Y'all clicked on this blog post because you know something is up. You feel that icky, gross layer when you're reading someone's blog or listening to a podcast. ("Mucky" is my word for it.) Your anxiety goes up. Hell, maybe you're just tuning the fuck out and are losing interest.
If badass, helpful content does not excite you but, rather, feels numbing -- there's a problem.
Let's define things super quick before we jump in.
Content is anything you read, watch, or listen to throughout the day. This blog post is content. Watching a tarotcast on YouTube? Content. That Beyonce video? Content. Podcasts? Content. Vines? Content. Scrolling your Twitter TL? You're consuming content.
Content is also the shit you produce. The blog posts you write. The Periscope videos you do. The emails you send to your list. The workbooks you write for your website. The ebook that's gonna be ready to sell in a few months. Your tweets, your snaps, your facebook posts. Content.
Content input (what you take in) and output (what you put out) should not lead to stagnation. Content should be moving you and your business in a direction.
There are two options with both content input and output, both of which are growth-oriented: you go forward, towards new shit, or deeper, to make your current shit wiser and better. Breadth and depth, y'all. Breadth and depth.
So... what causes us to stall, like a car that's struggling to start in the middle of winter? Why, instead of swimming forward or deeper, do we just tread water? Or maybe even go over to the side and chill out?
Quick note: this is different from taking intentional breaks from your business, whether for your personal vacation/mental health or, alternately, for an intentional season of recalibration and refocusing your business.
Reason #1: Lack of confidence is preventing you from translating your knowledge into action.
A lack of confidence in your ability, your audience targeting, and/or your brand identity can significantly affect your output. This is far too common in those of us who have been socialized as women: we think we need X, Y, and Z in order to be successful.
Check the boxes of what applies to you personally:
1. Do you struggle with feelings of impostor syndrome?
Do you think at some point, someone is going to figure out that you're a fraud? (Trust me: you aren't. If anything, other folks just think you're human.)
2. Do you have Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)?
Are you afraid that there is one thing, just one thing, that your product or service or content is missing? Are you afraid to let your products and services and content be enough, as they are?
3. You have a case of the Shoulds and Oughts.
The "shoulds and oughts" are the things we think we should do or ought to have done in order to properly position your product. In order to actually launch your business. In order to be considered professional. In order... in order... in order.
You are enough. You are a serious business owner. You have the ability.
But also? Things in business will always be shifting, uncertain, growing, and - to a certain extent - uncomfortable. These feelings are normal. Accepting them is key to being able to commit to steady production in your business.
I would also, for obvious reasons, discourage you from following anyone -- no matter how successful -- who makes you feel Less Than. Even if that means you have to stop following most people. Put. Yourself. First. And do whatever it takes to build your confidence up.
Reason #2: You are consuming content that doesn't match where you actually are in your business.
Sometimes, you're further along than the content you're consuming, but what I see most often is business owners in the early stages consuming content that's wayyyyyyyy too far ahead.
Expecting to have thousands of email subscribers within 90 days of business, or to be making a full-time living after only a year -- y'all. Let's reality check ourselves.
We all want the shortcut but y'all, sometimes, you just gotta climb the fucking mountain.
Consuming content that is giving you inappropriate action steps (inappropriate in that they don't match where you are in business) does a few things:
1. Discourages you from the excitement of your actual next steps.
2. Discourages you re: what you are achieving.
3. Encourages a lack of patience with the process of business-building.
4. Puts you on the fast-track to burnout.
Cause y'all. We know what happens when expectations don't match reality! We feel like shit, and we eventually quit -- whether it's that person you're dating who isn't treating you how you want to be treated or your business not performing in a way that you (perhaps unfairly?) expect it to perform...
@@Let's adjust expectations and adjust our content intake accordingly.@@
@@Reason #3: You lack process.@@
The final reason that you are consuming more than you produce is because you lack a process for creating content, for translating what's in your head to what's on the page or screen or MP3.
(Also I'm 99.9% certain that "you lack process" is a direct quote from Mattie James of Mattieologie who is legit my favorite person when it comes to talking about planning and process.)
For those of you who struggle with putting yourself on a content calendar, I've got some super exciting things coming your way. (Plus, a content calendar planning tarot spread you should totally check out.)
Consuming content can "feel" productive, but ultimately, it's on us to make the time to take what we learn and translate it into our own businesses, our own services, our own lives.
One last note about balancing your input and output: like my fave Tracy G says, it takes heat, time, and a variety of ingredients to bake something dope. Cut yourself some slack, boo. Adjust those expectations, put in some work, and trust yourself to figure it out as you go.