I settled on. It may not be the most insightful or the most clinical or the most relevant but it is the most intimate to me. The creative process to get to this point has taught me a great deal, and The Mental Wealth is much about my journey and experiences as those who share their story through me. This is just the beginning, and I cannot wait to learn, grow, and share with everyone along the way.