OK Seth, you’re smart my man. Heck, you may even be a genius. But I still choose me. ;-)

This is one of those posts that has been brewing in my head for quite some time but finally came into clarity upon reading my friend Diana Baur’s profound article “My Guru Rejected Me: A Tale of Practicing What I Preach,” where she openly discussed her feelings upon being “rejected” by Jonathan Fields after having submitted a guest post on his very popular personal/spiritual development blog and getting a “no” for an answer.

If you haven’t read the article yet, I’d highly recommend it, as in many ways it’s symbolic of the stock/admiration so many readers put into those persons they read week in and week out.

You see, what Diana doesn’t realize yet is that she’s every bit as talented as Fields. As I’ve stated before on this blog, she’s one of the most talented bloggers/writers I’ve seen on the web– which is exactly why she shouldn’t have even flinched when Fields said her article wasn’t a good fit for his site. (Note** I found Fields’ response to Diana to be professional and kind considering how many pitches he gets daily.)

Let’s stop the worship

When it comes down to it, it’s time for everyone to stop worshiping bloggers (A-list, B-list, whatever), as these feelings only deter one’s personal work, progress and ability to accomplish greatness in their own way.

Keep in mind here I’m not saying that respecting another person’s talents and work is a bad thing. In fact, I respect lots of folks. Jay Baer. Brogan. Dietrich. Vaynerchuk. Joel.

The list goes on and on.

But even though I respect these people and their ability to think and communicate on a level that impresses me, by no means do I worship them.

In fact, I’ll readily admit I don’t want their skills. I don’t want their talents.

Jay Baer likely has an IQ of about 170. Dude is smart. Like really smart.

But I’m not wishing all day long I had his brain.

Gini Dietrich has the ability to seemingly dominate every social media platform she touches, but I’m not sitting here wondering why she can do that and I can’t.

Gary Vaynerchuck is spectacular on stage, but I’ve never once asked, “What would Gary do?” as I’ve been in front of an audience.

The unique talents within each one of us

I say this because I’ve come to appreciate and understand the unique talents I’ve been blessed with and have further developed. My communication is me. My writing is me. My shtick is my shtick.

And for goodness sakes, I don’t want to worship anyone nor have them worship me.

Yeah, I want readers.  Yes, I love helping individuals and businesses. And yes, I want companies to come to me for marketing help– but never do I want folks to read this blog or watch me speak and think, “Dang, I wish I was Marcus.”

The moment someone does that, they’re denying their inherent gifts and abilities– something I strongly believe we all have.

I know it’s an easy trap to fall into. Heck, at times I’ve harshly fallen prey to comparing myself with others.

But I quickly learned a few years back that guru worship sucks. It’s a creative killer in the worst way and depressing as heck.

So if you happen to be reading this post on this day, forget Brogan for a minute. Let Godin go along his merry way. Wish Vaynerchuk adieu.

And while you’re at it, stare The Sales Lion in the face and let him know you’re on equal ground.

Better yet, tell him to take a hike.

Yep, take the time to worship yourself. Your special talents. Your abilities.

They’re there, trust me.

So start believing in them.

Your Turn

I’ve said my piece, now it’s your turn to jump in here. Have you noticed this problem I speak of and how, in your mind, can we stop blogger worship? Also, if you’ve struggled with this before, I’d be very curious to know your thoughts.

The floor is now yours.

134 thoughts on “Why Blogger Worship is a Really Dumb Thing to Do

  1. You hit the nail on the head Marcus! Blogger worship is dumb because it stops you from seeing yourself in an ‘A-list’ position. It makes you feel inferior and hinders your progress in more than one way.

    Here’s what I think: Learning from other top bloggers is absolutely fine – as long as you know what makes YOU different from the rest. It’s easy to fall into blogger worship because it makes you feel safe. Your comfort zone is not threatened. And you’re happy being the ‘Average Joe’.

    As a blogger it’s important that you set your own goals. Do your own experiments. Pave your own paths. Make your own rules. Focus on your own talent. And above all, dream your own dreams.

    You don’t have to be a super-human to be a super-blogger. You just need to know and believe that you’ve got what it takes to become one.

    • You don’t have to be a super-human to be a super-blogger. You just need to know and believe that you’ve got what it takes to become one.

      Well dang Mustafa, this whole comment was money brother…some really wise words here that I hope others read.

      Heck, next time I’m just going to have you write it! ;-)


      • Thanks Marcus, appreciate the kind words ;)

        – Mustafa

  2. Marcus,

    You nailed it with this one. The deal is that absolutely everyone was designed the way they are for a purpose, and no one else can fulfill their purpose for them. And the only way we can truly succeed and truly be happy is to live out our OWN purpose — something we will never accomplish by wishing we were someone else, or trying to copy someone else.

    Something that I learned a long time ago is that everyone is good at certain things and bad at other things, and even people who seem perfect or seem to have perfect lives, have their own issues.

    Thankfully, though I am very aware of ways I need to improve, I’ve learned to like who I am, as well as appreciate the unique gifts that other people have.

    P.S. I don’t anticipate telling you to take a hike anytime soon. ;)

    • Yeah, I hear you Rebecca…but does that mean I can’t wish I had Rebecca Livermore’s incredible attention to detail or organization skills??? ;-)

      Thank ya bud,


      • I’m praying hard that never happens, lest you decide you no longer need me. ;-)

    • emw

      I think a certain amount of it star status is inevitable. How many blogs are created every day? Some staggering number. Celebrity should, ideally, function as a short-hand to sorting what is useful to a group or sector of readers and what is not.

      Some blogs are better written than others; some blogs do a better job at curating their content and developing a theme/through-line than others.

      Where I completely agree with your argument is in thinking that achieving mega-blog status means that one blog is inherently better than others or that it is a direct reflection of the writer. Some have had the right eyes on them at the right time. Others take a kind of halo into the blog sphere based on who they were in previous professional incarnations. Still others have the advantage of being an early adopter of the blogging platform with a decade of experience and posts under their belts. It’s daunting to look at that when you’re starting out.

      It’s useful to look at the mega-bloggers for ideas and inspiration, but the guru attitude does strike me as more of a barrier than a help. Thanks for outlining it so succinctly.

      I absolutely agree with Rebecca’s observation about perfect lives.

      • Some great points EMW…very well said. BTW, what does EMW stand for? I’d love to know your name ;-)

  3. Hey Marcus,

    For me, blogger worship has no purpose. Comparing yourself to the pros in the industry will never get you anywhere – completely agree. And the thing that gets me is that everyone has to start somewhere. I am in the process of building out my blog and I don’t care if no one reads it. Blogging is a tool for me to learn and grow and it has been so powerful!

    Also, I totally agree with Mustafa Khundmiri about learning from the pros and adopting their successful habits, but don’t compare yourself. It doesn’t get you anywhere.

    @Troyclaus sent this to me a few months ago…

    “Almost 3 years ago I started writing my thoughts on business, sales and marketing on my blog, The Sales Lion. For the first year, almost no one read it. Eventually, many did. And yesterday, I was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal. The Law of Momentum is an amazing thing indeed.” -Marcus

    When people worship bloggers, they never get started. Thanks again for the info.

    • Hmmm, I’ve seen that quote at the bottom somewhere Geoff! ;-)

      Man, it’s really great seeing you and hearing your thoughts on this Geoff. Knowing that you see the inward benefits of writing and thought production versus just the “outward” benefits so many seek is really the key in enabling you to be in this for the long haul my friend.

      I respect the heck out of that bud.

      Thanks again for this, it was great.


      • Hey Marcus,

        Thanks for taking the time to reply. I appreciate your thoughts and it’s true, there are so many intrinsic benefits to blogging and sharing information.

        Keep on going with the Law of Momentum and pretty soon I will be right there with you ;)

        All the best!

        • I’d love to see that Geoff. And honestly, I believe you’ve got the goods to make that happen.

          To your potential my friend,


          • Awesome :)
            Thanks again!

  4. I personally could care less about Seth Godin…his blogs are usually pretty boring. However, I understand that he has made a lot of money online, but I really don’t see how. Which goes to show you how important it is to get on the ground floor of something…if I had started when he did, that could’ve been my picture up there!

  5. Another great post, Marcus! I have this exact problem — although I tend to call it jealousy. :( I know I shouldn’t compare myself to others, but I do it all too often. Sometimes, blogging feels like one giant club and I’m not a member.

    But still, I keep pushing forward. I know that I have unique insights and I’m going to continue to share them. Even though it’s sometimes a daily struggle, I’m not going to let a petty emotion like jealousy get in my way.

    • Yeah, jealousy would certainly be another word for it Susan ;-)

      Regarding the “blogging club”…you’re right. Every niche has its circles, and I’m not going to say social/networking isn’t a big deal.

      But I’m really glad to hear that you’re not going to stop just because you have some of these struggles Susan. In fact, I’d suggest you simply continue to push hard and make relationships with some of these folks. Even though there are a few that may not be as welcoming, there are others that would gladly invite you in ;-)

      Keep smiling,


  6. It’s not just blogger worship. It’s hero worship. It’s celebrity worship. It’s sports figure worship. It’s [fill in the blank] worship.


    It’s because we have internal scripts and dialogues that tell us, in some small voice that we don’t really want to acknowledge, because to do so would require us to actually work rather than to have the convenient out, “I don’t deserve this.”

    When we tell ourselves that we don’t deserve it, then it’s easy to say that we’re not good enough, and to put [fill in the blank worship] in our place in the winner’s circle. We satisfice and determine that mediocrity is the acceptable solution.

    We’ll also work in a cubicle until we’re 70 and then retire and hope that Social Security is still there and enough to keep us from eating cat food; yet, all the while we’ll have told ourselves that we’re really going to change and do something different.

    Yet, we never do. The same record keeps on playing.

    Laura Palmer covers this topic much better than I can in her blog post here: http://bridgenosis.com/2012/01/is-guilt-often-coupled-with-fear-the-guilty-culprit-causing-your-life-or-your-business-or-professional-life-to-be-less-efficient/

    • Powerful stuff Jason, and your passion really comes through in your words my friend. I can tell how much financial peace means to you, and that’s a powerful trait bud.

      Keep going man,


  7. Well, until some time ago, I did wish I was someone else, in blogging.

    I have wished I was someone else in many things (but, that didn’t mean I denied my own abilities – I believed mine, I was all looking for the luck or the chance – or whatever we call it).

    Now, I truly realize that I have my own abilities or special talents, but I have had situations in which I admired someone else (not worshiping, but admiring their talent and their dedication towards what they do).

    I wish I had that dedication towards what they do (but, then again, it is much better to have our own dedication and interests in what we do, because that is what makes us “us”). If we had the skills of someone else, we would be that someone else.

    • Jeevan, good for you bud. Seriously man–you’ve come to realize your abilities and that’s what it’s all about.

      Well done and keep going!


  8. You never fail to provoke deep thoughts in my idea cave.

    Comparing yourself to others is a disease with no cure. I guess we all need to realize that we do what we “want” to do.

    I read all the tips about guest posting, but after 9 months I have never written one, because I don’t want to do it.

    It’s hard to get noticed by gurus, and you almost have to be transparent: “The real reason I sent you this guest post is because I secretly hope that it will trigger something at a precise moment in your mind, and maybe you will realize that I’m like your twin. Maybe you will email me and put me in charge of some new partnership between us. This is basically me telling you that you need to know me. Let’s be friends and partners forever. Seriously.”

    • John, this made me laugh out loud man. You’ve seriously got to send that email to an a-lister…just for kicks ;-)

      Keep doing what you love buddy and hang in there,


  9. If I looked at my past comments to TSL, a lot of them probably smacked of… worship. ;)

    Since you’ve read my stuff before, you know I “worship” ordinary people who, in my mind, were extraordinary teachers and mentors. As for A-list anything, the cynical side of me has started to question this, esp. in light of the Paterno situation. Worship should be confined to your God if you so choose. Humans are not great candidates for it…

    • Great point Joe. And I’m sure the Paterno incident was tough to swallow my friend.

      But yeah, I’d agree we should confine it to our God if we have one…and that will do.

      thanks for being you Joe. D,


  10. In many cases, the only things separating these accomplished smart people from less accomplished smart people are commitment, opportunity, resources and enough confidence to be themselves. By putting certain personalities on a pedestal, you are limiting your own potential. Sure, you don’t have the audience or income they have yet. But they’ve been at it longer or have gotten breaks that you haven’t yet. View them as peers, not as gods. By seeing their accomplishments as being something unattainable, you’re killing your self worth and motivation.

    Good stuff, Marcus, as always. You’re a god… or just some dude who sometimes says smart things.

    • “View them as peers, not as Gods…”

      Yes, yes, yes Jon. That is it my friend.

      Always appreciate the thoughtful and kind words bud,


  11. Ah this is a good one Marcus. I used to be a “worshipper” 0f certain bloggers, but I soon realized how ridiculous it was. They’re just normal people!

    I had a reader of my blog contact me recently and ask how I’d got “so big” in such a short space of time. I thought she was kidding to start with. Perspective is a funny thing, but we’re all just human beings at the end of the day.



  12. Bro…

    Killer as always. It’s easy to forget that a blogger achieving perceived or actual success is still just a human… Doing their thing… trying to carve out their… Make their dent.

    Like the 6 X 8 poster of you I have on my wall… errrrr… ummmm…Yeah… Blogger worship is probably not healthy.

    In all seriousness forming a relationship with someone through their writing is good and can be powerful, but our own success is always going to come from within.

    Thanks some great thoughts dude.


    • Ryan,

      I thought I was the only one with a life-size poster of Marcus. ;)


    • You have the TSL FatHead too Ryan??! ;-)

      This gave me quite the smile my man. As always, can’t thank you enough for your support.


  13. Marcus,

    This is such an important post on so many levels. Given what I do and spend most of my time talking the likes of the people you mentioned on a daily basis, I have to remind myself all the time not to compare myself to the guests on our show.

    It’s funny because I literally have a blog post brewing in my head titled “The World Doesn’t Need another Tim Ferriss.” I can’t remember who it was but, somebody told me when they hear another person say “I want to be the next…insert famous person” they know they’re doomed from the start. I don’t want to be the next anybody. I want to be Srini and the most awesome freaking version of it :).

    • GREAT stuff Srini. And dude, you need to write that post man. Seriously. I’d love to see it.

      Good seeing you brother,


  14. RAR! Love your post, Marcus. It’s brilliant and authentic, and no I won’t be worshipping. :-) I think it’s the problem with calling people a “guru” of anything and then never thinking that you can be a thought leader too. We’re all certainly expert enough if we take the time to see it within. Thanks for the lift today!

    • And a RAR back at you Rosie! ;-)

      Keep seeing that expert within,


  15. Nice post.

    Here’s the rub: loads of “A” Listers require worship as a condition of access. They think that being “skeptical” is being “negative.” They don’t engage doubters. They call people that disagree with one thing “haters.”

    (You, personally, haven’t done, but you get my drift).

    Most A-listers have little time for anyone that questions a product/idea. Instead of debating, they make posts on how you shouldn’t talk to your noncustomers, etc, etc.

    Tedious. Just thinking about it makes me pissy. The forced congeniality that online brews is nonsense.

    • Do you doubt me Chris??? Do you doubt the king of the digital jungle???!!


      Stop by here to disagree any time my man. I’m always down with a good debate ;-)


  16. I haven’t actually seen it, but I’ve only been blogging properly maybe 6 months. My guess is it’s probably people like you who are already well known who will spot the other well known people who are worshiping.

    I doubt many newbies worship, but maybe I could be wrong. I think people need to realize what their path is. It’s not someone else’s. Even though you can respect what people have done it’s not exactly like you want their life. That’s a bit ‘single white female.’

    Maybe I don’t see it because I’m not in the Marketing niche. I don’t want to be on stage. I don’t want a book deal (I’d rather self-publish). My niche is so small that I generally just follow the lifestyle design/marketing crowd because I can learn business skills, but I’m quite far away from what my goals are with everyone else.

    I’ll keep an eye out for it in the future.

    • Jamie, good for you for being comfortable in your own skin bud. Well done and keep up that attitude, it will allow you to do your own thing and follow your own gut.

      Thanks for stopping by Jamie,


  17. Amen!

    I mean…umm…great post :). As always!

    Long time since I’ve stopped by. I’d say “hope all is well” but I know that you’re making great things happen.

    • Eugene! How goes it my friend? Great to hear from you and incredibly kind of you to stop by bud.

      Stay well brother,


  18. Marcus,

    This hit me while reading last weeks post about your three year journey. I realized that my sights were out of alignment. I was too focused on being able to contribute to the greater thought leadership (Jeez, I’m embarrassed writing that).

    I really need to be helping business men and women set and achieve their goals.

    If people were interested in only the smartest or most merited opinions many industries would be quite different. The music industry would be a boring wasteland if you were not spot-on with these assertions .

    High Five,
    John C.

    • Great points John, and don’t beat yourself up bud, many have been there.

      I think you’ve just got to continue to do your thing. Push hard. Experiment. And you’ll find your own groove.

      And a big high-five back at you my friend,


    • Great comment John. It is a good thing to have big goals…nothing to be embarrassed about. You show a keen self-awareness when you refocus on the simpler impact you need to make now (helping business men and women set and achieve their goals) in order to get where you want to be in the future.

      • Thank you, Marcus and Jacob, for the encouragement, it means a lot. Already feel I’m seeing a improvement in my work and idea generation. You guys have a
        GREAT week!


  19. Brilliant Marcus.

    As much as I enjoy reading Seth Godin’s books and find that most of what he’s doing is brilliant, I never ask myself what would seth godin do (it’s actually a wordpress plugin with that name). And the same goes for Jonathan Fields or the other people you mention.

    And I remember a long time ago when I told you that I wanted to do the stuff you do. You told me that I should keep doing what I am already doing and stay unique, because that’s what we all are. Each and every one of us are unique and we can do whatever we want, we just need to hustle and understand what it is that we want.

    I’m so glad that you brought this up. On the other hand, it seems that it has become natural for people to worship other people, if it’s bloggers, marketers, or athletes or just celebrities :)

    • Jens, it’s funny how you and I have been on this journey for what seems like a long time, yet it has only been a couple of years. Time is so very difference only…amazing indeed.

      thanks for your support and continuing to do “your thing”…



  20. Gurus, heroes, only exist because we give them that power.

    The problem with giving them that power is that we do so at the expense of our own unique brilliance.

    To knowing our power and shining our own light.

  21. Walk down the street and ask 10 people if they know who any of the online “gurus” are.

    At the end of the day we are all experts of our own experience. No one can be a better version of me. Embrace your secret sauce and sing it loud and proud.

    Looking at others just mutes who you are.

    At the end of the day, if you are in business you have to get used to hearing NO a lot more than yes, and you’ve got to make sure you don’t take it personally even if you’ve put your heart into it.

  22. Hey Marcus

    I haven’t succumbed to any guru worship yet… I know people talk about this person and that person and how the sun shines out of every orifice. I tend to avoid this though rather than seek them out.

    The way I discover new and unique talent is to just get out there and start reading stuff. Yeah, people can drop a few names but hey I probably won’t have heard of them, so how could I be impressed. I would say most gurus have little time for people who read their blogs anyway. They just want you to buy their latest, greatest eBook.

    Hey, I’m glad I found your blog though Marcus, you came well recommended. No worship from me though!



  23. In the days between writing my post and reading yours, I’ve come to a conclusion. We are all potential victims and perpetrators of group think, of putting others on pedestals, of minimizing the work of others who just don’t seem to have paid their dues yet. And that’s because this genre, blogging, has become full and competitive and has shifted, like all popular phenomenon, into a pyramid – with the top guys/gals way at the top and the distance from THAT point to the people signing up on Blogger today for the first time being a long distance away from them.

    The guys at the top, they’ve been there now for while, a lifetime in cyber terms. Getting there was tough for them – but not nearly as tough as it will be for today’s Blogger signees.

    I started blogging seven years ago, but I REALLY started (in terms of making the blog try to be a vehicle for something other than fun) in 2010. By then, the trap doors were already starting to shut. The top bloggers were into the “high” experimental phase of workshops and ebooks. Entire sites popped up to teach newbees how to master Ejunkie and WordPress and help them figure out how not to ruin their site by playing with their FTP. The rest of us scurried about to catch up with the ones who came before us by signing up for Paypal, registering and doing the work.

    These sites taught (and teach) the mechanics of the guest post, how to pitch one, how to make connections, how to cyber-network. How to write a “killer post”. What font size you need to be successful. How to come up with a really good, not taken domain and tag line. How to have a blog about… anything! How to be happy. Simple. Zen. Entrepreneural. Gluten-free. Not suicidal. Anything at all.

    Now I’m older than almost anyone here, so I take things in more slowly. I’ve learned to read my own personal discomfort signs pretty well. And I’ve taken major risks, thrived, and lived to tell the tale. But even those things couldn’t keep me from wanting the formula to work.

    I remember the first comment I made here at TSL. It had to do with the Four Hour Workweek. It seems strange to me that things like the FHW are still popular, because for the average blogger, trying to climb up the feeding chain of cyber-popularity, it’s a full time job (which can suck if you already have one of those to buy food while you build). Your writing resonated with me and mine with you, and we became acquainted.

    You were at a different point in your blogging then than now, though, and if I threw out the same comment now as I did then, would we connect, Marcus? I don’t know! You’re busier (wonderful) and have less time – how many connections can you possibly make and maintain and still have a life?

    There was a moment of time when we connected, you see what I mean? And those moments of time are easier to capture before blogs get super big. That’s when we became acquainted. Right before TSL exploded.

    So with Jonathan (I feel kind of crappy for having singled him out, but, oh well, his presence in my life opened this floodgate of thought, that’s just how it is), there was no way (or like a .00001% chance) that that kind of spark could happen, but I didn’t register that. He’s too far down his path (a good thing!) and there’s no way that he can accommodate the eons and eons of bloggers that want just a nanosecond of his attention.

    I remember Leo Babauta saying one time that he kind of misses when he only had a couple of thousand followers on his blog because it was cozier to be with a group of friends. Leo was prolific when he started, and did a slew of guest post send outs and tons of writing on Zen Habits. And it paid off! But now there are hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of people trying to do that exact same thing and will it pay off? The chances are less and less, because the pyramid has become so monstrous.

    Can we stop blogger worship? I’m all for self confidence, doing your own thing, following your own voice. All that stuff. But as long as this medium is still in development, and millions entering the fray, there will be something very “Tony Robbins circa 1987 on NBC at two in the morning meets pavlovian dog” about wanting it too much that can’t be contained. And top dudes who will fill that niche.

    I’m still climbing over the next layer of bloggers to reach that undefined place, trying to make my mark and not crash and burn. I guess I just want to feel comfortable with my own path now, and not try too hard to please or get approval. That’s all good.

    I will keep my individual voice, which is my strength, and continue to do my work. And I don’t want to be anyone else’s guru, never, ever. But will I, if I climb high enough, and the blogging gods regard me kindly, will I be able to stop it?

    That’s the burning question.

    • I know I’m late telling you this Diana, but what you’ve said here is incredibly true and balanced in so many ways.

      Would we have connected? Gosh, I’d like to this so.

      But I’d be lying if I said I’ve had the pleasure of meeting more Diana’s in these past months, as every day I feel forced to choose between so many “important” bullet points on my “to-do” list…and sadly I don’t interact as much as I’d like with others….and that bothers me.

  24. There’s a difference between hero worshiping and respecting someone who excels in their field of expertise. You have highlighted this as eloquently as always Marcus. Have a good one.

    • thanks for the kind words Wade, you’re a good dude :-)

      Keep smiling,


  25. Marcus,

    I loved this post! I am so tired of the A-list blogging circle jerk/echo chamber. In the end, there’s no value in duplicating what these guys have done. You have to strike out and do what YOU would do, not what you think they would do. Sage advice.

    I get really fired up about this, so I’m glad somebody else does too. Also, I wouldn’t call Seth a genius. I’d put him one tier below genius, at least in the arena of sales/marketing. I’m actually writing a piece about this.

    Don’t get me wrong, he’s great at what he does. But the real marketing geniuses aren’t writing about marketing. They’re selling something else, and their marketing is so fantastic that you don’t even realize they’re getting in your head. You want what they have, and you let down your guard and invite them right in.

    • Glad this resonated with you Jacob.

      Honestly, I have found many of the a-listers to be really good people. Flawed, but admittedly so. Sure, there are a few jerks in there, but there are jerks in every level of blogging…and life.

      But keep up with that passion and defiance bud, it will take you wherever you want to go.



      • Hey Marcus, thanks so much for the response! (I appreciate your time).

        Don’t get me wrong, I love almost all of the A-listers. What I don’t love is the echo chamber surrounding their advice.

        I totally agree with you that we (and by “we” I mean non A-listers like myself, including the automatons that form the walls of the A-List echo chamber) need to be cautious about obsessing over the way they do things, when that won’t necessarily work for us. In worshiping their process, we forget that they didn’t get where they are by worshiping somebody else’s process.

        Anyway, great stuff.

  26. Hi Marcus,
    Well said. I do admire a lot of bloggers and have been learning from all of them, you are on the list of course. I am working on developing my own voice and style for our website relaunch. I have learned so much and taken the bits and pieces from all that I admire that I think best resonate with me, but it will still be my own style and be my voice.

    • Your approach here is great Lana, and I think that if you keep doing what you’re doing, things will just get better and better.

      Good luck!!


  27. This is a very grounding – and affirming – post. Thank you for this.

    • We certainly try to do that around here on occasion Claire ;-)

      thanks for stopping by,


  28. Others have mentioned it already- but this is not limited to bloggers or even online personalities. It happens in nearly every industry. Dig deeper and you’ll likely see it occurs within individual offices, departments and even among family and friends (the Keeping Up With The Joneses financial cliche).

    There are thousands of personal finance bloggers, many of whom I admire for their accomplishments. There are hundreds of conflict coaches, and I respect their passion. But I AM THE ONE AND ONLY FINANCIAL CONFLICT COACH. That’s my focus, my niche, my passion!

  29. Hey Marcus,

    This post REALLY spoke to me. I won’t ever say “worship” is the right word but I definitely can say I admire some people on a pedestal. I have my own list of bloggers in my head that I consider the A list – you’re among them.

    Unlike you, I do wish I could blog as good as they can. I wish I could do what they do. I wish I could learn what they learned – but certainly not at the expensive of who I am.

    As you know I tried the whole blogging thing and building a community around it. It didn’t work for me. Maybe I didn’t stick with it long enough, who knows. But I did come to the same conclusion as you just said, I can’t be like anyone but me and i have to do things my way.

    I still blog but I don’t care who reads it if anyone. I blog because it makes it easier for me to reference people to my blog when I am helping them. Trying to learn blogging the way you and some of the others do it, takes away from what I am naturally good it.

    Its nice for someone to finally come out and say “Hey, thats okay. Don’t be like me be like you”.

    Thank you for that. I think a lot of people need to read this.

    • Bruce, this was incredibly kind of you my friend. Really, I do appreciate it and hope you’re well.



      • Life couldn’t be better for me. I have a successful “marketing cooperative” that I am in the process of getting legally registered as an international cooperative. Ultimately me and my partners are trying to drive the price of marketing online down a whole lot – and so far things are going great and steady getting better.

        Health is going great also and kids are growing faster than I wish they would – but such is the life of a parent. Thanks for asking :)

  30. Great post, Marcus! Also agree with the comments about this going beyond “blogger” worship – we should be able to look within for what makes sense for each of us in our businesses & in life!

  31. Thanks pal. Nice of you to say, and a great post.

    Here’s the thing:

    Blogs are a means to an end, not an end. I don’t really care about anybody’s blog, including my own. I care about what the blog enables, or represents.

    You’re a great blogger, but your business acumen and what you’ve done with River Pools is way more interesting and impressive.

    Gary Vaynerchuk is a great speaker, but what he’s done building his business from $5 million to $100 million and the several tech investments that he’s subsequently hit out of the park is way more interesting and impressive.

    Jonathan Fields is a great blogger and a heck of a writer, but what he’s done in the yoga business and now with his author marketing training programs is way more interesting and impressive.

    Brogan is a great blogger and a superstar, but what he’s done as an entrepreneur, and his refusal to accept the status quo is way more interesting and impressive.

    Seth is a globally recognized author, but what he’s done in business (he sold his start-up to Yahoo, and now runs Squidoo) is way more interesting and impressive.

    Gini is indeed everywhere, but what she’s done with Arment/Dietrich, from near bankruptcy to big success is way more interesting and impressive.

    Mitch Joel is an amazing thought leader and an excellent podcaster, but he runs perhaps the most important digital agency in Canada, which is way more interesting and impressive.

    And even MORE important is the fact that all of these people (except Seth, whom I don’t know) are verifiably good people. Way above average in every case, and world class awesome in some cases.

    The problem isn’t the worship, the problem is putting far too much stake in a blog or an online personality or a Twitter account. Dig deeper, and you find that the VAST majority of great bloggers were and are great at a bunch of other stuff first.

    Good blogging is a symptom of success, not the cause.

    • Jay, interesting how everyone who is ‘big’ online actually did something offline (in the face to face business world) to get their name out there.

    • Hey buddy, I know I mentioned this to you, but I hope your thoughts on this post of mine find their way onto an article of your own at some point…they need to be heard by more folks in this industry.

  32. Mark Schaefer

    A few weeks ago, I was cornered by a fan at a conference and she kept saying “You’re a rock star” I counseled her that I am just a guy but after a period of time I realized that this is a perception that exists in her mind and there is nothing I can do about it. The idea of “celebrity” is something bestowed upon you by others, not something you can control so when it happens, I think all we can do is smile, be patient and gracious. And it will be happening to you more and more!

    • Mark, didn’t I see you singing with Paul McCartney just last week on stage?? ;-)

      Actually, you’ve made a really good point—much of this stuff is not the fault at all of the writer/blogger—which is why I don’t think we should give some of the folks a hard time, just because they’ve experienced such ultra success. People think what they think. They create their own world.

      As always, well said my friend.

      Oh, and keep rocking ;-)


  33. Awesome Marcus. Now I worship you and want to be you more than ever!

    • that made me laugh. :)

  34. WORD to @Jay for the good blog being a sign of success, not the success itself. And @John for us NOT giving away our power. And to @Wade on the difference in respect vs. worship – which brings me to @Susan’s remark on jealousy and circles. (Marcus, you always get really good comments.)

    It is a club and writers like Susan, like myself wonder – as we read others and KNOW we’ve written as good or better – what are we doing ‘wrong’ that we’re not at that level, not playing that game? I had the clubs/networking is the answer; is that the secret to success, to getting the work that’s so impressive? IDK it’s this self-perpetuating cycle, a circle that seems tough to crack. I’m not jealous, not petty; I like and respect certain people, don’t worship – yet still wonder what I’m doing wrong, how am I not working hard/smart enough?!

    End of the day though like @Srinivas I don’t want to emulate anyone, not lookin to be someone else – just be the best ME I can. Though a week w/ Tim Cook’s bank account, there I might be tempted. ;-) FWIW.

    • There are lots of people – LOTS – with great blogs that don’t get attention commensurate to the quality of the writing and thinking (one of the reasons we have a special shout outs segment on my Social Pros podcast).

      But that’s because it’s only half the enchilada (if that). Why do great blogs go relatively undiscovered while others draw lots of attention?

      Some people are disproportionately consistent writers. Or disproportionately better at self-promotion. Or work harder at it. Or like Marcus and Gini and Mark Schaefer, are disproportionately good at generating conversation and comments because they write with a strong, personal voice. Or have a disproportionately large audience because they speak in front of thousands and thousands of people each year. Or are good at playing the PR game. Or are disproportionately good at SEO.

      What people have to understand is that blogging success isn’t a writing and thinking contest, it’s a running a small business contest. It’s not a meritocracy where the best ideas and the best writing wins. That would be great, but it’s not reality.

      Over time, blogs get the audience they deserve from the holistic business/promotion/content perspective. Every single blogger (with the exception of Seth) Marcus mentioned started with the same audience everyone else starts with….zero.

      There is of course an element of luck involved, and being at the right place at the right time, and it’s harder to start a blog and gain attention now that ever before (but certainly not impossible). But for me the big lesson I learned when I was just starting is that the writing is just a fraction of the battle.

      • It’s not a rainbows and glitter-farting ponies meritocracy, I hear ya Jay. Writing is just part of it, and I’m disproportionally bad at the rest. Some things for me to work on, though I wouldn’t mind a little (good) luck once in a while. FWIW.

        • “Glitter-farting ponies meritocracy”….wow, that easily wins for most unique phrase of the year Davina!!

      • Jay-

        I think you nailed it here when you said “What people have to understand is that blogging success isn’t a writing and thinking contest, it’s a running a small business contest”. I can relate to that in so many ways (I’m the basement waterproofer turned wanna-be Inbound Marketing pro you might have heard Marcus talk about on his blog).

        I now understand why Marcus always said you’re so smart :) Look forward to meeting you at CMW. I plan to attend your workshop on Content Marketing Metrics.

        And as for you Marcus (aka “Sales Kitten”)-

        You’re not gettting off that easy. No sir. You said in one of your podcasts you don’t want a bunch of “Marcus puppets”. I talk trash to cover up my man-crush and fondness for your cutting edge concepts (Tipping Point, Assigment Selling and Law of Compounding Interest, amongst others)

        “Now that you knocked him down, why don’t you try knocking me down?”
        -Rocky 5 quote (Rocky to Tommy Gunn)

        • Glad you’re getting to know JB at bit my man. The more you get to know him, they more you’ll appreciate him.

          And thanks for making me smile big—every time :-)


  35. I think we’re talking about two completely different things here (as usual, I’m outnumbered by the left brainers but that’s the story of my life). I’m not talking about succeeding at blogging or on-line marketing (however you define it) per se. I’m talking about human nature and what we’re doing as people in this new medium. How we’re feeling, reacting, moving.

    It’s, to me, an important discussion to have because as more people more into this crazy realm that exists on our hard drives, there is going to be human fall out. That’s what interests me the most as I personally move through this space.

  36. Two words: Thank Gawd!
    Four words: You are my hero!

    Kidding……sort of…..;-)

    It’s a slippery slope, this worship thing. Next thing you know you are doing things that you wouldn’t dream of. Not necessarily a good plan. Human nature is a funny thing that way, huh?

    Thanks for being an honest dude.

    • Yep, it’s a very funny thing Ralph, indeed.

      And that’s exactly why I wanted to write this post. To remind everyone, myself included, just how silly we are. ;-)

      thanks for stopping by,


  37. We’re so often told to find a successful person and emulate their actions – why reinvent the wheel? But, while there is truth in that, too often people gulp down the entire bottle of wine (intentional metaphor) instead of sipping from the glass.

    A few years ago I took a Dale Carnegie speaking course and on the final night I gave my last speech. I took Carnegie’s book, held it up, and unceremoniously chucked it into the trash can! We can’t live someone else’s success I explained. Absorb if you wish but find your own voice, your own talent, and create your own path to YOUR success.

    But, I do understand Diana’s emotions (right brain.) This medium we call the internet is both personal and distant. We attach ourselves to each other while remaining apart. The conundrum is that we can interact socially without always being “social.” I’m not saying this was/is Diana’s point but it’s certainly something to discuss.

    It’s difficult to express ourselves without appearing to be judgmental. And you can’t immediately say “no, this is what I meant!”

    Anyway, great discussion. And I’m sure my comments here will land gracefully and insightfully with some and crash like a brick through a window with others … so be it. I’m myself. :-)

    Thanks, Marcus.

    • Carmelo, wish I had been in that room when you gave that talk. Awesome man. Gutsy. That’s what it’s all about,.

      Keep doing great things.


  38. Shanika Journey

    I have been around several entrepreneurs that worship the ground some of their favorite gurus walk on. I even got slammed because I wasn’t doing things liked their guru did. The thing I learned out of those kind of people is:

    1) stay away from them. They are the quickest dream killers you will find online.
    2) I like who I am just fine. My skills, my perspective, and my business reflects what makes me…well, ME. I don’t wanna be the next Eben Pagen, Andy Jenkins, Frank Kern, or even Gomer Pile. I just want to be the best me… the best at what I do… and the best at getting people the result they want with it.

    I have much respect for many other marketers and specialists out there. And they do give me some ideas that helps me enhance my style and improve my results in certain areas. But, they’re not the lifeblood of what will make me successful in my business – I AM.

    After dealing with the fanboy entrepreneurs (and running away from them), the very thing Marcus mentions has happened to them: they’re creativity and passion toward what they do not there like it use to be. They’re too busy trying to impress their favorite “guru” in hopes to get their attention. It’s not a great thing to see.

    • Shanika, this was exceptional. Seriously. I love how much you believe in YOU and ultimately, that’s what is going to keep you moving in the direction you want to go.

      Keep crushing it!


  39. Hi Marcus!!

    Great post. We must take the time to worship yourself. We must focus on our special talents and our abilities.



  40. Hi Marcus,

    Yes – Though I think one can learn things from these (power users or known users with experience and proof to show for it) – people shouldn’t be following them like blind sheep. If they themselves ended up doing so before their fame and popularity, they most likely would have never got to where they are today. (And no offence to Seth and the others)

    • Anton, I’m with you. The concept of being a blind sheep is clearly not the ultimate goal here.

      Eventually, we’ve got to set our own course.

      Thanks for stopping by,


  41. The post and the comments were really interesting for me to read because this has been a topic I have been thinking about for a while. For me though when I say topic I don’t just mean blogging worship, it’s about the worship culture we live in.

    People are constantly comparing themselves to what others are doing and achieving and want to have the same success. And even when people are talented and achieving things, they continue to compare themselves to others who have achieved even more and they forget how happy the success they have now would have made them a few months or years ago. (to give a blogging example…when I first starts blogging I thought I would be ecstatic when I hit 100 followers. That number came and as soon as it did, it didn’t feel like anything big or gret and I was already thinking about my next goal)

    We just keep moving the bar of what would make us happy or make us feel successful.

    So the point that really has me thinking is why do we do this? I have sat down on numerous occasions to try and organize my thoughts about this and still have not come up with clarity. I know it has to do with the fact that we tend to measure success externally-how many people like what we are doing, appreciate us, think we are cool and how well were doing financially. And even those who say that they measure success by an internal barometer of how they feel about the work are probably mostly kidding themselves because I suspect they would not be doing the same thing if there was never any external feedback. (did that make sense?)

    So I think you are right. We need to start learning how to feel good about our uniqueness and not let others acceptance or non acceptance of ourselves or our work have such an impact.

    Sorry for this long long comment. Guess the post struck a chord. :-)

    • Susie, never apologize for a great and thoughtful comment like this. The cycle of “success” you talked about here is something I think so many bloggers have gone through yet most don’t want to talk about it.

      The key is that you’re developing, pushing, changing, planning, and allowing change—however it may come.

      If you keep that up, everything will work itself out very well.

      Thanks again,


  42. Great post, Marcus! Also agree with the comments about this going beyond “blogger” worship – we should be able to look within for what makes sense for each of us in our businesses & in life!

  43. Wow. You really know how to get people going Marcus. That’s what I love about you. I believe I discovered Diana Bauer here and for that I am grateful. I admire her and enjoy her work as much as I admire you and enjoy what you do here.

    What I’ve been noticing lately, after two and a half years of blogging, is how many ‘guru’s’ seem to be running out of ideas. How many ways can you tell someone how to do anything? If you’re not fairly well rounded and throw in something off your primary target once in a while I get bored. I like variety.

    I’ve had blog friends who narrowed their focus so much they’re losing readership. It’s like beating a dead horse.

    Honestly I’ve never been a fan of any blog that doesn’t mix it up and keep it fresh and interesting. You sell pools. You preach inbound marketing. Neither of those things have any place in my life. Yet, I love your blog and how you see things. Some topics I don’t read, but then you’ll throw in something like this and I’m hooked back in.

    I believe we’re going to be seeing some drop-off of rather large blogs if these narrow focused bloggers don’t wake up and realize one primary idea can’t sustain itself forever. Some of us bore easily. ;)

    • emw

      You make an excellent point there, Barbara. I do sometimes do follow-up posts for popular topics on my blog, but since my theme is the analysis, not a particular topic or marketing strategy, I have leeway to jump around a bit.

      I’ve copied your comment into my digital notebook to pull out and remind myself of people like you the next time I’m tempted not to talk about something that interests me but may not appeal to my audience.

      • I’m honored Elizabeth.

    • Barbara, this was one of the best comments of the post. Really. I say that because you’ve mentioned a pattern here that most likely wouldn’t notice, but it’s certainly happening. And what you described above is exactly the reason I write about diverse stuff. Heck, the way my mind works it’s hard enough not talking about all the other things I’m passionate about.

      Thanks for your incredible thoughtfulness Barbara,


      • Marcus I can’t wait to read about all the things you’re passionate about! Bring it!

  44. With perhaps millions (?) of bloggers, this aspect of Social Media reminds of the dot-com boom and bust. Those just in for the $$ will eventually give up. Those who write because they have to will survive. The greatest thing about Social Media is (IMHO) it’s ability to evolve. Someone somewhere is working on the next Twitter, or Facebook, or WordPress. Someone is thinking of an idea that may change the face of blogging as we know it. Those people will become millionaires or billionaires. He or she who creates the next incredible fishing hole will attract a lot of fisherman.

    • Amen to that Frank. AWESOME stuff bud.

      (BTW, are you creating the next FB?? ;-) )


      • I am it’s called Facebook Too. Should be okay with that name, no?

      • Oh, one more thing. Based on all these “mini-blogs” that have erupted on your site from your latest post, I’d have to call your efforts to avoid idol worship a total failure. You’ve now created “Sheridan’s Soldiers.” A ragtag, albeit zealous, team of writers, thinkers and social networkers who will stop at nothing until you are elected President. Start saving your money for 2016!

        • Hahahaha Frank, that was pretty much hilarious, thanks again ;-)

  45. G’Day Marcus,
    “And Billy, be yourself.” as Bill Gove said about 50 years ago. I’m also reminded of a great John Wooden quote; “it’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” And Mark Twain said, “It aint what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for certain that just aint so.”

    Make sure you have fun

    Best Wishes

    • Ahhhh, nothing like a few Leonisms to put a cap on everything :-)

      Good you’re well my friend,


  46. Nope, still just wanna be like you when I grow up…..

    • Thanks BD…I’ll be sure to post the manual very soon. ;-)

  47. Well done, Marcus. My knee is officially off the A-List alter. I’ll still be visiting here and the places you mentioned for motivation and inspiration. But I’m gonna spend more time with the B-listers, like Bill Dorman.

    JUST KIDDING BILL!! Thanks for this post Marcus. It really is like a cold glass of water in the face.

    • I can’t even make a list, whadda ya talking about……:).

    • A cold glass of water is a good thing Barrett, for all of us. And again, I don’t think it’s wrong reading the thoughts of others—just as long as you continue to see your own worth and stay away from the comparisons and the feelings of inadequacy.

      Rock on my friend,


  48. Great article Marcus!
    Well the Bible says not to worship idols & that’s been good advice for many, many years. Why? Because they get in the way of knowing the truth, and in the context of your post, the truth is we are all unique and individual. When we put someone on a pedestal like a god we lose sight of reality. They have the same issues, problems, failures & foibles as we do. What we see on their blogs is only the outside representation or the face they are putting to the world. We can (& should) do the same to the best of our ability. Be true to yourself. When you try to be someone else you are just acting & the Greek word for an actor is “hypocrite”…Oh and the Bible said a fair bit about them too!
    Once again, great article Marcus & thanks.

    • Some great references there John. Yes, this was more about our uniqueness and individuality…not blogging per se.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!


  49. Marcus , here comes the real point from my side! I believe that some folks worship some of the leaders just because they feel the confidence within them after seeing their success(that’s a good point) but Worshiping them like the leaders are the God and we should be like them is totally inapplicable(As you said and I agree to it though). If I would like to be same alike Brat Pitt , that won’t define my success , Even though I acquire the Look and behavior of Brat Pitt, I would be known his Duplicate and as per the rule of Success(True Success) Unique talent is needed within everyone after all I don’t want to be lay down as a raw mango(I should be sweet ripe ) in basket of mango! Thanks

    • Good points Adrian, love how you stated that—Unique Talent. Yes!

  50. For me, it’s simple: I respect and appreciate good bloggers, and dispense with the rest.

    Worship is reserved for my family.

    Everything else I’ll leave to others. ;-)

  51. I’ve been called a guru before, and it’s really, really weird. (I run a popular tutorials blog.) People twice my age approach me as if they’re wasting my time or afraid to bother me with their small issues, and it’s awkward. I think Jonathon handled the “rejection” really well, and I think you made an excellent and critical point – be yourself, because anyone who knows what they’re doing and does their best can be a guru.

    I learned from band that the only person you really need to compare yourself to is you. Are you better today than you were tomorrow? Leveraging someone else’s audience to build your own is a great tactic, and building relationships is important, but anyone can be an icon using their own voice and producing kick-arse content.

    Great post. It’s time for everyone to be their own heroes. :)

    • Hey Corey, you summed this up really nicely my man.

      Well said indeed.

      Much thanks,


  52. I’m learning not to hold bloggers so high. Spending $2000 taught me that lesson;)

    Holding bloggers high can costs lots of money. I ran across a blog post where a famous blogger held a workshop in Paris and failed to deliver — Big Time.

    The person spent $4500+ based on the bloggers online and was sadly surprised. Great lesson in don’t hold bloggers too high based on admiring them from afar.


    • Wow, powerful story Jalanda, and I really appreciate you pointing it out.

      Much thanks,


  53. Well written Marcus. I don’t get the whole deity-like status that some bloggers have attained. I read lots of them. Many of them have great ideas. Some of them express them very well. There are some that I will follow and read on a regular basis.

    Worship them? Not a chance. Respect them? Maybe. Recommend them? Perhaps.

    I might worship someone who has helped feed the hungry. I might worship someone who has stopped a war. I might worship someone who has united a people.

    But a blogger? What have they done to deserve to be worshiped?

    • With you completely Marc.

      We’re all incredibly human, and certainly don’t merit more than respect and appreciation after a job well done.

      Thanks for stopping by,


  54. As a noob blogger, I have looked to many bigger blogs but only for tips on how to progress my blogging. I admire some but I’m being careful not to even join any of the cliques and not to worship anyone. I’m doing my own thing but with guidance of some succesful bloggers.

  55. Well done, Marcus! I agree with you. And I’ll add that its great to be inspired by others in any field, but never to put yourself down. I believe that inspiration is a something that others do for us and that we do for others.

    True equality is understanding that everyone is worth the same amount.

    Each person I meet has something special to offer, and I feel lucky when people share their thoughts and opinions with me, and I try to share what I can with others.

  56. Consume the content, learn and go away (not forever though), because that is the only way you can get more time to implement what you have read, watched or listened to. Worshiping a blogger may be dumb because that takes energy – energy which one can use to take the next step to achieve whatever goal they have up their sleeves.

    Liked the post Marcus.

  57. Personally, I don’t worship a list bloggers, rather i strive daily to be better than them, to beat them at that particular keyword, the satisfaction gained from doing so is great.

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