by Sean Croxton
The look on his face still makes me giggle a bit.
A few weeks ago, I met a fellow blogger at the Fitness Business Summit in Costa Mesa, CA. He and I made plans for a Skype interview but ended up meeting up at my home to do the interview in-person.
Working hard everyday to build an online following of his own, he wondered exactly how I was able to do it.
“Dude, I have no idea!”
I felt kinda bad that he drove 2 hours for that…
Keeping it real, I know just about next to nothing about analytics, keyword research, search engine optimization, paid traffic, pay-per-click, or any of that marketing mumbo-jumbo other bloggers talk about behind the scenes.
I just DO what feels right, and I DO it pretty much unconsciously.
As Dr. Pillay writes in Life Unlocked: 7 Revolutionary Lessons to Overcome Fear, “the successful paths of visionaries are unconscious. And once these leaders learn to trust the unconscious process, they learn to lead without asking where the information is coming from.”
Not that I consider myself a visionary or anything, but you get what I’m saying.
Behind the curtain, our subconscious minds are ten steps ahead of us. It’s called preemptive perception — when the brain has stuff all figured out before we consciously realize it. Unfortunately, most of us completely mistrust the subconscious, choosing to rationally consider everything about everything!
I like to call this mind-uhhhhh……mind-having-sex-with ourselves. (Yikes! Almost said a bad word. Sorry, kids.) When we do this, we tend to find ourselves in this perpetual state of following the trail of breadcrumbs left by others while traveling down their own paths to success.
As my main man — and author of A Philosopher’s Notes — Brian Johnson spoke about on UW Radio, if you’re walking on a path that’s already trodden, you know it’s not yours.
Follow your own path.
Pillay writes, “When the fear of success is based on being afraid of leading, we need only to realize that the guiding light of those in front of us can be replaced by the guiding light within us. This guiding light is that biological phenomenon called preemptive perception, and it is often a largely unconscious process.”
Like I said, “Dude! I don’t know!”
Ignoring the subconscious by electing to bring everything to the level of consciousness and rationality leads to uncertainty. I call this “paralysis-by-analysis” or “getting-ready-to-get-ready”.
On a brain level, here’s what goes down between our ears when uncertainty creeps in…
A part of the brain called the ACC — responsible for monitoring errors and uncertainties — cranks up a few notches, of course. A domino effect ensues, with increased ACC activation leading to decreased activation of the basal ganglia responsible for filtering information before we act on it as well as the actual act of taking action!
This is the brain physiology of mind-having-sex-with ourselves. You think about DOing it all day, but you’re not GETTING ANYwhere!
Is it just me, or is this getting kinda PG-13?
The basal ganglia doesn’t like to play games. It’s not a fan of uncertainty or any other form of mental masturbation (there I go again), but rather believing or not believing. When you choose the latter, the ganglia fires up and moves you toward action.
That’s what we want. We want to DO it!
So, in hindsight, my answer to the question of what advice I would give to anyone looking to build an online following — or success in any other field — would be this…
1. Commit to spending a lot of time alone learning your craft.
2. Trust the subconscious mind and blaze your own trail. Your subconscious knows exactly what it is doing and precisely where it is going.
3. Skip the big picture, and focus on taking baby steps. One small success on top of another small success on top of yet another small success eventually becomes one BIG success.
Follow your own path.
Greatness is waiting on the other side.
Go get some. (hehe!)
Not Sure What Got Into Me Today…
It’s obvious that you work really hard, and you really want to help people. That probably has a lot to do with it. You’re providing a service that helps a lot of people. That’s often the cause of most success stories :-).
Your blog is spot on! I use to play piano and they are some brilliant musicians who I heard of who play from ear with no musical training. When these very same musicians started taking formal lessons, they lost their natural born musical talent. It just goes to show you what happens when you’re concerned with the how and other complexities. I think this happens to a lot of people looking to make an impact and add value…they become paralyzed with wanting to know how it will manifest. You’re right just do the damn thing and let the chips fall where they may! If you have something of value to give, people will find you! I too use to get caught up in keywords, and facebook ads and it left me chasing my tail because something always changes…and what’s hot today is cold as ice cream tomorrow. Focus on that you’re good at and let your brain do the rest. As I said before do the damn thing and trust your intuition because it knows best. Nice blog dawg!
Great post Sean!
Glad I’m not the only one out there with no friggin’ clue.
I am going through this process right now, and it’s slow going for me. I’ve read a lot of stuff by a lot of people about building an online following, mostly just people parroting the same strategies and platitudes over and over again. I think yours is the most practical and relevant information I’ve read yet. Thanks, I’m going to use this.
That’s IT! Just be YOU, don’t copy, stop studying everyone else’s web sites, period! JUST be YOU!!!
This is what MANY, MANY, MANY internet peeps need to hear!
Just ordered Paleo Summit, psyched to dive in! Thnx!
Love it Sean! I was, ironically enough, THINKING about asking you for advise on building the popularity of my blog. Haha guess you just answered it. As difficult, although, intuitive it is to just follow your gut have you never felt the urge to also just blast out some statistics, internet marketing etc?
Great blog entry Sean! You killed it!
I need to stop with the “paralysis-by-analysis” and start kicking ass.
Sean once again you’ve hit the nail on the head, its you genuine nature and true passion that comes across every time. Plus your as funny as can be you always make me laugh. Great work, love it xx
Yep, having a genuine interest in helping people is certainly a part of it. A lot of bloggers are just focused on the money part of it. Serve others and the rewards will come.
Word! I totally agree, Darren. Just DO the darn thing. Follow your brain and your heart. They will never lead you astray.
Thanks for reading and commenting!
Thanks, Rich! Good luck with your online endeavors, my man!!
Thanks, Zach! I appreciate you reading and commenting. I bet you get that question about how to build an online following all the time!
There definitely are some marketing strategies to be learned, but first and foremost just being ourselves is the most important part.
Enjoy the Paleo Summit!
Thanks, Christian. Don’t get me wrong, I do know a a bit (just a little bit) about marketing, but I like the Gary Vaynerchuk approach of just being yourself, connecting with your audience, and simply caring. It really works! 🙂
DO it!! 🙂
Thanks so much! I appreciate that!
Have a great weekend!
This is one of my FAV blog posts ever- spoken with true humility and truth.
Love it and you ROCK!